Family in cave, Waitomo, Waikato, NZ

Magic is closer than you think

Plan your next escape to the Mighty Waikato

From family-friendly adventures and free days out, to great events and top attractions

Free Attractions in Waikato, Hamilton Gardens

Free Attractions

Experience the wonders and hidden gems of the region on any budget with the range of free attractions on offer in Waikato.
Sanctuary Mountain, Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand

Outdoor Adventures

Top walking & cycling tracks

Top Attractions

From underground wonders to Middle-earth movie magic and much more...

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, Hamilton NZ
What's on

Events

From the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons Over Waikato to international cricket matches, polo and more...
Lego at Waikato Museum, Hamilton

Family Friendly Activities

From animal encounters to ten pin bowling - discover family friendly activities in the Waikato

Dining Options

From great local cafes to award-winning restaurants

Things to see and do

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.
  • Distinction Hotel Hamilton: Boasting 147 rooms and suites, many refurbished in 2017, free unlimited Wi-Fi, restaurant & bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool & spa pools.
  • Ibis Tainui Hamilton: The hotel boasts a restaurant with breath taking views of the Waikato River - a great place to enjoy unique local flavors
  • 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. 
  • Jet Park Hotel Hamilton Airport: Conveniently located adjacent to Hamilton Airport. Enjoy a quiet setting, home-style food, and replenishing outdoor spaces at Jet Park Hotel Hamilton Airport. 

Flying to Hamilton?

Hamilton Airport, Hamilton, New Zealand
With direct flights daily from Wellington, Christchurch and more, it's easy to get to the Waikato.
  • Find Flights: Fly direct to Hamilton airport. With taxis and Uber it is super easy to get to the city centre from the airport. Check Air New Zealand's Grabaseat for today's deals. 
  • Hertz Hamilton: Conveniently located at Hamilton Airport, you can hop off the plane and grab a rental car from Hertz.

Activity Suggestions

Zealong Tea Estate, Gordonton, NZ

Make the most of your short escape with these great activity suggestions. From underground wonders and Middle-earth Movie Magic to wildlife encounters, kayak trips and much more.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • GoSkydive: 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.

Free Attractions

Free Attractions in Hamilton & Waikato

From meandering through stunning gardens to discovering picturesque waterfalls and climbing to mountaintop views - there are plenty of free attractions to enjoy in the Waikato.

  • Waiorongomai Valley: Step back into gold mining history as you explore the Waiorongomai Valley in Te Aroha
  • Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway: Visit the internationally acclaimed springs, with water so pure its supplies around 60% of NZ's bottled water
  • Wairere Falls: Walk the Wairere Falls track near Matamata for stunning views of the falls and out over the region
  • Otorohanga Kiwiana Walk: Pick up a quiz sheet from the Otorohanga i-SITE and look for clues on the Ed Hillary walkways
  • Hamilton Gardens: Download and follow the Hamilton Gardens Children's Discovery Trail activity sheet
  • Mangaokewa Scenic Reserve: Explore the attractive bush walk to the Cascade Waterfalls
  • Hamilton Lake Domain: Stroll around the lake and let the kids loose on the playground
  • Hakarimata Walkway: Visit ancient Kauri trees, tackle the summit stairs or try the family friendly rail trail tracks
  • Gallagher Bike Skills Park: Helps your children to learn essential bike skills in a safe environment
  • Mokena Geyser: Watch the world's only naturally hot soda water geyser erupt every 40 minutes in Te Aroha - while you are there check out the free foot pools in the domain
  • Cycle Trails: From the banks of the Waikato River to the ancient Pureora Forest, there are many cycle trails to enjoy
  • Plus much more