Just south of Auckland lies the Waikato region; a land of lush pastures that was chosen to play The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.
Well-known for its underground wonders, black sand surf beaches and rolling green hills, the Waikato region offers a wealth of nature-based activities and attractions surrounding a vibrant city hub.
The city of Hamilton boasts stunning gardens, plentiful shopping and a popular nightlife and restaurant scene including award-winning eateries and exciting entertainment. With abundant accommodation, Hamilton is the perfect base for exploring the wider region.
If you’re a Tolkien fan, drive east to Matamata and visit Hobbiton Movie Set, the amazing Hobbit-sized village created for the movies.
If surfing is more your style, then Raglan is the perfect spot for you, with one of the longest left-hand breaks in the world.
For a magical underground experience, drive south to Waitomo Caves, where the natural beauty of stalactites and stalagmites lit by the blue light of glowworms will take your breath away; or for those seeking more of an adrenalin rush, black water rafting and abseiling are not to be missed.
Known for its scenic diversity, the Waikato region offers a myriad of options for those keen on walking, hiking and cycling, from casual strolls along the Waikato River to overnight bush excursions and winding mountain biking tracks. A popular spot is Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, which allows walkers to experience the New Zealand forest as it was hundreds of years ago, thanks to the special predator-free environment.