• Italian Renaissance garden, Hamilton Garden, NZ.jpg
  • Children's Exhibition at Waikato Museum, Hamilton, NZ.jpg
  • Ruakuri Cave Waitomo, NZ

Short Escapes in Hamilton & Waikato

Explore together in the Hamilton & Waikato region this Easter school holidays with top attractions, award-winning dining options, outdoor adventures and much more...

Bag End, Hobbiton Movie Set, Matamata, NZ

Movie Magic

Middle-earth movie magic at Hobbiton Movie Set
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari, Te Awamutu, NZ

Outdoor Adventures

Top walking & cycling tracks
Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Discover Waitomo, New Zealand

Top Attractions

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

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School Holiday Activities

Discover family friendly attractions, events and much more in Hamilton & Waikato
The Waikato Show at Claudelands Conference and Exhibition Centre, Hamilton, NZ.jpg


From sporting matches to family festivals and much more...
Italian Renaissance garden, Hamilton Garden, NZ.jpg

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.

Hot Deals

Things to see and do

Autumn Events

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From the Blackcaps v Australia to the Kawhia Kai Festival and Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, Balloons Over Waikato and much more - we are set for a stella line-up of summer events in 2017 - the perfect excuse for a weekend away.

  • Magic Home Games - 26 March - 29 May: The 2017 ANZ Championship will see the Waikato Bay of Plenty Magic Netball team take on the Stars, Mystics, and Tactix at Claudelands Arena in Hamilton throughout March and May.
  • AON Maadi Cup - 27 March - 2 April: New Zealand’s largest rowing regatta, the AON Maadi Cup will see some of the country’s top school rowing teams compete at Lake Karapiro.
  • ECHO Walking Festival - 1 - 23 April: Enjoy Connecting Hills & Ocean (ECHO) walking festival is a celebration of the fantastic array of walking and hiking trials found throughout the Hamilton & Waikato and Coromandel regions.
  • The Great NZ Muster - 1 April: In in the best Kiwi tradition, each year Te Kuiti puts on a show with the Great New Zealand Muster, celebrating its unofficial status as shearing capital of the world.
  • The Great Pumpkin Carnival - 2 April: Giant ones, tiny ones, heavy ones and oddly shaped ones – there will be pumpkins of all shapes, sizes and creations on display at the Great Pumpkin Carnival at Hamilton Gardens.
  • Waikato Show - 7 - 9 April: The great family event that is the Waikato Show returns to Hamilton's Claudelands Event Centre this April.
  • Kihikihi International Horse Trials - 7 - 9 April: The annual Kihikihi International Horse Trials will once again bring together some of the best horse and rider combinations to compete in dressage, cross-country and show jumping.
  • The Generator Multi-sport Event - 8 April: Held along one of New Zealand’s Great Cycle Trails, the Waikato River Trails, the Generator is a challenging multi-sport event for individuals and teams.
  • Cambridge Autumn Festival - 19 - 30 April: The annual Cambridge Autumn Festival celebrates the performance and visual arts.
  • World Master Games (Rowing & Track Cycling) - 21 - 30 April: The Waipa district and the wider Waikato region are proud to host the World Masters Games rowing and track cycling events.
  • Waitomo Trail Run - 29 April: With a variety of courses to choose from, participants will walk/run past glowworms and karst landscapes, through native bush and natural tunnels plus much more on this unique trail running event.
  • Milk Matters interactive kids exhibition - until 29 April: Learn how milk is made and processed, why the Waikato is the dairy capital of NZ, and the science and technology used in the dairy farming industry – all in a fun an informative way.

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, Novotel 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 restaurants and entertainment destinations.
  • 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.
  • Hertz Hamilton: Flying into Hamilton? Grab a rental car from Hertz Hamilton.
  • Plus many more options

Activity Suggestions

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An event is the perfect excuse to plan a weekend away. Why not explore the 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 Glowworm Caves: Visit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
  • Hamilton Gardens: Explore the 2014 International Garden of the year and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
  • Watiomo Adventures: Get your adrenalin pumping with a zipline into the Lost World Cave with Waitomo Adventures.
  • Hamilton Zoo: Get up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with Hamilton Zoo's Eye2Eye encounters.
  • Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with native birdlife and reptiles.
  • Hobbiton Movie Set: Discover movie magic with a guided tour through the permanent Hobbiton Movie Set.
  • SKYCITY Hamilton: Check out SKYCITY's new Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
  • Waikato Museum: With top art and history exhibitions, the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity.
  • Retail Therapy: Get some retail therapy at NZ's largest shopping complex, Te Awa at The Base.
  • Raglan Rock: Get the adrenalin pumping with canyoning adventure abseiling down, jumping off and climbing up waterfalls.
  • Lake District Adventures: Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
  • Plus much more

Free Attractions

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

  • 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