Kia ora: Morrinsville

Super-dairying country welcomes Elisabeth Easther

Caffeine Cafe in Morrinsville. Photo / Supplied
Caffeine Cafe in Morrinsville. Photo / Supplied

Origin of name: The land was bought from Wiremu Tamihana in the late 19th century by the Morrin brothers of Scotland and named after them by them.

Population: 7000 (approx), with a rural population of about another 10,000 in the wider region.

Where is it: In the Waikato, 20-30 minutes from Hamilton, 137km from Auckland.

Slogan: Cream of the Country.

Interesting fact: It's said there are more cows in a 10km radius of Morrinsville than anywhere else in the world.

Town competition: The Tug of War and Miss Morrinsville contests, both at the A&P Show each year in March.

Best reason to stop: The lovely old buildings and lush gardens, also the arts centres and the rich heritage.

Best place to take the kids: The Recreation Ground with its 50m outdoor Olympic pool.

Best pub: Nottingham Castle Hotel, an impressive historic building on the Heritage Trail.

Best food: The Council Cafe and Bar, very fine food.

Most famous locals: John Money, psychologist, author and sexologist. All Blacks Don and Ian Clarke.

Main industry: Greenlea Meats and Fonterra. The area around Morrinsville is said to be among the most intensively dairy-farmed areas in the world.

Best bakery: Wagon Wheel, a good keen blokes' place. Not bursting with refinement, but good for a couple of pies and a filled roll.

Best local website: morrinsvillenz.co.nz

Source of pride: The Morrinsville Heritage Centre, and the Morrin Museum. Great local history sources.

Best museum, or art gallery: The Wallace Gallery is outstanding and exhibitions change regularly, making it a place to stop at often.

Best walk: The tranquil river walk along Piako River on the southern edge of Morrinsville. The Heritage Trail is good for history buffs. It takes about 90 minutes and takes in some of the finest buildings and sights.

Best view: The view from Mt Misery is a goodie, although sadly there's no public access anymore. The farmer used to let people walk to it, but that's no longer possible because of some hoons who spoiled it for everyone.

Best place to pull over: Murray Oaks, on the Te Aroha side of Morrinsville. It's a big wooded area, and there's an annual craft festival held there under the trees.

Best playground: The playground in Thomas Park, next to the Plunket rooms, has a fabulous play area.

Best swim: The Olympic Swimming Pool.

Here for a short time: Go to the Wallace Gallery or the Heritage Centre.

Best kept secret: You can still get great value residential sections close to the golf course.

Golfers need to know: There is an impressive 18-hole golf course right on the edge of town, with mature trees, a lake and lovely facilities.

When a local has visitors from abroad staying: They take them to the Morrinsville Rose Gardens or the Recreation Ground, which has plenty of trees to rest under and nine tennis courts. The A&P Show is held there.

Best place to stay: Churchill's B&B has options to suit all budgets, great breakfasts and a thoroughly genial host who'll make you feel right at home. churchillsbb.co.nz

Locals say: To here, it's not far from anywhere.

BEST FLAT WHITE: Caffeine Cafe - and do try their carrot cake, it's amazing.Top, Caffeine Cafe's superb offerings; above, Nottingham Castle Hotel.

Thank you to long-time local Dennis Trotter for sharing his enthusiasm for Morrinsville.

- NZ Herald

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