Balloons Over Waikato Festival

Balloons Over Waikato Festival

21st - 25th 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.

Balloons Over Waikato - Special Shapes

Special Shapes

Check out the special shapes making an appearance at the 2017 Balloons Over Waikato.
Balloons Over Waikato Programme

Programme of Events

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

Event Details

From 21st - 25th March 2017 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.

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

  • Accommodation in Hamilton & Waikato


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

  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Discover Waitomo, New Zealand

    Visitor Guide

    Download a copy of the 2019 Official Hamilton & Waikato Regional Visitor Guide. Full of top attractions, dining options and a regional map...

  • Dining Options in Hamilton & Waikato

    Dining Options

    From award winning breweries to local coffee roasters, 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 21st 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 22nd 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.

Friday 23rd March

  • First Credit Union Friday Fun Day - 7:30am, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake
    More info comming soon on this event
  • Balloons Visit South Waikato - 6pm - 8pm, Tokoroa 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.
  • 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 24th March

  • McDonald's Hamilton 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 POSTPONED TO SUNDAY 25th MARCH (SEE BELOW)
    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 25th March

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

Activity Suggestions

Top Activities & Attractions in Hamilton & Waikato

Make the most of your short escape with these great activity suggestions. From underground wonders and Middle-earth Movie Magic to wildlife encounters, kayak trips and much more.

  • Waitomo Glowworm CavesVisit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
  • Hobbiton Movie Set: (pictured) Discover movie magic with a guided tour through the permanent set as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
  • Hamilton GardensExplore the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
  • SKYCITY HamiltonCheck out SKYCITY Hamilton's new Bowl & Social for ten pin bowling, great food and timezone games.
  • Watiomo Adventures: Get your adrenaline pumping with a zipline, abseil or black water rafting trip with Waitomo Adventures, or try their newest family friendly tour, the Troll Cave.
  • Sanctuary Mountain MaungatautariDiscover Plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with birdlife and reptiles.
  • Hamilton ZooGet up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with a Eye2Eye encounter at Hamilton Zoo.
  • Waikato MuseumWith top art, history and interactive kids exhibitions the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity for the entire family.
  • Hampton DownsChallenge friends and family to a few laps of go karting at Hampton Downs.
  • Good George BreweryLearn all about the brewing process and their award-winning beers with a Brewery Tour, or enjoy a bite to eat in the dining hall.
  • Zealong Tea EstateTreat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
  • Raglan RockGet the adrenaline pumping with canyoning adventure abseiling down, jumping off and climbing up waterfalls.
  • Raglan Kayak & PaddleboardExplore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals.
  • Raglan Surf SchoolLearn to surf on Raglan's world famous left-hand surf breaks.
  • Lake District Adventures: (pictured) Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
  • Plus much more.

Accommodation Options

Accommodation Options in Hamilton & Waikato

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.
  • Distinction Hamilton Hamilton: (pictured) Boasting 147 rooms and suites, many refurbished in 2017, free unlimited Wi-Fi, restaurant & bar, fitness centre, indoor swimming pool & spa pools.
  • 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.