The town is very popular for fishing in the wetlands, so it has many cribs for the fishermen to stay in, as well as accommodation for holiday makers and cyclists from the trail
Patearoa is a small township that is well known for its long dry summers, icy-cold winters, and beautiful views of its river and surrounding mountain ranges such as the Rock and Pillars, the Hawkdun Range, the Kakanui Range, Rough Ridge, and Mount St Bathans.
Historically, Patearoa was known as Sowburn and was a small gold mining village. You can still find remains of the gold rush along the Sowburn Walkway such as the Chinese gold miners stone huts and water races. Although the gold rush was short, it did result in the establishment of many local businesses and providers such as a school, church, post office, store, baker, butcher, and blacksmith by 1890. Today however, in Patearoa you will find a golf course, a bowling green, tennis courts, a hotel, a garage, a school building, and many historic mud brick buildings.
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