Waikato walks

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Bring your favourite walking shoes to the Waikato region for a gentle stroll along the riverbank or a challenging mountain summit expedition.

For keen walkers and hikers, the Waikato region has an extensive selection of tracks that follow rivers, circumnavigate lakes and crisscross forest parks.

In the city of Hamilton, there are lengthy riverside walkways along the banks of the Waikato River. If you walk south on the eastern side of the river, you'll arrive at Hamilton Gardens - a botanical paradise. There's also a pleasant walking track around Lake Rotoroa, which is also known as Hamilton Lake.

Mountain hikes are many in this region. The Hakarimata Range, north of Hamilton, has a two-day hiking track that runs along the length of the range. There are two giant kauri trees at the northern end of the track. Pirongia Forest Park and Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park are also great venues for hikers.

Favourite on-foot adventures include tracks to the summits of Mount Pirongia (959 metres) and Mount Te Aroha (952 metres). The Te Aroha Mountain Track can finish with a rewarding hot soak in Te Aroha's geothermal pools. With both summit climbs, you get amazing views and the chance to see how the native vegetation changes with altitude.

Mount Maungatautari, south of Hamilton, is a chance to watch environmental preservation in action. Soon the entire mountain will be fenced, to allow the elimination of introduced predators. In the meantime, you can walk the tracks in two pest-free fenced forest enclosures or hike to the mountain's summit.

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