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Mangakino Scenic Attractions

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A small settlement on the shores of Lake Maraetai, Mangakino is a quiet little village that offers peace and tranquillity to all those who stop by. But there’s also plenty of adventures to be had, if you’re up for it. Nature is at the heart of most scenic attractions in Mangakino, and no matter the time of the year - you’ll always find beauty in your surroundings.

Suspended bridges, one of many magic moments on the Timber Trail

Timber Trail

The Timber Trail is one of the most popular activities that bring people to Mangakino. At 85km long, it’s a testing grade 3 trail, so is for those with a bit of mountain biking experience up their sleeve. And it’s certainly worth the journey.

Through ancestral Maori lands, you ride deep into the ancient Pureora Forest Park and while there are many highlights along the trail, crossing the longest suspension bridge on any cycleway - at 140 metres long - certainly takes out a top spot.

For very fit bike riders, it can be done in a single day, but if you want to take your time, there is a fully-serviced campground around the halfway point of the trail (and really adds an extra level of excitement to your experience).

Just note that due to there being no mobile coverage, it’s important to plan your trip before you go and make all necessary arrangements when it comes to transport and bookings.

Maraetai Dam

Constructed as part of the Waikato hydroelectricity generation power scheme in the 1940s and 1950s, there are two powerhouses located at the head of the Maraetai Dam - Maraetai I and Maraetai II - but they are operated as one power station.

When the dam was built, it created Lake Maraetai and at one time, it was the largest hydroelectric dam in the Southern Hemisphere. Today it’s still the largest hydroelectric station on the Waikato River and is pretty spectacular to witness up close.

Check out Maraetai I and Maraetai II from the viewing platforms, where you’ll be treated to amazing views of the two concrete structures carved into the rockface - you’re sure to be in awe of these extraordinary feats of engineering.

Marvel at the scale of the feats of engineering on the Waikato River

Whakamaru Dam

A five minute drive from Mangakino, make sure you pay a visit to the Whakamaru Dam where you can actually stand at the top of this magnificent structure and look down, way down!

It’s actually incredible to see the water almost level with you on the southern side, then drop so dramatically to continue on its journey north. And the rural outlook here is beautiful too.

Lake Maraetai
Much of Managkino’s scenic attractions centre around Lake Maraetai, where you can enjoy the water no matter whether you’re on it, or simply watching from the shore.

Take a walk alongside the lake, a section of the Maraetai Trail (that’s a part of the Waikato River Trails) and watch golfers on the golf course, or keep an eye out for rowing teams practising on the lake.

In the warmer months you might like to find the perfect picnic spot around the lake’s edge, or if you’re up for a few thrills, bring the boat for some water skiing or wakeboarding. In fact, Mangakino is a pretty popular spot when it comes to wakeboarding, with events like the Junior Wake Fest and the Wake NZ North Island Championships held here every year.

Please note: Two species of exotic freshwater clams have been found in the Waikato region. These clams are prolific breeders, able to produce 400 juveniles a day and up to 70,000 juveniles a year, allowing them to reach extremely high densities in optimal conditions. This means they can clog water-based infrastructure, such as electricity generation plants, irrigation systems, and water treatment plants. They also compete with native species for food and space.

Corbicula fluminea (also known as Golden Clams) have been confirmed in the Waikato River from Lake Maraetai Landing to Tuakau. This means that people must not knowingly move them or water that may contain them. To do so would be an offence under the Biosecurity Act.

People can still use the Waikato River for recreation, including boating and fishing, or gathering of kai (food) if they follow the requirements of the controlled area notices, including clam-specific Check Clean Dry procedures, before moving their equipment or craft.

Disc Golf Course

One of the coolest attractions in Mangakino is the disc golf course! What is that you ask? It’s the fun of frisbee combined with the challenge of golf - it’s disc golf. Free to play, you’d be silly not to give it a go when you’re visiting Mangakino, especially since it has an upgraded 18 basket course with two playing options.

And the good news is that even if you’re not a natural at disc golf, you still get to make the most of those beautiful lakeside views. So all in all, it makes for a fun morning or afternoon out!

Meander among nature on the Waikato River Trails

Waikato River Trails

The Waikato River Trails comprises five trails, with Mangakino the start or finishing point for those on the Waipapa section, and the start of the fourth trail, Maraetai. Covering around 100km in total, the Waikato River Trails can be biked or walked, and there are certainly some adventures to be had, with plenty of challenging climbs and descents along the way.

Pick the trail or trails that work for you and enjoy the incredible beauty of New Zealand native bush and bird song alongside the mighty Waikato River.



A tranquil town on the edge of Lake Maraetai, Mangakino is a holiday spot where you can experience true relaxation in a heartland New Zealand community. Time passes slowly among the rolling hills of rural dairy and sheep farms, with every day helping you get back to life’s simple pleasures. 

Pureora Forest Park 

River Rides 

Waikato River 

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