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Top 10 Things to do in Hamilton

Hamilton is known as the gateway to the Central North Island, and is a great place to base yourself to explore the mighty Waikato region. Hamilton activities are not all for the faint hearted, so we’ve created a list of a mix of soft through to hard core adventures.

Here are 10 things to do in Hamilton and surrounds to fill your days:

1. Hobbiton: Fancy a visit to the shire? Located a 45-minute drive from Hamilton, amidst the rolling green hills of Matamata you will find the film set of Hobbiton. Made famous by the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, take a tour to see the charming Hobbit holes, The Mill, The Party Tree and enjoy a South-farthing drink at The Green Dragon Inn.  

2. Waikato River: New Zealand’s longest river winds its way from the central north volcanic zone, through Great Lake Taupo, creating the magnificent Huka Falls. The river feeds the hydro dams that power our country and then empties out into the Tasman Sea. Explore the river by bike on one of the many Waikato River trails ranging from easy to expert.

3. Parks and Gardens: Hamilton has many parks and gardens to explore including the Taitua Arboretum and the Lake Domain. You can’t visit without seeing the award-winning Hamilton Gardens – a 58-hectare world of imagination and fantasy which tells the story of gardens through different civilisations… not your average botanical gardens.  

4. Glow Worms: Discover the magic of the Waitomo Caves. Famous for their abundance of glow worms, extensive underground river system and stunning stalactite and stalagmites formations, a trip to the Waitomo Caves is a trip to another world. This iconic New Zealand attraction is an unforgettable must-do when visiting Waikato.

5. Cycling Trails: A trip to Hamilton is not complete without an exploration by bicycle. There are hundreds of kilometres of trails to discover which cater to riders of all fitness and skill levels. For families and group riders the Hauraki Rail Trail or Timber Trail are a must do, while the Waikato River trails offers something a little more extreme for serious mountain bikers.


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6. Hamilton Zoo: Home to over 600 native and exotic animals, set amongst lush green surroundings, Hamilton Zoo is a fun day out for all. Take a stroll through New Zealand’s largest walk through aviary, home to many native birds and plants. Get up and close with a Face2Face animal encounter or catch a 'Meet the Keeper' talk highlighting the characters and personalities of the animals, their feeding and enrichment.  

7. Raglan: Known for its famous waves - Raglan boasts one of the longest left-hand surf breaks in the world and has hosted many a surfing competition. Alongside its surf culture and laid-back bohemian lifestyle, you’ll find boutique cafes and shops, walking tracks and waterfalls nestled into the rugged landscape. Plus, rock climbing, kayaking and canyoning activities to satisfy the adrenaline seekers.  

8. Waikato Museum: In the heart of the cultural precinct you’ll find Waikato Museum - Te Whare Taonga o Waikato. Experience visual stories and guided activities that bring art, history, culture and science to life through an inspirational programme that aims to challenge and inspire you. Open daily 10am-5pm.  

9. City Vibes: Situated on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, the city is a rich mix of culture and vibrance - the perfect place to experience the friendly Kiwi lifestyle. With great shops and galleries, fantastic urban eateries, bars and top events – the city scene has cemented itself as one of New Zealand’s best.  

10. Bridal Veil Falls: Do you love chasing waterfalls? We do! Bridal Veil Falls plunges an impressive 55 metres into a pool of sandstone rocks, worn away over time to create a natural amphitheatre. Take an easy 10-minute walk through native bush, following the Pakoka River most of the way, there you will find two viewing platforms that provide amazing views of the waterfall to add to your holiday snaps.

 

Accommodation

Centrally located Heartland Ambassador Hotel Hamilton is the perfect base for your Waikato getaway. With family friendly motel style rooms through to newly refurbished hotel studio rooms ensure you'll be well rested for your next days adventures.

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