Hamilton is the centre of the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand. The connecting thread in this area is the mighty Waikato River and Tainui – the Maori who belong to this land. While it is not the tourism capital of New Zealand, Hamilton is the perfect base to explore lots of areas, including fabulous bush reserves, amazing beaches and some great cycle ways.
Experience the birdlife at Mangatautari
Maungatautari is an exciting place – with 47kms of predator proof fence enclosing 3400ha it is the largest ecological island on mainland New Zealand.
Mangatautari is a bush reserves just 40 mintues drive from Hamilton. A car rental from Hertz in Hamilton will make your journey expedient and allow you to travel at your own pace. You can do anything from an hours stroll to 6 hour hike. You can also go at night time to see the amazing Kakapo which is the green feathered face of the Kakapo Recovery programme.You can do anything from an hours stroll to 6 hour hike. You can also go at night time to see the amazing Kakapo who is the green feathered face of the Kakapo Recovery programme.
Visit Raglan village and the Beach
Raglan is on the wild west coast in the Waikato – it is 45 minutes west of Hamilton by car on State Highway 23 (SH 23) It is best known for surfing and the arts. The village of Raglan has some great shops and cafes and you can feel its hippie roots, we really enjoyed our meal and the ambience at The Shack on the corner of Bow Street, but there is obviously lots to choose from here. Take time to walk around the beautiful Raglan harbour foreshore.
You have to journey a little further to find the beach at Raglan- one of the most surfing spots in New Zealand
Climb the Bridal Veil Falls stairs
The track is just a 20 minute walk to the spectacular 55 m falls.
The best bit is for those who can handle the 135 steps which will take you to midway viewing platform, – to get to the bottom of the falls you will be going down 261 of them in total.
Mokena Geyser – Te Aroha
Resting at the base of Mt Te Aroha, and behind the Te Aroha Mineral Spa, is a small fenced area that seems quite unassuming, but wait around for about 45 minutes and this small mound shows its importance as the Mokena Geyser – the world’s only hot soda spring geyser. The Geyser feeds the Te Aroha Mineral Spa and the water here has been drawing visitors for over 100 years due to its rejuvenating qualities.
Explore the stunning Hamilton Gardens
Hamilton Gardens are world famous and deservedly so in my opinion, and I am not your average keen garden goer. But these gardens are specatcular. The blend of NZ native fauna, the position on the Waikato River, the garden rooms celebrating the garden cultures of the world. The Hamilton Gardens are a must see in Hamilton.
The Waitomo Caves is known for its underground adventure options – from magical boat rides under thousands of glowworms, to abseiling 100m deep into the cave system. Above ground has just as much to offer making Waitomo a one day or multi day option.