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Waikato, New ZealandWaikato Activity Highlights

Waikato | Regional Information | Activity Highlights | Scenic Highlights | History

Whatever the season, the Waikato region offers a wide range of activities. Daring adventure, rest and relaxation, family fun and cultural experiences; you'll find it all in Waikato.

Waikato Activity Highlights Overview

Waikato's wildly diverse landscape make it an exotic playground with something for everyone. Visit Lake Karapiro, spread a picnic rug and watch the water sports. Wakeboarding, rowing and water-skiing make exciting viewing during summer.

Visit Raglan and Kawhia and body surf, swim or walk the sand. Hike to beautiful Bridal Veil Falls or discover the views from the top of Mount Karioi.

Venture into Waitomo Caves to see stalactites, stalagmites and a magical display of glowworms. If one cave isn't enough, you can also explore the Aranui and Ruakuri caves.

» Waikato Activities Directory

River Life in Hamilton City

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Horse trek at Ruapuke, Waikato, New Zealand
Horse Trek at Ruapuke, Waikato
Photographer: Mark Smith
(mrmrsmith@clear.net.nz)

Cruise down the Waikato River on the M.V. Waipa Delta.

  • Wander around Hamilton Gardens, stunning themed gardens on the banks of the Waikato river
  • Visit Hamilton Zoo, a wildlife conservation park with a giant free flight aviary
  • The Waikato Museum of Contemporary Art and History has a wide range of art and Maori heritage exhibits

» Waikato River Information

» Hamilton Travel Directory

The Heart of the Country

Charming townships dot the rich green countryside of the Waikato region.

  • Call into Cambridge Thoroughbred Lodge, home of the New Zealand Horse Magic show, for an entertaining and educational presentation involving a variety of horse breeds
  • Take a stud farm tour. Enquire at the local Visitor Information Centre
  • Browse art, craft and antique shops
  • See New Zealand's largest collection of dolls, toys and teddy bears at The Castle
  • Visit the Kiwi House and aviary in Otorohanga, where the kiwi is bred in captivity
  • Take a 4WD (four-wheel drive) beach safari and dig your own hot pools at Kawhia Harbour

The Underground Landscape of Waitomo

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Luckie Strike Cave, Waitomo, Waikato, New Zealand
Luckie Strike Cave
Waitomo, Waikato
Photographer: Absolute Adventure
(www.absoluteadventure.co.nz)

There is excitement above and below the ground in Waitomo—be as daring as you want to be.

  • See the glowworm grottoes and the underground caverns of Waitomo
  • Try Black Water Rafting—float on an inflated inner tube past incredible limestone formations and under glowworms
  • Abseil into the Lost World Cave
  • Haggis Honking Holes is a challenging four hour cave trip
  • Woodlyn Park provides an insight into New Zealand's pioneer farming heritage—it also has drive yourself jet boats
  • Catch a Wave at Raglan
  • In the surfing world, Raglan is famous for its left-hand break.
  • Enjoy the excellent surfing and swimming beaches
  • Browse the heritage buildings, arts and crafts shops and cafes

» Waitomo Travel Directory

Matamata - Home of Hobbiton

Image Source: Tourism New Zealand. Karangahake Historic Walkway, Owharoa Falls, Waikato, New Zealand
Karangahake Historic Walkway
Owharoa Falls, Waikato
Photographer: Chris McLennan
(www.cmphoto.co.nz)

Matamata is famous for dairying and fine thoroughbred horses. It's easy to see why these green pastures and rolling hills were chosen to portray Hobbiton and The Shire in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy.

Although much of the set was deconstructed post filming, hobbit fans can still visit Hobbiton, wander among the hobbit holes and listen to the fascinating commentary about how it was all created.

» Matamata Travel Directory

» Lord of the Rings Tours Directory

» Lord of the Rings Driving Routes

Hot Springs, Mountain Biking and More

The towns of Te Aroha and Matamata combine adventure with relaxation.

  • Opal Hot Springs are natural mineral springs, for a therapeutic and relaxing swim
  • Jump out of a plane! Tandem or solo jumps are available through Skydive Waikato
  • Visit Firth Tower Historical Museum—an authentically furnished farm homestead and worker's cottage circa 1900
  • Go gliding, experience the thrill of the launch and the magic of unpowered flight
  • Burn off some energy on 10 kilometres of all weather mountain bike track in the foothills of Mount Te Aroha
  • Soak in a hot pool at Te Aroha Hot Springs Domain

» Te Aroha Travel Directory

» Matamata Travel Directory

Useful Waikato Links

To help plan your Waikato holiday choose from the main categories below:

Waikato Region Information

Waikato Tourism Operators

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Featured

 
Mainstay New Zealand Hotels

Mainstay NZ Hotels

Large collection of independent hotels.

Choice Hotels

Choice Hotels

Holiday packages for any occasion.

Distinction Hotels

Distinction Hotels

Great hotels in great NZ wide locations.