Destination Hamilton & Waikato

Hamilton is New Zealand’s largest inland city, with a population of over 150,000 residents.  Located one and a half hours’ drive south of Auckland on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is the major hub to the Waikato Region, an idyllic province in the midlands of New Zealand’s North Island.

The Waikato Region is home to some very famous places, including the Hobbiton Film Set TM, where The Lord of The Rings TM and The Hobbit TM blockbuster films were filmed.    Hamilton is at the very centre of Waikato, making daytrip options easy and numerous. In Waikato, the only challenge will be deciding on where to go first! 

Matamata - Home to the Hobbits

The quaint town of Matamata is home to fantastic restaurants and food, but it’s claim to fame are its Hobbits.  Guided bus tours to Hobbiton Film Set TM depart from Matamata every 15 – 30 minutes daily, attracting The Lord of the Rings fans from around the world. Hobbiton Film Set TM is like nowhere else on earth, it’s a getaway to Middle Earth TM on Hamilton’s doorstep.

For more information on visiting Hobbiton Film Set TM  click here

If you can’t get enough of The Hobbit TM, try taking an extra trip to Mangaotaki Rocks - Piopio, an iconic location from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey TM, just under two hours’ drive south east of Hamilton. 


Waitomo Caves

Waitomo, an area one hour south east of Hamilton, is best known for its caves and most famously the Waitomo Glowworm Caves.  The ceiling to this cave system is lit up with millions of blue glowing lights, an experience made even more unforgettable as you glide along an ancient underground stream on board a guided raft.

Several other cave types offer unique experiences, with guided tours available for all.   Ruakari Cave is New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour for those who like to exercise and explore.  

For more information about caving in Waitomo click here.


Kawhia Hot Water Beach

Visit Kawhia beach at low tide to experience one of New Zealand’s natural wonders. Simply digging on Kawhia beach creates a natural hot water spa. Take a shovel, or find one in local shops close to the shore.  

For more information click here


Waikato River Trails

Explore the Southern Waikato region along the banks of the Waikato River, New Zealand’s longest river.   Over 100 kilometres of walking and bike weave on the banks of the Waikato accommodating hiking and cycling enthusiasts or anyone simply seeking a breath of fresh air in the great outdoors.  6 sections, varying in difficulty all give a unique impression of the great Waikato River.  Views won’t disappoint as you pass through conifer forest, gorges, dams and cliff faces. Along the way you’ll also a comfortable place to stop and take it all in, with a series of comfortable cafés and accommodation available up and down the river.

For more information or to plan your Waikato River trails trek click here


Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is a diverse public garden park in Hamilton South.  Showcasing gardens from all over the world and different eras of history, Hamilton Gardens is a calming, interesting and beautiful place to explore alone or with friends. Gardens range in theme from Italian Renaissance, Japanese, Victorian, and Tudor to Tropical, Maori and Chinese.

Explore these gardens online before visiting on your conference trip by clicking here



For other great destinations around the Waikato, details on travelling to Hamilton and other helpful travel information, click here

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