New Zealand may have travel restrictions in place due to COVID-19.

Find out moreOpens in new tab or window

WaikatoNew Zealand

Visit a famous filming location, enjoy shopping in a metropolitan hub and explore caves and other striking natural areas in this beautiful region.

Waikato is a picturesque region featuring some of New Zealand’s most popular attractions, including a filming location of the famous Lord of the Rings series. Stay in a small village for caving and heritage buildings or enjoy many excellent outdoor activities, such as kayaking, swimming, mountain biking and hiking.

Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in the rural Waikato town of Matamata. The town’s rolling hills and lush green pastures were chosen for the Shire and Hobbiton filming locations from the Lord of the Rings series. Wander through the picturesque hillside setting to see more than 40 individual “hobbit holes”.

Another highlight of Waikato is the Waitomo Caves, a complex network of sinkholes, underground rivers and limestone caves. Book a walking or boat tour of the caves to see an impressive display of stalactites and stalagmites. If you’re ready for a challenge, try rafting through the underground labyrinth with an experienced guide. Find the remarkable natural formations under the hills of Waitomo.

Stop at Hamilton for riverside walks and beautiful botanical gardens. The fourth-largest city in New Zealand features many excellent cafés, restaurants and bars. Visit Waikato Museum to learn the region’s history. Attend many international sporting events, including rugby, netball and cricket matches. With luxurious hotels and self-contained apartments, Hamilton is a great place to stay when visiting Waikato.

The scenic region is famous for its charming small towns. Stop at Cambridge for beautiful heritage buildings and pretty tree-lined streets. Tour a thoroughbred horse stud park or shop in many antique stores in the town centre. Cambridge also contains lovely public parks, attractive gardens and outstanding local restaurants.

Other excellent small towns include the West Coast beach town of Raglan and the historic coal town of Huntly. Find Waikato on New Zealand’s North Island, about 167 kilometres (104 miles) south of Auckland.

With so many attractive towns and lively urban areas, you’ll find perfect accommodations in Waikato.

Popular cities in Waikato

Huka Falls which includes a bridge and rapids as well as a large group of people
Known for Lakes, Spas and Family-friendly


Reasons to visit
  • Lake Taupo
  • Craters of the Moon
  • Taupo Bungy
Coromandel Peninsula featuring a bay or harbour, rugged coastline and a sunset
Coromandel Forest Park

Reasons to visit
  • Hot Water Beach
  • Butterfly and Orchid Garden
  • Hauraki Rail Trail - Day Rides
Wairakei showing a hot spring
Known for Dining, Friendly People and Spas


Reasons to visit
  • Wairakei Terraces & Thermal Health Spa
  • Prawn Farm
  • Aratiatia Rapids
Hamilton featuring general coastal views, a sporting event and waves
Known for Spas, Family-friendly and Gardens


Reasons to visit
  • Hobbiton Movie Set
  • Hamilton Gardens
Thames showing a river or creek, landscape views and a small town or village
Known for Tour, Rivers and Historical Buildings


Reasons to visit
  • Butterfly and Orchid Garden
Hot Water Beach which includes a sandy beach, a bay or harbour and waves
Known for Beaches, Sea and Walking


Reasons to visit
  • Mercury Bay