Waikato - Region & River
South of Auckland is Waikato also known as “the mighty Waikato” which refers to New Zealand’s longest river that runs through the region. Waikato’s main city is Hamilton with over 140,000 people living there from eighty ethnic groups making it a diverse population. This region is also geographically diverse with city attractions, lush agricultural pastures, underground treasures, black sand beaches and much more. Something for every type of traveller can be found in the Waikato especially for those looking for a unique, exclusive experience.
Waikato River - Longest River in NZ
With the Waikato River being the longest in the country it means there is plenty to do on the water. The Waitomo glowworm caves also offer black water rafting and boat cruises through the cave. Kayaking, jet boating and fishing are just a few of the regions other water activities. There are also numerous lakes and surf beaches that draw visitors to the area. Find the perfect seaside escape in the town of Raglan known for its black sand , world renowned surf breaks and laid back lifestyle.
Maori and European History
Maori and European history also contributes to the uniqueness of the region. Settlement early on by the Maori and Europeans in the Waikato was a result of the plentiful food resources by rivers, on hilltops and along the coastline. With all the natural resources available agricultural farming particularly dairy farming became a major part of the region’s economy. Today, the Waikato is a thriving dairy farming region and many towns are based around the early settlements.
Hobbiton Movie Set
While the majority of land is used for beef or sheep farming, some of New Zealand’s top tourist attractions are found within this area. A farm that has been turned into a successful tourist attraction is the Hobbiton Movie Set where parts of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit series were filmed. This attraction is popular with tourists as the farm is still set up the same as the original movie location.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Another draw card to the region is the Waitomo Glowworm caves which is arguably one of New Zealand’s best natural attractions. Other highlights include; Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo, Otorohanga Kiwi House, museums, geysers, award winning restaurants and hot Air Ballooning. There is really something for all ages and weather conditions in the Waikato.