If you really want to get away from it all, take your fishing rod or mountain bike to Mangakino. This friendly little town is handy to three hydro lakes.

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Mangakino, on the shores of Lake Maraetai, is a town that has survived against the odds. It was originally founded to house workers involved with the construction of power stations on the Waikato River. When the work was over, many of the houses were removed and some of the streets were converted back into farmland.

These days the population has stabilised and the area has become an affordable place to own a holiday home. Nearby are the Whakamaru, Waipapa, Atiamuri and Ohakuri hydro lakes and dams, which are all popular for swimming, boating, fishing and hiking.

Mangakino is great for mountain biking; it sits in the middle of two of the North Island's best tracks - the Waikato River Trails and the Timber Trail