A visit to this tree-lined North Island town with its peaceful parks, boutique stores, cafés and scenic lakes is a pleasant day trip from Hamilton.

Cambridge is a pretty town that has a calming effect on its visitors. Walk or cycle along the banks of the Waikato River, or try your hand at trout fishing in Lake Karapiro. Afterwards, browse the galleries and boutique stores along Victoria Street. There are more thrilling activities too, if you are afraid you may get bored.

Just like its namesake in the United Kingdom, Cambridge has an elegant, distinctly English feel. Its tree-lined streets, Tudor-style houses and numerous well-tended parks and greens pay tribute to New Zealand’s colonial roots.

At the many local horse farms dozens of champion thoroughbreds have been raised. While most of the horse riding here is for serious equestrians only, you can still organize trekking tours that will take you around the local area.

Just 5 miles (8 kilometers) from the town center, is the man-made Lake Karapiro. Formed when a dam was constructed for a power plant in 1947, the body of water is now a favorite recreational area for Cambridge residents. Rent a kayak and explore its boundaries, or if you visit in summer you can jump in for a refreshing dip.

The central walkways along the Waikato River make for a pleasant stroll. If you feel like something a bit more exciting, jump aboard the Camjet, a V8-powered speedboat that takes you on a thrilling ride up the river towards the Karapiro Dam.

If you’re a keen cyclist, make sure to explore the Waikato River trails. Over 60 miles (100 kilometers) of tracks take you past several lakes, and some vast expanses of countryside.

The attractive town center of Cambridge is almost entirely made up of locally owned boutique stores, so if you’re looking for presents or souvenirs this is a great place to shop. You won’t go hungry either, with more than 20 cafés and restaurants serving up a wide range of local and international delights.

Cambridge is located 14 miles (23 kilometers) southeast of Hamilton and is easy to reach by car, with ample parking, and bus.

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