Waikato

Surf breaks, summits & subterranean worlds


The Waikato is a region defined by its geography, from the mighty Waikato River that flows right through it to the Kaimai Ranges that separate it from the Bay of Plenty and the dramatic black sand beaches of Raglan in the west. Feeling active and adventurous? Head here to take advantage of one of the best left-hand point breaks in the world at Manu Bay or go hiking up to the summit of Mt Te Aroha. 

Beneath ground level you've got a stunning subterranean world at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, which alongside the Hobbiton Movie Set is one of the area's premier attractions. The region's also home to breweries like Good George, Hot Water Brewing Co. and Crafty Trout if you fancy a cold one, along with many artisan producers of gourmet cuisine. In Hamilton you'll find the delectable Duck Island Ice Cream and Zealong Tea Estate - New Zealand's only tea plantation. 

Both Hamilton and Raglan feature a number of local galleries showcasing exhibitions of the region's local artists. The Waikato Museum in Hamilton is a must-visit for those interested in the Waikato's history, which is well worth delving into. On top of all this there are plenty of walking trails, like the one to Bridal Veil Falls just outside of Raglan, as well as cycling trails for all abilities. Kids will love visiting Hamilton Zoo, Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari and the Otorohanga Kiwi House and Native Bird Park. If you're visiting without the kids in tow, a walk through Hamilton Gardens is a great way to spend a sunny Sunday morning. 

Talk to our expert travel consultants about tailoring a Waikato itinerary that takes in all the experiences you want to soak up - there's something for everyone here. 

Things you should know about the Waikato

Manu Bay south of Raglan, also known as The Point, is considered to have the longest and most consistent left-hand break in the world. Little surprise it's become a mecca for surfers from all around the globe.

The Waikato River is the longest river in New Zealand, flowing for 425km from Lake Taupo to the Tasman Sea.

Rangiriri is the site of a bloody battle during the Waikato invasion, one of the major conflicts in the New Zealand Wars of the 1860s. You can wander the remaining earthworks there today and pay your respects to the Māori and British who lost their lives.

Tips and advice from our travel advisors

My favourite spots to go in Hamilton are the Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo, the Sculpture Park at Waitakaruru Arboretum, Waikato Stadium to see the Chiefs play, the Riff Raff statute, Waitomo, Fly with Kiwi Balloon Company, as well as Raglan and Hobbiton which are both close by.
Kiri Hill
World Travellers Hamilton

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