Balloons Over Waikato Nightglow, Hamilton

Balloons Over Waikato Festival

16th - 20th March - Hamilton City

Big 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.

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Special Shapes

Check out the special shapes making an appearance at the 2016 Balloons Over Waikato.
Balloons over Waikato Festival, Hamilton, NZ

Programme of Events

View the full programme of events on during the festival
Balloons over Waikato Festival, Hamilton
More Info

Event Details

From 16th – 20th of March 2016 the spectacular Balloons Over Waikato event will fill the skies of the Hamilton & Waikato region with brightly coloured hot-air balloons of all shapes ans sizes.

Balloons over Waikato Festival, Nightglow
Key Event

Zuru Nightglow

The spectacular Zuru Nightglow event includes with live music, the balloons lighting up in the dark and a dramatic fireworks display to cap everything off.
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Activities & Attractions

From Middle-earth movie magic to underground wonders, inner city fun and more...

Hot Deals

From 50% off to kids go free - Grab a deal or discount on top attractions and activities, inner-city entertainment, accommodation, dining and retail in the Hamilton & Waikato region with these great hot deals...

Useful Information

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    From B&Bs to motels, hotel, holiday homes and more

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    Visitor Guide

    Download a copy of the 2016 Official Hamilton & Waikato Regional Visitor Guide...

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    Dining Options

    From award winning cafes to local coffee roaster, top restaurants and more...

More Information

Programme of Events

Balloons Over Waikato, Hamilton

Check out the full line-up of events on during the Balloons Over Waikato Festival, from mass morning ascensions to evening shows, community events and much more.

Wednesday 16th March

  • The Hamilton Mass Ascension - 7:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    Mark the start to the festival with the mass inflation of balloons at Innes Common at Hamilton Lake. Take the entire family and marvel at the breath-taking sight as the balloons lift off.

Thursday 17th March

  • Wel Energy Trust Breakfast at Dawn - 6:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    Take the family to watch the balloons lift off just as dawn breaks. The first 2,000 will also enjoy a free breakfast.
  • First Credit Union School Hop - 12pm, Various Hamilton schools
    A number of local Hamilton schools will experience the wonder of hot air ballooning when the pilots and crew take their balloons out into the community for the School Hop.

Friday 18th March

  • The Great Grassroots Lift Off - 7:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    If you missed the first mass morning ascensions then this is your opportunity to catch this unique event.
  • Balloons Visit South Waikato - 6pm - 8pm, Tokoroa War Memorial Sports Ground
    Sharing the joy of the Balloons Over Waikato event with the wider Waikato region, this evening includes food vendors, entertainment and hot air balloons, including the walk through balloon.
  • Balloons Visit Te Kuiti - 6pm - 8pm, Te Kuiti Domain
    For the first time, Balloons Over Waikato will also be visiting Te Kuiti, with food vendors, entertainment and the 2016 special shapes.
  • The City Burn & Markets - 6pm - 8pm, Garden Place, Hamilton
    Balloons Over Waikato heads into the heart of Hamilton city for the City Burn event on Friday night. The carnival atmosphere includes live entertainment, delicious food from Gourmet in the Gardens vendors and a choreographed basket burn.

Saturday 19th March

  • Smartrak Cash Grab Competition - 7:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    A unique feature of the festival, the Cash Grab event will see the balloon pilots test their skills as they try to remove $1,000 from the top of a pole in the middle of Hamilton Lake.
  • Zuru Nightglow - 4pm - 9pm, University of Waikato, Hamilton
     The biggest night of the festival is the Zuru Nightglow. With carnival rides and games, food vendors, live music and the stunning Balloon Glow Show which will have the balloons lighting up to music, topped off with a fireworks display to wrap up the evening.

Sunday 20th March

  • Gallagher Foundation & Trust Finale - 7:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    The festival wraps up with the final mass morning ascension form Innes Common at Hamilton Lake.

More great things to see and do

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If you are visiting from our of town for the Balloons Over Waikato Festival, why not explore city and region while you are here. With everything from underground adventure and Middle-earth movie magic to wildlife encounters and more - there are plenty of great activities to enjoy.

  • 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
  • Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with native birdlife and reptiles
  • 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
  • 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

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, 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: A short ride from the Hamilton section of Te Awa, Bella Vista Hamilton offers motel accommodation which caters for cyclists.
  • Te Aroha Landing: Neslted on the banks of the Waihou River in Te Aroha, Te Aroha Landing is the prefect accommodation option for this riding the Hauraki Rail Trail.
  • 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
  • Plus many more options