Raglan, West of Hamilton, is a surf mecca. Believed to have one of the longest left-hand break in the world, Raglan also boasts 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 boat rides under thousands of glowworms, to pushing the boundaries with abseiling, ziplining and black-water rafting through the cave systems.
Cycling is great throughout the region, in the foothills of Mount Te Aroha, along with the Waikato River Trails, through the Timber Trail in Pureora Forest and on the 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 many other mountain walks for spectacular views.
South east of Hamilton, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari allows visitors to experience New Zealand’s native flora and fauna in a natural, self-sustaining forest surrounding, where a 47-metre pest-proof fence is allowing native species to thrive.
For the adventurous, Cambridge offers glowworm 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.
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.
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.
Experience Hamilton's vibrant nightlife, the Southern CBD is buzzing with restaurants, cafes and bars.
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.
Indulge your retail urges at Hamilton's central shopping centres 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.
Visit SKYCITY Hamilton for non-stop fun and excitement. SKYCITY Hamilton has more than 20 gaming tables and 300 gaming machines, a selection of bars and restaurants, plus ten pin bowling and escape rooms.
Time your visit to catch one of Hamilton’s premier events such as Balloons over Waikato, the National Agricultural Fieldays, Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival , or catch a rugby game at Waikato Stadium.
Culture and heritage abound
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.
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.
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.
At Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain you'll be charmed by Edwardian buildings, including the historic Cadman Museum.
Small museums throughout the region preserve local history, including accounts of the New Zealand Land Wars.
Visit ''Woodlands'', near Hamilton. This 1872 historic homestead that has been lovingly restored to its original grace and charm.
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.
Opal Hot Springs, near Matamata, is another hot pool destination, and there's an 18-hole golf course right next door.
Okoroire Hot Springs hotel near Tirau also boasts natural hot springs on the banks of the Waihou River, in an outdoor nature setting.
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.