The coal town of Huntly makes an interesting stop between Auckland and Hamilton. The area's mining history is on display at the local museum.
Huntly is the site of a massive coal-fired power station. It is also a major source of coal – the open cast coal mine produces around 10,000 tonnes a day.
Coal was first discovered here in 1842 by a local reverend. In the 1860s, one of the seams was opened up to provide coal for the river boats using the Waikato River. At the town’s coalfields museum you can learn about the history of mining in the region, including the inevitable disasters.
There are several farmstays in the area along with several great walking trails including the Hakarimata Walkway, which features kauri trees, streams and waterfalls. It has become known as a fitness challenge because of the 'never-ending stairway' which reaches to the summit.