Make the most of your summer with a short escape in Hamilton & Waikato

From top events for the whole family to great activities & attractions - make the most of your next short escape in Hamilton & Waikato

Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, Hamilton NZ


From the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and Balloons Over Waikato to international cricket matches, polo and more...

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.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves

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Family Friendly Activities
Fun Time

Family Friendly Activities

From animal encounters to ten pin bowling - discover family friendly activities in Hamilton & Waikato
Relaxing Time


Inner city hotels, B&Bs, holiday parks and more...
Sharing Time

Dining Options

From great local cafes to award-winning restaurants

Hot Deals

  • Waitomo Glowworm Caves

    Glowworm Cave Combos

    Make the most of your visit to the Waitomo Caves with the great Glowworm Cave Combo deals

Things to see and do

Upcoming Events

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.

Accommodation Options

Accommodation in Hamilton & Waikato NZ

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.


Activity Suggestions

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 SetDiscover 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 Maungatautari: (pictured) Discover 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 and get the blood pumping with a V8 Muscle Car or Supercar experience.
  • 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: Take a magical glowwom kayak tour on Lake Karapiro, or hire some bikes to explore the Waikato River Trails.
  • Plus much more.

Free Attractions

Free Attractions in Hamilton & Waikato

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