Travel west from Hamilton and head out to Raglan for an easy daytrip the whole family can enjoy.

You can experience the sun, surf and sand that the town is famous for, or you can bring along your wheels and cycle around the town with a different perspective.

Kids of all ages will have fun riding the new mountain bike trail - Te Ara Kakariki - or zooming around the BMX track at Te Kopua Domain. There are plenty of natural landscapes to explore, Bridal Veil Falls on the outskirts of the town, or Mount Karioi has lots of native bush to whet your appetite.

Speaking of appetites, the culinary offerings in Raglan satisfy even the pickiest of palates. Whether your requirements are organic, vegan, vegetarian or allergy-friendly, you’ll find a quirky café that suits your needs. One of the best ways to experience Raglan from a food perspective is to leave the picnic lunch at home and dine at the unique cafés and restaurants dotted throughout. Delectable food is available to purchase at almost every turn, and the fare is well-regarded amongst the gourmet elite.

Daytrip to the beach: The Shack, Raglan is a great place to taste culinary delights!

Delectable delights await you in the Waikato district. 

Culinary delights aren’t isolated to Raglan either as the rest of the Waikato district is a well-renowned international food bowl. Take a trip to Gordonton and you’ll find Zealong Tea Estate with outstanding views and mouth-watering morsels. A high tea at Zealong is a memory that will last a lifetime. Further north to Gordonton Village a myriad of delicious rustic farm-sourced ingredients provide you with an outstanding start to inspire your inner chef. The fresh produce and friendly locals may even give you a healthy addiction that keeps you coming back for more.

If you fancy an easy day cycle, Te Awa Cycleway is a great way to observe the Waikato River at your own pace. Breathing in the fresh country air is a great way to reconnect with nature. Riding north between Horotiu and Ngaruawahia is a safe, flat and fun riding option for families. If you’re feeling more energetic when you arrive at the home of Kiingitanga, a trip up the Hakarimata Summit Track will test your stamina and make you feel muscles you forgot you had.

Daytrip to Ngaruawahia: Hakarimata Summit Track will test your stamina

The Hakarimata Ranges have a number of walks suitable for all abilities, including the challenging 1349 steps to the summit.

Once you’ve pushed your body to the limits, the perfect remedy for aching muscles is a jaunt to the Ngaruawahia pools for a soak or a nice leisurely ride back to Horotiu to help cool them down. Be sure to stop into the shops or even bring a picnic to the Ngaruawahia Domain and see where the Waipa and Waikato rivers converge. While you’re resting and refuelling, the kids can keep entertained at the local playground or skate park.

If you are intrigued by history, a museum voyage may peak your interest. Starting at Te Kowhai, you can travel north through Huntly, Rangiriri, Te Kauwhata, Mercer and Tuakau. These smaller museums offer an intimate and eye-opening experience to give you a greater understanding of the Waikato towns' tumultuous and colourful histories.

Daytrip to Raglan: Raglan provides perfect scenery to visit (or get engaged!)

Bridal Veil Falls is a horsetail style waterfall near Raglan.

The best place for a convenience rest-stop is Pokeno, famous for its enormous icecreams and luscious bacon. If you’ like a tiki-tour, take the backroads through to Tuakau and view some of the most nutrient-rich fields in New Zealand that produce delights tasted worldwide.

The Waikato has it covered for the adrenalin junkies among you! Watch the dirt fly at Huntly Speedway or head to Hampton Downs for a fun-filled day of racing and challenge your friends to go-karts to see who reigns supreme. Continue up the Waikato Expressway to Meremere and be blown away by the drag racing. Refuel in Mercer before heading out to Mercer Airport on Koheroa Road. Here you can book in for an exhilirating skydive and view the Waikato from a birdseye perspective! Once you've recovered from the free-fall, you'll enjoy the panoramic view of Waikato's rolling green fields and hills while you sail safely to the ground.

Skydiving in the Waikato - book through

Strap on a parachute and jump to your hearts content, sailing safely back to earth with GoSkydiveNZ.

If you fancy an overnight stay, Mercer Airport has backpackers' accommodation available (so if weather doesn't permit the jump on the day you book, you get another chance). There is a shuttle from Mercer Airport to Tuakau Hotel if  luxury four star accommodation is your preference. There's plenty to see in the north Waikato, so make sure you take a daytrip - you could even turn it into an overnight stay!

The open Waikato district offers easy daytrips from Hamilton or Auckland and offers experiences unseen elsewhere in New Zealand. Why not pop out for a visit sometime soon?


A world-class surfing and fishing mecca, panoramic scenery, cycling and hiking trails, outstanding natural attractions and events ranging from motor-sport to cultural festivals attract a growing number of tourists from around the world to visit and stay in the Waikato district, the very heart of New Zealand.

Waikato walks

Welcome to New Zealand’s walking heartland, drawing visitors from around the world keen to soak up the district’s breathtaking scenery, clean air, unique landscapes and clear night skies. New Zealand’s national walkway, Te Araroa (Long Pathway) passes through the Waikato region and the stunning Hakarimata Range (also part of Te Araroa) offers visitors outstanding access to a fine stand of kauri trees. The district offers a wide range of tracks to suit all ages.


Waikato is, quite simply, one of the best cycling and mountain biking destinations in the world. It is the ‘go to’ region for visitors seeking to cycle. The area boasts a huge variety of top quality cycling tracks and mountain biking trails including the iconic Te Awa Cycle Way (The Great New Zealand River Ride). Ultimately, Te Awa will run from Ngāruawāhia south to Lake Karapiro, following the mighty Waikato River and offering stunning river and lake vistas, native bush and rural landscapes.

Surfing, Fishing & Water Sports

Waikato’s west coast beaches and harbours, its range of lakes plus the beautiful Waikato River provide opportunities for water sports and recreation including deep sea fishing, trout fishing, surfing, swimming, scuba diving, sport life-saving, jet and water-skiing, rowing, canoeing, Waka Ama, hang gliding, paragliding and kite surfing.

Culture and Heritage

The Waikato district is steeped in history and continues to be shaped by haunting calls from the past and the jointly-held hopes for our future. Major cultural events continue to be centred in the district as Waikato people commemorate, honour and remember our shared heritage. We have a strong sense of belonging, driven by a turbulent history between Māori and early settlers and the fact that today, Waikato remains the centre of Māoridom and the Kīngitanga movement.


Given its agricultural strengths, it’s not surprising that the Waikato enjoys a wonderful temperate climate. Temperatures generally range between 21 and 26°C in summer and 5 and 14°C in winter. In 2017 the average temperature was 13.2°C (0.5°C above the 1981-2010 annual average). The mean annual rainfall ranges between 1000 and 1250mm and annual sunshine hours range between 2000 and 2200 hours.


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