Top Festival Picks
The Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival hosts an impressive line up of arts, music, theatre, dance, film, family, writers and comedy events - check out just some of the great line-up below.
- Sonic Cocktails: A multi-sensory experience of sound and flavour - this event expertly matches taste and sound.
- Garden Giggles: Grab your friends and family and get entertained by the Laugh Club.
- Opera at Twilight: Always a festival favourite, a stunning operatic performance in the Medici Court of the Hamilton Gardens.
- Exposing Edith: An award-winning cabaret tale about French icon Edith Piaf, created and performed by Michaela Burger and Greg Wain.
- Mid-Summer Murder Mystery: A Garden Party. A Fiendish Poinsoning. A Race against Time. Can you catch the killer?
- Juan Vesuvius - I Am Your DeeJay: Lunatic Caribbean DJ explores the history of House Music using turntables and surreal physical comedy. Superstar disc jockey Juan Vesuvius brings his turntables to Hamilton to deliver the greatest and strangest DJ set you’ve ever experienced.
- Wilfred Gordon McDonald's Partridge: A delightful play about a young boy, his older neighbours and a search for lost memories.
- Bike Ballet: This even shows off the grace and movement of bikes en masse as they circle and dance with each other.
- Devilskin: Devilskin have established themselves as a household name in New Zealand. They were formed in Hamilton in 2010, and exploded onto the NZ rock scene with WE RISE, an album that went platinum.
- Peter Paka Paratene: A night of story, song and verse with world renowned performer Rawiri Paratene.
- The Cosmic Carnival: Strap yourself in for a rollercoaster ride of dance and mayhem.
- The Topp Twins Kids Show: Armed with a guitar, mouth-harp and spoons, expect the unexpected and some of the finest yodelling you'll ever hear.
- Shirley Valentine: A hilarious and heart-warming tale of mid-life awakening.
- Mid-Summer Night's Dream: Love is in the air as Lysander, Hermia, Demetrius and Helena escape into the woods against the wishes of their families.
- Festival Family Funday: Come down to the gardens on Saturday 17 February for a range of fun events for all the whānau, including the teddy bears’ picnic, free performances in the festival hub and jade dragon stage, and our very first children’s film festival.
- Katherine Mansfield Garden Party: Buckle up your shoes, or put on your spats, and step back in time to the roaring twenties.
- Sunset Symphony: Sunset Symphony is the must-do event of the year. An evening of music and celebration, as part of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival this is your opportunity to enjoy wonderful orchestral music as the sun goes down culminating in fireworks choreographed to the finale.
- Plus many more...
More great things to see and do
If you are visiting from out of town for the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, 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.
- Free Attractions: From great walking trails and parks to explore, to spectacular waterfalls and more - explore the region on any budget with the great free attractions on offer.
- Waitomo Glowworm Caves: Visit the world famous Waitomo Glowworm Caves and gaze in awe at the galaxy of glowworms.
- Hobbiton Movie Set: 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 Gardens: Explore the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and discover different civilisations and historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world.
- SKYCITY Hamilton: Check 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.
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: Discover Plentiful walks through native forest for close encounters with birdlife and reptiles.
- Hamilton Zoo: Get up close and personal with exotic animals such as Lemur and Rhino with a Eye2Eye encounter at Hamilton Zoo.
- Waikato Museum: With top art, history and interactive kids exhibitions the Waikato Museum is a perfect indoor activity for the entire family.
- Hampton Downs: Challenge friends and family to a few laps of go karting at Hampton Downs.
- Good George Brewery: Learn 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 Estate: Treat yourself to a high tea overlooking the stunning tea plantation.
- Raglan Rock: Get the adrenaline pumping with canyoning adventure abseiling down, jumping off and climbing up waterfalls.
- Raglan Kayak & Paddleboard: Explore Raglan's limestone coast with kayak & paddleboard tours and rentals.
- Raglan Surf School: Learn to surf on Raglan's world famous left-hand surf breaks.
- 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...
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: (Pictured) In the heart of Hamilton City, Sudima Hamilton is walking distance to all major restaurants and entertainment destinations.
- Distinction Hamilton Hamilton: 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.
Flying to Hamilton?
With daily direct flights from Wellington, Christchurch and more, flying to Hamilton will get you to your Short Escape faster.
- Find Flights: Fly direct to Hamilton airport.
- Hertz Hamilton: Grab a rental car from Hertz Hamilton, located at Hamilton Airport.
- Plus many more options