Here you will find a welcoming community, wonderful things to do, spectacular events to enjoy, tranquil places to stay, tasty eateries and boutique shopping.
Cambridge is a majestic tree-lined town that sits at the heart of New Zealand’s rural heartland. Its proximity to many of the North Island’s main towns and cities makes it the ideal location for visitors, businesses and the 18,400 residents who chose to call it home.
Come Home to Cambridge and be spoiled for choice for things to do. Cambridge is blessed with trees, parks and gardens that provide a stunning palette of colours as the seasons change. Cambridge also has two of the country’s most beautiful waterways – the ‘mighty’ Waikato River and Lake Karapiro with swimming, rowing, kayaking, jet boating, skiing, cruising and fishing available to all within minutes of the town centre. Cambridge is also well-suited to those who enjoy a walk or like to get on a bike – either for a gentle ride or to compete against the world’s best cyclists. And if horses are your thing, Cambridge is the Equine Capital of New Zealand. Some of the world’s best racehorses have been bred here while many thoroughbred and standardbred trainers are based in the district.
Cambridge’s inland location helps give the town a temperate climate with mild, wet winters and summers that are generally warm and dry. The rainfall, combined with plenty of sunshine hours, helps create the luscious pastures that are key to the area’s dairy and horse-breeding industries.
Top 8 Places to See and Photograph
1. WAIKATO RIVER
There are spectacular views of New Zealand’s longest river from the Victoria Bridge, opened in 1907, or from the banks of the river as you head towards the Riverside Reserve. From there you can take the Camjet for a spin up the river to Karapiro Dam.
2. LAKE KARAPIRO
Water, native bush and luscious green hills create an endless range of opportunities for the outdoor photographer – and there’s usually something happening on the lake whether it’s a sports event or someone having a paddle or fishing for trout.
3. SANCTUARY MOUNTAIN
This 3,400 hectares of pest-free mountain reserve is a sanctuary for native birds and endangered species – it’s a chance to get up close to nature.
4. PANORAMIC VIEWS
If you like landscapes, the best views can be found at the top of the Maungakawa Scenic Reserve (8km and a 14-minute drive north-east from Cambridge). On a fine day, you can see as far as Mount Ruapehu and Mount Taranaki.
5. HOME OF CHAMPIONS
If you fancy a gentle stroll, check out Cambridge’s tribute to our equine and sporting heroes. Wander along Duke St to find 25 plaques honouring the achievements of local stars in the town’s Sporting Walk of Fame, and as you turn into Victoria Street, look for 18 mosaics set into the footpath of prominent local horses. On the wall beside the ANZ in Victoria St, you’ll find a special collection of plaques honouring our 13 (and counting) Melbourne Cup winners.
6. HERITAGE WALKS
The Cambridge Museum website has maps of a number of local walks with landmarks described. These walks guide you through different aspects of local life – a Business Walk, A Tour of Churches, the Cambridge Domain, Leamington, Waikato River and the Suburbs Walk.
Wander around the town and you’ll see classic colonial buildings such as Cambridge Primary School (1879), the Town Hall (1909) and the Old Court House (1909) which now houses our local museum. The town’s original Post Office (now the restaurant called Alpino) was built in 1908 but its clock tower was removed in 1934 (after the Napier earthquake sparked fears it could topple) and it now stands in Jubilee Gardens.
7. MARE AND FOAL SCULPTURE
Outside the Town Hall in Victoria Street, proudly displayed to the thousands who drive past each day, is a life-sized bronze sculpture of a mare and her foal. Unveiled in March 2004, the 850kg statue was commissioned by the Waipa District Council, with financial support from the local equine industry, so the town could acknowledge the vast contribution made to its fortunes by horses.
Two Cambridge churches are among the most photographed in the region and are within sight of each other. St Andrew’s Anglican Church is one of the oldest buildings in Cambridge, having been built in 1881 and the tip of its spire is the highest point in town. Across Victoria Street is a converted church, now housing Good Union Bar & Restaurant originally built in 1898