From the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons Over Waikato to gourmet food markets, polo, cricket and more - extend that summer feeling with the great events on in Hamilton & Waikato.
- Gourmet in the Gardens: Every Sunday - The region’s best food trucks descend on the Hamilton Gardens to delight the punters eagerly awaiting tasty tucker on sunny Sunday afternoons.
- Brickman: 3 - 25 Mar - One of only 14 LEGO® Certified Professionals globally, Ryan McNaught (aka Brickman) brings the world’s most iconic landmarks made exclusively from LEGO® bricks to Claudelands.
- Heineken Urban Polo: 17 Mar - The Heineken Urban Polo is the closest you can get to the sport of Kings and is the event of the summer, showcasing a fusion of sport and music in the heart of city, and right at your door step.
- Turangawaewae Annual Regatta: 17 Mar - The annual Turangawaewae Regatta is a celebration of Maori culture, waka ama (canoe racing) and the Turangawaewae Marae.
- Piako Triathlon: 18 Mar - Perfect for children and those starting out in triathlons, the Piako Triathlon is held in Morrinsville
- Balloons Over Waikato: 21 - 25 Mar - Look skyward during March in Hamilton and you will be rewarded with the sight of brightly coloured hot-air balloons floating overhead as part of the hugely successful five-day Balloons Over Waikato. The Festival includes morning mass ascensions, the City Burn event and the popular Night Glow.
- The Great Pumpkin Carnival: 8 Apr - 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.
- The Great NZ Muster: 7 Apr - 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.
- Scooby Doo: 17 Apr - The much-loved Scooby-Doo and the Mystery Inc. Gang take centre stage in an all-new family musical, SCOOBY-DOO LIVE! MUSICAL MYSTERIES.
- Legion of Rowers Masters Regatta: 7 Apr - The final regatta of the 2017/2018 rowing season will see Masters rowers duke it out on Karapiro Rowing's 1000m course.
- Sheryl Crow & Melissa Etyheridge: 10 Apr - Two of the most successful female American singer/songwriters, Sheryl Crow and Melissa Etheridge, perform in a double headlining tour in New Zealand.
- Waitomo Trail Run: 28 Apr - 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.
- Plus many 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: (pictured) 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: 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
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 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, or try their newest family friendly tour, the Troll Cave.
- Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari: (pictured) 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 and get the blood pumping with a V8 Muscle Car or Supercar experience.
- 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 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