The Avantidrome in Cambridge, south of Hamilton on SH1, is the home of sport cycling with all sorts of options for family fun.
There’s a fantastic bike skills park with working traffic lights, plus a great kid-friendly BMX/pump track. It’s open 7 days a week from dawn to dusk and is totally free (although the traffic lights only operate from 8-5).
The bike skills park has little ‘roads’ for the kids to bike on, which makes it lots of fun. Littlies are fine on their balance bikes and trainer wheels, so long as they have control of where they’re going; watch out for those just learning or moving up to a bigger bike, as the tracks can be a bit narrow when they get the wobbles. When we visited, we found all the kids were careful around each other and keen to all have a good time.
There’s a fairly large playground on site, and toilets.
The Bikery Cafe at the Avantidrome has great food and coffee, and is open 7 days a week.
Never ridden on a real velodrome? Avantidrome has ‘Have a Go’ sessions (for ages 10 and up), at $25 for an hour. They say: ‘If you’ve never ridden on the Avantidrome and want to give it a try, this is the session for you. An Avantidrome coach will fit you with a bike and helmet and will guide you through your session on the track.’
The Avantidrome also marks the beginning of the lovely leisurely Te Awa cycle path along the banks of the mighty Waikato. Depending on family energy levels, you could do a quick explore out along the river and back, or bike the easy, flat 3.2km into Cambridge for lunch and a spot of antiquing, or go the full 19km to Karapiro. Avantidrome has bikes to hire, including e-bikes that can go 100-150kms before they need to be recharged.
- Learner (balance bike, trainer wheels)
- Confident child (pedal bike - no trainer wheels)
- Looking for challenges
Yes, but you can easily avoid those areas
Take the signposted exits from SH 1 onto Cambridge Road, then finally onto Hanlin Road. There is lots of parking in the carpark, plus extra available in paddock next to it if needed.
Cafe, bike shop, bike hire, e-bike hire, Te Awa River Ride
Day trip out of Auckland
Kids visible at all times?
Great for a bike-focussed day-trip. Avantidrome even has sessions where adults and kids over 10 can try biking on the velodrome - check their website for details.
Suitable for multiple kids
Watch out for
Mountain bike track can get flooded when there has been a lot of rain - and of course it gets muddy too. The bike skills track is sealed. The Mountain Biking Track is recommended for ages 10 years plus. If its quiet, then there are parts where the littlies can safely have a go (but probably not absolute beginners).
Tips from the local
The Te Awa River Ride goes past the Bike Skills Park. Its 3.2km (about 12 minutes) to Cambridge. There are some on road sections and decent hills. You can go all the way to Lake Karapiro (a further 15kms) along a shared path.
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