Cambridge is way more than a one-horse town. As the centre of New Zealand’s equine industry, the Waikato town is surrounded by prosperous-looking stud farms, a number of training tracks and arenas, and the Cambridge raceway. There’s a life-size sculpture of a mare and foal outside the town hall, and the town’s pavements feature an equine walk of fame formed by mosaic heads of well-known horses – Charisma being one of them – and another walk of fame for prominent local sportspeople includes a star for her rider Mark Todd.

New Zealand and French flags fly outside St Andrews

The Evers-Swindell sisters also feature among the surprising number of local achievers. Inside Cambridge museum, a NZ Racing hall of fame includes Sir Patrick Hogan’s racing colours and information on the renowned racehorse and stud Sir Tristram. Following Sir Tristram’s death in 1997, it’s said that he was buried in the traditional manner standing up with his back to the rising sun. This burial method was supposed to ensure continued good fortune, health and luck, obviously not for the departed animal, but presumably for his owner.

Elegant buildings – the town hall and the museum, which was once a court house

Cambridge is a well set out township, with signs of affluence and the burgeoning retirement village industry very much in evidence. The number of cafés and restaurants leave us spoilt for choice; there are several antique shops and art galleries, and best of all, there are several boutique women’s clothing outlets, not just the standard chain stores. We’re told that tourists visiting the nearby Hobbiton movie-set locations have been a boon for the town, and the fact that Cambridge is now bypassed by the state highway means that tourists visit with the intention of stopping for a look around, so it’s become a destination in its own right.

The sister-city relationship is acknowledged outside the i-SITE

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