Finding your ideal family home is more than simply looking for the right house to live in. It’s the bigger picture: the area you’ll be dwelling in, the access you have to the things you need and the kind of future you see for yourself in the space you choose.
But how do you pick the right town? Luckily, we’ve been working in Waikato for more than a decade. When it comes to knowing Waikato, we know it inside-out and backwards.
Our top pick is ‘the town of trees and champions’ Cambridge. Think leafy streets, heritage buildings, antique shops, thoroughbred horse studs and close proximity to Lake Karapiro for those lazy summer days. Cambridge bumps up next to the Mighty Waikato River, making it perfect for those who like being close to nature. It has the lowest crime rate (combined property and person offenses) out of our list, so you can rest easy during the day and night. With seven schools in this town, it’s perfect for all stages of family life.
Boasting big homes, impressive architecture and stunning views of Mercury Bay, Whitianga is a beauty to behold. You’ll be spoilt for choice with plenty of parks and reserves to relax and enjoy. If you’re keen on water activities, theres diving, snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, glass-bottom boat tours, beaches and more for the whole family to enjoy. Although the suburb features some of Waikato’s most spectacular mansions, the area caters to many types of family homes.
#3 Mt Maunganui
We love this town for its beach, crowned the ‘Best Beach in New Zealand’ by TripAdvisor. Right on the beach with the views to match, Mount Maunganui is a relaxing place to settle. Enjoy the Hot Ocean Water Pools, take a stroll around the historic extinct volcano ‘Mauao’, cruise the many cafes or go shopping in one of the lovely boutiques, you’ll be sure to appreciate the idyllic lifestyle that comes with this town.
A hidden gem, this quaint town sits at the junction of the Waipa River and the Mighty Waikato River. It is surrounded by peat lakes, the Hakarimata and Taupiri Ranges and fertile farmland. With many large blocks and properties available, you’ll have all the privacy you need from the neighbours. Ngāruawāhia has ample public transport to Auckland and Hamilton, both a local primary school and high school within an easy bike ride or walk for the kids. You won’t have to go far for food, medical or beauty treatments with the local shopping centre taking care of your needs.
#5 Te Awamutu
On the southern side of Waikato is the ‘Rose Capital of New Zealand’ Te Awamutu. A haven for families, it features a museum, theatre, library, swimming complex, space centre and a whopping 35 parks. There are seven schools to choose from and plenty of childcare options. Take your dog for a walk around the boardwalks of Lake Ngaroto or a hike up Mt. Kakepuku, where you’ll meet plenty of like-minded and friendly people within the community.
Situated on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is New Zealand’s largest inland city. It’s currently one of the fastest growing urban areas in the country. There are over sixty schools to choose from, for children of all ages, as well as the University of Waikato. The city centre is packed with restaurants, cafes, bars and a casino where you can have a fun night out. Enjoy a day out at the Hamilton Zoo, Waikato Museum, Water World or the most popular attraction in the Waikato region the Hamilton Gardens. Hamilton has so much to offer and has great public transport access for when you need to get around.
On the shores of Australasia’s largest lake is Taupo, a town known for its water sports and trout fishing. Scenic backdrops engulf the entire township, with lakes, mountains and clear skies adding to its peaceful nature. Kayak around the lake and then head to one of the many cafes for lunch, or head to the Shopping Centre and visit the hairdressers for some self-care. Take your dog for a walk around Tongariro Alpine Crossing (New Zealand’s most popular day walk), or grab your mountain bike and head for the forests surrounding the lake. Families have access to kindergartens, twenty schools and a number of tertiary institutions making this a great place for all ages.
Country lifestyle awaits you here, with gorgeous sunsets and fresh mountain air to enjoy. A variety of properties are available across this town, which means you might just find yourself with those mountain views you’ve always wanted. Matamata is home to New Zealand’s highest waterfall and the famous Lord of the Rings movie set. If golf is your thing, Matamata Golf course is close by and highly regarded.
Just under two hours south of Auckland is the small, but vibrant town of Raglan. It has grown in popularity over the years with surf lovers, backpackers, and nature enthusiasts all flocking there. Even amongst the visitors though, this character-filled down maintains its cool-as-a-cucumber spirit. In addition, it’s a town that is devoted to the environment and is pushing to become a zero-waste community. Hip cafes and stylish boutiques fill the town centre. Farmers’ markets, locally made milk, yoghurt, and craft beer, are all the norm. Not to mention the fact that Raglan is surrounded by incredible nature and beautiful beaches! From canyoning to surfing and everything between, we cover all the best things to do in Raglan. Be warned… you may never want to leave!
Rounding out our list is the green suburb of Mount Claremont. If space is what you’re after, then you’ll find beautiful spacious homes here. There’s a delightful farmer’s market to enjoy every Saturday, where you can buy seasonal produce and a variety of handmade arts and crafts. Parks and schools get the big tick here too. Mount Claremont is close to the WA Institute of Sport and various sporting clubs in the surrounding area and has great public transport access for when you need to get around. If golf is your thing, Morrinsville has several close by and highly regarded golf courses.