Sunset at Raglan, New Zealand

Explore Your Own Backyard

From close encounters to free attractions and inner-city fun

There is plenty to explore in your own backyard this summer including great family friendly activities, free attractions, outdoor adventures, wildlife encounters, top events and much more

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Underground Adventure

Millions of years in the making, the region’s caves, including the world-famous ones at Waitomo, provides a playground unlike any other. As if it’s not enough that nature has carved out a glowworm-studded underground marvel, enterprising locals have added adventure activities to enhance the experience further.
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Family Fun

Make the most of family outings and holidays with the abundance of family-friendly activities in the region...
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Free attractions

The diverse Hamilton & Waikato region provides an abundance of free activities and attractions so you can experience the wonders and hidden gems of the region on any budget.

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Walking Trails

From casual strolls along the river to overnight bush excursions and winding mountain tracks the Hamilton & Waikato region has a variety of great walking trails to suit everyone.
Festival One Music Festival, Hamilton


From international sporting matches to summer music festival and more
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Cycle Trails

There are hundreds of kilometres of trail to discover, offering riders a close-up look at the region's picturesque scenery and fascinating past. From the Waikato River Trails and the Timber Trail to the Hauraki Rail Trail, the Te Awa River Ride and many more...

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Explore Your Own Backyard

Free Attractions

Blue Spring Walkway

From meandering through stunning gardens to discovering picturesque waterfalls and more - there are plenty of free attractions to enjoy this summer in your own backyard.

  • Waiorongomai Valley: (pictured above) 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
  • Cycle Trails: From the banks of the Waikato River to the ancient Pureora Forest, there are many cycle trails to enjoy
  • Plus much more

Upcoming Events

Summer Events in Hamilton & Waikato

From concerts and music festival such as Soundsplash and Fesival One to international cricket, gourmet markets, thoroughbred racing, art events and more; check out the great summer events on the calendar in the Hamilton & Waikato region.

  • Summer of Cricket: The ANZ International Series will see Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia come up against the BLACKCAPS at Seddon Park this summer.
  • Soundsplash Music Festival: Raglan - 8 - 10 Jan 2016: Soundsplash is the 3-day summer music festival held in the Wainui Reserve in Raglan.
  • Festival One: Mystery Creek - 29 Jan - 1 Feb 2016: Festival One is a multi-day Christian festival, which brings together music, creative arts and culture to create a community atmosphere within the festival
  • Raglan Arts Weekend & Little Food Fest: Raglan - 30 Jan - 1 Feb 2016: Head to Raglan this Auckland Anniversary Weekend and experience the laidback vibe that has helped shape this thriving artistic community, with the Raglan Arts Weekend and Little Food Festival.
  • NZ Motor Cup: Hampton Downs - 29 - 31 Jan 2016: The premier motor-sport series returns to Hampton Downs Motorsport Park for the New Zealand Motor Cup.
  • Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival: Hamilton - 19 Feb - 28 Feb: What has now become an iconic open-air summer festival for the city, the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival combines a plethora of visual arts, music, comedy, film, theatre, literature and dance, offering something for all ages and tastes.
  • Plus many more...

Things to see and do

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

From underground adventure and Middle-earth movie magic to wildlife encounters and inn-city fun - there are plenty of great activities to enjoy this summer.

  • Waitomo Glowworms: Visit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves - sure to be a hit with all ages.
  • Black Water Rafting: Get your adrenalin pumping with a Black Water Rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures - perfect for the older kids
  • Animal Encounters: Get up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino at Hamilton Zoo
  • Middle-earth: Discover movie magic with a guided tour through the now permanent Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Waikato River Explorer: Experience the unique beauty of the Waikato River with a cruise on the Waikato River Explorer
  • Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with native birdlife and reptiles
  • Inner City Fun: Challenge family and friends to a friendly game of ten-pin bowling or enjoy the dining options on offer at SKYCITY Hamilton
  • Zealong Tea Estate: Take some time for yourself and discover NZ's only Oolong Tea Plantation and enjoy high-tea at the cafe
  • Waikato Museum: With great interactive children's exhibitions, the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity
  • Te Aroha Mineral Spas: Soothe those aching muscles after a long rider with a soak in the Te Aroha Mineral Spas.
  • Retail Therapy: Get some retail therapy at NZ's largest shopping complex, Te Awa at The Base
  • Plus much more

Family visiting from out of town

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With a range of accommodation options, car hire and Hamilton Airport on your back doorstep, it is easy to accommodate for the extended family - or perhaps treat yourself and enjoy a 'staycation' while exploring the Waikato region.

  • Novotel Tainui Hamilton: On the banks of the Waikato River, within a short distance of the Hamilton City section of the Te Awa cycleway, Novtel offers all the creature comforts of a large hotel.
  • Sudima Hotel Hamilton: In the heart of Hamilton City, Sudima Hamilton is walking distance to all major resturants and entertainment destinations.
  • Bella Vista Hamilton: Bella Vista Hamilton offers motel accommodation which caters for cyclists, perfect for families and conveniently located in Hamilton City.
  • Te Aroha Landing: Neslted on the banks of the Waihou River in Te Aroha, Te Aroha Landing is the prefect accommodation option for those riding the Hauraki Rail Trail or exploring Te Aroha.
  • 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
  • Hamilton Airport: With direct daily flights to most major NZ destinations including Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson, its easy and convenient to fly in and out of Hamilton Airport.
  • Car Hire: Need an extra set of wheels to ferry the family around? Check out the range of car hire options at Hamilton Airport including Hertz Hamilton
  • Plus many more options