Best Day Trips in the Waikato

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Check out our top picks for the best day trips in the Waikato from Rotorua.

Let’s go on an adventure – an adventure into the land of the mighty Waikato. Home to the beautiful city of Hamilton and multiple smaller regional towns, the Waikato has one of New Zealand’s most amazing landscapes. From rolling hills, to natural springs, to the mystical and magical world of The Shire, the Waikato has something for everyone. Covering approximately 25,000 square kilometres, making it the fourth largest region in NZ, there’s plenty to see and do.

Hamilton Gardens

The Hamilton Gardens is the most visited attraction in the Waikato with over one million visitors per year, and it isn’t hard to see why. Pristine garden beds, amazing native New Zealand flora and stunning architecture make the perfect mix for a day-long trip to explore.

Stroll with the family through amazing scenery and be sure to stop for plenty of photo opportunities. Although you are free to roam as you please, the best way to see the gardens is via a free guided tour which will take you on a journey through several themed garden collections. Exploring different civilizations, the Hamilton Garden recreates styles from all corners of the globe.

Find out more information here.

Well manicured gardens alongside pathways with cream coloured building in the background and blue pools in front.
The award winning Hamilton Gardens.

Blue Springs, Putaruru

The Blue Springs is located on the Waihou River which is a totally spring fed water body. Getting to the springs requires you to walk along the Te Waihou Walkway, which is a picturesque journey through some amazing New Zealand scenery. The Blue Springs are a fragile water source and provides up to 70% of New Zealand’s bottled water.

The springs are a fantastic natural spectacle and provide the perfect weekend outing for the whole family.

Find out more information here.

Crystal clear river with bush on either side.
The stunning Blue Springs.

Hobbiton Movie Set

Have you ever dreamed of running through the rolling hills of The Shire? Well thanks to Hobbiton Tours, now you can. Venture into the heart of Middle Earth, where you can live your dream of being a real-life hobbit. Take a tour through Hobbiton, experiencing the rural setting of The Shire, featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit Trilogies.

There are a variety of tours to choose from, all suitable for Hobbits of all ages. For those die-hard fans, we recommend the evening banquet tour, which will see you tour Hobbiton at dusk, and then settle in for a feast that rivals Bilbo’s famous birthday parties.

For more information, visit the Hobbiton Tours website.

Hobbit house in hobbiron with blue circle door and flowers in the foreground.
Magical Hobbiton!