Welcome to the

Mighty Waikato

A geographically and culturally diverse region, the Waikato has a range of activities and attractions to suit all ages and tastes – from our vibrant city hub of Hamilton to the rugged west coast, underground wonders and middle-earth movie magic.

Experience the real Middle-earth

If the Shire is at the heart of Middle-earth, then the Waikato is at the heart of the Shire. When scouting around for settings for his epic three movie adaptation of JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Kiwi director Peter Jackson found just what he was looking for in the green rolling paddocks, rugged limestone outcrops and underground caverns of the Waikato region.
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Walking & Hiking Trails in the Waikato

From casual strolls along the river to overnight bush excursions and winding mountain tracks, the Waikato region has a variety of great walking trails to suit everyone. Meander alongside the Waikato River or get the pulse racing climbing to an inspirational mountain top view.
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Underground Wonders

Millions of years in the making, the region’s caves, including the world-famous ones at Waitomo, provides a playground unlike any other. As if it’s not enough that nature has carved out a glowworm-studded underground marvel, enterprising locals have added adventure activities to enhance the experience further.
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Waikato Waterfalls

Breathtaking views are available everywhere in the Waikato region, which is home to a number of waterfall features. From short tracks that provide stunning waterfalls, to hikes, there is a perfect destination for all waterfall lovers in the Waikato.
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See & do in the Waikato

top pick

Riverside Adventures Bike Hire and Shuttle Service

You don't need to worry about transport or gear while you're here.

Whether you're on one of our tours or doing your own thing, our shuttle service is available to pick up and drop off any adventurers at any river trail or alternate point in our surrounding areas.

If you're after gear hire, we have you covered too! We've got regular bikes, e-bikes and accessories to really make a day of it.

Shuttle service
- Te Awa River Ride
- Hauraki Rail Trail
- The Timber Trail

Bike & e-Bike Hire
Available from our shop at the Velodrome in Cambridge

top pick Zealong Tea Estate

Zealong Tea Estate

Experience our popular Signature High Tea curated with a selection of hand-crafted gourmet sweets and savouries or our selection of mains and desserts. Add to your experience with the perfect pairing of Zealong tea to compliment your selection. Whether you enjoy a refreshing green, a floral oolong, or a bold black, we have the perfect tea for you – all organically grown and proudly made in New Zealand. Our menu changes regularly and the images shown on our website will not always show what is available.
top pick Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is the Waikato’s most visited attraction with more than one million visitors each year. Visitors are guided on a journey of discovery along paths delivering mysterious surprises: step from a peaceful Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholar’s garden into an Italian Renaissance Garden, before being enthralled by the grandeur of the Indian Char Bagh (‘four quartered’) Garden. Through breath-taking themed garden collections, Hamilton Gardens explores different civilisations, and recreates historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
top pick Legendary Black Water Rafting Co
Waitomo Caves

Black Labyrinth

What began as a special treat for a brave few has developed into an incredible and unique caving tour that gives visitors the chance to weave, jump, climb, and float through a glowworm-studded subterranean wonderland at Waitomo Caves. Visitors can jump off cascading underground waterfalls as experienced and trained guides take you safely through the stunning underworld of Ruakuri Cave.
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What's on in the Waikato

Top Winter Activities in the Waikato

From indulgent treats to keep you warm, to outdoor adventures, activities for the whole family and much more, check out the top 10 winter activities to do in the Waikato.
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Top places to stay in the Waikato

top pick Mauro Risch

Hidden Lake Hotel and Apartments

Hidden Lake Hotel is a boutique slice of contemporary New Zealand immersed in treed north island nature typical to the region. It’s difficult to believe you are so close to Hamilton Airport and all that the Waikato has to offer. Contemporary styling is a feature of rooms and apartments with superior appointments and technical luxuries. Everything is well thought out and delivered with on-trend hospitality. Expect a high level of service without fuss. Down to earth as is the New Zealand way. Enjoy the designer interiors and scenic outlooks while being pampered with share plates, local wines and spa treatments.
top pick

Castaways Resort

Enjoy ocean front studio or chalet accommodation. All accommodation has sea views, super king beds, wireless internet, Sky TV, kitchenettes as well as private decks.

Select one of Castaways Resorts popular Packages combining accommodation, dining and your choice of activities or pampering or just come and stay the night and relax. Facilities include: Castaways Restaurant & Bar - award winning cliff top restaurant open 7 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner and afternoon dining experiences. Bookings required.

Bersantai Day Spa - for all of your pampering needs. Adventures - archery, clay shooting, combat arrow tag and frisbee golf.

Facilities and Features

Conference Facilities
Disabled Access
Internet (Public Use)
Licensed Bar
Room Service

top pick Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hamilton Hotel

Distinction Hamilton Hotel is a favourite with business travellers and holiday makers alike. Located only minutes from the Hamilton city centre and offering 147 comfortable, air-conditioned rooms and suites as well as free unlimited WIFI. Refurbished Superior Rooms & Suites offer a modern, chic & contemporary vibe. The hotel also offers a fully equipped gym which guests can enjoy complimentary access to, during their stay. Waterworld - a multi-pool facility and the largest swimming complex in the Waikato region is conveniently located just a few minutes walk from Distinction Hamilton Hotel on Garnett Avenue. The hotel's popular Garnett's Restaurant is open for breakfast & dinner daily.

Top coffee spots in the Waikato

The Waikato is home to a number of skilled coffee roasters and top baristas making delicious brews - from flat whites and long blacks to cappuccino and macchiato.
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