1. Indoor Activities:
Stay warm and dry with a variety of indoor activity options including ten-pin bowling at SKYCITY Hamilton, interactive exhibitions at Waikato Museum, heading to the many movie complexes including Hoyts at Te Awa, The Base, burning 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.
2. Walking Trails:
When the weather plays ball, winter can be the perfect time to explore the great outdoors. The region’s top walking trails include those found on Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Marokopa Falls (pictured), Mt Te Aroha and many more great Waikato Walks. Search the many walks on offer here.
Note: Winter weather can often affect tracks and trails - we recommend checking the DOC website for any alerts before leaving home.
3. 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, or for a little more adventure abseil down into The Lost World, zipline through the darkness or join a black water rafting tour.
4. Animal Encounters:
Another great winter activity, the Hamilton & Waikato region offers many opportunities to get up close and personal with a variety of native an exotic wildlife. Hamilton Zoo’s Face-2-Face encounters include Lemurs, Rhino and more, while the Otorohanga Kiwi House offers year round viewing of the native Kiwi in its nocturnal enclosure. 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.
5. Middle-earth Movie Magic:
With fewer crowds than the summer months, winter is the perfect time to explore the regions iconic Middle-earth attractions. 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, or for something a little different head south to PioPio and visit Hairy Feet Waitomo, where scenes from Trollshaw Forest in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey were filmed.
6. Foodie Delights:
Nothing is better in winter then a little indulgence and the Hamilton & Waikato regions boasts a variety of foodie options to tick this box. Enjoy a decadent High Tea at Zealong Tea Estate just north of Hamilton, enjoy the variety of options on offer in the SKYCITY Dining precinct, visit award winning Waikato restaurants or visit one of the regions many farmers markets for fresh local produce. Local wineries are also on offer, with many running mid-winter Christmas functions and other dining options.
7. Natural Spas:
The Hamilton & Waikato regions 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 boast 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 Hamilton & Waikato region's events calendar doesn’t slow down during winter. Brave a frosty morning to take part in one of the many cycling events, or stay indoors with concerts, plays, art exhibitions and more. The Super Rugby and Netball season will also keep loyal fans entertained as they support the Chiefs Rugby and Magic Netball teams. Search events here.
9. Cycle Trails:
Grab a bike and ride one of the great cycle trails on offer in the Waikato region including the Waikato River Trails, Te Awa River Ride, Timber Trail, Hauraki Rail trail and many more including local mountain bike parks. Search all the cycle tracks and trails on offer in the Waikato here
10. 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, or explore the city from another view on-board the Waikato River Explorer. Take a stroll along the banks of the Waikato River or on a clear morning get sky high with a hot air balloon ride.