• Balloons over Waikato Festival

  • Balloons over Waikato Festival

16th - 20th March 2021

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 22nd birthday this year.

Introducing Balloons over Waikato’s first Special Shape Hot Air Balloon

Special Shapes

Check out the fantastic line up for 2021 of beautiful hot air balloons from around the world

Programme of Events

View the full programme of events on during the festival
More Info

Event Details

The spectacular Balloons over Waikato event will fill the skies of Hamilton with brightly coloured hot-air balloons of all shapes and sizes.

Activities & Attractions

From Middle-earth movie magic to underground wonders, inner city fun and more...
20% off Karapiro Kayak Tours with Lake District Adventures

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

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

  • Visitor Guide

    Download a copy of the 2021 Official Waikato Regional Visitor Guide to discover top attractions, accommodation and dining options.

  • Gothenburg, Hamilton

    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 16th March

  • The Hamilton Opening Fiesta - 7am approx at Innes Common, Hamilton - The first chance to see the balloons take to the sky.
  • The CBD Balloon - 4-5pm at Garden Place, Hamilton - Walk inside a real hot air balloon and get a photo in one of the balloon baskets.

Wednesday 17th March

  • Grassroots Trust Lift Off - From 7.00am approx at Innes Common, Hamilton Lake - Day Two of the festival
  • The CBD Balloon - 4-5pm at Garden Place, Hamilton - Walk inside a real hot air balloon and get a photo in one of the balloon baskets.

Thursday 18th March

  • Wel Energy Trust Muffins in the Morning - From 7.00am approx at Innes Common, Hamilton Lake - Enjoy a complimentary morning muffin & fruit for the first 2,000 people while you watch the balloons take off.
  • The CBD Balloon - 4-5pm at Garden Place, Hamilton - Walk inside a real hot air balloon and get a photo in one of the balloon baskets.

Friday 19th March

  • First Credit Union Festival - From 7.00am approx at Innes Common, Hamilton Lake- Games, prizes & balloon lift offs.
  • The CBD Balloon - 12-1pm at Garden Place, Hamilton - Walk inside a real hot air balloon and get a photo in one of the balloon baskets.
  • Balloons Visit Waipā - 5.00pm - 8.00pm at Albert Park, Te Awamutu - Celebrate the balloons coming to Te Awamutu with food & entertainment for the whole family.
  • The Base Basket Burn - 6.00pm - 8.00pm at The Base, Te Rapa - Enjoy dinner and live music before the basket burn at 8pm.

Saturday 20th March

  • Cash Grab Spectacular - From 7.00am approx at Innes Common - Watch as the pilots attempt to win $1,000 cash from the top of a pole.
  • The Zuru Nightglow - From 4.00pm - 9.00pm at The University of Waikato, Hamilton - Don't miss the biggest night of the Festival! Live music, rides, fireworks, and the star of the night, the Nightglow! Check out the Zuru Nightglow full programme here.

For up-to-date info check the Balloons over Waikato Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Flying to Hamilton?

With daily direct flights from Wellington, Christchurch and more, flying to Hamilton will get you to your Short Escape faster.

More great things to see and do

If you are visiting from out of town for the Balloons over Waikato Festival, why not explore the city and region while you are here. With everything from underground adventure and Middle-earth movie magic to wildlife encounters and more - there are plenty of great activities to enjoy.

  • Free Attractions: From great walking trails and parks to explore, to spectacular waterfalls and more - explore the region on any budget with the great free attractions on offer.
  • Waitomo Glowworm CavesVisit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms. Grab a Cave combo deal and visit the Ruakuri Cave as well.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Waitomo 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 Maungatautari: Discover 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 Face2Face 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 and get the blood pumping with a V8 Muscle Car or Supercar experience.
  • Zealong Tea EstateTreat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
  • Lake District Adventures: Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
  • Raglan Surf SchoolLearn to surf on Raglan's world famous left-hand surf breaks.
  • Raglan Rock: Offers unique and unparalleled adventures, creating everlasting memories
  • Caveworld: Footwhistle Glowworm Cave is surrounded by over 60 acres of native bush that has been vested into QE2 Trust
  • 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.
  • Go Skydive: Get your adrenaline pumping with a skydive from up to 13,000ft, providing stunning views of the Waikato region below.
  • EscapistCan 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. 
  • Sculpture Park: Take a walk along the beautiful 2km art-in-nature trail and discover more than 100 sculptures and rare trees along the way. 
  • Plus much more.

Accommodation Options

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.
  • Ventura Inn & Suites Hamilton: A warm welcome that's worth checking into - Ventura is great value accommodation for a night away.
  • Hidden Lake Hotel & Apartments: Boutique and contemporary accommodation situated in the heritage town of Cambridge. Relax with delicious share plates and local wines, treat yourself to a spa treatment and enjoy the beautiful views. 
  • The Henley: A thoroughly modern country house hotel that offers a unique blend of relaxed luxury and contemporary design.