Best things to see
Gordonton there are plenty of things to do. Gordonton is an attractive Waikato town where motorists whizz past, perhaps stop for a coffee and break, missing out on Cornerstone Alpacas and the like. The region is a natural day trip from Auckland or the Waikato with plenty to do and see. Plan lunch in a nearby cafe, take the kids to meet fluffy alpacas and in spring pick a bunch of daffodils. For bird watchers the two nearby wetlands are significant areas for birdlife worth a detour.
WHAT TO DO, HIGHLIGHTS
- Cornerstone Alpacas
- Woodlands homestead and gardens
- Daffodils in spring at Clandon commercial growers
- Cafes and coffee stalls
- Nearby wetlands and prolific bird life in Howarth Memorial wetlands and Kopuatai Peat Dome (see travel pack section for details)
Gordonton is a country town with its heritage church, outstanding heritage estate of Woodlands and mature trees lining the route through the village. Gordonton is characterised by a clean public toilet block where locals put fresh flowers in the toilets. The adjoining carpark is often frequented by coffee carts, fresh produce vendors from the area and in spring the stunning Clandon commercial daffodil growers with their gay yellow flowers in ordered bunches.
A leisurely day exploring the Farm Shop with freshly sourced local produce, cafes, an art gallery nestled in a former dairy factory, an historic House, beautiful gardens or New Zealand’s only organic authentic Chinese tea estate, Zealong tea estate.
Woodlands homestead and gardens is a fully restored 1870’s manager’s Homestead with 15 acres of nationally significant gardens, stunning cricket pavilion and a full calendar of events.
Auckland and Hamilton locals stock up on plants from Wairere Nursery and take time exploring the adjoining nursery garden.
The new walking track around… – Waikato District Council. Explore a peat lake with characteristic tea coloured water. The lake is a local favourite for boat skiing. The water content is monitored by Safeswim in summer. There is a 3km walking trail around the lake.
WHAT TO DO WITH THE KIDS
- CORNERSTONE ALPACA FARM TOUR Kids can feed the alpacas and stroke their thick soft fleece while hearing about their lives. This is an alpaca farm where every animal has a name. If it is raining the indoor area means you get to meet the alpacas where it’s dry underfoot.
- Enjoy an ice cream, in the summer months from the pop up vendors in the carpark
- Plan a trip around Woodlands festivals and events with live entertainment
NOTE: Gordonton Country Market ceased operating in 2017 due to a lack of volunteers.
- Topp twins (entertainment) attended school
- Eoin Scarrow, well known gardening TV celebrity lives in Gordonton
- A glorious quilting and embroidery supply shop where fans of needlework flock from all over New Zealand.
- September Antique & Collectable Fair (Woodlands estate)
- Pioneer Fundays at Woodlands with vintage machinery, stalls, Victorian games
- Gordonton Hall was built in the 1990s entirely by the community using locally donated labour and materials making it debt-free from the beginning
- Gordonton has a Facebook page
- Primary school motto: Do your best
WHO TURNED UP AND NAMED THE PLACE
- Pre-European Maori knew the area as Hukanui, which means “heavy frost” in Maori. It was renamed to Gordonton after John Gordon, who was a manager for the New Zealand Land Association in the Waikato from 1886. The original wetlands, Piako were drained, the land being largely confiscated Maori land.
WHAT KEEPS THE PLACE TICKING
- Agriculture, the area is a rich dairy country.
TRAVEL PACK INFORMATION
Every town adds to the richness of things to do and see. For more details about the region check Hamilton & Waikato Region nearby attractions and events.
BIRD WATCHING & NATURAL PLACES
Kopuatai Peat Dome is a freshwater wetland. At 10,201 ha it is the largest unaltered restiad peat bog in New Zealand and is also unique globally. The area is gazetted as a Wetland Management Reserve under the Conservation Act 1987 and managed by DOC. There are two main wetland types included in the Ramsar site – peatland and mineralised wetland. The peatland is acidic and low in nutrients with a hydrological regime dominated by rainfall. In contrast, the mineralised areas bounding the bog’s western margins are influenced by nutrient enrichment from the Piako and Waitoa Rivers. The physical features of the peat dome and in particular the mineralised swamps play an important role in flood control and protection as they provide storage for floodwater from the Piako and Waitoa catchments
Source Department of Conservation
Gordonton to Howarth Memorial Wetlands
- Howarth Memorial Wetland walk is a one hour loop walk through a lovely wildlife refuge. This walk is mostly flat, and accessible from several areas making it ideal for morning or evening walks. It is a pleasant walk for all ages and fitness levels. The track includes a boardwalk leading to a bird watching hut with great views of the wetland. Source Howarth Memorial Wetlands
- Waikato Land Wars battle sites can be found throughout the area.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE