The Buzz Blog

Welcome to our blog 'The Buzz'.  Here we will keep you updated on what is happening in the world of bees and honey and anything else that we think you would be interested in.  If there is a topic you would like to hear about drop us an email and I'll see what we can do.

Sensational Waikato Honeys

Written by Stephanie on July 8th, 2019.      0 comments

With its wonderful diverse floral sources the Waikato produces some sensational honeys!  Sweetree Honey is a true reflection of the Waikato's flora. Much like a great wine reflects the terroir of where the grapes have grown, Sweetree Honey’s different varieties reflect the area and season the bees worked their magic. From the light and creamy coloured honey of the Four Brothers Reserve with an almost caramel flavour to the more peppery Marokopa Summer - there is a Sweetree honey to suit all tastes and occasions.

Unblended honeys are not new, but the fact that Sweetree’s honeys are not based on a single flower source but the local area and season make our approach unique. One of the things Martin learned as a hobbyist beekeeper is that you can deliver sensational honey from a small number of hives. It’s all about the nearby floral sources and how you process that honey. For this reason we choose our sites carefully. Each apiary location has its own special nuance and character and this is reflected in the honey when you come to taste it.  We love that on our back doorstep, the Waikato, there is a wonderful diversity and range of honey tastes to be had. 

We enjoy offering customers the ‘taste’ of a location. Customers often comment they love that our honey can bring back memories of a special place to them whether it’s Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo, Marokopa, Four Brothers Reserve or The Hakarimata Ranges. Children also love they can eat a honey from somewhere they connect to.

Sweetree Honey Range


Hakarimata's a Honey

Written by Stephanie on January 11th, 2017.      0 comments

With summer here it is a great time to share some special Waikato spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested.  Last but certainly not least is Hakarimata!  Hakarimata Scenic Reserve is the range of hills running alongside Ngaruawahia, it's a great place to see Kauri and enjoy a walk or tramp through native bush.  Here's some great walks in the reserve:

Hakarimata Rail Trail

This is a great track for a family walk or cycle and follows the former Ngaruawahia / Glen Massey railway to attractive stream cascades.  It is about 30 minutes one way.  Get more detail on this walk.

Kauri Loop Track

This well formed track offers spectacular views, beautiful bush and one of the largest Kauri trees in the Waikato.  This is a one hour walk.  Get more detail on this walk.


Waterworks Walk - Hakarimata Dam

This lovely walk passes through attractive native bush, alongside a stream to the old Hakarimata dam.  This is a three hour loop track.  Get more detail on this walk.

Hakarimata Summit Track
The track climbs to the summit of Hakarimata (374 metres).   At the the top you get good views of the coast, across the Waikato Basin and down to Ruapehu.  This is a three hour return trip.  Get more detail on this walk.  , Beware there are 1349 steps and it's a very popular spot for people wanting to get fit!

Hakarimata Walkway
If you are wanting a longer tramp this is the one for you!  Walk the length of the Hakarimata Range and enjoy excellent views towards the coast and across the Waikato Basin.  This is an advanced walk that takes around 7 1/2 hours to complete.  Get more detail on this walk.

Check out this 
great guide to walks in the Hakarimata area.

Hakarimata view   hakarimat waterway   Hakarimata steps

Hakarimata Area:
There is much to see and do in the area, including:
Much of this information and more is found on the Department of Conservation Website, check it to plan your weekend get aways.

Purchase Hakarimata Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.

Idyllic Ohui

Written by Stephanie on January 3rd, 2017.      0 comments

We have been sharing some special spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested, todays area is a magic spot in its own right!  Ohui is nestled between Pauanui and Whangamata, on the eastern side of the Coromandel Peninsula, right next to Opoutere.  Ohui means 'place of meeting', so why not meet some friends there and check out the area!  

The Ohui / Opoutere area is truly an idyllic spot to get away from it all!  With a beautiful isolated white sandy beach and calm estuary there is endless fun (and/or relaxing) to be had!  Some activities you can enjoy in the area are:
  • Swimming at the beach or estuary
  • Surfing
  • Snorkling in the estuary or around Hikunui Island
  • Kayaking in the calm estuary
  • Fishing via boat or surf casting
  • Playing in the rock pools at Ohui (northern) end of the beach
  • There are many walks to enjoy such as:
    • Historic mining sites such as Phoenix and Luck at Last goldmines
    • Maungaruawahine Pa hill gives wonderful views of the harbour, sandpit and outlying islands as well as Ruahiwiwi Point Pa.  From Opoutere Road follow native bush to the top of the hill, from there you can see see stone ramparts that formed part of the Maori fortifications
    • On your way back home Wentworth Falls is worth a visit if you feel like a 2 1/2 hour walk
  • Mountain biking
  • The sand spit is a breeding ground for endangered native birds, so the perfect place for bird watching
  • Relax with a book under a tree or on the beach!  

opoutere1-311    opoutere2
Photo by Ayden Evelyn

A great location to stay is the  Opoutere Coastal Camp Ground, it borders the forest that leads to Opoutere beach.  

Purchase Ohui Manuka Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.

Surprising Horsham Downs

Written by Stephanie on December 12th, 2016.      0 comments

With summer here we are sharing some special Waikato spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested.  This time it's the Horsham Downs area, our home base.  Horsham Downs is just north of Hamilton City and surprisingly has a few things worth checking out!  

HD Golf Course-892-72Horsham Downs Golf Course

Tucked in between the Waikato River and River Road in Hamilton lies an unexpected gem for golf lovers. Only 3 kilometres from Flagstaff in the northern suburbs, Horsham Downs Golf Club is well known for its challenging yet picturesque layout. It also deservedly has the reputation for being the friendly club of the Waikato.  Read more about the golf club.

Fruitdale Orchard

Fruitdale Orchard is nice and close to the Hamilton City boundary, located on Osbourne Road.  They grow strawberries, sweetcorn, peaches, nectarines, plums, tomatoes, blackberries, apples, pears, feijoas and cherries.  Throughout the season you can pick your own, which makes it a great day out for the family, especially when you can have fresh fruit ice cream in the shop afterwards!  Find and more and get directions.

Te Awa River Ride

This scenic 70km river ride is under construction between Ngaruawahia and Horahora, 20km south of the Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro. The route will weave through rural and urban landscapes, taking in waterfalls and historic Maori sites as well as trendy shops, cafes and wineries.  

At present (late 2016) the cycleway starts at Horotiu (across the bridge from Horsham Downs), and winds it's way beside the river to the Hamilton City Gardens.  Along the way you pass Hinterland Adventures (laser tag, paintball, clay bird and archery outdoor centre), Fonterra Dairy Factory and Waikato Equestrian Centre.  Ending at the Hamilton Gardens gives you a great place to have a rest and re-energise.

Find out more about the River Ride and view maps.

Other Places to Visit Nearby:

Purchase Horsham Downs Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.

Fun To Be Had In Hamilton City (Kirikiriroa)

Written by Stephanie on December 1st, 2016.      0 comments

Summer is here!  A great time for us to share some special Waikato spots in areas where our honeys are harvested.  This time I'm going to focus on Hamilton City, Kirikiriroa (the Maori name for Hamilton).  Make sure you don't overlook The Tron if you are in the area, it has lots to offer!  Three spots that are special to us, and our beehives are:

The Hamilton Gardens

The Hamilton Gardens has a large array of unique and stunning gardens including Tudor, Tropical, Chinoiserie, Indian Char Bagh, Italian Renaissance, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, Chinese Scholar's, English Flower, Modernist, Sustainable Backyard, Herb and Kitchen gardens.  It truly is beautiful and a great

Garden - Italian-413

place to spend your day walking through the different gardens, then have a picnic on the extensive lawn or eat in the Gardens Cafe.  The lawn gives you the opportunity to kick a ball around, fly a kite or just relax in the sun.  You can hire a bike or ask for a tour of the gardens and if you go to the information centre you can ask for an orienteering map. There are often events in the pavilion or within the gardens that add more variety to your visit such as flower festivals, expos, shows, arts festival, etc.  There are also daily events for the kids for example a tudor trail, discovery trial and bingo, ask at the information centre for more details.  There is fun for everyone at the Hamilton Gardens!  Get more information here.

Hamilton Zoo

The Hamilton Zoo is a fun day out for the whole family.  With over 600 native and exotic animals set among 25ha of lush and tranquil surroundings it is a great escape within the city.  Just some of the mammals you will see are Black and White Ruffed Lemur, Brown Capuchin Monkey, Cheetah, Chimpanzee, Fishing Cat, Giraffe, Meerkat, Zebra, Red Panda and Sumatran Tiger.  There are a variety of geckos and skinks, red-eared slider tortoises and Hochstetter's frogs.  With the largest free flight aviary in New Zealand you get up close and personal with a number of native and exotic birds such as Parakeets, NZ Pigeon, Scaup, Shoveler, Kaka, Weka, Kingfisher, Tui, Macaw, Parrot, Galah, Lovebird and Lorikeet.  Find out more here.

Taitua Aboretum-630Taitua Arboretum

The Taitua Arboretum is the perfect place for a gentle walk and a tranquil picnic, giving you the opportunity to escape the hustle and bustle of life.  The arboretum has a collection of mature trees covering 20 hectares of open pasture, lakes and woodland gardens which are linked by a network of meandering walking paths. With great views and wonderful bird life, the arboretum is ideal for a family outing or Sunday stroll.  Read more and find out how to get there here.

Some other great things Hamilton offers are:

Waikato Museum

On the banks of the Waikato River the Waikato Museum's 13 galleries host more than 25 new exhibitions and 100 public events annually, including history, culture, art and environmental.  There is always interesting exhibits, artwork, talks, events and children's programme on throughout the year.  The Exscite science gallery aims to foster a learning experience in an exciting and engaging environment for the kids. Exscite is jam-packed with interactive, science based activities for young people to actively learn while having fun.  Our boys love it!
Find out more here.

Hamilton Lake

The Hamilton Lake (Lake Rotoroa) is situated in the heart of the city.  It has a path meandering around the lake that is 3.4km long.  After a walk you can eat at the cafe or have a picnic on the lawn.  The kids will absolutely LOVE the playground.  It includes a network of small water features that children can pump water into, dam up and release water, this is a hit with the kids! Make sure you bring some bread to feed the ducks!  Find out how to get there.


Claudelands Events Centre
Our new Claudelands Event Centre is where a lot of our entertainment is hosted in Hamilton.  Not only is it the location of live music, performance, sport, conferences and expos, it hosts the weekly Hamilton Farmers Market in the barn!  Sweetree has a stall at the Hamilton Farmers Market every Sunday 8am -12noon.  Find out more about Claudelands Events Centre and the Hamilton Farmers Market.


Purchase Kirikiriroa Honey here!  This honey comes from the Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo and Taitua Arboretum.  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.

Picturesque Four Brothers!

Written by Stephanie on November 11th, 2016.      0 comments

With summer around the corner we are sharing some special Waikato spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested.  This time I'm going to focus on the Four Brothers Reserve area.  The Four Brothers Reserve is between Hamilton and Raglan at the top of the deviation.  It's a beautiful scenic drive from Hamilton to Raglan with quite a few gems to see along the way, including:  

Village-farm-shop-photoThe Village Cafe & Farm Shop

Either on your way out of Hamilton or on your way back it's definitely worth stopping into the The Village Cafe & Farm Shop.  The Village Cafe is a rural rustic delight.  Set in a picturesque garden environment complete with a back to basics styled playground, a truly fun experience for children while the caregivers relax. 

The Village Farm Shop is a locally owned and operated co-op venture.  They aim to offer local growers and producers the opportunity to provide delicious food and beautifully crafted giftware at an honest price, benefiting both the makers and the customers.  Enjoy their delightfully bright space packed with wall to wall local goodies!

There's even a Village Boutique if you need your hair cut or a visit to a beauty therapist.

Four Brothers Reserve Walkway

Start at the Four Brothers Scenic Reserve car park on the Hamilton-Raglan highway.  This is a moderate 15 minute climb through bush that leads to the reserve's southern boundary with open farmland and good views.

Karamu Walkway North

Carrying along the farmland at the end of the Four Brothers track you follow the white posts and orange markers along the main ridge to Old Mountain Road.  There are great views of the Hakarimata Range in the north, Karioi and the coast to the west, Pirongia to the south and Hamilton City to the east.  This walk is 1.5 hours one way.

There is the Karamu Walkway South starting at Old Mountain Road or Limeworks Loop Road as well, check the details out here, this is a 3-4 hour walk.

Please note these walks are on private land with sheep, these tracks are closed from August - November due to lambing.

Ed Hillary Forest Reserve, coming

At the location of our original apiary site will be the home of the Ed Hillary Forest Reserve.  The farmland beside Four Brothers Reserve is being planted out in natives to encourage more bird life.  The plan is to connect the Karamu Walkway through the new reserve to create a new loop track.  This is something great to look forward to in the area!

Te Uku Roast Office

Pop into the old Te Uku Post Office for a coffee or cuppa to go. They are open from 6am!  Also check out the gallery with local artist's work and stock up on supplies at the general store.

Pipiwharauroa Walking & Biking Trail

This track goes over privately owned farmland and paper roads on the Wharauroa Plateau and is an 18 kilometres return trip (about 4 hours to walk or 2 hours to cycle).  At 430 meters above sea level, the trail winds over theTe Uku Wind Farm site which gives amazing 360 degree views across the greater Waikato to Raglan, Kawhia and Aotea Harbours and Mt Taranaki (on a clear day).  For more details on this trail check out this website.


Bridal Veil Falls

This is a lovely track through native bush to 2 viewing platforms before descending down 261 stairs to the base of the waterfall, with another platform half way down the stairs.  The waterfall looks like a brides veil, hence the name.  It takes about 20 minutes one way from the carpark to the base of the water fall.  To get there turn left into TeMata Road, just before Raglan, and follow the signs to the start of the track. 

Raglan Area:

There is so much to see and do in the Ralan area, including:
  • Walks along the beaches
  • Water sports including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, wind surfing, kite surfing, boating, fishing and of course surfing!
  • Horse Riding
  • Shopping, there is a great variety of craft and clothing shops
  • Cafes
  • Walks such as the Wainui Bush Park, Three Bridges Reserve and for the more adventurous there's Karioi summit tracks.

Check out this great guide to walks in the Pirongia and Raglan area.

Make sure you pop into the The Herbal Dispensary on Wallis Street in Raglan.  They are open 7 days a week and have some yummy healthy delights for you, including Sweetree Honey!

Much of this information and more is found on the Department of Conservation Website, check it to plan your weekend get aways.

Purchase Four Brothers Reserve Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.

Timeless Marokopa!

Written by Stephanie on October 28th, 2016.      1 comments

With summer around the corner I thought we could share with you some special Waikato spots we have found in the areas where our honeys are harvested from.  This time I'm going to focus on Marokopa.  

You may wonder where Marokopa is!  It's about 3/4 of an hour west of Waitomo, right beside the rugged west coast.  When you drive into the settlement you feel like you are going back in time.  It is a wonderful place to escape the hustle and bustle of life and just relax!  It's famous for it's fishing and white-baiting. 


When driving from Waitomo Village to Marokopa there are a variety of short walks including:

Mangapohue Natural Bridge

This is the highlight on the scenic drive from Waitomo to Marokopa.  The 20 minute track follows a boardwalk through an amazing limestone gorge that takes you under an impressive natural bridge.  If you look up you will see the ceiling is studded with stalactite type formations.  It truly is a beautiful and unique setting.  The track continues over farmland where you can see 25 million year old fossilised oysters in the limestone outcrops.  You will find the natural bridge along Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 25km from Waitomo).


Piripiri Cave Walk

This short 5 minute walk takes you through native bush, past some limestone outcrops and down some stairs to one of the few free caves open to the general public.  A platform allows you to view into the cave, remember to take a torch!  You will find the start of the track along Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 29km from Waitomo).


Marokopa-FallsMarokopa Falls

This is an easy 20 minute return walk through a native tawa and nikau forest to the beautiful Marokopa Falls.  The 35mm high waterfall is said to be one of the most beautiful falls in the country so it worth checking out.  The waterfall divides Marokopa River into two, making it a popular trout fishing area, so bring your fishing rod!
The start of the walk is sign posted on Te Anga Road between Waitomo and Marokopa (about 31km from Waitomo).

​Here are some other great things to see in the Marokopa area:

Kiritehere Beach

You'll find Kiritehere beach just south of Marokopa.  Not only is the surf good but it is a great place to look for fossils!  The limestones on the beach are filled with fossilised clams, mussels and scallops that are more than 200 million years old.

Waitomo Area

There is so much to see and do in the Waitomo area, including:
  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  • Ruakuri Caves & Bush Scenic Reserve
  • Waitomo Museum of Caves
  • Cave adventures: abseiling, black water rafting, etc
  • Opapaka Pa Walk
  • Waitomo Walkway
Check out this great guide to walks in the area.

If you're looking to purchase some food or supplies while you're in the area make sure you stop at the Waitomo General Store just down from the Museum!  They are a licensed cafe and sell groceries, souvenirs, etc. 

Much of this information and more is found on the Department of Conservation Website, check it to plan your weekend get aways.

Purchase Marokopa Honey here!  Please note not all our honey varieties are available all the time.



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"This honey so delicious!  It taste just like when I was a kid, rather than the supermarket brands"  Anna Bradford, Rotorua
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