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Considering they live in a town that's inland, the people of Cambridge certainly know how to make the most of water.

They live within minutes of two of the country's most beautiful waterways - the 'mighty' Waikato River and Lake Karapiro.

The 425km-long Waikato is New Zealand's longest river, connecting eight dams and nine hydroelectric power stations which generate an eighth of the country's electricity. The river flows through the town, beneath the historic Victoria Bridge connecting the town's main shopping centre with the suburb of Leamington.

From the bridge, wander along the river banks to Riverside Park and you can book a seat in the V8 powered Camjet for a pulsating ride up the river to the Karapiro Dam, or you can ask the driver for a gentler scenic version of the trip with chance to admire the native bush and luscious green hills that overlook the river. Alternatively, you can take a canoe or kayak and paddle your own way along the river.

The dam marks the point at which Lake Karapiro was formed in 1947 when eight square kilometres of man-made lake was created. Today, that lake is a recreational playground, drawing visitors from all around the world.

Lake Karapiro is the national base for New Zealand's elite rowers and canoe racers. It hosts national and international rowing regattas, including World Championships.

Lake Karapiro is the venue for world-class hydroplane races and all manner of fun sports including kayaking, water skiing, sailing and trout fishing. Every summer, thousands turn up for the National Waka Ama (outrigger canoe) Sprint Championships.

Youngsters learn to swim there - or at the 50-metre public pool in Cambridge - while others use it to train for multi-sports such as duathlons, triathlons and Ironman events.


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Play & Stay

Cambridge offers a range of activities with something to meet all ages and interests. Read More
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