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Pristine beaches, lush pastures, underground wonders, soaring volcanoes and a magnificent lake top the list when visiting the Waikato region, a place where movie magic and manaakitanga (hospitality) combine.

 The Waikato region covers a large swathe of the Central North Island, from the Bombay Hills and the Coromandel Peninsula in the North to the volcanic slopes of Mt Ruapehu in the South. Our coastline stretches from the rugged West coast to the sparkling white sands of our East coast.

Geographically and culturally diverse, it’s a place to dive in, to discover, to explore.

Waitomo glow worm caves

Movie magic

Well-known for its nature-based tourism, underground wonders and Middle-earth movie magic, the region offers something for everyone.

The lush pastures of the central Waikato were the location for The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, while just one hour south of Hamilton and millions of years in the making, the dramatic rock formations of the Waitomo area also featured in The Hobbit movie.

Waitomo is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring natural wonders, renowned for its labyrinth of limestone, subterranean adventures and magical glowworms.

With its black sand, fine surfing, tranquil harbours and laidback vibe, the region’s west coast is a unique and relatively unknown slice of Kiwi heaven.

Only five minutes from Hamilton’s central business district, visitors can be transported to a lush tropical jungle, ancient China or a riotously colourful Indian riverside garden. These are just three of a number of spectacular gardens that make up the international award winning Hamilton Gardens. The gardens explore the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. Hamilton Gardens hosts some 2000 events each year and is home to a range of public artworks.

Visit the Mighty Waikato website

Cathedral Cove NZ copy

Good for the soul

Renowned for its natural beauty, rural farmland, misty rainforests and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel on the region’s eastern flank has hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to escape, relax and unwind. Situated just over an hour’s drive from Auckland, the white sand beaches, rocky coves, coastal walkways and excellent fishing spots make it a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders.

Visit the Coromandel website


WS-Taupo-Huka Falls aerial view (1)

A national treasure

Located in the centre of the North Island, the Great Lake Taupō has been dubbed nature’s ultimate playground. Mountains, geothermal areas, fast flowing rivers and the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, the Taupō area is home to a thriving tourism industry with a focus on walking and tramping, road cycling and mountain biking, adrenalin activities, water sports, great hospitality and a wide variety of accommodation options. Great Lake Taupō is the jewel in the crown of the North Island, and is gateway to The Volcanic Loop Touring Route taking in the Tongariro National Park.

Visit the Love Taupō website