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.

The Waikato to Taranaki Way

Slow down and replenish your mind, body, and soul on a journey that takes you over hills and rivers, to iconic caves and along spectacular coastline.
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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 Waitomo Adventures Ltd
from
$425
Waitomo Caves

Lost World Half Day Option - 100m Abseil & Cave Exploration

The descent takes around 20 minutes of 4 hours required. Abseil alongside your instructor who provides information, reassurance and a backup safety tether. Imagine freehanging in a massive void bouncing a bit & turning - look into upper levels of the cave. Weird plants & formations cling to the sheer walls and the roar of the Mangapu River echoes up from far below. One guide looks after up to 4 people - who all make their unforgettable descent together down through the surreal mists and eventually landing in the base of this massive cavern. Once down, take in the awesome views before starting on an even more amazing trip back to the surface. Climb over massive slabs of rock and a series of ladders.
top pick Natasha Halliday
from
$12
Hamilton

Hamilton Zoo

Featuring the largest free-flight aviary in New Zealand dedicated to native birds and plants, there’s always something new to explore. Connect with the animals up close and learn more about their counterparts in the wild and how you can make a difference to their survival. Hamilton zoo plays an important role in connecting people with nature and conservation, providing fun experiences that inform and educate visitors, and participate in breeding programmes for endangered species, as well as undertaking conservation and research projects and rehabilitation for our precious native animals.
top pick SkyCity Hamilton
Free
Hamilton

SkyCity Hamilton

SkyCity Hamilton is situated inside the former Chief Post Office, in a building designed to maximise a superb riverside location on the banks of the Waikato River. With a range of dining and entertainment outlets, including EATBurger - voted the Waikato's best burger and The Local Taphouse - the first Good George bar in the CBD, there is something for everyone at SkyCity Hamilton! Enjoy the excitement and atmosphere of the Main Gaming Floor with over 300 gaming machines and 23 table games (R20 to enter the casino) or strike up a little competition on level two with Hamilton's only bowling alley, Bowl and Social, a world-class venue offering non-stop fun and state of the art technology!
top pick Michael Jeans
from
$55
Cambridge

CAMJET Cambridge Jet Boat Tours

Unique opportunity to visit the Karapiro Dam and see some of the amazing native bush and bird life in the Cambridge River Gorge. Ideal for you and your whole family, anyone who likes adventure, fun, speed or scenery. Speeding up the Mighty Waikato in a 450 hp V8 Jet Boat is going to get the heart pumping, adrenaline flowing and the faces smiling. If you are a thrill seeking adrenaline junkie then this is for you. On the other hand, if you enjoy a game of golf, followed by a browse round a picturesque town and a latte, or a visit to the close by Hobbiton movie set from the Lord of the Rings, then give the team at Camjet Cambridge Jet Boat Tours a call and we can have a quiet cruise up our beautiful river.
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What's on in the Waikato

Top Autumn Activities in the Waikato

Make the most of the autumn in the Waikato with so much to see and do from destination playgrounds and stunning gardens to underground wonders, interactive exhibitions and Middle-earth movie magic.
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Top places to stay in the Waikato

top pick
from
$140
Waitomo Caves

Waitomo Village Chalets

All Chalets are northerly facing and positioned to maximise sun, privacy and the spectacular rural vista. The property is walking distance to a family friendly pub, village eateries and the local museum.

The Waitomo Caves, and all the adventure tourism activities that Waitomo offer are close by.

top pick ibis Tainui Hamilton
from
$200
Hamilton

Ibis Tainui Hamilton

Ibis Tainui Hamilton boasts the city’s best location, in the CBD on the banks of the Waikato River. The hotel presents the only restaurant in the city with breath taking views of the Waikato River - a great place to enjoy unique local flavours. Reopened in November 2022 after a full refurbishment, the hotel is the ideal choice for your next stay in Hamilton.
top pick Open2View
from
$160
Cambridge

Podium Lodge

Podium Lodge has been designed specifically for athletes to support their training or performance ambitions but we welcome anyone looking to stay in a spacious and modern facility with a sporting vibe. This 86 bed accommodation facility is situated on the northern fringe of Cambridge with access to local world class sporting and recreational facilities. 20 minutes from Hamilton Airport, minutes from Cambridge town and a gateway to numerous regional attractions. Whatever the reason for your visit, Podium Lodge is a complete accommodation experience with a team committed to ensuring your stay is a memorable one. We are not for profit and all proceeds are returned to the community.
top pick Capstone Hotel Management
from
$400
Hamilton

Te Karaka Lodge

Te Karaka Lodge is a brand new architecturally designed luxury lodge offering the perfect location for those looking to escape into nature surrounded by breathtaking landscapes. The lodge offers 10 guest lodgings for an intimate and hosted experience. Truly a place to unwind and the perfect escape to connect with nature and experience the stunning beauty of rural New Zealand. The Lodge facilities include a decadent outdoor heated spa swimming pool, lawn games, outdoor fireplace and barbeque and several verandas on which to to relax and absorb the sound of native birdsong. Interior spaces include a large lounge and dining area with bar and cosy fireplace for those chillier morning and evenings.
Accommodation

Best hot chocolate spots in the Waikato

Whatever your favourite hot chocolate saying is, the Waikato region is fully loaded with places to get a delicious – and just a little bit decadent – hot chocolate.
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