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From the black sand beaches of Raglan to Hamilton city's vibrant nightlife and the rolling green hills that shape the landscape, the region offers something for every visitor.
The majestic Waikato River, the longest river in New Zealand, winds its way peacefully through the region. It offers great kayaking, boating, rowing and trout fishing spots, particularly on its picturesque hydro lakes, such as Lake Karapiro.
There are numerous walks and cycle tracks along its banks encompassing native bush, farmland, historic landmarks, wetlands and expansive lake and river views.
With a wealth of protected park land and ancient volcanic ranges, the region offers a wide range of short walks or one-day treks showcasing diverse scenery and breathtaking summits.
One of the most impressive of these is Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve, a totally unique experience where visitors can discover New Zealand’s native bush and bird life as it once was hundreds of years ago.
Recognised as an internationally significant conservation project, endangered native species such as the kiwi, kaka and takahe are beginning to thrive behind the 47km pest-proof fence.
To the other side of the region on the stunning west coast, the premier surfing destination of Raglan has one of the longest left-hand surf breaks in the world.
Popular with local and international surfers alike, its relaxed atmosphere and idyllic coastal setting makes it the perfect coastal retreat only 45 minutes from Hamilton City.
Home to the Maori King, the Hamilton & Waikato region has been a significant area for Maori for centuries, ever since the great voyaging Tainui waka (canoe) made landfall.
Maori place names tell the story of the region, with Waikato meaning “flowing water”, named after the Tainui waka observed the river’s strong pull to the sea.
Along with this proud Maori heritage, the region is also one of the country’s richest agricultural areas and is well-known as a centre for innovation and creativity across a wide range of industry and business sectors.
If New Zealand’s world famous adventure tourism is on the agenda, the region boasts some of the country’s best. After millions of years in the making the spectacular Waitomo Caves provide an underground experience unlike any other.
Exhilarating black water rafting, abseiling, zip-lining and cave exploration will be a hit with any adrenalin junkie. A gentle boat ride through the subterranean wonderland of the caves is a more relaxed option while still boasting a magical experience under a galaxy of glowworms.
Middle-earth Movie Magic
A slice of the ‘Real Middle-earth’, as seen in the epic adaption of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, can be found amongst the lush countryside near Matamata. Visitors can walk in Peter Jackson’s footsteps and hear how movie magic was made on a two-hour guided tour through the Hobbiton Movie Set. The quaint town of Piopio also holds its own with the latest Middle-earth attraction, Hairy Feet Waitomo, where some scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey where filmed.
The Hamilton & Waikato region is readily accessible and easy to get around, whether flying in, driving, or travelling by train or bus. With domestic airport in the main city of Hamilton and the added bonus of its central location, the region is also an ideal base from which to explore the wider central north region.
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