A verdant and sprawling area centred on the city of Hamilton, the Waikato region is renowned throughout New Zealand as dairy farming country. Highlights for travellers include the excellent restaurants, bars and cafes of its biggest (only) city, the surf and cafe scene at laid-back Raglan, and the Middle Earth vibe of the extremely popular Hobbiton film set near Matamata. To escape the Tolkien fans, take a trip off the beaten track to the excellent Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari.