Hamilton & Waikato
Posted by Ruth Atherley on May 25, 2011 at 1:15 pm
The Hamilton & Waikato Region is located in the central north island and features the metropolitan hub of Hamilton – New Zealand’s fourth largest city – and a collection of charming towns, each with their own unique character and attractions. And Hamilton is just one and a half hours away from Auckland and one hour from Rotorua.
Unique soft adventure attractions are complemented by Hamilton City’s vibrant urban scene. The city’s rich cultural mix and buzzing centre make it a great place to shop, enjoy the thriving arts and culture, and enjoy the cuisine. Located on the banks of New Zealand’s longest river, the Waikato, the majestic waterways, parks and gardens also offer relaxing spaces and beautiful surroundings.
The region is full of natural wonders and offers something for every traveller. You can go on surreal underground caving expeditions at Waitomo Caves – awe-inspiring cave tours through the glowworm-lit caverns – which I have done and absolutely loved. Or for those with a taste for more adrenalin-fuelled adventures, there is black water rafting and cave abseiling. You can also take a walk through the majestic native forests – or check out the stunning black sand surf beaches of Raglan. There’s so much to choose from; this is such an incredible region.
Local artisan producers are leading the country in the production of cheese, specialized tea and blueberries, all offering distinctive visitor experiences. The region’s cuisine scene is flourishing with a selection of excellent restaurants, cafés and farmers markets offering the freshest local produce dotted throughout the region.
Hamilton & Waikato Regional Tourism (HWT) is a participating member of the Great New Zealand Touring Route (GNZTR) collective. At TRENZ 2011 they are representing a variety of new and existing products in the recently released 2011/2012 GNZTR trade product manual – including Caveworld (a first time exhibitor at TRENZ) and Te Aroha Mineral Spa (the only natural soda water spring-fed spa in NZ).
The coastal township of Raglan, 40 minutes west of Hamilton, has a number of new and uniquely Kiwi products including the “Wahinemoe” cruise vessel – which offers Sunset Harbour Cruises in the summer season and a function space and exclusive “floatel” accommodation all year round. Guided cycling tours through the stunning west coast terrain are now also on offer and the newly opened Raglan Bone Carving Studio allows visitors to create their own piece of jewellery art.
HWT is also profiling Zealong Tea Estate’s new tea-tasting experience, Karapiro Cruiser’s scheduled scenic lake cruises on Lake Karapiro and Riverland Adventure’s quad bike safaris and four-wheel drive tours.
The Hamilton & Waikato Region offers visitors the chance to experience a slice of the real New Zealand with off-the-beaten-track experiences including kayaking and cruising the region’s many waterways, walking and hiking through wildlife sanctuaries, visiting classic “kiwi” towns and participating in authentic cultural experiences.
And for the film-lovers out there, don’t forget the Hobbiton Movie Set & Farm Tour, created for the epic Lord of the Rings films. We blogged about that last week – check it out here.