Top 10 Winter Activities

From indulgent treats to keep you warm, to outdoor adventures, activities for the whole family and much more, check out the top 10 winter activities to do in the Waikato region below:

SKYCITY Hamilton Bowl & Social

SKYCITY Hamilton

1. Indoor Activities:

Stay warm and dry with a variety of indoor activity options including ten-pin bowling at SkyCity Hamilton and interactive exhibitions at Waikato Museum, or watch the latest movies 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.

Marokopa Falls, Waitomo, Waikato

Marokopa Falls, Waitomo

2. Outdoor Adventure:

If you are feeling brave get the adrenaline pumping with a tandem skydive with GoSkydive NZ and experience the best views of the Waikato or race your friends on the go-karts at Hampton Downs. Head over to coastal town of Raglan and have a go at surfing with Raglan Surfing School or rock climbing and caving with Raglan RockThere are plenty of great walking trails to explore including those found on Marokopa Falls and Mt Te Aroha to name but a few. Search the many walks on offer here or download our new guide to Waikato Walking Trails. Note: Winter weather can often affect tracks and trails - we recommend checking the DOC website for any alerts before leaving home. 

Waitomo Caves, Waitomo

Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo

3. Underground Wonders:

Rain or shine the Waitomo Caves is a great activity option. Take an easy stroll through the underground passageways or ride a boat under a galaxy of twinkling glowworms in the Waitomo Glowworm Caves,  or take a private cave tour and marvel glowworms with Caveworld. For a little more adventure abseil down into The Lost World, zipline through the darkness or join a black water rafting tour.

Hamilton Zoo

4. Animal Encounters:

Another great winter activity, the Waikato region offers many opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of native and exotic wildlife. Get to know the animals at Hamilton Zoo’s or view native Kiwi in its nocturnal enclosure at the Otorohanga Kiwi House. Experience the ultimate alpaca experience with one of Cornerstone Alpaca Farm Tours, where you can meet and feed beautiful alpacas. 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. 

Bag End, Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, NZ

Hobbiton Movie Set

5. Middle-earth Movie Magic:

Take a tour of Hobbiton Movie Set past hobbit holes, The Green Dragon Inn, mill and other structures created for the The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films.

Best Hot Chocolate spots

6. Foodie Delights:

Nothing is better in winter than a little indulgence and the Waikato region boasts a great variety of foodie options. Enjoy a decadent High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate just north of Hamilton or enjoy the variety of options on offer in the SKYCITY Dining precinct or visit award-winning Waikato restaurants. Winter is the perfect time for a hot chocolate - stop for a mug of rich hot cocoa at one of the region’s best hot choccy spots. Browse amazing Waikato foodie spots here

Kwahia Hot Water Beach


7. Natural Spas:

The Waikato region's natural spa options are somewhat of a hidden gem. The town of Te Aroha has been welcoming visitors to the mineral spas for over 100 years, while Kawhia on the west coast boasts a hot water beach where you can dig your own natural spa in the sand, with stunning views to match.

Hobbiton Movie Set, Green Dragon Inn, Matamata, NZ

Winter Events

8. Events:

From theatre and art exhibitions to concerts and sporting events, the Waikato region's events calendar doesn’t slow down during winter. This year's highlights includes Matariki Ki Waikato Festival, The Great NZ Food Show and Hobbiton™ Movie Set's Mid-Winter Feast. The Rugby and Netball season will also keep loyal fans entertained as they support the Chiefs Rugby and Magic Netball teams. Search events here.

The Timber Trail

9. Cycle Trails:

Grab a bike and ride one of the great cycle trails on offer in the Waikato region including the Timber TrailTe Awa River Ride, Hauraki Rail Trail and many more including local mountain bike parks. Search all the cycle tracks and trails on offer in the Waikato here or download our new guide to Waikato Cycle Trails.

Hamilton Gardens

10. Inner-City Fun:

Hamilton City offers a range of great winter activities also. Take a relaxing stroll through the stunning Hamilton Gardens which looks beautiful year-round. Take a stroll along the banks of the Waikato River or on a clear morning get sky high with a hot air balloon ride.