HamiltonNew Zealand

Image for Hamilton which includes waves, surfing and a sporting event

Hamilton has the appeal of a country town and the cultural attractions of a city, and is close to many of New Zealand’s popular attractions on the North Island.

The stunning coast of the Coromandel and Mount Maunganui, Rotorua’s hot springs, the caves of Waitomo and Raglan’s perfect surf are all within easy reach of Hamilton. The inland city also has its own charming attractions, including gardens and museums.

Even though it’s the fourth largest city in New Zealand, Hamilton has less than 150,000 residents. It’s a laid-back place with a vibrant café culture, along with a thriving art and music scene. The North Island city also has a proud sporting history centered around the rugby union team The Chiefs.

Hamilton is situated along the the Waikato River, the longest river in the country. You can enjoy its jade green waters by boarding the Waikato River Explorer. This cruise will take you through Hamilton and into the countryside.

Visit the Waikato Museum, with detailed displays of the area’s settler past, both Māori and European. Admire the comprehensive collection of visual art and explore science.

The free Hamilton Gardens showcase a superb collection of New Zealand’s native plants and international garden designs.

Hamilton is close to the deep, majestic Waitomo Caves, which are lit up by thousands of glowworms. Abseil into the caves and tube the rest during an exhilarating “black-water rafting” tour. For a calmer day out, head to leafy Cambridge, with its elegant boutique stores and cafés, or take the kids to the Kiwi House and Native Bird Park in Otorohanga or Hamilton Zoo.

After seeing all the nearby highlights, explore more of the North Island’s stunning natural beauty by visiting beaches, white-capped mountains and forests with hot springs.

Hamilton’s compact size makes it easy to navigate on foot. There’s also a free shuttle bus that runs a circuit of the city every 10 minutes. The climate is mild year-round, though winter nights can get very cold

Where to stay in Hamilton

Hamilton Gardens as well as an individual femail

Hamilton East

4/5Very Good!(1 area review)

While visiting Hamilton East, you might make a stop by sights like Hamilton Gardens and Memorial Park.

Hamilton East
Cambridge featuring land animals and farmland

Leamington

4/5Very Good!(2 area reviews)

Though Leamington might not have many top sights, you can venture to the surrounding area to see attractions like Cambridge Raceway and Te Koutu Lake.

Leamington
I would not usually consider a garden a must-see experience, but I am really glad a local told us to visit Hamilton Gardens.  The experience of wandering through a maze of hedges that open into perfectly cultivated gardens plucked complete from other countries and other eras was quite possibly the closest I will ever come to feeling like Alice in Wonderland come to life.  You never know what magical sight waits around the next bend in the path.
trover photo by Alana

Claudelands

If you're spending some time in Claudelands, SkyCity Hamilton and Lake Rotoroa are top sights worth seeing.

Claudelands

Top Hotels in Hamilton

Estimated price for 1 night / 2 adults
Fountain City Motor Inn
Fountain City Motor Inn
4 out of 5
305 Ulster Street, Hamilton
¥7,707
per night
Mar 6 - Mar 7

Situated in Hamilton, this motel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Prodrive Golf and 1.2 mi (2 km) from SkyCity Hamilton. Hamilton Central Business District and Waikato ...

4.1/5Very Good! (815 reviews)

"As it was on a main road there was quite a bit of traffic noise when you opened a window."…"

Reviewed on Feb 17, 2020

Fountain City Motor Inn
VR Hamilton
VR Hamilton
4 out of 5
237 Victoria Street, Hamilton
¥4,929
per night
Feb 23 - Feb 24

Located in the heart of Hamilton, this hotel is steps from Hamilton Central Business District and SkyCity Hamilton. Hamilton Gardens is 2 mi (3.2 km) away.

3.6/5Good! (1,799 reviews)

"Close to lots of different type of resturants. Lots of charecter to the property. Great to have a bath when we all seem to have showers these days. Nice treat. Parking was a nightmare. We were alloted our bay which had a car already parked. Back to reception to get allocated another for our 2 night ..."…"

Reviewed on Jan 26, 2020

VR Hamilton
ibis Hamilton Tainui
ibis Hamilton Tainui
3.5 out of 5
18 Alma Street, Hamilton
¥7,367
per night
Mar 22 - Mar 23

Situated in Hamilton, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Hamilton Central Business District and SkyCity Hamilton. Hamilton Gardens is 2.2 mi (3.6 km) ...

4.3/5Excellent! (1,415 reviews)

"Well located in the centre of Hamilton for an overnight stay."…"

Reviewed on Feb 17, 2020

ibis Hamilton Tainui

Popular things to do in Hamilton

Hobbiton Movie Set
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set

Hobbiton Movie Set

5/5(58 reviews)

Enjoy a trip to Hobbiton Movie Set, a well-known attraction in Matamata. Discover the area's hot springs and coffeehouses.

Hamilton Gardens
Image for Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

5/5(26 reviews)

From the peaceful Japanese Zen Garden to the explosion of color in the Indian Char Bagh Garden, anyone who loves nature will enjoy this man-made paradise.

Ngarunui Beach
Image for Ngarunui Beach

Ngarunui Beach

4.5/5(7 reviews)

Why not spend a carefree afternoon at Ngarunui Beach during your travels in Raglan? Discover the sunsets and waterfalls in this walkable area.

Top activities in Hamilton

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

94% of travellers recommend
¥5,942
Per adult
Full-Day Hobbiton Shire Movie Set Tour from Auckland
Image for Full-Day Hobbiton Shire Movie Set Tour from Auckland

Full-Day Hobbiton Shire Movie Set Tour from Auckland

100% of travellers recommend
¥21,930
Per adult
Hobbiton Movie Set Tour departing Matamata i-SITE
Image for Hobbiton Movie Set Tour departing Matamata i-SITE

Hobbiton Movie Set Tour departing Matamata i-SITE

98% of travellers recommend
¥5,942
Per adult
Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set Tour
Image for Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Hobbiton Movie Set Tour

98% of travellers recommend
¥26,740
Per adult
Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Highlights Tour with Lunch
Image for Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Highlights Tour with Lunch

Full-Day Waitomo Caves & Rotorua Highlights Tour with Lunch

94% of travellers recommend
¥25,962
Per adult
Hamilton City Cafe Cruise
Image for Hamilton City Cafe Cruise

Hamilton City Cafe Cruise

¥3,779
Per adult

Reviews of Hamilton

4.2

Top Destination

5 - Excellent
14
5 - Excellent 41.1764705882353%
4 - Good
14
4 - Good 41.1764705882353%
3 - Okay
5
3 - Okay 14.705882352941176%
2 - Disappointing
1
2 - Disappointing 2.9411764705882355%
1 - Terrible
0
1 - Terrible 0%

5/5 - Excellent

Howard

Dec 31, 2019

We like the city of Hamilton, but not the hotel we stayed in.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler

Feb 17, 2019

It has everything you need

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler

Jan 23, 2019

Hayes Common and Banh Mi Caphe and Gothenburg - all great restsurants

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler

Jan 10, 2019

The only place in New Zealand that I did not like much. The Hamilton Gardens needs maintenance.

5/5 - Excellent

Ratneary

Dec 16, 2018

It is a really nice city. Just 45 min drive to Hobbiton site. And 1 hour to 1:30 min to water falls... love the place..

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trover photo by Tenielle Andrews
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