One of New Zealand’s fastest growing and most vibrant cities can be found in the heart of the Waikato region. It all comes with fantastic galleries and great shops, first-class eateries, and unmatched top events and the cities’ attractions.
Situated on the banks of the Waikato River is the region’s main metropolitan hub of Hamilton, with its rich cultural mix and lively centre which makes it a great place to experience the friendly Kiwi lifestyle.
A number of award winning dining options are on offer throughout the city and it’s modern urban eateries and cafes offer tourists a variety of tasty Asian and Mediterranean inspired cuisine.
Near the modern SkyCity Hamilton casino, in the southern end of central Hamilton lies the wine bars, pubs and clubs that really showcase local and imported beverages and an electric range of DJ’s and live bands. The wider regions of Hamilton offer world-class events from local to international.
This place is one of New Zealand’s leading event centres, with events such as the National Agricultural Fieldays, Gallagher Great Race, Festival One and Balloons Over Waikato. You will also witness many sporting matches, concerts, expos and more all making up the regions events calendar. There is always something happening all year round.
Just a short drive down SH1 is the charming town of Cambridge, which is known locally as the ‘Town of Champions’ due to its gold-medal winning Olympian residents and its long-standing heritage of thoroughbred racing. It adds to the mix with its great café scene and boutique-style vineyards which also includes the Mystery Creek Winery and Vilagrads Winery, on the city’s outskirts. You can relax over a glass or two of fine local wine.
If you wish to go shopping, you will definitely find everything you want in the Hamilton and Waikato region. The boutique stores throughout the city sell high-end products – from fashion to gifts. Here you will experience the Spanish-style Casabella Lane for its unique setting and gift stores. The city’s modern ‘Base’ shopping centre is one of the country’s largest shopping complex and covers a range of products from clothing to books and electronic goods.
And if you’re into antiques, boutique homewares and gift stores, then the towns of Cambridge, Te Awamutu, Te Aroha and Matamata has all of it and more. There are also busy weekend markets, with local produce for sale along with arts, crafts and gifts.
The Waikato River, which is one of Hamilton city’s iconic features, can be enjoyed by simply taking a stroll or bike ride along its banks. If you wish to learn more about the city’s history and culture, you can take one of the Waikato River Cruise options.
They also offer a magical hot air balloon ride, wherein you will see the great views of the countryside. Every year the city celebrates the Balloons Over Waikato festival.
It is held over five days during autumn and attracts both local and overseas balloonists. In this event, you will experience and see dozens of spectacular hot air balloons floating above the city and region as part of the country’s premier ballooning festival. The Hamilton & Waikato region has perfect conditions for such activities.
When we talk about culture, the Hamilton & Waikato region has a thriving artistic community. If you can visit the Waikato museum, you will see a diverse range of art, interactive and historical exhibitions. The museum showcases the cultural heritage of the region as well as showing national and international exhibitions.
There is also the popular Hamilton Gardens which celebrates the history of gardens with an array of specialist gardens from Italian Renaissance to traditional Maori.
The Hamilton & Waikato region offers everything you want from a vibrant modern region, whether you’re into shopping, if you’re looking for fun, nightlife, great food, wine and arts – you could have it all in this place.