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Top 10 Winter Activities the Waikato

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.

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.

Outdoor Adventure

Race your friends on the go-karts at Hampton Downs or head over to coastal town of Raglan. There 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.

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. For a little more adventure abseil down into The Lost World, zipline through the darkness or join a black water rafting tour.

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.

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.

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

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.


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 include Matariki Ki Waikato Festival, National Fieldays, NZ Darts Masters 2024 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.

Cycle Trails

Grab a bike and ride one of the great cycle trails on offer in the Waikato region including the Timber Trail, Te 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 guide to Waikato Cycle Trails

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.