Centre of the Waikato region, Hamilton is an easy drive south of Auckland. The mighty 425 km long Waikato River flows through the city, providing riverscapes and water activities. Waikato means flowing water.
The top attraction to the region is the Waitomo Caves, a short drive south of the city. Since Waitomo means water in a hole in the ground, it is not surprising that the Caves have a river flowing through them. Insects come in with the water and these insects feed the famous Glow-worms that light up to delight visitors. There are three caves open to the public: Waitomo with a boat ride and Glowworm Grotto; Aranui, a dry cave with plenty of NZ Wetas, and Ruakuri, with a long 90-minute tour or the thrilling Black Water Rafting activity.
KIds & Families
Hamilton Zoo has a collection of native and imported animals and is involved in the conservation of some of the world’s endangered animals. Be sure to see the prehistoric native of New Zealand, the tuatara lizard. There are river activities in Hamilton to be enjoyed, from riverside walks to canoeing, kayaking, cruising and jet boating. The Hamilton Jet boat is a New Zealand invention, designed for fast travel up shallow rivers. Take a kid fishing, and enjoy the quiet pleasure of the mighty Waikato in its quiet moments.
The favourite activity for fans of “Lord of the Rings’ is a visit to Hobbiton, a movie set in the hills outside the country town of Matamata. (Maori for Headland). Have lunch and a drink at the Green Dragon Pub, indulge at a Festive Feast or Evening Banquet. Walk around the Shire admire the Hobbit Holes.
A trip to Rotorua, New Zealand’s geothermal wonderland is a fascinating adventure. Steam, geysers, boiling mud and Maori culture are all on offer in this tourist gem.