Hamilton Zoo houses 500-plus species including wily and curious chimpanzees. Guided-tour options include Face2Face opportunities to go behind the scenes to meet various animals, plus daily Meet the Keeper talks (free) from the critters’ caregivers. The zoo is 8km northwest of Hamilton city centre.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Hamilton attractions

1. Classics Museum

2.12 MILES

Travel back through time amid this collection of more than 100 classic cars from the first half of the 20th century. Even if you’re not a motorhead, you…

2. Riverbank Lane

3.78 MILES

Explore this laneway with good restaurants and cafes and interesting shopping. To the right of the lane, a recently developed outdoor area has good views…

3. Riff Raff

3.85 MILES

One of Hamilton’s more unusual public artworks is a life-sized statue of Rocky Horror Picture Show writer Richard O’Brien, aka Riff Raff, the time-warping…

4. ArtsPost

3.91 MILES

This contemporary gallery and gift shop is housed in a grand former post office. It focuses on the best of local art: paintings, glass, prints, textiles…

5. Waikato Museum

3.95 MILES

The excellent Waikato Museum has several main areas: an art gallery; interactive science galleries; a Waikato River exhibition; and Tainui galleries…

6. Waikato River

3.99 MILES

Bush-covered walkways run along both sides of the river and provide the city’s green belt. Jogging paths continue to the boardwalk circling Lake Rotoroa,…

7. Hamilton Gardens

5.14 MILES

Spread over 50 hectares southeast of the city centre, Hamilton Gardens incorporates a large park, a cafe, a restaurant, and extravagant themed and…

8. Zealong Tea Estate


Interesting tours learning about the only tea plantation in NZ, located around 10km northeast of Hamilton. Delicious high-tea experiences offering tea…