Our City

We’re famous for Middle-earth movie magic, underground wonders, the iconic Waikato River, and legendary surf beaches, and that’s just the start…

Hamilton is a metropolitan hub on the banks of the Waikato River, offering everything expected of a thriving city – and then some. With great shopping, a vibrant arts scene, award-winning restaurants and a bustling nightlife, Hamilton offers a myriad of urban entertainment options to choose from. Visitors can take a stroll through the award-winning Hamilton Gardens, visit SkyCity Hamilton’s dining precinct, soak up some history at the Waikato Museum, discover animal encounters at Hamilton Zoo or relax with a picnic at Hamilton Lake. Classic cars, river cruises, microbrewery tours and more are all on offer, and for a truly spectacular view of Hamilton and the wider Waikato region, a hot air balloon ride is definitely a must!

Where to Stay

Visitors to the region can choose from a variety of accommodation options. Pamper yourself in a boutique lodge, get back to nature in an eco-style dwelling or enjoy a family break in a beachside holiday park. Opt for a touch of luxury in a high-end city hotel, or for a self-contained option, motels and serviced apartments are a great choice. 

Getting Around

The region’s central location means its simple and easy to get around, with most attractions within two hours’ drive of Hamilton City and expressway links with Auckland. Domestic flights operate from Hamilton Airport and the Northern Explorer rail service travels through Hamilton on its Auckland - Wellington journey. We recommend visitors to New Zealand who are going to self-drive check out www.drivesafe.org.nz 

Top 10 Activities for Family Fun

1. Experience the magic of glowworms at the Waitomo Caves. Enjoy the world-famous boat ride, gliding under thousands of twinkling glowworms.

2. Visit Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park to get up close to native wildlife and their natural habitats.

3. Explore the themed Hamilton Gardens and pick up an activity sheet from the Visitor Centre for the kids. The gardens include traditional Maori, Japanese, American modernist, Italian Renaissance just to name a few!

4. Enjoy an animal encounter at Hamilton Zoo. There’s even the chance to go behind the scenes and get a private ‘Eye2Eye’.

5. Visit the Waikato Museum, with fun, interactive exhibitions designed specifically for children.

6. If the weather calls for indoor activities, check out Bowl and Social at SKYCITY Hamilton, offering jam-packed tenpin bowling fun, and TimeZone games to enjoy.

7. Take the family out on one of the region’s numerous cycling and/or walking tracks. There are hundreds of kilometres to explore.

8. Relax with a picnic at Hamilton Lake while the kids enjoy the adventure playground.

9. Take the family along to see the lush green hills and hobbit holes within them at Hobbiton Movie Set. You may even run into Pickles, the resident cat!

10. Get out on the water with a range of water activities. Dig your own natural hot water spa at Kawhia, or give kayaking or stand up paddle-boarding a try in Raglan harbour.

To learn more about Hamilton & Waikato visit http://www.waikatonz.com/ or click here to download a copy of their Visitor Guide.