Duke and Duchess open Velodrome

Updated at 8:52 pm on 12 April 2014

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge officially opened the National Velodrome outside Cambridge on Saturday afternoon.

At the Velodrome the royal couple met New Zealand Olympians Mahe Drysdale and Sarah Ulmer,as well as other top rowers and cyclists. They also watched races and were gifted a small bicycle for Prince George.

Earlier, crowds lined the streets of Cambridge to welcome them to the Waikato town that shares their name.

Prince William and Catherine are gifted a bike for baby George, with Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ulmer looking on.

Prince William and Catherine are gifted a bike for baby George, with Olympic gold medallist Sarah Ulmer looking on.

Photo: POOL

About 15,000 people packed the streets to greet them. Some had been there since about 5am, to get a good vantage point.

The crowds cheered and screamed as they caught a glimpse of the royal couple and booed loudly when security vans blocked their view.

The Duke of Cambridge greets a young fan.

The Duke of Cambridge greets a young fan.

Photo: POOL

Prince William and Catherine laid flowers at the town's War Memorial, before having lunch at the Town Hall. They were shown around Cambridge by Mayor Jim Mylchreest and his wife Robyn.

The large crowds caused the local cellphone network to crash several times.

They started their day in Hamilton where they were met off the plane by Hamilton mayor Julie Hardaker and her husband Steve Perdia.

Prince William visited Pacific Aerospace to unveil a new aircraft which is capable of short take-offs and landings.

Catherine meets characters from Alice in Wonderland at Rainbow Place.

Catherine meets characters from Alice in Wonderland at Rainbow Place.

Photo: POOL

Wearing a bright green Erdem coat, Catherine met 43 children and caregivers at Rainbow Place, a children's hospice.

A grief counsellor at Rainbow Place Anna Geard has been working for two years with a boy who is coming to terms with the loss of a family member. She said the Duchess spoke to him about his experience and was very empathetic.

Catherine has strong ties with children's hospices in Britain and will use the visit as a fact-finding mission on palliative care. She attended an annual children's party inside a giant teepee. Partygoers were greeted by Alice in Wonderland characters including the White Rabbit and Alice herself.

Among the people they are were due to meet on Saturday was Cynthia Read, who was commissioned by the prime minister's office to knit a lace shawl for Prince George.

On Sunday they visit Dunedin and Queenstown.

Cambridge crowds welcome the Duke and Duchess.

Cambridge crowds welcome the Duke and Duchess.

Photo: POOL

Cambridge was named 150 years ago after the 2nd Duke of Cambridge, George William Frederick Charles, who was Queen Victoria's first cousin and commander in chief of the British army.

It's not the first time the town has had a royal visit - the Queen lunched at Cambridge during her 1953-54 tour, and the museum has a small exhibition of her time there.

Next story in Royal Tour 2014: Catherine sails to victory in battle of wills