Top 10 Summer Activities in the Waikato

Make the most of the summer in the Waikato with so much to see and do from beautiful beaches and stunning gardens to underground wonders and foodie delights. Check out the top 10 summer activities to do in the Waikato below:

1. Walking Trails:

Summer is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors. From short walks such as Marokopa Falls and more challenging hikes like Mt Te Aroha there are a great range of walks on offer in the region. Search the many walks on offer here

Aranui Cave Couple and family, Waitomo, Waikato, NZ

Aranui Cave, Waitomo

2. Underground Wonders:

Waitomo Caves is a great activity option and are a cooling relief in the summer months. Take an easy stroll through the underground passageways or ride a boat under a galaxy of twinkling glowworms in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, or for a little more adventure abseil down into The Lost World, zipline through the darkness or join a black water rafting tour.

Kids with giraffes at Hamilton Zoo, Hamilton, Waikato

Hamilton Zoo

3. Animal Encounters:

The Waikato region offers many opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of native an exotic wildlife. Hamilton Zoo’s Face-2-Face encounters include Lemurs, Rhino and more, while the Otorohanga Kiwi House offers year round viewing of the native Kiwi in its nocturnal enclosure. Visit Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari in the morning and you may be able to spot one of the many native birdlife that are abundant on the mountain.

4. Head to the beach:

Raglan is the region’s great chill out spot. Give surfing a go or just laze on the black sand at Ngarunui beach. The harbour provides a tranquil spot for kayaking, stand up paddleboarding or a harbour cruise. At Kawhia's Ocean Beach you can dig your own natural spa in the sand while enjoying the stunning views.

Playground at Hamilton Lake, Hamilton, Waikato, NZ

Hamilton Lake

5. Destination Playgrounds:

The Waikato is home to many destination playgrounds, including Hare Puke Park in Hamilton, which was named 'playground of the year'. Kids will love the playground at Hamilton Lake, and adults will enjoy a coffee at The Verandah next door. The new playground at Innes Common features a basketball court and parkour area. View more playgrounds

6. Foodie Delights:

Nothing is better than a little indulgence and the Waikato regions boasts a variety of foodie options to tick this box. Enjoy a decadent High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate just north of Hamilton or take along a picnic blanket and enjoy local music at Gourmet in the Gardens. Visit award winning Waikato restaurants or one of the region's many farmers markets for fresh local produce. Those with a sweet tooth will love Duck Island Ice Cream in Hamilton East offering flavours ranging from salted caramel with cacao crumb to peppermint slice. Or pick your fresh berries at Ruakura Berry Shop, just a short drive from Hamilton CBD. 

Duck Island, Hamilton East, Hamilton, Waikato, NZ

Duck Island Ice Cream

7. Events:

Hamilton City and the wider Waikato region is set for a jam-packed summer of events. Catch SIX60 and special guests Drax Project in Hamilton, cheer on your team at the HSBC Rugby Sevens or head to Seddon Park to watch the Black Caps and Black Ferns in action. Search events here.

Summer Cricket

8. Cycle Trails:

Explore the Waikato on bike on one of the region's many trails including Waikato River Trails, Te Awa River Ride, Timber Trail, Hauraki Rail Trail and many more including local mountain bike parks. Search all the cycle tracks and trails on offer in the Waikato here

9. Inner-City Fun:

Hamilton City offers a range of great activities when the sun is shining. Take a relaxing stroll through the stunning Hamilton Gardens or explore the city from another view on-board the Waikato River Explorer. Take a stroll along the banks of the Waikato River and perhaps take a picnic to enjoy. 

Free Attractions in Waikato, Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

10. Indoor Activities:

Just in case the weather doesn't play ball, there are a variety of indoor activity options including ten-pin bowling at SkyCity Hamilton, interactive exhibitions at Waikato Museum, and Escapist's escape rooms and board game cafe. Catch a movie at Hoyts at Te Awa, The Base, burn off some energy on an indoor rock climbing wall or trampoline park, or visit the Classics Museum with over 100 classic cars on display along with a variety of petrol memorabilia.