With a raft of things to do, places to go and sights to see in and around Hamilton, there is also the wider Waikato region that offers a bounty of uniquely New Zealand experiences that are easy to explore from your Hamilton base. Here are some of our favourite places, all within an easy, scenic drive of Hamilton City.

Waireinga / Bridal Veil Falls, Raglan

With a carpark at the top of the falls, it is only a 10 minute walk through native forest to view the falls. Experience these 55 metre water falls from one of two viewing platforms. Not suitable for swimming, but this does not deter from the enjoyment of the falls and the natural beauty of this area.

Port Waikato

Where the river meets the sea. Port Waikato is a 1.5 hour drive from Hamilton and epitomises the wild of the west coast. It is here that the mighty Waikato river meets the Tasman sea. Teeming with nature that is hosted by a diverse eco system of marshlands, estuary, sand dunes and ocean, Port Waikato is also a popular fishing spot for locals and retain much of its traditional kiwi charm with original baches still making up most of the residences in this area.

Raglan / Ngarunui Beach

45 minutes from Hamilton is the popular, black sand surf beach of Raglan and a local community with great artisan fare. Learn to surf, walk the black sands of this impressive ocean beach or immerse yourself in any one of the stunning nature walks that can be found around Raglan

Lake Karapiro

At just a 25 minute drive from Hamilton City, Lake Karapiro is a large artificial water reservoir formed by damming the Waikato River to store water fro the Karapiro hydroelectric power station. Lake Karapiro is surrounded by gentle countryside, riverside trails and is also renowned as a world-class rowing venue.

Otorohanga – Kiwiana Town!

One of the first kiwi houses in New Zealand, Otorohanga is a small rural town that is just under an hour’s drive from Hamilton and en route to Waitomo Caves. Otorohanga celebrates popular kiwi culture through murals, exhibits and the town’s walkways. The iconic kiwi house and native bird park are also great draw cards for visitors and make for a great day trip when paired with nearby Waitomo Caves.


This elegant and thriving township is only 20 minutes from Hamilton City. Home to world-class thoroughbred horse studs it has gained the nickname as ‘Home of Champions.’ Its tree lined avenues, elegant eateries and cafes together with interesting shops make it a favourite stopping point for motorists travelling throughout the region or for day visitors from Hamilton.