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Kerikeri Day Trip - Te Waimate Mission & Ngawha Hot Pools

  • 4 minutes

Best bits, your guide to a great holiday

Relish a day indulging the senses. You will soak in geothermal mineral pools curated with you in mind. Discover the story of the missionaries in Northland through the narrative of Te Waimate homestead and wonder at the life where every action was controlled and monitored for good behaviour. This trip is a great idea for families and kids.

Trip profile

Start: Kerikeri

Finish: Kerikeri

Te Waimate Mission Station, Marsden Estate Winery Restaurant & Ngawha Hot Pools

78 km

BEGINNINGS

A leisurely brunch at one of Kerikeri’s many cafes, check out Weekend in Kerikeri – Best Bits for inspiration where to stay and eat in Kerikeri. Today starts with a detour to explore perhaps the most interesting heritage Mission House, Te Waimate. From there it’s all about relaxation. Spend time soaking in hot pools that date back hundreds of years.

NGAWHA HOT POOLS

Ngawha Hot Pools Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs – Te Waiariki Ngawha Springs  is magic.

Ngawha geothermal waters continue to attract hot pool devotees due to the high mineral content of the water.

The hot springs have had a recent makeover.

Ngawha Hot Pools signage on pallet fencing
Ngawha Hot Pools signage on pallet fencing

The drive to the Hot Pools is through gorse covered hills.  When the gorse was commented as ugly the manager informed us gorse is excellent at encouraging bee pollen work as well as protecting emerging native plants. Because the pools are not on the large group tour bus circuit you will be enjoying the company of locals.  With its historic links to pre-European Maori stewardship and enthusiasm of owners Ngawha hot springs is a holiday highlight.

Ngawha Hot Pools aspect Ngawha Hot Pools aspect
Ngawha Hot pool view Ngawha Hot pool view

The individual pools are varying colour intensities due to the differing mineral content.

There are 16 mineral baths each with unique nutrient and temperature characteristics.  The pools have been used for centuries for relaxation as well as their therapeutic qualities and healing properties. They are culturally significant and have a rich social, environmental and political history.

Ngawha Hot Pools scene Ngawha Hot Pools scene
Ngawha Hot Pools recycling plastic pallets as a fence - fabulous Ngawha Hot Pools recycling plastic pallets as a fence - fabulous

The Parahirahi Ngawha Waiariki Trust as kaitiaki has a responsibility to ensure that the springs are maintained and developed so that future generations can enjoy their healing waters. Opening hours While undergoing a major refurbishment the pools are temporarily closed.  These pools are a favourite for hot springs fans and worth a trip for the pleasure of soaking in the mineral laden waters.

Ngawha Hot Springs wall art Ngawha Hot Springs wall art
Ngawha Hot Pools circa 1900 Ngawha Hot Pools circa 1900

LUNCH

Marsden Estate Winery & Restaurant

Marsden Estate has become known for the quality of its original cuisine. Fresh produce is continually sourced from around the region and the superb local food is served on the terrace, shaded by grapevines, overlooking the lake, gardens and vineyard. It’s the perfect place for a long lunch accompanied by a paired wine selection.

Marsden Estate Winery & Restaurant @marsdenestate
Marsden Estate Winery & Restaurant @marsdenestate
Waimete North
Waimete North

TE WAIMATE MISSION

Set in the rolling farmland of Northland the site is perhaps one of the earliest areas for farming livestock in New Zealand. The mission station is fascinating with its large collection of farm tools, equipment and carpentry tools located in the former attic.  The house is austere and reflects the style of the church missionaries with their pioneering zeal to convert Maori to their interpretation of the good life.  The chimney bricks in the fireplace are worth a second look as you can observe the marks of convict Australian labour (bricks imported from the Sydney colony).

Te Waimate chapel exterior Te Waimate chapel exterior
Te Waimate chapel alter Te Waimate chapel alter

There were scandals and stories of resilience and fortitude as well as needless sacrifice.  The church buildings and gardens are worth an inspection.  Charles Darwin visited the mission in 1835. Opening : check the website for up to date information as the station is generally closed during winter.  The mission is supported by volunteers.

Te Waimate Mission interior Te Waimate Mission interior
Waimete North staircase Waimete North staircase

TIP

This trip is great with kids with lunch being a picnic in the grounds of Te Waimate church. Situated on a ridge you have views of the countryside, a historic church and the adjoining mission to visit afterwards. There are toilets outside the mission house behind the main building.

Is the mission interesting for kids?
Yes, with 19th century tools, look for Australian convict bricks in the fireplace and comment on the size of the rooms. Older kids will enjoy hearing the scandalous goings on.

Te Waimate pen _ ink drawing of original settlement
Te Waimate pen _ ink drawing of original settlement

BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE

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