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.’ Times vary, so check out their website for the latest information.
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. Check out this useful map; more details here.