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Hamilton & the Waikato Region Guide

Hamilton is situated in the heart of the Waikato region within 90 minutes drive of Auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua. From magnificent parks and gardens to a thriving cultural precinct, Hamilton city offers a vibrant combination of fine dining and nightlife options as well as an electric mix of leisure, lifestyle and activity choices.

Find out more about what to do in Hamilton city.

Hamilton & Waikato highlights

Situated in the heart of the North Island, the diverse Hamilton and Waikato region is well-known for its nature-based tourism, underground adventure and iconic Waikato River.

The region offers something for every visitor, from Hamilton’s urban attractions to the stunning black sand surf beaches of Raglan and countless walking trails through the rolling hills and ancient bushclad mountains that shape the landscape.

The subterranean world of black water rafting, glow worms and cave exploration at Waitomo Caves will be a hit with all ages, while the finer things in life, including boutique golf courses, gourmet eateries and rejuvenating natural spring spas are also found throughout the region.

Underground adventure

For adventure of the underground kind, the award-winning Waitomo Caves is hard to match. Weird and wonderful limestone formations emerge from the darkness as visitors move deeper into the world below. Suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, the caving options at Waitomo are virtually endless. Tours through glow-worm caves take visitors on an easy stroll through grand caving systems before breath-taking boat rides under thousands of glow-worms. For adrenalin seekers, the abseiling, black water rafting, and zip lining tours are unbelievable experiences as you squeeze, float and climb your way through the caves.

For more information visit Caving Adventure in Hamilton & Waikato.

Water activities

With the Waikato River winding its way through the heart of the Hamilton & Waikato region, it is no surprise that water defines the region. From the West Coast harbours to picturesque rivers and lakes, the activity options on Hamilton & Waikato’s waterways are endless. Take a kayaking tour or a leisurely cruise, or for something different try learning to surf or kite-surf at Raglan or enjoy a relaxing soak at Kawhia’s natural hot water beach. The region's waterways provide a great playground for boating, water-skiing, fishing and most other water-based activities.

For more information visit Water Activities in Hamilton & Waikato.

Metropolitan vibe & rural charm

Hamilton is home to great shops, galleries, a vibrant café and restaurant scene, a thriving nightlife and top events and activities. From riverside walking tracks, to entertainment complexes and large shopping centres, Hamilton provides something for all tastes.

The small rural towns in the wider Hamilton and Waikato areas all offer their own unique charm and hidden gems to be explored. From artisan producers of gourmet products, to relaxing spas and a true Kiwiana experience, through to rose towns, old English charm and strong farming, dairy and equine heritage.

For more information visit Hamilton City in Hamilton & Waikato.

Walking, hiking and biking

The Hamilton and Waikato region is rich in natural habitat and scenery. With an abundance of walking, hiking and biking tracks throughout the region, there is something for all levels of fitness. From short strolls to spectacular waterfalls, to heart-pumping hikes through native fauna for awe-inspiring views and memorable experiences with wildlife. Biking tracks usually accompany the many walking tracks on offer, giving mountain bike enthusiasts a challenge on every level.
 

Middle Earth movie magic

When seeking the location for The Shire in his epic adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, director Peter Jackson looked to the outskirts of Matamata. Today, visitors to Hobbiton Movie Set can walk in the footsteps of the characters, experience first-hand the magic that goes into creating a movie and hear behind-the-scenes stories of what went on during filming. Having recently been rebuilt for filming of The Hobbit, Hobbiton Movie Set and Farm Tours take visitors into a new world, as well as providing an insight into a working New Zealand sheep farm.

For more information visit Middle-earth Movie Magic in Hamilton & Waikato

Food and wine

If fresh and local produce and products is best then Hamilton and Waikato has some of New Zealand’s finest. Enjoy award-winning artisan cheese and wine, or sample fresh asparagus, blueberries, strawberries harvested fresh from the region’s orchards. With top farmers markets and a thriving cafe and restaurant scene - and even an Oolong Tea plantation - the  Hamilton and Waikato region really is a foodie’s heaven. Visitors can create their own food experience, or take a tour to really be treated to the exquisite, gourmet delights the region has to offer.

For more information visit Food & Wine in Hamilton & Waikato.