Sport and recreation - spoiled for choice
When it comes to world-class facilities for athletes, national and international sporting events, and a rich grassroots club scene, Cambridge delivers more than its share of sport and recreation opportunities.
Positioned in the Waipā District, famously known as the 'Home of Champions', Cambridge lives up to this mantra and has an impressive track record in producing notable sporting champions.
Take a stroll along a handful of streets in Cambridge to see the town’s tribute to their local stars. On Duke Street, you’ll find 25 plaques honouring the achievements of local athletes on the sporting walk of fame. Turn into Victoria Street to see 18 mosaics set into the footpath featuring prominent local horses and to see a special collection of plaques celebrating the 13 (and counting) Melbourne Cup winners, check out the wall beside the ANZ in Victoria Street.
On the edge of Lake Karāpiro sits the impressive Rowing New Zealand building. One of New Zealand’s most successful sporting institutions at producing Olympic medals, many of our rowing legends were raised in Cambridge and remain based here today. Among those legends are Rob Waddell, Hamish Bond, Mahé Drysdale, Eric Murrary, Emma Twigg, and Georgina and Caroline Evers-Swindell. School, regional and national-level regattas, are held annually on the lake and bring large crowds of supporters.
Canoe Racing New Zealand capitalised on the range of elite training services already offered by Rowing New Zealand, by also building a high-performance training centre on the banks of Lake Karāpiro for its paddlers. The centre also houses the Cambridge Yacht Club, Young Mariners and the Karāpiro Kayak Racing Club.
This world-class facility is centered around a purpose built 250-metre wooden cycling velodrome, and is host to a range of other high performance sport and community facilities. It’s also home to Cycling New Zealand.
Not just for athletes, there’s something for everyone – even beginners. Bring a friend or workmate and join the ‘Have-a-Go’ sessions, a chance to ride on the track where the athletes train. Pack the kids and their bikes up and head to the Gallagher Bike Skills Park right next door for a couple of hours of fun. Meet up with friends for lunch or coffee at onsite eatery The Bikery Café.
Don’t forget to visit Riverside Adventures, based at the Velodrome, where you can hire a bike to cruise along a section of the Te Awa The River Ride (read more on page 60).
Hautapu Sports Club
Founded in 1903 as a rugby club, the Hautapu Sports Club has served Cambridge and the Waikato region for more than a century. Today the club caters for men and women who want to play rugby and netball and has a strong junior sports programme that includes hockey, netball and rugby.
Turning out many All Blacks over the years, including Liam Messam, Tawera Kerr-Barlow and Luke Jacobson to name a few, the Hautapu Rugby Club is one of the leading clubs in the Waikato, and has helped to develop many players who have gone on to represent provincially.
Cambridge is home to world-class golf courses set on picturesque locations. The recently established Tieke Golf Course has already gained national recognition, ranking 17th among New Zealand's top 40 golf courses. The Waikato’s oldest golf club, Cambridge Golf Club, was established in 1900 and an is all-weather course offering valleys and rolling green contours that presents a challenge to golfers of all levels.
Dress to impress at the Cambridge Raceway! Established as a trotting club over 100 years ago, the Raceway has evolved into a multipurpose entertainment venue and is also the home of harness and greyhound racing in the Waikato. Hosting many meets with a full annual calendar that includes one of the richest races in New Zealand, the Night of Champions, with a $1 million stake and a grand evening of entertainment.
Offering a great selection of friendly bowling clubs, those familiar with the sport and those wanting to try their hand at it for the first time will be well catered for in Cambridge with many members at the many clubs ready and willing to show you the ropes. Bowls offers a great chance to meet people with many clubs running full social programmes with quiz nights, dinners and dancing with themed dress-up nights.
There are loads of other options
Whether you’re interested in netball, rugby, cricket, squash, badminton, martial arts, running, riding, or something else, chances are you will find it here in Cambridge! A great place to start your search for the perfect sport and recreation opportunity is Sport Waikato’s directory.
Head to sportwaikato.org.nz for more information.