Rolling green hills, spectacular limestone caves and black sand surf beaches surrounds Hamilton’s vibrant city hub. Experience it all at these top spots.
Embark on the ultimate evening of Middle‑earth magic at Hobbiton Movie Set in Matamata with an evening dinner tour. Discover Bag End, the Party Tree and the Green Dragon Inn on a guided tour before enjoying a banquet feast in the Green Dragon dining room. Standard guided tours also run throughout the day.
Beneath the green farmland of Waitomo lies a subterranean maze of spectacular limestone caverns. Take a guided tour into the heart of the Waitomo Caves and be amazed by the limestone formations and huge cavern before exiting via boat-ride under thousands of twinkling glowworms. Or for the more adventurous, try your hand at black water rafting, abseiling or ziplining through the caves.
West of Hamilton lies Raglan, a beautifully scenic stretch of black sand coastline. Featuring in the 1966 surfing movie Endless Summer, Raglan is a surfing mecca and is home to one of the longest and most consistent left-handers in the world. See what all the fuss is about with a surf lesson from the Raglan Surf School.
With collections from around the world it's no wonder the Hamilton Gardens are the region's most visited attraction.The gardens include a huge array of different styles including Japanese, Italian Renaissance, a rose garden and even a sustainable backyard garden. The gardens are also home to Te Parapara Garden New Zealand's only traditional Maori productive garden.
A haven for a myriad of New Zealand’s most endangered bird species, Sanctuary Mountain is a mainland ‘island’ created by a pest-proof fence. Get up close to takahe, tuatara, giant weta and kaka amidst the beauty of Mount Maungatautari, an ancient forested volcano.
Visit New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong Tea Estate, and indulge in a delicious high tea experience. Crafted by passionate tea masters, Zealong tea is one of the purest teas in the world and is grown organically in the rich soil of the Waikato region.
One of the best ways to discover the Hamilton-Waikato region is with a scenic tour. Soak up the beauty of the Waikato River running through the heart of the Hamilton region, with the Waikato River Explorer wine-tasting cruise. Or take to the air and discover the landscape from above with a scenic flight or via a tranquil hot air balloon ride.
Venture along one of the regions three Great Rides. The Timber Trail winds through Pureora Forest along old logging roads. It is rich with logging history, native forest and huge suspension bridges. One of the easiest rides, the Hauraki Rail Trail follows an abandoned railway between the historic gold towns of Thames, Paeroa, Te Aroha and Waihi. Or you could try the Waikato River Trail as it follows New Zealand's longest river on a spectacular ride through the rural heartland.