- Underground Adventures
- Otorohanga Kiwihouse
- Marokopa Falls Waitomo
- Kawhia Hot Water Beach
- The Timber Trail
- Mangapohue Natural Bridge
An hour south of Hamilton the mystical world of Waitomo awaits. A land of contrasts, much of the area’s natural wonders can be found below the earth’s surface as rolling hills and unspoilt native bush gives way to subterranean limestone caverns.
Millions of years in the making, Waitomo’s (wai meaning water and tomo meaning hole into the ground in Māori) visually awe-inspiring cave network draws people looking for adventure and those looking for a sense of wonder.
Above ground there are good cafes, and top walks including the beautiful Marokopa Falls and natural limestone Mangapohue bridge, plus more.
The self-proclaimed kiwiana capital of NZ, Ōtorohanga, proudly celebrates all things kiwi, from No 8 wire to pavlova. It’s also home to the Ōtorohanga Kiwi House & Native Bird Park, where you are guaranteed a sighting of the nocturnal bird that has come to represent the country.
To the south Te Kūiti, shearing capital of the world, has its own version of the running of the bulls each year – but with sheep at The Great NZ Muster, while at the most southern point of the region, the Pureora Forest Park features great walking, biking and hunting experiences including The Timber Trail cycleway. The quaint town of Piopio also holds its own with great walking trails and the latest Middle-earth attractions, Hairy Feet Waitomo, where some scenes from The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey where filmed.
The Waitomo area also stretches to the wild and windswept west coast with the seaside town of Kāwhia, where the region’s first Māori people landed and the great voyaging Tainui canoe found a final resting place. With fresh seafood, friendly locals and even a hot water beach, Kāwhia is a real hidden gem of the Waikato region.
How far to:
- Auckland: 190kms 2 hours 40 mins
- Rotorua: 150kms 2 hours 10 mins
- Tauranga: 188kms 2 hours 30 mins