Between November and April, it’s time to stop and smell the roses in Te Awamutu. This rural town has the ideal climate for fabulous blooms.

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Te Awamutu calls itself the ‘Rose Capital of New Zealand’. During the blooming season, November to April, the garden next to the visitor centre is a technicolour dream as 2000 rose bushes turn on the charm. Te Awamutu also has an excellent museum, with a large collection of Maori treasures and stories from the Waikato land wars.

A display about local music heroes Tim and Neil Finn (Split Enz and Crowded House) is another drawcard. If you’ve ever wanted to try rock climbing, the nearby Wharepapa South area is a climber’s paradise. Instruction is available. A number of great walking tracks are on offer around Te Awamutu including Pirongia Forest Park.

Functional facts: Approx. population 9780, i-SITE Visitor Centre, good range of shops, accommodation and services.