Places of interest to visit in and around Hamilton

Hamilton offers a vast array of sights and interesting activities that helps to showcase the gorgeous Waikato Region. This includes the Award winning Hamilton Gardens. Listed below are a few activities that our region has on offer!

Hamilton Gardens

30 min | The Hamilton Gardens are undoubtedly New Zealand's premier garden attraction. The delightful themed gardens include the Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, American Modernist Garden, Italian Renaissance Garden, and the Indian Char Bagh Garden complete with colonnades, pagodas, dovecotes raked sand and a mini Taj Mahal.

Also stroll through New Zealand's first traditional Maori garden. Free entry. Tours are available. www.hamiltongardens.co.nz

Lake Rotoroa

12 min | A popular walk is to circle Hamilton's Lake Rotoroa. At around 4km the off-road walkway with nothing between you and the lake takes you around its edge on boardwalks and paths, through stands of bush and past myriads of wading and free flight birds.

Hamilton Zoo

13 min |  Stroll through the award-winning Hamilton Zoo which is home to over 400 exotic and native birds, mammals and reptiles. Enjoy the largest walk-through aviary in Australasia, landscaped with New Zealand native plants and home to endangered native birds. hamiltonzoo.co.nz

Waikato Museum

12 min | Waikato Museum has an excellent collection of Tainui Maori treasures on display, including the Te Winika, our majestic 200 year old carved waka (canoe). waikatomuseum.co.nz

ArtsPost Galleries / Shop and Hamilton I-Site Visitor Information

12 min | Next door to the museum is a contemporary gallery and gift shop housed in the grand former Post Office. It mainly focuses on local artists (admission free). read more Also now located in this building is the Hamilton I-Site Visitor Information Centre is an essential stop for all visitors. Come in and see our comprehensive range of brochures, maps and visitor guides. www.visithamilton.co.nz

Waikato River Explorer

30 min or 6 min | Experience a relaxing Waikato River scenic cruise and enjoy spectacular views of the river and/or Hamilton city. There is a fully licensed bar on board and cafe-style food available for purchase. Cruises run from Hamilton Gardens. A new service has started with regular round trips from the newly installed museum jetty in the city.. Check out their website for more details. Telephone 0800 139 756 or www.waikatoexplorer.co.nz

Waikato River Walk or Te Awa River Ride

5 min |  Walk or Hire a bicycle and ride alongside the Waikato River from the Hamilton Gardens through the City to Ngaruawahia in the North. te-awa.org.nz

Hamilton History Walking Tour

12 min | Starting at Waikato Museum, this tour offers an insight into the varied stories of Hamilton's past, from the traditions and legends of Kirikiriroa, through the early days of the settlement by Europeans, to the booming central city of the glory days in the 1950s.. This is an external guided walking tour. more info

Walking & Hiking Trails

 or   | Hamilton and the Waikato Region has a variety of great walking and hiking trails to suit everyone. For more information: more info

Dining, Shopping & Entertainment  in Hamilton

6 min | Lido Cinema – Hamilton is a boutique luxury cinema with stunning plush furnishings and decor, large comfortable lounge chairs and a selection of coffees, wines and yummy ice-cream. This gem is tucked away in The Balcony in Centre Place Shopping Complex. www.lidocinema.co.nz

5-15 min | Restaurant and Dining Options Hamilton City has an abundance of top quality dining from which to choose from during your visit. The city’s nightlife is making a name for itself with top restaurants and eateries offering a variety of internationally inspired cuisine alongside delicious local kiwi fare. Cafes offer casual dining throughout the inner city, while the many fine dining restaurants boast an array of national accolades. From fresh locally sourced produce to international cuisines to suit all budgets, Hamilton diners are spoilt for choice. The south end of the central city is abuzz with pubs, clubs, sports bars, micro-breweries and the modern Skycity Hamilton casino, each regularly offering live bands and entertainment. more info

5-15 min | Shopping Options Boutique stores throughout Hamilton city sell high-end fashion and gifts while the Spanish-style Casabella Lane is known for its unique setting and elegant gift stores. Check out the city’s large modern mall - www.centreplace.co.nz

5-15 min | Markets Hamilton and the Waikato region have several markets operating on different days throughout the month. These markets offer fresh produce and homemade crafts and arts and are well worth visiting especially if you are looking for unusual gifts and art work. Please click on the link for more information. more info

18 min | Zealong Tea Estate It all started with a camellia tree. Flowering, lush and green, the camellia grew next door to Tzu Chen’s house in New Zealand’s Waikato region. A lover of oolong tea, Mr Chen was struck by the similarities between tea plants and the camellia. Today, Zealong tea is a testament to Mr Chen and Vincent’s dream. Enjoy a cup of pure Zealong Tea with lunch or high tea on the balcony overlooking New Zealand’s only oolong tea plantation. zealong.com

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

50 min |  Experience New Zealand the way it use to be. Step into the world of what once was 3400 hectares, the maunga is by far the largest pest-proof fenced project in the world where it’s a viable home for our most endangered species - from birds to bats, frogs to reptiles, tuatara to giant weta.

This is the best place to see many of our endangered birds in their natural environment and it is on the same road to Waitomo Caves turning off at Kihikihi and driving 20 minutes to the Visitors Centre at 99 Tari Road, Pukeatua. www.sanctuarymountain.co.nz


50 min |  Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating guided tour.

There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm. www.hobbitontours.com

Waitomo Caves

1 hr |  Journey underground on a subterranean adventure at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves. Discover an underground labyrinth of limestone caves and formations.

These limestone caves with accompanying geological formations and glowing bugs are deservedly one of the premier attractions of the North Island. The area's name comes from the Maori words wai (water) and tomo (hole).

Waitomo offers more than caves - Water Tubing, Abseiling, numerous walks, a Zipline Park and the Iconic Star of New Zealand's Kiwi Culture Show - Bill Black Woolman (recommended) For more info Waitomo I-Site Visitor Information.


Raglan 40 min | Just a short drive west of Hamilton is Raglan one of New Zealand's most popular places to visit. Spend time at one of the many black sand beaches, swimming, surfing, and body boarding. Explore this beautiful town and check out its unique shops and restaurants. Raglan's world famous breaks are found at 3 points: Manu Bay, Whale Bay and The Indicators. This is the hottest surfing mecca in New Zealand. Manu Bay (Waireke) is 8 kms from Raglan. This famous surf break, also known as The Point, as it is said to have the longest left hand ride in the world. Raglan still remains one of the most ‘unspoilt' spots to visit in New Zealand. Mt Karioi (the majestic dormant volcano) looks like a sleeping lady - dominates the coastal town and is almost hypnotic. Don't miss Ngarunui Beach which is on the road to Manu Bay and is well signposted for its breaktaking views and gorgeous sunsets. On the way to Raglan turn off at Te Mata Road (well signposted) and drive for 15 minutes for an easy trek down to the bottom of Bridal Veil Falls for a spectacular view of this natural waterfall. www.raglan.org.nz

Mount Maunganui

90 min | White golden beaches and very popular during the summer. Climb to the top of Mauao to capture the unbelievable views. Then treat yourself to a soak in the heated Hot Water Pools at the base of Mauao. more info


90 min |  is steaming geysers, mud boiling ponds, rich in Maori tradition and although it has a pervasive eggy odour this hasn't prevented ‘Sulphur City’ becoming one of the most touristy spots on the North Island. www.rotoruanz.com


24 min | The Avantidrome is one of New Zealand’s premier sports and recreational facilities, based in Cambridge in the heart of the Waipa District and the Home of Champions territory. Central to the facility is the world class, 250m indoor cycling velodrome. Our 'open door' policy allows the public to come and visit for free anytime  during our opening hours. Bring the kids out and use the free Gallagher bike skills park or Perry Playground, visit  The Bikery Cafe, watch riders training on the track, and even get riding on the track yourself!

Lake Karapiro

35 min | Lake Karapiro is a man-made lake on the Waikato River and is renowned as a world-class rowing venue. A number of other water sports events are held at the lake including yachting, powerboating, canoeing and water skiing. The centre of the action is Lake Karapiro Domain where delicious food and coffee can be purchased at the Podium Cafe while enjoying the views out over the lake.

See you in Hamilton...