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Things to do in Hamilton City:
- Take a stroll from the centre of the city along the majestic Waikato River to the Hamilton Gardens, a stunning selection of themed gardens in park-like surroundings.
- Discover the city from another angle and enjoy spectacular views during a Hot Air Balloon ride.
- Experience Hamilton's vibrant nightlife, the Southern CBD is buzzing with restaurants, cafes and bars.
- Visit Zealong, New Zealand's first oolong tea plantation in the outskirts of Hamilton. Enjoy a high tea lunch overlooking the immaculate million-plant plantation, or take part in the Discover Tea experience which includes a traditional tea ceremony.
- Visit Hamilton Zoo, a wildlife conservation park with a giant free flight aviary full of native birds. Tigers, rhinoceros and lemurs are just some of the other residents.
- The Waikato Museum has an excellent range of exhibitions and something for all interests and ages. It has an exceptional collection of Maori taonga (treasures), including a section devoted to Tainui culture and the Maori King. Art galleries throughout the city and region profile top artists in indoor and park-like settings.
- Indulge your retail urges at Hamilton's central shopping centres Downtown Plaza and Centreplace or Westfield Chartwell. Browse amongst boutique gift stores at Casabella Lane or head out to The Base in Te Rapa, New Zealand's largest shopping centre.
- Try your luck at Skycity. The casino offers 20 gaming tables and 300 gaming machines and a selection of bars and restaurants as well as the Megazone with Lasertag, tenpin bowling and Timezone.
- Visit ''Woodlands'', an 1872 historic homestead that has been lovingly restored to its original grace and charm.
- Time your visit to catch one of Hamilton’s premier events such as Balloons over Waikato, the National Agricultural Fieldays, one of many festivals, or catch a match at Waikato Stadium, which regularly hosts rugby games.
Make sure you include these places on your visit:
- In the lush Matamata farmland you can visit the original and now permanent Hobbiton Village Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy and The Hobbit films in a fascinating two-hour guided tour.
- Cambridge is 'the town of trees and champions'. It’s memorable for its heritage buildings, antique shops, world class thoroughbred horse studs and Olympic Champions in equestrian, rowing and cycling . For the adventurous, Cambridge also offers CAMJet jetboat tours on the Waikato River and kayaking adventures on Lake Karapiro.
- The town of Tirau has become famous for its corrugated iron 'art buildings'. Look for the sheep, the dog and other examples of kiwiana creativity. Tirau is also known for its boutique gift shops, cafes, antique and curiosity shops
- Visit Otorohanga, the self-proclaimed Kiwiana capital. See many of the nation's kiwi icons and visit the Otorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, to view our national bird in its nocturnal surroundings.
- Ngaruawahia is home to the Maori King and Kingitanga movement. Each year a splendid Regatta Day is held in mid March, which includes a public parade of traditional war canoes on the Waikato River.
- Cycling is great throughout the region, in the foothills of Mount Te Aroha, along with the Waikato River Trails, through the Pureora Timber Trail and on the newly opened Hauraki Rail Trail.
- Enjoy the many walking and hiking tracks through native bush to the likes of Wairere Falls (the highest in the North Island at 153 metres) in the Kaimai-Mamaku Ranges, Bridal Veil Falls near Raglan, or Marokopa Falls in Waitomo as well as manu other mountain walks for spectacular views.
- Small museums throughout the region preserve local history, including accounts of the Maori Land Wars
- South east of Hamilton, Maungatautari Ecological Island reserve allows visitors to experience New Zealand’s native flora and fauna in natural, self-sustaining forest surroundings and the 47 meters pest-proof fence is allowing native species to thrive.
- Raglan, West of Hamilton, is a surf mecca. Believed to have the longest left hand break in the world, Raglan also boast beautiful beaches and a great township offering a vibrant local art and cafe scene. There is even a surf school for novice surfers.
- Waitomo is famous for its underground adventure, from awe-inspiring walks and baot rides under thousands of glowworms, to pushing the boundaries with abseiling, zipling and black-water rafting through the cave systems.
Find a warm welcome at the hot springs
Geothermal activity in the region provides a choice of places for a long, hot soak.
- Geothermal Te Aroha has the world's only hot soda geyser and an impressive selection of hot pools and spa therapies
- At Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain you'll be charmed by Edwardian buildings, including the historic Cadman Museum
- Waingaro Hot Springs has New Zealand's longest open hot water slides and four mineral pools
- Opal Hot Springs, near Matamata, is another hot pool destination, and there's an 18-hole golf course right next door
Dig your own spa at Kawhia's hot water beach. Geothermally heated water bubbles up through the sand to give you a delicious warm soak