Things to do in Kawerau | Visit Kawerau | Live in Kawerau

Kawerau has an abundance of things to do outdoors and indoors, all right on the door step…… or just down the road.  If you’re new to the area and not sure how best to fill your time, contact one of our friendly ambassadors to show you around. 

There are also lots of events and shows happening throughout the year.  In the tradition of the town’s heritage, Kawerau hosts the National Woodskills Competition and Kawerau Woodfest. Other events include bird shows, equestrian events, golf, weaving and martial arts.A very special annual event is Christmas in the Park, with a grand fireworks display at the end.    Check out the events calendar to see what is happening when!


Do you have questions about Kawerau and not sure where to find the answers?  We have the people who can help!

Click on the question below, to find an ambassador who can help you!

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There are several great walks within the Kawerau district, which vary from 20 minute short walks to longer day tramps, for the intrepid.

For full descriptions of these walks, please click here .


Kawerau District, which backs onto the Urewera National Park and then onto the East Coast is a hunter’s paradise! There is an abundance of boar, game and wild deer, roaming these areas.

So much so, that the annual ‘Big 3’ event is held in Kawerau over a weekend every August.

For further information and hunters permits visit:

Adventure park

Miniature horses, model railway, water wheel, gold fish, monster Meccano crane, model helicopters, music and more…   To book a 2 hour tour, suitable for 5 to 95 year olds, phone Morton on 07 323 8284 or 022 695 4288.


The central location of Kawerau provides access to a large range of lake and river fishing .  For further information, please  click here.

Approximately 25 minutes drive away, are Matata and Pikowai for great sea fishing.


The  Kawerau Golf Course is on flat easy walking land adjacent to the Tarawera River and, with mountain views and an abundance of bird life, it is one of the most scenic courses in the Bay of Plenty.  An 18 hole par 71 for both men and women, it can be a challenging course with the 6th, 15th and 18th holes a true test of a golfer’s skills. The Kawerau Golf Course is open all year round and always welcomes visitors.

For further information, please contact: Kawerau Golf Club Phone: (07) 323 7095



The  Kawerau Bowling Club was one of the first clubs to be established in the new town, with the first green opening in 1955.  It now boasts two impressive astro turfs. A bowls and social venue, it is open most days for social activities.

For further information, please contact: Kawerau Bowling Club

Phone (07) 323 9144


  • The Maurie Kjar Memorial thermally heated Swimming Pool complex beside Prideaux Park is free to all users.  The complex has a large outdoor recreation and play area, with barbecue and picnic tables available for families and larger groups.  There is a large 30 metre pool which is divided by a bulkhead into a 25 metre pool and a 5 metre pool, and two smaller pools for children. The latest addition to the complex is a sizable spa pool. All pools have some sun shading.
  • Located at the western side of Tarawera Park, Sandy Bay remains a popular swimming hole with the locals. While turbulent sections of the Tarawera River offer exceptional opportunities for kayakers and those seeking more extreme sport, Sandy Bay’s quiet and clear waters offer swimmers cool relief on a hot summer’s day.
  • Twenty minutes drive away is Thornton Beach with heaps of space to build huge sand castles and safe swimming for the kids.  The lagoon is also excellent for small children and there are surf lifesavers patrolling over summer.

Water sport

Kawerau has a range of exciting watersports to really get your adrenaline pumping.

  • Jet boat up the Rangitaiki River: Depart from the North Island’s largest man made dam and travel across the majestic Matahina Lake.  Take in the amazing views of the spectacular ignimbrite cliffs leading to the Rangitaiki River with its weeping waterfalls and willowed banks.  Feel your heart race as you navigate the white water rapids surrounded by sheep and dairy farms.

    Find out more about Kiwi Jet Boat Tours – only 20 minutes drive from Kawerau

  • White water rafting on the Rangitaiki River: The Rangitaiki River is situated approximately 55 minutes drive from Kawerau, at Murupara.  Raftabout have full day adventure trips on the water, with loads of variety. You will experience 14km of thrilling rapids, with time to enjoy the spectacular scenery, fun and laughter, followed by more thrilling rapids.

White water kayaking on the Tarawera River

The Tarawera river offers good Grade 2 & 3 rapids and can be run from about 10 kms below the Tarawera Falls down to Kawerau.  A permit is required to enter the forest and access the upper reaches of the river.  These can be obtained from the Kawerau Information Centre  located on Plunket Street in the middle of town.
For further information please refer to:

Boat trips 

With Kawerau being so close to the coast, it is only logical that a variety of boat trips are available.  Whakatane boating companies offer a variety of choices:


As John Ruskin once said ‘Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of good weather.’  With that in mind, here are a few things to keep you occupied when it is ‘refreshing’ outside.


The Waterwheel project began in 1990 by people in the Eastern Bay of Plenty, who were keen to preserve a vanishing history – the industrial archaeology of New Zealand. 

For 18 years, volunteers have saved or restored donated machinery, vehicles and equipment. Daily diaries reflect this endeavour and protect the knowledge of volunteers, some retired tradesmen who have since passed away. 

The project had a second aim, to provide opportunities to young and old referred to by The Waterwheel by Courts, Work & Income New Zealand, Blue Light and other programmes. The older volunteers are able to pass on trade, workshop and life skills to unskilled younger people, in many instances providing confidence and direction. 90% have gone on to paid employment.

A live and historic village and heritage park is currently being established. It will be a tourist attraction, a place to learn and a place that protects the skills and heritage of past times. Other groups will be able to use the project to display their history and culture.

For further information please refer to:


The Kawerau Squash Club  is located on Cobham drive in the complex as the Golf Club.

For further information: Phone: (07) 323 7095        


Library and Museum 

Kawerau District Library has an extensive collection of books, DVDs and magazines.     In 2006, the council made a considerable investment in the future of the public library by expanding the building by a third, extending the upstairs mezzanine floor, and linking the facility with the Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum.

In 2007, the Library became the first in New Zealand to offer the Aotearoa People’s Network Kaharoa free internet services and in 2008, WIFI connecting to the internet through APNK was added.

September 2010 saw the introduction of Kete Kawerau which allows people to add digital memories and photos to an online repository service.

The library has  dedicated staff with over 20 years service include Rose Cartman, Flora Dow, Ramona Wood, Rowena Dowie and Erica Valk.

The Sir James Fletcher Kawerau Museum is accessed through the Kawerau Library, Jellicoe Court and can be visited during library opening hours.  The Museum has accumulated considerable donated historic memorabilia and photographic material which is being preserved, correctly catalogued and on display to the public.

For further information on the Library and Museum visit: 

Mill Tours 

Walking tours of the giant Norske Skog Tasman newsprint mill can be arranged for visitors over the age of 12.

There is also  a bus/vehicle tour of the mill site and the ponds which does accommodate children under the age of 12.

Tours are fully guided and take approximately 90 minutes.

To book contact, Norske Skog reception on (07) 323 3999 or Public Relations on (07) 323 3788.

Community events

Numerous events are held throughout the year, including national and international kayaking and rafting, ‘King of the Mountain’ race and the Tarawera 100 motorcycle endurance race.  The monthly craft market hosts crafts people and seasonal produce.

In the tradition of the town’s heritage, Kawerau hosts the National Woodskills Competition and Woodfest.  Other events include bird shows, equestrian events, golf, weaving and martial arts.  A very special annual event is Christmas in the Park, with a grand fireworks display at the end.

View the events calendar to check out what is coming up or click on the youtube link to watch the 2014 National Woodskills Alternatively, check out Kawerau Disctrict Council’s website for up and coming events.