Facilities include a primary school with a roll of about 130 children, two abandoned dairies, meeting rooms for clubs, a playcentre, country club, squash courts, lawn bowling club, and an indoor swimming pool on the school grounds.
Makarewa was formerly the junction of two branch linerailways, where the Tuatapere Branch diverged from the Kingston Branch. A third line, the Ohai Branch, left the Tokanui Branch in Thornbury. On 15 January 1978, the Tokanui Branch closed beyond Thornbury, and on 13 December 1982, the Kingston Branch closed beyond Makarewa. The line through Makarewa has since been incorporated into the Ohai Branch and only freight services operate.