• Magic is closer than you think

  • Magic is closer than you think

Make the most of your Short Escape in the Waikato region

From family adventures to underground wonders and everything in between - make the most of your next Short Escape with the great events and attractions on offer in the Waikato region

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 Hamilton & Waikato.
Sanctuary Mountain, Te Awamutu, Waikato, New Zealand

Outdoor Adventures

Top walking & cycling tracks
Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamat NZ

Top Attractions

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

Events

From New Zealand's premier ballooning event, Balloons Over Waikato, to the iconic Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, and much 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

Hot Deals

Things to see and do

Upcoming Events

From gourmet food markets to multi-sport events, festivals and more - make the most of your Short Escape with these great events on throughout the Waikato region.

  • Balloons Over WaikatoBig 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 20th birthday this year.
  • Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival: The iconic open-air summer festival which celebrates all things creative within the internationally acclaimed and award winning Hamilton Gardens.
  • Fieldays: The National Agricultural Fieldays is the largest agricultural event in the Southern Hemisphere, with more than 1,000 exhibitors across 40 hectares - making it Australasia’s definitive agri-business event.
  • Waitomo Trail RunThe Waitomo Trail Run returns to the Hamilton & Waikato region, taking place in the iconic Waitomo Caves area on Saturday 13th April.
  • Gourmet in the Gardens: With the arrival of the start of daylight savings, Gourmet in the Gardens are back! Until March 2019, the region’s best food trucks descend on the Hamilton Gardens to delight the punters eagerly awaiting tasty tucker on sunny Sunday afternoons.
  • Summer of Cricket: With a combination of test matches and ODI all on the agenda, there are plenty of opportunities to grab some mates and head to the cricket in Hamilton this summer. Matches include Blackcaps v India, Blackcaps v Bangladesh and many more.
  • Plus many more...

Accommodation Options

Accommodation in Hamilton & Waikato NZ

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: (pictured) 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 Hamilton 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 presents the only restaurant in the city 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.
  • Kelly Rd: Contemporary, luxury accommodation including studio units and one/two bedroom apartments located 5 minutes from Cambridge.

Flying to Hamilton?

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

 

Activity Suggestions

Top Activities & Attractions in Hamilton & Waikato

Make the most of your spring adventures 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 (pictured above) 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 Eye2Eye 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 Kayak & PaddleboardExplore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals.
  • 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.
  • Go Skydive: Get your adrenaline pumping with a skydive from up to 13,000ft, providing stunning views of the Waikato region below.
  • 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 70% 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