Day trips

Waimate is off the beaten track, which means there's plenty for you to explore at your own pace.  



Head inland on SH82 to the Hakataramea River for a spot of trout fishing, a swim in the river or a stroll up the valley. You can also visit Paterson's Cottage in the Waitaki Valley, which is open for exterior viewing at all times.


A 40 minute drive from Waimate is the Otaio Gorge Scenic Reserve. You can turn in off SH1 at Makikihi, or right on Blue Cliffs Rd St Andrews. The entrance to the reserve is off Back Line Rd, not far past Blue Cliffs Station. It’s a scenic camping spot run by DOC.

There are deep pools for fishing or swimming, scenic picnic spots plus a walking track. The walking track is really short, however you can boulder hop across the river and explore the gorge. Alternatively go off track and go bush bashing through the native trees. The sounds from the river and native birds are a real feature of this area.

Call into the Makikihi Hotel on the way home and check out their amazing menu and beer garden.


Head north-west to Evans Crossing on the Pareora River where there are fantastic swimming holes and idyllic picnic spots. Pick up a bite to eat at St Andrews before you head inland. St Andrews Store, St Andrews Diner.


Drive through the Waimate Gorge to moa country at Kapua Road (first road on your left when you leave the gorge). This is the site of the biggest ever find of moa bones. Visit the Waihao River and walkway - to get there follow Kapua Road to McCullochs Bridge; the walking track entry is on the other side of the bridge. There are beautiful views here of limestone cliffs and outcrops. Visit the Waihao Forks pub for a meal on the way home, and discover the story of New Zealand’s most unusual WWII memorial - Ted’s bottle.


This is one of New Zealand's great braided rivers, and still a popular fishery. Take the inland route on SH82, or travel south on SH1 to Glenavy, right on the doorstep of the Mighty Waitaki. There is a fishing access map here for spots up and down the river.  To take part in a a genuine kiwi jet boating experience, get in touch with Braided River Jet Boating.  Call into the Glenavy Hotel to see the trophy salmon of years gone by.



Take a drive to the Maungati Valley and a walk into the hills to learn about the Maori rock art. Pop into the art deco Masonic Hotel at St Andrews for lunch or tea.

Drive, cycle, or walk up to the White Horse monument above Waimate township, or walk the Studholmes Bush tracks. Incredible views, pockets of native bush, and birdsong await you. And you might even see a wallaby!

Waimate is making a name for itself in the biking world thanks to the hard work of our local MTB club.  Our shared use trails boast a mix of gradients, amazing views, uphill and downhill challenges.  Start at the base of the Whitehorse, or at the top.  Finish with a cold drink and a bite to eat at Harvest Bar and Kitchen.

Enjoy a bushland walk at beautiful Kelcey’s Bush. 

There are a number of public conservation areas along the Hunter Hills. Hunting and camping are possible in some reserves and most have walking tracks and picnic areas. The Hunters Hills start out the back of the Waimate town, with the Studholme Bush reserve tracks and go north taking in hunting areas, and campsites. For more information on this playground at our doorstep head here.


Enjoy the scenic hour’s drive to the Waitaki lakes on SH82 via the Waimate Gorge.  Picnic beside Lake Aviemore or Lake Benmore where you can fish, swim, paint, or simply laze around beneath the willows with a book.

Drive out to Lake Wainono on the coast near SH1 and enjoy a walk, bird-watching, and beautiful views inland to the Hunters Hills. The car park and walking track entry is opposite Nosh Cafe.



Head to the Waihao Box for fishing and picnics.  Enjoy our rugged rocky coastline, but do take care on the gravel as it’s unstable and can shift fast. Visit the historic Studholme Hotel for a delicious meal from local farms to the plate.

Try your luck sea-fishing at Hook Beach. Visit the Makikihi Hotel for a meal, or grab a quick bite from Nosh Cafe, or a delicious fruit ice cream from Butlers Berry Farm and Cafe.

Photo by  Michael Bajko

Photo by Michael Bajko

Activities in Waimate

Check out the incredible silo art.

Walk or drive the self-guided historic tours;

Immerse yourself in the fossil display at the Waimate Museum;

Be wowed by the colours of the flower bedding displays at Victoria Park, see wallabies and birds in their enclosures, and let the kids loose in the brand new playground;

Explore the library, based at the Waimate District Council building -  free wifi, a reading room, and mini-exhibits from the community;

Chat to the friendly folks at the Waimate Event Centre and information centre at 15 Paul Street - lots of activities are on offer here. It’s the place to go for a chat about what’s on in town and country;

Stroll beneath the beautiful trees in the arboretum at Knottingley Park.

Take the family searching for Waimate Rocks!  Find and hide again, or take home to your town to hide there.  Find them on Facebook.

There are plenty of geocache sites in Waimate - both town and country.

For more destinations and activities, in and around the district townships of St Andrews, Makikihi and Glenavy click here.