Rolling green hills, spectacular limestone caves and black sand surf beaches surround Hamilton’s vibrant city hub.
Explore one of our most exciting cities and discover the 10 best things to do in Hamilton and the surrounding Waikato region.
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.
Learn about the Story of Gardens at one of the region’s most visited attractions. Instead of focusing on the variety of plants, the Hamilton Gardens showcase different types of garden design through themed collections. Step into another world in their Fantasy collection or explore different civilisations in their Paradise collection.
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 takahē, tuatara, giant wētā, and kākā amidst the beauty of Mount Maungatautari, an ancient forested volcano.
Soak up the rich arts and culture of the Waikato region at Waikato Museum. Highlights include a majestic war waka (Māori canoe), galleries featuring local artwork and the Waikato WW1 story, ‘For Us They Fell’. If you’re after a day of outdoors and fun, visit the Hamilton Zoo which is home to over 600 native and exotic animals. With New Zealand’s largest walk-through aviary and free zookeeper talks, there’s plenty to see and do with the family.
There’s no better way to start your day than going on a hot air balloon flight just as the sun rises. This one-of-a-kind adventure gives you breath-taking views of the Mighty Waikato River, the vast farmlands, and see Hamilton city as it wakes up to a new day. If you're around the region in March, be sure to check out Balloons Over Waikato(opens in new window), an annual festival showcasing the best of hot air balloons.
Whether you’re after a kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, a guided mountain bike ride along New Zealand’s longest river, or a little bit of both, Lake District Adventures has a range of exciting guided outdoor experiences. With tours offering local knowledge of the region’s history, culture, flora, and fauna, it’s a great way to see what makes Waikato so special.