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Ōtorohanga District Attractions



is close to lots of visitor attractions.

It's home to the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park and less than an hour from stunning Kawhia Harbour on the West Coast.


Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Park
Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park
Kawhia Harbour and Wharf
Kawhia Harbour and Wharf



Otorohanga Main Street
Otorohanga Main Street and flower baskets

Otorohanga is the gateway town to Waitomo's world famous caving attractions. It's just 15 minutes from Waitomo Caves Village, the fabulous Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Blackwater Rafting and other caving and abseiling adventures.

You can experience adrenaline highs, have a relaxing "time out" or enjoy some family fun. There are beautiful landscapes from caves to coast and adventures above and below ground.

To do the area justice you'll need to spend at least a long weekend – it's an easy relaxed drive from Auckland (just over 2 hours) and Hamilton (45 minutes).





Otorohanga is New Zealand's 'Kiwiana Town'


‘Kiwiana’ is a celebration of New Zealand's popular culture – its icons, heroes and traditions – everything from the Kiwi, Buzzy Bee, Paua and Pavlova, to Sir Edmund Hillary, Colin Meads and the All Blacks, from Sheep and No.8 Wire to the Haka and Hokey Pokey icecream.

The town is full of quirky and informative tributes to’ Kiwiana’. There are murals, corrugated-iron Kiwi sculptures and a whole arcade of Kiwiana Display Modules in the Ed Hillary Walkway in the centre of town. 

The architecturally designed walkway connects the main street (Maniapoto Street) with Wahanui Crescent and its historic Otorohanga Railway Station, renovated and reinvented as an espresso coffee bar and boutique coffee roaster.


The Kiwiana display modules in the Ed Hillary Walkway offer a great snapshot of New Zealand's popular culture, icons, heritage and heroes.


Ed Hillary Walkway Kiwiana Arcade
Ed Hillary Walkway Kiwiana Arcade

Look out for some of these exhibits:

  • Sir Edmund Hillary
  • Kiwi
  • Quarter acre section
  • School life
  • School milk
  • Ches 'n Dale
  • Weetbix
  • Marmite
  • Come to the table
  • Farm dog
  • The games we played
  • Team NZ
  • Pavlova
  • Bonus Bonds
  • No.8 Wire
  • Rural life
  • Colin Meads
  • History of rugby
  • Buzzy Bee
  • Aunt Daisy
  • The Sheep Story
  • Maori
  • Bruce McLaren

Even the town's Public Toilets opposite the Railway Station are a tribute to the 'Kiwiana' theme - the exterior is sign written with traditional and Kiwi slang name for toilets - W.C., Loo, Bog, Wharepaku, Powder Room, Can, The Throne, Lavatory, Long Drop, Privy...

Otorohanga Kiwiana Toilets His
Otorohanga Kiwiana Toilets His
Otorohanga Kiwiana Toilets Hers
Otorohanga Kiwiana Toilets Hers


Click here for more information about Otorohanga, the 'Kiwiana Town'


Te Puia Springs Natural Hot Pools

The friendly staff at the Kawhia Museum and Information Centre will advise you about the location of the hot springs on Ocean Beach, where heated water bubbles up through the sand from a geothermal spring. They'll even rent you a small shovel to dig your own spa pool!

For about 2 hours before and after low tide you can dig in the sand on a small section of Ocean Beach where there is geothermal activity. To find the hot springs walk for a few minutes over the sand dunes from the car park at the end of the road to Ocean Beach.

You may see small raised areas of sand or steam rising, smell the sulphurous odour or (in ideal conditions) see steam rising. Dig in the sand and warm water will fill the hole you've excavated. Relax and soak!


Kawhia Natural Hot Pools
Kawhia Natural Hot Pools
Kawhia Ocean Beach
Kawhia Ocean Beach


Click here to check tide times for Kawhia.

Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

Otorohanga Kiwi House
Otorohanga Kiwi House


  • The Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park (on Alex Telfer Drive, just 1 km from the Otorohanga i-SITE Visitor Centre) is a major kiwi and tuatara breeding centre. 

  •  Visitors will see always see Kiwi and a large collection of NZ native birds and reptiles.

  • There are Keeper talks throughout the day – see feeding displays with Kiwi, Kea & Kaka (NZ parrots) Kakariki (NZ parakeets) long finned eels and blue duck. 
  • Support wildlife conservation – your visit helps to fund the work of the Otorohanga Kiwi House. 


(The Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand's native wildlife through education, display and breeding programs).


Click here for more information about the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park




Other Otorohanga Attractions



Otorohanga town centre with carved Maori Pou Pou 
Maori Carved Pou, Otorohanga

Maori carved Pou  (totem poles) in the centre of town - a tribute to the ancestors of the local Maniapoto people.





Otorohanga Museum
Otorohanga Museum


Ōtorohanga Courthouse Museum & Te Waonui o Tãne at 15 Kakamutu Road, Ōtorohanga (enroute to the Otorohanga Kiwi House.) 

See a collection of the town's pioneering buildings - a courthouse from 1913, 1896 Police lockup & Police Office, 1909 church building and Te Waonui o Tãne, which houses a unique, partially-carved waka and local Maori artefacts. 

Open FREE of charge every Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12.00pm - 3.00pm. (Other times by arrangement) 

Email: or phone 0210551818.

Explore the Museum in 3d


Otorohanga Waka House
Otorohanga Waka House


The purpose-built Waka House protects "Te Waonui o Tane", a partially constructed totara dugout canoe, approximately 200 years old. It was discovered buried deep in an ancient gravel pit near Otorohanga. It is an important archaeological discovery with several significant and unique features.Open FREE of charge every Thursday, Friday, Saturday 12.00pm -  3.00pm (or other times by arrangement) – phone 027 8109503

Explore the Waka House in 3d


Te Rohe Potae sculpture - Otorohanga Memorial Park
Otorohanga Memorial Park


Te Rohe Potae sculpture in the Memorial Park (corner of State Highway 3 and Kakamutu Road) – a bronze bowler hat on a Pounamu (greenstone) and stone plinth commemorates the intriguing history of the King Country.


Mini golf at Kiwiana Leisure Park
Otorohanga Kiwiana Leisure Park

Otorohanga Kiwiana Leisure Park is a “Kiwiana” themed 18-hole mini golf course.  It’s fun and challenging for people all ages.   There are also batting cages with world class pitching and bowling machines.  Enjoy a cold drink, ice cream or even a coffee while you are there. Open 10 am - sunset.


Alex Telfer Drive, Otorohanga
(Corner of Kakamutu Road & Alex Telfer Drive)
Phone: 07 873 9150


Jim Barker Memorial Playground

Jim Barker Memorial Playground was created in memory of Transport industry legend and proud Otorohanga local, Jim Barker, the playground features an Otorohanga Transport truck and Straitsman Ferry for children of all ages to enjoy.

Corner of  SH3 and Huiputea Drive, Otorohanga






Kawhia Harbour and Wharf
Kawhia Harbour and Wharf

Kawhia's beautiful harbour on the rugged West Coast is a rich source of Maori history. Over 750 years ago the Tainui waka (canoes) arrived in the beautiful harbour with its stunning black iron-sand beaches.


Just 50 minutes’ drive from Otorohanga, Kawhia is off the beaten tourism track. It has a small resident population of less than 400, but that increases greatly during the holiday season.


Kawhia is famous for its laid-back lifestyle, magnificent natural harbour and great fishing and sailing. Enjoy scenic bush walks, a meal of Fish 'n Chips on the wharf and safe inner harbour beaches for swimming and kayaking. There's also a 9-hole golf course, several cafes and a good range of accommodation.


For extensive information on local Maori and European history visit the Kawhia Regional Museum & Information Centre, a charming small building on the waterfront (Kaora Street, Kawhia – Phone: 07 871 0161).



Waitomo Caves and surrounds


Waitomo Village, just 15 minutes from central Otorohanga, offers a wonderful choice of visitor attractions.

Waitomo Glowworm Cave
Waitomo Glowworm Cave
Black Water Rafting Waitomo
Black Water Rafting Waitomo


There's the silent beauty of glowworm caves and limestone caverns, including the Waitomo Glowworm Cave, Spellbound Glowworm & Cave Tours, Ruakuri and Aranui Caves.

If you're into adrenalin culture try Black Water Rafting and cave abseiling (rappelling).


For more information about Waitomo and other fabulous local attractions like the Marokopa Falls and the Mangapohue Natural Bridge contact our i-Site Visitor Information Centre– they’re here to help with FREE advice. 


Mangapohue Natural Bridge
Mangapohue Natural Bridge
Marokopa Falls
Marokopa Falls