Experiences

Top romantic experiences in the Waikato

With waterfalls, mineral spas, the diamond-like sparkle of glowworms scattered across an underground wonderland, green fields of farmland, perfumed gardens, cocktails and even high tea, the Waikato is the perfect destination for romance.

Here’s a sampling of the special Waikato places and experiences that will have you and yours head over heels all over again. 

  1. Watch the sunset in Raglan
  2. Soak at Te Aroha Mineral Spas
  3. Stroll through Hamilton Gardens
  4. Enjoy a romantic dinner at Gothenburg
  5. Share a cocktail at Mr Pickles
  6. Explore the magic of Waitomo Glowworm Caves
  7. Treat yourselves to a decadent High Tea at Zealong
  8. Natural spa Kawhia Hot Water Beach
  9. Date night at Bowl & Social
Sunset at Raglan

All you need is love - and sunsets, especially the beautiful sunsets at Raglan on the western coastline of the Waikato region.

This is where locals and visitors alike make time to admire the setting sun as it lights up the sky and the ocean as it sinks below the horizon signaling the end of another perfect day. With beaches of black sand sparkling in the sunlight, a tranquil harbour and laid back vibe, Raglan is perfect for a romantic weekend getaway and for longer breaks.

Another way to enjoy the spectacle is a sunset cruise on Raglan Harbour aboard the Wahinemoe purpose-built catamaran. There’s a bar and you can also choose to have fish and chips with your sunset. 

Make a splash at Te Aroha Mineral Spas

A soothing massage and soaking in the naturally silky waters at Te Aroha Mineral Spas is pretty much heaven on a stick. This is where you can treat the special person in your life to a private spa in a traditional wooden tub that’s lit with candles; chocolates and drinks also to hand.

Along with massages a range of body treatments is available, including the signature aroha wrap - the ultimate head to toe indulgence that’s guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated. 

Hamilton Gardens - the perfumed picnic 

With the perfume of flowers wafting through the air, strolling arm in arm through Hamilton Gardens is a romantic dream come true. There are 25-plus individual gardens to explore, each one offering insights into different cultures.

The Paradise Collection of gardens seems to be the perfect place for lovers to start wandering. Amongst the gardens here is the Italian Renaissance Garden. It features a water fountain surrounded by beds of flowers and herbs laid out in pleasing geometric patterns. Equally romantic is Char Bagh Garden designed in the style of the gardens of Persia; again water features alongside plantings of brightly coloured blooms.  

Gothenburg for romantic dining   

With the beauty and romance of the Waikato River at the bottom of its garden, Gothenburg restaurant and bar is a popular destination with couples. Seated at the floor to ceiling windows or outdoors on the terrace affords views of the river and the surrounding trees.

The menu features tapas plates designed to share - seafood, meats and poultry, and vegetarian. Then there are the desserts, but not for sharing, so the recommendation is to order more than one and to taste each other’s - perhaps the chocolate mousse which features fresh raspberries along with Callebaut Belgian chocolate, and the smooth vanilla bean panna cotta with strawberries and basil granita?   

Waitomo - get lost with photos to prove it  

Whether you’re looking for an action-packed experience or something more leisurely, the light show put on by the tiny twinkling glowworm is a drawcard for everyone visiting the Waitomo Caves. There are one-two hours, half-day and full-day options to choose from with both experiences taking you through caverns studded with glowworms that shine like diamonds. 

Literally, it’s awesome. And this is just the beginning of a special experience you will both remember forever. 

Mr Pickles for cocktails

The bar at Mr Pickles Bar & Eatery in central Hamilton boasts great drinks, food and a fine vista out across the mighty Waikato River - perfect for a romantic date night! 

But the best view has to be perched at the bar where you and your love can watch up close as the bar person shakes your favourite cocktail - or try something new like the ‘kiss on the cheek’ deliciousness that features gin plus chambord, the lush and sweet black raspberry liqueur from France, and other magic. 

Zealong Tea Estate - picnic à deux

With Valentine’s Day coming up, another delightful picnic spot is under the trees at Zealong Tea Estate.

The chefs at Zealong have created gourmet picnic boxes which can be pre-ordered online and enjoyed at a spot of your choice in the gardens where copper sculptures pay tribute to the history of tea - bring your own picnic blanket or be seated at a picnic table complete with umbrella. The picnic boxes feature flavours to complement the estate’s 100 percent organic teas, and there’s a vegan option too. 

Spa au naturel at Kāwhia Beach 

A spade, yes the one you use to dig the veggie garden, is the last thing you’d consider packing for a romantic weekend away in the Waikato. However, a spade is the very thing you’ll need to dig in for an au naturel beachfront spa for two at remote Kāwhia Hot Water Beach on the Waikato’s western coastline.

One of New Zealand’s best kept secrets is the hot water that bubbles up at low tide. Simply choose your spot and dig yourselves your very own spa pool - with stunning views out across the ocean.

Date night at Bowl & Social

For a fun date night - with just your loved one, or with other couples - there’s the Bowl and Social tenpin bowling alley at SkyCity Hamilton where a special package for couples includes a game, drinks and pizzas. 

Bowl & Social SKYCITY Hamilton

The alley features world-class bowling technology, TimeZone games and a restaurant and bar.