Explore your own backyard with these great activity suggestions. From underground wonders to wildlife encounters and much more in the Mighty Waikato.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Visit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
- Hobbiton Movie Set: Discover 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 Gardens: Explore 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 Hamilton: Check out SKYCITY Hamilton's Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
- Waitomo Adventures: Take the whole family on the Troll Cave experience or get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline, abseil or black water rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures.
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Discover plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with birdlife and reptiles.
- Hamilton Zoo: Get up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with a Face2Faceencounter at Hamilton Zoo.
- Waikato Museum: With top art, history and interactive kids exhibitions the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity for the entire family.
- Hampton Downs: Challenge friends and family to a few laps of gokarting at Hampton Downs.
- Lake District Adventures: Take 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 Estate: Treat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
- Raglan Kayak & Paddleboard: Explore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals.
- Raglan Surf School: Learn 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.
- Escapist: Can you escape in 60 minutes? Get your brain working with immersive escape rooms and check out their board game cafe in the heart of Hamilton.
- Plus much more
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
From international darts to foodie events and more - make the most of your winter with these great events on throughout the Mighty Waikato.
- Matariki events - 14-28 June: Celebrate the Maori New Year with a great range of 2019 Matariki events on in the Waikato.
- Matariki Dish Challenge - 8 June-14 July: The challenge will see local chefs create a Matariki inspired dish available for the public to enjoy throughout the challenge, and mystery judges will assess each dish to determine a 2019 winner.
- Hobbiton Mid-Winter Feast - 20 July: Escape the winter chill and relax by the roaring fire inside The Green Dragon™ Inn with a warming mulled wine before enjoying a fully themed mid-winter buffet dinner fit for a Hobbit in the Party Marquee.
- Cut! Costume and the Cinema - 11 June-21 July: Waikato Museum is the exclusive New Zealand venue for Cut! Costume and the Cinema, a dazzling exhibition showcasing five centuries of fashion and style as worn by some of Hollywood’s biggest names including Johnny Depp, Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet.
- NZ Darts Masters - 23-24 August: The Professional Darts Corporation's World Series of Darts returns to New Zealand with the exciting 16-player tournament, which will be held at Hamilton's Claudelands Arena.
- The Gourmet Garage - 5 July - 27 Sept 2019: Delight in an incredible range of gourmet food trucks, and family entertainment as this weekly seasonal event the whole family will love.
- Plus many more...
Family visiting from out of town?
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 these school holidays.
- 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.
- View more accommodation options
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 winter.