Kawerau is a town in the Bay of Plenty region of the North Island of New Zealand. The town is situated 100 km south-east of Tauranga and 58 km east of Rotorua.
Climate – During summer (December to February), the average daily maximum temperature in Kawerau is 23.7 °C. In January 2008, the temperature exceeded 30 °C on five days. In winter (July to August) crisp early morning frosts are usually followed by clear, sunny days, and the average daily maximum temperature is around 15.6 °C.
Rainfall is spread throughout the year, though it is not uncommon to experience a drought during summer.
Attractions and Activities:
Kawerau is surrounded by a wealth of natural resources, none more so than the Tarawera River – a venue for the World Rafting Champs 2013.
The stunning Tarawera River begins its journey as Lake Tarawera approximately 20 minutes from the township. The river flows out across a rhyolitic lava flow before disappearing into flooded caves and eventually pours out halfway up a cliff. This is commonly known as the Tarawera Falls and is a must see whilst visiting Kawerau.
As the Tarawera River meanders its way through forestry towards the sea, approximately halfway on its journey it passes through Kawerau, the only town in New Zealand to have a purpose built Whitewater Slalom facility. This is Whitewater Kawerau – the venue for many whitewater Slalom events in New Zealand, including the World Rafting Champs.
Easy access and spectator viewing are a premium and the surrounding reserves make it perfect for training and competitions.
Whitewater Kawerau sits at the foot of Mount Edgecumbe (Putauaki), which is the most iconic natural land mark in the Eastern Bay of Plenty and also the venue for the legendary Kawerau King of the Mountain Race held each year in late October.
The increasingly popular Tarawera Ultramarathon (100km run from Rotorua to Kawerau) also finishes at the Whitewater Kawerau venue along with many other local adventure based activities.
With only a few minutes drive to the township you will find shops to purchase supplies – but most precious of all is the towns free hot pools, widely enjoyed by many local and Eastern Bay public.
It will also be ideal for those paddlers looking to wind down after a well earned day training or competing on the Tarawera River.
Kawerau hosts a number of events each year, including the National Woodskills Festival, ‘King of the Mountain’ race and the Tarawera 100 motorcycle endurance race. Kawerau is also growing as an event venue for white water rapid competitions such as kayaking and rafting.
Kawerau Woodfest & National Woodskills CompetitionThe National Woodskills Festival is a competition that encompasses a broad spectrum of wood craftsmanship and wood art. Some of the competitors are professionals but many are amateurs. The Woodskills Festival was first held in Kawerau in 1989 as a local competition. By 1991, the event had become such a popular annual competition that it was developed into a national event, attracting exhibitors from throughout New Zealand. The competition has now developed into a broader range of attractions which captivates many skills from the Forestry Industry and now takes over the town for the weekend, in what is known as Kawerau Woodfest.
The annual Kawerau Woodfest attracts hundreds of visitors from around the country making it the town’s largest event and as a result is the highest economic beneficial event in Kawerau. As well as the Woodskills Festival there is an Arts & Crafts Festival with displays open on Saturday and Sunday at various venues around Kawerau.
Kawerau has the only FREE HEATED PUBLIC SWIMMING POOL in New Zealand.
Explore on horseback some of New Zealand’s most beautiful native bush. Adventure over 400 hectares of farmland, ride up into the hills for spectacular views over the Bay of Plenty taking in the vast Rangitaiki Plains out to our volcanic White Island, forests and bush clad Rotoma’s. Gentle guided treks for the family or extended adventures for the more confident.
Tarawera Falls Outdoor Experience:
The Tarawera Falls are the most spectacular falls in the Bay of Plenty. The Tarawera Rivers plunges 65 metres down a sheer cliff before tumbling down bush-lined rapids. The river bed around the falls is carved into ancient volcanic rocks and the high cliffs are thought to be the eroded end face of an ancient lava flow that poured from Mt. Tarawera about 11,000 years ago.
Water Falls to Lake Okataina:
A full day moderate tramp from Tarawera Falls, through the natural scenery and dense native bush following natural and unusual water courses through to Lake Tarawera outlet (2hrs 3.5kms), following track around the lake experiencing the natural beauty and awesome splendor of Mt Tarawera trekking in land through bush covered hills and rock canyons to Lake Okataina.
Jet Boat Tours:
Depart Matahina Dam for the beginning of an exciting jet boating adventure. Travel up the majestic Matahina Lake, lined with Ignimbrite Cliffs, leading into the Rangitaiki river with willowed banks and then encounter white water rapids in a scenic weeping gorge to the Aniwhenua Falls. One and quarter hour jet boating experience you will never forget
Experience a taste of the edge, Mata specialty beers brewed with pure artesian water. Pop in for free tastings! A must try – our beer edged with manuka honey, unique to N.Z. Site tours available by prior arrangement. We’re at 57 Onslow St, Phone (07) 323 7823. Kawerau’s very own microbrewery, manufacturing and launching from November 05, a range of NZ premium beers from their Onslow Street premises. Site tours of the manufacturing and brewing facility are welcomed by prior appointment, and taste the difference of beers utilizing our famous pure Kawerau water. Good on ya Mate!!
Covell Estate Wines, fresh, clean green, 100% Biogrow certified organic wines produced in the beautiful Galatea Valley. Visitors welcome, tour groups a speciality. Enquire directly from the winemaker as escorted through the scenic vineyards and cellars, and taste the superior difference from the wine selection of only 100% organic Covell Estate Wines.
Total Fitness Zone, providing for personal health development and well being through a high standard of exercise classes and personal programmes at our modern premises, using a full range of exercise equipment to assist our patrons enjoy the benefits of feeling fitter, stronger and healthier. Open Mon-Thur 6am -8pm, Fri 6am – 7pm, Saturdays 8am -12pm.
The central location of Kawerau provides access to a large range of opportunities for both lake and river 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 more info see our website www.kaweraugolfclub.co.nz
The Tarawera River begins at the eastern end of Lake Tarawera and heads east to the coast through some impressive volcanic geology and via the township of Kawerau. The river offers good Grade 2 & 3 rapids and can be run from about 10 kms below the Tarawera Falls down to Kawerau.
A tour of the giant Norske Skog Tasman newsprint mill can be arranged by telephoning Reception on (07) 323 3999 or Public Relations on (07) 323 3788. There is a Walking tour and each person taking part must be over the age of 12. There is also provision for a Bus/Vehicle tour of the mill site and the Ponds. In this tour, visitors stay on the bus at all times and this is the only way that children under the age of 12 may take part in a tour.
Kawerau has a free, thermally heated swimming pool complex, beside Prideaux Park. The complex has a large outdoor recreation and play area, where barbecue and picnic tables are 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.
A new museum activity has been added to Kawerau’s tourist interest. The Water Wheel group set up a project on Spencer Avenue consisting of vintage tractors, vintage cars and farm implements, all housed in buildings. The enterprise also includes a blacksmith and forge, a workshop, a functioning water wheel, cafeteria, a shop and tours.
Run primarily by volunteers, it is expected this project will develop over time. The Kawerau District Council is keen to hear from those who may be interested in getting involved with helping Water Wheel preserve the past to add to the interest of this community.