Balloons Over Waikato Festival

19th - 23rd March 2019

Big ones, bright ones, crazily shaped ones – they’re all there putting on a magnificent show. It’s part of the hugely successful five-day Balloons Over Waikato, the premier ballooning festival in New Zealand, which is celebrating its 20th birthday this year.

Balloons Over Waikato - Special Shapes

Balloon rides

Don't miss the opportunity to be part of Hamilton's favourite event.
Balloons Over Waikato Programme

Programme of Events

View the full programme of events on during the festival
Balloons over Waikato Festival, Hamilton
More Info

Event Details

From 19th- 23rd March 2019 the spectacular Balloons Over Waikato event will fill the skies of Hamilton with brightly coloured hot-air balloons of all shapes and sizes.

Balloons over Waikato Festival, Nightglow
Key Event

Zuru Nightglow

The spectacular Zuru Nightglow event includes with live music, the balloons lighting up in the dark and a dramatic fireworks display to cap everything off.

Activities & Attractions

From Middle-earth movie magic to underground wonders, inner city fun and more...
Special Offers

Hot Deals

From 50% off to kids go free - Grab a deal or discount on top attractions and activities, inner-city entertainment, dining and accommodation in the Waikato region with these great hot deals...

Useful Information

  • Accommodation in Hamilton & Waikato


    From B&Bs to motels, hotels, holiday homes and more

  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Discover Waitomo, New Zealand

    Visitor Guide

    Download a copy of the 2019 Official Waikato Regional Visitor Guide. Full of top attractions, dining options and a regional map...

  • Dining Options in Hamilton & Waikato

    Dining Options

    From award winning breweries to local coffee roasters, top restaurants and more...

More Information

Programme of Events

Balloons Over Waikato, Hamilton

Check out the full line-up of events on during the Balloons Over Waikato Festival, from mass morning ascensions to evening shows, community events and much more.

Tuesday 19th March

The Hamilton Mass Ascension - 7:00am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
Mark the start to the festival with the mass inflation of balloons at Innes Common at Hamilton Lake. Take the entire family and marvel at the breath-taking sight as the balloons lift off. 

Wednesday 20th March

The Grassroots Trust Birthday Bash - 7:00am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
Day 2 of birthday celebrations sees all the balloons inflate and prepare to take to the skies above Hamilton. 

Thursday 21st March

Wel Energy Trust Breakfast - 7:00am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
Take the family to watch the balloons lift off just as dawn breaks. The first 2,000 will also enjoy a free breakfast. Come meet The Gallagher Chiefs who will be onsite all morning. A great chance to get an autograph or a photo and have a chat to the players.

Friday 22nd March

First Credit Union Friday Festival - 7:00am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
Enjoy day 4 of the birthday celebrations and share in the fun with First Credit Union who add a market feel to Innes Common with food, games and entertainment.  A great way to start the day whilst watching the balloons take to the skies.

Balloons Visit Waipa - 5:00pm - 8:00pm, Victoria Square, Cambridge
Taking the joy of the event and sharing it with the community with this fun evening planned for those lucky residents of Cambridge and surrounding communities. There will be loads of food vendors, entertainment, & hot air balloons! Plus, come and experience the magic of a hot air balloon from the inside out with our Walk Through Balloon - and all for just a gold coin donation (in support of our Charity of Choice - Rotary International). All thanks to Waipa District Council.

The City Burn & Markets brought to you by Hamilton Central - 6:00pm - 8:00pm, Garden Place, Hamilton City
Celebrating another aspect of our fabulous city, the Hamilton Central Business Association brings the festival to Garden Place on Friday night! Surround yourselves in a family friendly atmosphere, with delicious food and markets and get your groove on with live music from Enigma. This evening will culminate with a spectacular choreographed basket burn, all set to music, at 8.00pm. Make sure you don't miss this one.

Saturday 23rd March

McDonalds Hamilton's Happy Birthday - 7:00am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
The last day of flying at the event. Don't miss the opportunity to see all of our balloons for the last time.  Marvel at the skill as balloonists attempt to grab a key off the top of a pole to win $1,000. The balloonists will also compete in the Shortest Distance Competition, where they see who can hit the bullseye whilst flying the shortest distance possible.

Zuru Nightglow - 4:00pm - 9:00pm, University of Waikato, Hamilton
The biggest night of the festival is the Zuru Nightglow with carnival entertainment, food vendors, live music. Of course the Zuru Nightglow would not be the same without the breathtakingly stunning Balloon Glow Show, and topping off the night with a dramatic fireworks finale. 

Activity Suggestions

Top Activities & Attractions in Hamilton & Waikato

Make the most of your short escape with these great activity suggestions. From underground wonders and Middle-earth Movie Magic to wildlife encounters, kayak trips and much more.

  • Waitomo Glowworm CavesVisit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
  • Hobbiton Movie Set: (pictured) Discover movie magic with a guided tour through the permanent set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
  • Hamilton GardensExplore the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
  • SKYCITY HamiltonCheck out SKYCITY Hamilton's new Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
  • Watiomo Adventures: Get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline, abseil or black water rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures, or try their newest family friendly tour, the Troll Cave.
  • 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.
  • Good George BreweryLearn 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.
  • Lake District Adventures: Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
  • GoSkydive: If you are feeling brave why not give Tandem skydiving a go and experience breathtaking views of both east and west coasts, Waikato River and Hamilton and Auckland Cities.
  • Plus much more.

Accommodation Options

Accommodation Options in Hamilton & Waikato

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.

  • 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 Hamilton Hamilton: (pictured) Boasting 147 rooms and suites, many refurbished in 2017, free unlimited Wi-Fi, restaurant & bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool & spa pools.
  • 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.
  • Kelly Rd CambridgeContemporary, luxury accommodation including studio units and one/two bedroom apartments in Cambridge.