• Free Attractions in Waikato, Hamilton Gardens
  • Family Activities in Hamilton & Waikato: Waitomo Caves
  • Soundsplash Music Festival

Explore Your Own Backyard this Summer

Discover your Mighty Waikato this Summer with a range of great things to see and do - all in your own backyard.

Family Fun

Make the most of family outings and holidays with the abundance of family-friendly activities in the region...

Summer Events

From the HSBC NZ Sevens & the UCI Track Cycling Champs to Soundsplash Music Festival, Festival One and more
Raglan Sunset, Raglan NZ

Top Summer Activities

Make the most of your break with top Waikato summer activities all in your own backyard

Waiorongomai Valley Walk, Te Aroha, New Zealand

Free attractions

Experience the wonders and hidden gems of the region on any budget with an abundance of free activities and attractions.
Raglan Surfing School, Raglan, NZ

Water Activities

Learn to surf, go on a kayaking tour or relax at the beach
High tea at Zealong, Gordonton, NZ

Foodie delights

From gourmet markets to high tea enjoy some foodie delights this summer

Hot Deals

Things to see & do

Upcoming Events

From rugby and cricket matches to cycle races, foodie events and more - make the most of your summer with these great events on throughout the Mighty Waikato. 

  • Christmas events - 1-30 December 2018: Hamilton & Waikato is gearing up for a family-orientated, super fun festive season with a huge variety of events happening across the region.
  • Pirongia Boxing Day races - 26 December 2018: Enjoy a flutter on the horses or just soak up the social atmosphere at this iconic Boxing Day tradition.
  • Hobbiton Movie Set New Year's Celebration- 12 January 2019: To celebrate the New Year, Hobbiton™ Movie Set will be holding a special four hour New Year’s celebration to commemorate.
  • Waka Ama National Sprint Championships - 14-19 January 2019: Teams from around New Zealand will descend on Lake Karapiro to compete in sprints, all with the goal of taking our the championship title in their categories. 
  • UCI Track Cycling World Championship - 18-20 January 2019: The world’s best track cyclists will descend on the Hamilton & Waikato region for the Tissot UCI Track Cycling World Cup held at the Avantidrome Cambridge. 
  • Soundsplash - 18-20 January 2019: Soundsplash is a three day summer festival of music, freedom and expression, held in the Wainui reserve in Raglan. 
  • Ride - 22-27 January 2019: The most impactful community cycling event in the country which includes the New Zealand Cycle Classic, Maunga Madness and The Hobbiton Movie Set Gran Fondo.
  • Festival One - 25-28 January 2018: A multi-day Christian festival, which brings together music, creative arts and culture to create a community atmosphere within the festival.
  • Fatboy Slim - 25 January 2019: Fatboy Slim will be coming to Hamilton's Claudelands Arena on Friday 25 January 2019. 
  • HSBC NZ Sevens - 26-27 January 2019: With a rich rugby heritage, Hamilton and the wider Waikato region will once again come alive with sevens rugby action.
  • Cricket - 23 November 2018-4 March 2019: With a combination of test matches and ODI all on the agenda, there are plenty of opportunities to grab some mates and head to the cricket in Hamilton this summer.
  • Gourmet in the Gardens - 28 October 2018-24 March 2019: From mid-October until March 2019, the region’s best food trucks descend on the Hamilton Gardens to delight the punters eagerly awaiting tasty tucker on sunny Sunday afternoons.
  • Kiwigrass Festival - 1-3 February 2019: February 2019 will see the first ever Kiwigrass festival at Narrows Park along the Waikato River in Hamilton.
  • Bluewaters Festival - 2 February 2019: The Waikato region's newest music festival, Bluewaters Music Festival, comes to the Mighty River Domain at Lake Karapiro this February 2019.
  • Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival - 20 February-3 March 2019: This iconic open-air summer festival celebrates all things creative within the internationally acclaimed and award winning Hamilton Gardens.
  • Plus many more...

Family visiting from out of town?

Accommodation in Hamilton & Waikato NZ

From inner city hotels and motels to rural lodges and beachside holiday parks, the region boasts a range of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes - perfect for all the extra family visiting from out of town, or to enjoy a staycation this summer.

  • Novotel Tainui Hamilton: On the banks of the Waikato River, within a short distance of the Hamilton City section of the Te Awa cycleway, Novotel offers all the creature comforts of a large hotel.
  • Distinction Hotel Hamilton: Boasting 147 rooms and suites, many refurbished in 2017, free unlimited Wi-Fi, restaurant & bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool & spa pools.
  • Kelly Rd: Contemporary, luxury accommodation including studio units and one/two bedroom apartments in Cambridge. 
  • Ibis Tainui Hamilton: The hotel presents the only restaurant in the city with breath taking views of the Waikato River - a great place to enjoy unique local flavors
  • Ventura Inn & Suites Hamilton: A warm welcome that's worth checking into - Ventura is great value accommodation for a night away.

Family flying to Hamilton?

With direct flights daily from Wellington, Christchurch and more, it's easy for the extended family to fly home for a visit this summer.


Activity Suggestions

Make the most of the summer weather and explore your own backyard with these great activity suggestions. From underground wonders to wildlife encounters and much more in the Mighty Waikato.

  • Waitomo Glowworm CavesVisit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
  • Hobbiton Movie SetDiscover movie magic with a guided tour through the permanent set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies. For an even more magical experience opt for an evening banquet tour.
  • Hamilton GardensExplore the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world. HINT: Pick up a free kids Discovery Trail activity sheet.
  • SKYCITY HamiltonCheck out SKYCITY Hamilton's new Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
  • Waitomo Adventures: Take the whole family on the new Troll Cave Waitomo experience or get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline, abseil or black water rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures.
  • Sanctuary Mountain MaungatautariDiscover plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with birdlife and reptiles. 
  • Hamilton ZooGet up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with a Eye2Eye encounter at Hamilton Zoo.
  • Waikato MuseumWith top art, history and interactive kids exhibitions the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity for the entire family.
  • Hampton DownsChallenge friends and family to a few laps of go karting at Hampton Downs.
  • Lake District AdventuresTake a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails. 
  • Good George Brewery: Learn all about the brewing process and their award-winning beers with a Brewery Tour, or enjoy a bite to eat in the dining hall.
  • Zealong Tea EstateTreat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
  • Raglan Kayak & PaddleboardExplore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals. 
  • Raglan Surf SchoolLearn to surf on Raglan's world famous left-hand surf breaks
  • GoSkydive: Get your adrenaline pumping with a skydive from up to 13,000ft, providing stunning views of the Waikato region below.
  • Plus much more.

Free Attractions

From meandering through stunning gardens to discovering picturesque waterfalls and climbing to mountaintop views - there are plenty of free attractions to make the most of in your own backyard.

  • Waiorongomai Valley: Step back into gold mining history as you explore the Waiorongomai Valley in Te Aroha
  • Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway: Visit the internationally acclaimed springs, with water so pure its supplies around 70% of NZ's bottled water
  • Wairere Falls: Walk the Wairere Falls track near Matamata for stunning views of the falls and out over the region
  • Otorohanga Kiwiana Walk: Pick up a quiz sheet from the Otorohanga i-SITE and look for clues on the Ed Hillary walkways
  • Hamilton Gardens: Download and follow the Hamilton Gardens Children's Discovery Trail activity sheet
  • Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve: Explore the attractive bush walk to the Cascade Waterfalls
  • Hamilton Lake Domain: Stroll around the lake and let the kids loose on the playground
  • Hakarimata Walkway: Visit ancient Kauri trees, tackle the summit stairs or try the family friendly rail trail tracks
  • Gallagher Bike Skills Park: Helps your children to learn essential bike skills in a safe environment
  • Mokena Geyser: Watch the world's only naturally hot soda water geyser erupt every 40 minutes in Te Aroha - while you are there check out the free foot pools in the domain
  • Cycle Trails: From the banks of the Waikato River to the ancient Pureora Forest, there are many cycle trails to enjoy
  • Plus much more