Nature can work magic and there’s no better place to witness its splendours than Port Waikato and its vicinity. Get set for an amazing road trip through the Waikato, south to Rotorua.
A description of specific natural wonders in Port Waikato – a place already brimming with so much beauty – might seem redundant. It is truly easy to find beauty in this beach town no matter where you look. It is here that the Waikato River ends its meandering journey, meeting and merging into the vast Tasman Sea. The place is known for its black sand beaches, amazing sunsets, sand dunes, hillocks, and farmlands. And of course that quaint air of timelessness that tops it all up. And yet, there’s more. Here are four mesmerizing nature-made treasures in and around Port Waikato that deserve a special mention.
The magestic Sunset Beach
This stunning black beach is as natural as it gets. Wild, rugged and untouched, the 7.19 km-long beach is Port Waikato’s best-loved swimming, surfing, and fishing destination. Dappled with rocks at places, Sunset Beach wears a look of quiet calm that is accentuated by the pristine, sparkling waters. You could saunter about, or drive along the beach at low tide and over the endless dunes. While a great place for solo adventurers and families with kids alike, the safest place to swim is between the flags in front of the award-winning Surf Lifesaving Club. A short wander from the Port Waikato Holiday Park Accommodation, it’s the perfect place to stop for the night.
Nikau Cave & Café
The Nikau Cave is an entirely natural limestone cave sculpted by geological processes. With no electric lights, handrails, or concrete paths, the place presents a subterranean caving adventure like no other. Its unique limestone landscape is set apart by real stalactites, stalagmites, giant pillars, weathered rocks, and a stream bed you can walk across. Like a star-spangled sky, the swarm of glow-worms that twinkles in the main cavern may well be considered the high point of the experience. The on-site café, ensconced below verdant hills dotted with limestone rocks, is a great place to stop by for some fresh food and conversation following your trip to the cave.
Waiotapu Thermal Wonderland
Often cited as among the most surreal places on earth, the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is every kernel worth its name. Fashioned by thousands of years of natural activity, New Zealand’s most spectacular geothermal attraction is marked by unique volcanic features which includes naturally colourful hot and cold springs, enormous volcanic craters, enchanting sinter terrace formations, steaming ground, spitting and spurting mud pools, and of course the fantastical Champagne Pool. Visitors may choose one or all three of the connected trails. The Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland is a 35-minute drive from Rotorua Airport and a 40-minute drive from Taupo.
Road trip via Huka Falls to Taupo
The Huka (Maori word for ‘foam’) Falls result from a unique natural phenomenon in which the great Waikato River passes through a narrow 15-metre gorge and undergoes a dramatic cliff drop. Water roars and rumbles through the chasm every moment, furiously cascading down to form the limpid, aquamarine pool 11 metres below. You will find plenty of photo opportunities and breathtaking views in and around the place – there’s a pedestrian bridge right at the top of the falls and several other vantage points. There is adequate car parking space nearby; Huka Falls is a mere 10-minute drive by car from the beautiful lake town of Taupo.
Invite Yourself to Port Waikato!
Whether you are a solo traveller looking to escape the daily grind, or a family seeking a spot where the kids can have fun, Port Waikato has something in store for everyone! Equidistant from both Auckland and Hamilton – and only one hour from the Auckland International Airport – Port Waikato is super-easy to get to! From Sunset beach to the glittering splendour of the Nikau Caves, you’re in for a treat as you road trip through the Waikato to Rotorua.