In the heart of the North Island, about 130km south of Auckland, rolling hills and majestic forests shape the landscape. The rich agricultural region encompasses the area around Hamilton; the country’s fourth largest city, extending along the banks of the Waikato River, the country’s longest river.
Vast cave systems and underground streams provide great scope for adventure and exploration. Visitors have a variety of exciting activities on their doorstep including the world famous Waitomo Caves with its glow-worms and caving activities, the stunning black sand surf beaches of Raglan, Hamilton's vibrant café scene and Hobbiton, home of the hobbit village from the Lord of The Rings film trilogy.
Significant battles during the Maori Land Wars took place in the region during the mid 19th century. Local memorabilia is lovingly cared for and available for viewing at many small museums around the Waikato area. This is a region very proud of their ancestry and welcoming to those who are keen to learn more about it.
Hamilton is the 4th largest city in the country with a population of approximately 106,000 people. The vast beauty of the Waikato River offers some great scenic walks and is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike. Experience the city’s nightlife scene or vibrant cafes, or take in Hamilton’s stunning parks, river walks and gardens. Arts and culture form an integral part of the city’s makeup.
Hamilton’s rich history is paid homage to at the Waikato Museum with its exciting and informative exhibitions. It’s also an ideal base to not only explore the region’s many attractions but other tourist hotspots like Auckland, Rotorua, Lake Taupo and the Bay of Plenty that are only a short drive away.
Beneath the rolling green hills, the Waitomo Caves are a must see attraction for any visitor to the region. Millions of years in the making, a visually awe-inspiring cave network draws people looking for adventure and those looking for a sense of wonder. A range of thrilling activities including underground caving adventures, black-water rafting, and glow-worm spotting provide fun, education and great adventure.
Surfs Up at Raglan
Situated on the region's west coast about an hour’s drive from Hamilton, the small town of Raglan is known for its world-class surf break and unusually long rides. As New Zealand’s surfing capital, Raglan exudes a bohemian and idyllic coastal atmosphere that always leaves you wanting more. Boutique shops and relaxed cafes are surrounded by beautiful beaches that make it very easy to while away a relaxing afternoon. Beginners can spend an afternoon learning to surf, while more experienced surfers can hit the waves at Manu Bay for world-class surfing. Whether it’s relaxation or adventure on your mind, Raglan will satisfy the most disconcerting traveller.
Hobbiton ‘Lord of the Rings’ film set
A Matamata sheep farm is one of New Zealand’s biggest attractions. It’s where visitors can see the remnants of the hobbit village ‘The Shire’. Created for the classic Lord of the Ring’s movie trilogy it has been a hub of tourist attention since the release of the popular movies. Walk amongst the hobbit holes and learn more about the creation of the set through the guided tour.
Located just 15 kilometres from Hamilton city, the Hamilton International Airport services both international and domestic flights. Accessible by road, the Waikato region is a popular stop-off for those travelling south from Auckland. Several national bus networks stop in Hamilton en route to Auckland, Taupo, Rotorua and other major North Island destinations.