New Zealand is hailed for its natural beauty and Hamilton is no exception with its picturesque countryside setting. The gateway to the central North Island, Hamilton (or Kirikiriroa in Maori), is New Zealand’s largest inland city, straddling the superb Waikato River and is known for its walks, gardens, cafes and nightlife.
The visually stunning Hamilton Gardens are webbed by paths that journey through a gallery of themed gardens from grand Italy to tranquil Asia. In the 1960s, a bleak rubbish dump sat alongside the Waikato River. No one could imagine that such a barren mess would become an award-winning public garden, and the Waikato’s most popular visitor attraction. The themed gardens are open from 7:30am to dusk every day of the year. www.hamiltongardens.co.nz or phone (07) 958 5940.
Home to over 600 native and exotic animals, including the largest walk-through aviary in New Zealand dedicated to native birds and plants. Set amidst 25ha of lush and tranquil surroundings, Hamilton Zoo is the ideal destination for a memorable day out. There's a lot to get around, but if you need a break swing by the on site cafe and check out the delicious treats, or dine al fresco in one of our scenic picnic areas. Find out more >
Waitomo is a village on the North Island of New Zealand. It’s known for its extensive underground cave systems. Thousands of glow-worms light up the Glowworm Caves. The vast Ruakuri Cave features waterfalls and limestone formations. West, Mangapohue Natural Bridge is a high limestone arch over Mangapohue Stream. Northeast of the village, Otorohanga Kiwi House shelters several species of the rare native kiwi bird. https://www.waitomo.com/
Widely regarded as a Waikato icon, Zealong Tea Estate is the only commercial tea estate in New Zealand, producing 100% organic award-winning tea. The estate is a world-leading destination for tea, art and hospitality in an unrivaled setting. Offering serene views, a variety of function venues, public activities and tours, our multi-talented team is dedicated to creating an extraordinary guest experience every day. https://zealong.com/
In 1998, Sir Peter Jackson’s team of location scouts were searching for the iconic rolling hills and lush green pastures of Hobbiton™. An aerial search led them to the Alexander farm, a stunning 1,250 acre sheep farm in the heart of the Waikato. They noted the area’s striking similarity to The Shire™, as described by JRR Tolkien, and quickly realised that the Hobbits™ had found a home. The beautiful movie set includes 44 permanently reconstructed Hobbit Holes, in the same fantastic detail seen in the movies. https://www.hobbitontours.com/en/
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari (Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve) is the largest ecological ‘island’ on mainland New Zealand. A haven for native wildlife and plants such as kiwi, kokako (wattlebird), tuatara and more, Maungatautari also provides great walking and hiking tracks. Surrounded by 47kms of predator proof fence which encloses 3,400 hectares of Mt Maungatautari, the Maungatautari Ecological Island Trust strives to eradicate mammalian predators so that native bird populations, trees and ferns are able to flourish uninhibited. Find out more >
The Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway is internationally acclaimed with water so pure it supplies around 60% of New Zealand’s bottled water. The spring is fed from the Mamaku Plateau where the water takes up to 100 years to filter through; the resulting water is so pure and clean that it produces a beautiful blue colour while being virtually clear. The walk to the springs follows a track alongside the Waihou River, through wetlands, across rolling pastoral land and features views of small waterfalls, native bush and the famous Blue Spring with glimpses of trout along the way. Find out more >
Raglan is a unique and relatively unknown slice of Kiwi heaven, with its black sand, fine surfing, tranquil harbour and laid-back vibe. Raglan’s bohemian atmosphere and idyllic coastal setting makes it the perfect spot to while away an afternoon browsing amongst the boutique cafes and shops, lazing on the beach or kayaking on the harbour. While those with more adventurous activities in mind can take a short drive from the town to the beaches that make the area a surfing mecca, including Manu Bay which has one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world. Raglan is also a popular destination for artists, surfers and local weekend holiday makers alike. Find out more >