Just 20 km north of Hawera is Eltham, known as a town of industrial firsts.  Chinese businessman Chew Chong exported the country’s first butter from Eltham to England in 1884 and built the first dairy factory in 1887.  In 1906 Eltham’s Bridge Street became the first tarsealed road in New Zealand, and claims the first concrete floored cowshed, first use of concrete power poles and the invention of the turnstile cowshed. 

Buildings in the town are significant for their architecture and their importance to Eltham’s social and economic history.  Eleven of the buildings are registered as significant buildings with the NZ Historic Places Trust.  Visitors can stroll through the town, stopping at the Village Art Gallery, cafes, and park while the bargain hunter and curio collector will love the many charming village shops which celebrate the retro past. 

In 2009 the Eltham community were proud to provide location sites for the filming of a full-length movie of Ronald Hugh Morrieson’s novel “Predicament”.  The film, a comedy crime caper directed by Jason Stutter, required many of the shop frontages to be renovated and repainted and these improvements just add to the appearance of this remarkable little town. 

Check out Eltham's website:


Things to see and do while visiting Eltham

Bridger Park

The park behind the CBD is a natural amphitheatre; it has a picnic area and a bush walk through to Stanners Street.  The children’s toy wall, created by the late Fay Young, is adjacent to the park.

Eltham Presbyterian Campsite

Right on the edge of Eltham township, the three hectare property is ideal for outdoor activities, including tenting, swimming, canoeing, barbecues and many other outdoor sports.  The Eltham Campsite is ideal for school and youth groups,church groups, scouts and girl guides,and kindred organisations that run camps as part of their activities.

Heritage Buildings

 A walk through the centre of Eltham enables you to appreciate the wealth of Edwardian/Victorian buildings.  Brochures and map available at the Eltham i-SITE. 

Lake Rotokare

Situated just 12 kilometres from the township of Eltham, South Taranaki, Rotokare is a popular recreation spot for boating, picnicking, walking or simply enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Mature tawa, rewarewa and mahoe dominated forest is home to tui, bellbird, keruru, grey warbler, and North Island robin, plus a variety of other bird species.

Lake Rotokare Walkway

A 4km walkway, beginning at the picnic area, follows the southern lake edge before weaving in and out of swamp and dry forest for the remainder of the walk.   The track is moderately flat, but can become muddy in winter therefore we recommend wearing sturdy footwear.

Lake Rotorangi

New Zealand’s longest man made lake, two public boat ramps with access for water skiers and wake boarders. Lake Rotorangi is located off 24kms east of Eltham on the Rawhitiroa Road to Glen Nui Road. There are public toilets, picnic and camping areas available.

Mangamingi Bush Reserve

Rawhitiroa Road – 20 kms east of Eltham.  Tranquil area for a picnic and a short walk through native bush.

Rural Swimming Pools

Eltham Community Pool is located on Conway Road, Eltham. 

Rawhitiroa Community Pool is located Horoi Road, Eltham.  Both pools open early December to mid March.

Rukumoana Reserve

A great picnic and swimming spot, with good fly fishing during the season. The Reserve is located 24km east of Eltham on Rawhitiroa Road, Eltham.

The Village Art Gallery

A community Art gallery located at 166 High Street, Etham promoting local and district art.  Exhibitions change monthly.  Open Monday - Saturday from 10am-3 pm. 

South Taranaki i-SITE Visitor Information Centre

For great advice, service and friendly tourist information wherever you are in the region, please phone or visit the i-SITE Visitor Information Centre in Hawera.  All South Taranaki libraries also offer visitor and tourist information throughout the working week and display boards are kept up to date with community notices and events. 

Address:  55 High Street, Hawera

Telephone:  06 278 8599

Fax:  06 278 659


Open Hours:

Monday Friday 8.30 am-5.15 pm

Weekends and Public Holidays 9.30 am-4 pm (December-April), 10 am-3 pm (May-November)