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Ōtorohanga District Attractions

Ōtorohanga is close to lots of visitor attractions.

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

Ōtorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park

Kāwhia Harbour and Wharf

Ōtorohanga is the gateway 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).

Ōtorohanga Main Street flower baskets

Ōtorohanga 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 Ōtorohanga Railway Station, renovated and reinvented as an espresso coffee bar and boutique coffee roaster.

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

Look out for some of these exhibits:

  • Sir Edmund Hillary

  • Kiwi

  • Quarter acre section

  • School life

  • School milk

  • Ches 'n Dale

  • ANZAC

  • 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...

Getting Around

Kiwitown Taxi Service

Kiwitown taxi service offers convenient transportation options within Ōtorohanga and to nearby attractions like the Waitomo Caves.

Phone Dave: 027 339 6087
Email: waitomotaxi@gmail.com

Intercity Bus

Intercity Bus provides a reliable and comfortable means of transportation for travelers looking to reach Ōtorohanga from various locations across New Zealand.

Contact Us

Northern Explorer Train Stops

The Northern Explorer train is a scenic rail journey that connects Auckland and Wellington, with a stop in Ōtorohanga. This allows travelers to enjoy the picturesque landscapes of the North Island while conveniently reaching Ōtorohanga.

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Ōtorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

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

  •  Visitors will 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 Ōtorohanga Kiwi House. 

(The Ōtorohanga 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 Ōtorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park

Jim Barker Memorial Playground 

Jim Barker Memorial Playground 

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

Corner of  SH3 and Huiputea Drive, Ōtorohanga

Ōtorohanga Museum

Ngā Whare Taonga o Ōtorohanga

at 15 Kakamutu Road, Ōtorohanga (enroute to the Ōtorohanga 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: otorohangamuseum@gmail.com or phone 021 055 1818. 
Explore the Museum in 3d

Ōtorohanga Waka House

Te Waonui o tane

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 Ōtorohanga. 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

Ōtorohanga 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.

Maori Carved Pou, Ōtorohanga

Maori carved Pou(totem poles)

in the centre of town - a tribute to the ancestors of the local Maniapoto people.

Ōtorohanga Kiwiana Leisure Park

Ōtorohanga 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.

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

Kāwhia

Kāwhia'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 Ōtorohanga, Kāwhia is off the beaten track. It has a small resident population of less than 400, but that increases greatly during the holiday season.

Kāwhia 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, cafes and a good range of accommodation.

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

Waitomo Caves and surrounds

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

Photo: Marokopa Falls

Glowworm Caves

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 Ōtorohanga Information Centre– they’re here to help with FREE advice.