Welcome to Hamilton


The city definitely has an appeal, with vibrant bars and excellent restaurants and cafes around Hood and Victoria Sts. You’re guaranteed to eat really well after visiting highlights like the Hamilton Gardens.

The great grey-green Waikato River rolls right through town, but the city’s layout largely ignores its presence: unless you’re driving across a bridge you’ll hardly know it’s there. Thankfully, work has begun on a development to provide access from the CBD to riverside walking trails.

Most people blast along SH1 between Auckland and Hamilton in about 1½ hours, but if you’re keen to meander, the upper Waikato has some interesting diversions including Ngaruawahia, where you will find Turangawaewae Marae.


Top experiences in Hamilton

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Hamilton activities

$168.11 Day Trips & Excursions

Rotorua to Auckland 1-Way Tour, via Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Following a morning pickup from your Rotorua hotel, meet your guide and hop aboard your luxury coach for the journey to New Zealand’s famous Waitomo Caves. Travel through picturesque rural scenery of the Mamaku Ranges and listen as your guide talks of the area’s heritage on route. Enjoy spectacular sights such as Fitzgerald Glade — where the trees arch overhead to form a tunnel of natural greenery — and capture the countryside views on camera. On arrival at Waitomo Caves, follow your guide for a 45-minute tour through the world-famous subterranean caverns. Learn how the stalagmites, stalactites and other spectacular limestone rock formations formed over millions of years, and soak up the atmosphere in this otherworldly cavern system beneath the ground. Take a boat ride through the caves and marvel at the thousands of tiny lights emitted by the glow-worms hanging from the ceilings. First discovered in 1887, the caves are home to glow-worms unique to New Zealand and now rank among the country’s most fascinating and popular attractions. After your boat ride, explore the Waitomo visitors’ complex at your leisure and learn more about this unique and beautiful corner of New Zealand. Take a seat and relax amongst the trees in the natural setting outside the caves or enjoy a buffet lunch (if option selected). Restaurant and café-style meals are available at your own expense. When your time at the Waitomo Caves is up, hop back aboard your coach for the onward journey north toward Auckland. Pass through the ‘Bridge City’ of Hamilton and the lush farmland of the Waikato region — the dairy farming capital of New Zealand — and arrive in Auckland in the mid-afternoon to conclude your tour.

$56.26 Cultural & Theme Tours

Hobbiton™ Movie Set 2-Hour Walking Tour from Shires Rest

The Hobbiton™ Movie Set is a 2-hour experience to tantalize the senses of visitors from across the globe. This fully guided walking tour allows guests to  find themselves engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire™, see the home of the Hobbits™, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. The extraordinary following that the movies have amassed has led to these tours becoming a must-see while travelers are in New Zealand. The Hobbiton™ Movie Set is the only set that remains intact from the trilogies. This allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in the wonders of The Shire. Visitors are given a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the iconic movie set in its full glory; from wandering the rambling paths of The Shire, to seeing the submerged Hobbit Holes™ that litter the rolling hillsides. You will be taken around the 12-acre set: past Hobbit Holes™, the Mill and into the world-famous Green Dragon™ Inn, where you will be presented with a complimentary, exclusive Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ beverage to conclude your own Middle-earth™ adventure. This walking tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set will be 2 hours including transport to and from the movie set.

$803.03 Multi-day & Extended Tours

3-Day Waitomo Caves, Rotorua and Taupo Trip from Auckland

Day 1 - Auckland to Waitomo, RotoruaTravel by coach to Rotorua via Waitomo where you will stop for a guided tour through the long galleries and lofty chambers of the World Famous Glowworm Caves. Your tour continues with a boat ride through the Glowworm Grotto, illuminated by thousands of tiny lights from the glow worms suspended from the cave ceiling. Lunch will be served on the coach while you travel on to Rotorua by road via the Fitzgerald Glade.Next stop is Agrodome, for an introduction to New Zealand farming. Take a 60-minute tour of an authentic working farm in all-weather, all-terrain vehicles and watch a sheep being shorn and hand-feed the animals. Next, enjoy a sheep dog demonstration and a visit to a 100-year-old working woollen mill.Arrive at Te Puia, New Zealand’s Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Here you will see a 45-minute traditional song and dance inside the sacred meeting house. Visitors are treated to perfect harmonies, the rhythms of the Poi dance, the ferocity of the Haka and the complexity of the Tititorea (stick games). As you exit the concert venue, your Te Puia host will meet you for the guided tour through the Institute grounds, viewing Maori carving, flax garment making and a life size replica of a traditional Maori village. Your walk continues through the geothermal area, past boiling mud pools and the famous Pohutu Geyser. There is also the opportunity to wander through the nocturnal Kiwi House (time allowing).This afternoon you will be transferred to your selected accommodation.Day 2 - Rotorua to TaupoThis morning is at leisure. You have the opportunity this morning to explore on foot the Rotorua township. You will be pickup at your hotel at 12.15pm.Leaving Rotorua the drive to Lake Taupo takes you south through extensive exotic forests to the geothermal areas of Waimangu and Wairakei, where steam is harnessed to generate electricity. You arrive at Lake Taupo - a huge volcanic crater, where you'll be transferred to your accommodation.The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to explore this most picturesque township.Day 3 - Taupo to AucklandThis morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of the local scenic attractions. Before departing on this tour please ensure you have checked out of your room and take your luggage with you. The tour will include the Taupo Marina, Huka Falls, Wairakei Geothermal Power Station, the Craters of the Moon, and the famous Aratiatia Rapids before returning to Taupo.Leaving Taupo and return to Auckland by coach, you drive north past the big timber mill at Tokoroa, through Putaruru and then alongside Lake Karapiro to Cambridge and Hamilton. The road leads through Nagaruawahia (home of the late Maori Queen) and alongside the Waikato River until you cross the Bombay Hills to reach Auckland, where your tour concludes.

$13.39 Sightseeing Tickets & Passes

Hamilton Gardens Guided Tour

Hamilton Gardens is one of Waikato’s most visited attractions, with approximately one million visitors each year. Forty years ago Hamilton Gardens was a bleak landscape. It was the site of a former Victorian rifle range and dog dosing station, covered in blackberries with seagulls circling above. It was the city’s rubbish dump. Today, the Gardens has 21 themed gardens on 54 hectares alongside the Waikato River. Telling the story of gardens through themed garden collections, Hamilton Gardens explores different civilizations, and recreates historically important garden styles from the farthest reaches of the world. Hamilton Gardens is not a botanical garden. Instead, its unique and internationally recognized concept has been compared to a museum. Each garden collection has historic integrity and provides a window into the story of civilizations, their arts, beliefs and lifestyles.  Guides who will share the ‘inside story’ of how Hamilton Gardens was transformed from a rubbish dump into an internationally significant garden and take visitors on a journey of discovery along paths delivering mysterious surprises: step from a peaceful Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholar’s Garden into an Italian Renaissance Garden, before being enthralled by the grandeur of the Indian Char Bagh (‘four quartered’) Garden.  Guided tours leave the Hamilton Gardens Information Centre at 11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Tours take approximately 1.15 hours.

$395.15 Transfers & Ground Transport

Round-Trip Private Transfer from Auckland to Zealong Tea Estate

Located near Hamilton in the Waikato region, the Zealong Tea plantation is in a very beautiful & natural environment. It is New Zealand's only tea plantation and produces some of the purest tea in the world. Ideal for an insightful relaxing day trip away from Auckland or hosting special events in a beautiful setting. We recommend this venue for a relaxing stop-over when travelling between Auckland & other cities such as Rotorua, Hobbiton & Waitomo. It also a perfect location for special events such as business meetings, weddings and social functions. Tea Tour This tour from Auckland takes approximately 1.5 - 2 hours travel time on a nice journey through the rural Bombay hills. Perfect for any group size the Zealong Tea plantation offers a 1.5 - 2 hour tour and tea tasting complimented by a beautiful high tea lunch. Departure times from Auckland are 7:30AM or 12:30PM Zealong Tea plantation tours start at 9:30AM and 2:30PM High Tea Lunch Ideal for tea lovers wishing to try New Zealand's finest. Families, overseas visitor's or corporate meetings in a superb relaxing environment, lunch at Zealong is hard to beat. After completing the tour enjoy a high tea lunch experience with a very highly rated dining experience. Special Events Upon request Zealong can cater to your special event or occasion. The private Zealong Pavillion is a superb setup for weddings, baby/bridal showers, birthdays, anniversaries, or any other private or corporate function. special occasions or overseas visitors wishing to learn more about New Zealand's finest drop. Ride in comfort with our up-market vehicles & entertaining drivers or take it to the next level getting the best possible views from the air in our small planes.

$354.97 Day Trips & Excursions

International Hobbit Day Return Trip From Auckland - Only happens once a year!

Depart from your Auckland hotel or airport at 1pm in our luxurious vehicle (we can also arrange to pick you up from Hamilton), sit back, relax and enjoy your drive south over the Bombay Hills through the farmland of the Waikato region. Celebrate International Hobbit Day at Hobbiton Movie Set with a guided tour of the Shire at dusk. Hobbiton Movie Set is an experience to tantalise the senses as guests find themselves engulfed in the sights, smells, sounds and tastes of The Shire™, at the home of the Hobbits™, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies. Your guide escorts you through the twelve-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the movie set was created. You will then have the chance to spend the evening in our special event area created for Hobbit Day.  With a drink in hand you will have a chance to wander the Marketplace, a bustling, vibrant experience.  Taste a real piece of the Shire from individually themed stalls bursting with traditional Hobbit fare. The market stalls consist of New Zealand cheeses, freshly baked artisan breads, cured meats, smoked fish, and of course fresh produce from the Hobbiton™ gardens. Throughout the evening there will be roaming entertainment mingling amongst the guests.  Inside The Green Dragon Inn, you will have ample time to relax in front of the open fires. The Green Dragon™ Inn was the meeting place for all residents of Hobbiton, who would gather in the warm surroundings of the bar to chatter about the day’s events. Indulge in a few beverages from our Hobbit™ Southfarthing™ range, which encompasses two traditional ales, an apple cider and non-alcoholic ginger beer, all handcrafted and exclusive to Hobbiton™ Movie Set.   In the Green Dragon and the Party Marquee, buffet tables will be full of traditional Hobbit fare and as is the tradition in The Shire, second helpings are encouraged.    To conclude this premium Hobbiton Movie Set experience, after dinner the guests will re-­join their guide to make their way back through the wandering paths of Hobbiton. The trails will be illuminated by path lighting and guests will receive an authentic handheld lantern to light the way. This stunning journey under moonlight will travel through the village breathtakingly lit up with Hobbit hole chimney’s smoking and lanterns glowing against the darkness. Prizes for best dressed will be awarded on the night. You will then be transported back to your hotel in Auckland while you sit back & relax. Tickets are limited so get in early and enjoy a one of a kind celebration in the Shire!