Wonders of Waikato

Head north to Waikato this summer season, with heaps to keep the whole family buzzing!

Explore the Mighty Waikato and make the most of the summer holidays. From adventures with stunning scenery, to wildlife experiences and indoor fun – the region has plenty of great half and full day activities to treat the family to. Check out this list with some ideal suggestions to suit everyone and get planning.

Waitakaruru Arboretum and Sculpture Park
This 42-acre hillside provides panoramic vistas over the fertile Waikato Valley. The site contains intimate tree-enclosed spaces and interesting landforms. Along the 2km nature trail you will discover more than 100 sculptures and installations within one of New Zealand’s largest art-in-nature outdoor galleries.

HobbitonTM Movie Set
Gain a first-hand insight into filming and get up close with over 17 hobbit holes from the film. Knowledgeable tour guides provide a fascinating insight into how the movie set was created and what went on during the filming of both trilogies.

Escapist
The first and only escape room in New Zealand with an integrated board game café. The option of three different immersive rooms, challenging puzzles, great food and plenty of board games to play and buy. The perfect option for a rainy day activity located in the heart of Hamilton CBD.

Lake District Adventures
Paddle slowly along Lake Karapiro, and up the Pokaiwhenua Stream as night time arrives on this evening glowworm kayak tour. Make your way through the canyon carved out by water over many hundreds of years. After a short break on the banks of the stream, as darkness falls, float silently back downstream, being guided by the twinkling glowworms on either side of the canyon walls.

Caving in Waitomo
Millions of years in the making, the caves in Waitomo are a world-famous underground playground that has been enthralling visitors since 1889. From gentle boat rides under galaxies of twinkling glowworms to walking tours of awe-inspiring limestone formations, there’s something for everyone.

Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway
The Blue Spring at Te Waihou Walkway is internationally acclaimed with water so pure it supplies around 60 per cent of New Zealand’s bottled water. The walk to the springs follows a track alongside the Waihou River, through wetlands, across rolling pastoral land and features views of small waterfalls, native bush and the famous Blue Spring with glimpses of trout along the way. The Blue Spring walk takes about one and a half hours each way, starting from Whites Road, near Putaruru. There is also a shorter walk, 15 minutes each way, to the Blue Spring.

Bowl and Social at SkyCity Hamilton
SkyCity Hamilton is the premier entertainment destination in the heart of the Waikato! With a world-class bowling alley and X-Golf simulator, there are activities to keep the whole family entertained. With a range of dining, including EATBurger – voted the Waikato’s best burger, there is something for all tastebuds.

Hamilton Zoo
Home to over 600 native and exotic animals, Hamilton Zoo also boasts the largest free-flight aviary in New Zealand dedicated to native birds and plants. Get to know the animals during free daily “Meet the Keeper” talks. Or for a special experience, go behind the scenes on a Face2Face animal encounter with a rhino, giraffe, macaws or agouti.

Waikato Museum
Delve into Waikato’s rich history at Waikato Museum. Enjoy exhibitions of New Zealand art, history and culture, and interactive science fun for children of all ages in the Exscite gallery. This summer’s attractions include Bugs! Our Backyard Heroes, a family-friendly hands-on experience with some real live mini-monsters.

For more information on great things to see and do with the family in the Waikato region, visit waikatonz.com