Happy Times in Hamilton.

This article originally appeared on Air New Zealand

The fourth largest city in New Zealand, Hamilton is the central hub of the North Island and attracts many tourists who enjoy the wide variety of daytime activities and nightlife the area has to offer. Hamilton is the perfect North Island base, as most places of interest are usually less than an hour drive.

With so many things to see and do in the Hamilton area, it’s easy to be spoilt for choice. So here’s a quick rundown of the activities we suggest that you don’t miss when you visit this vibrant city.

Waitomo Caves Adventures

Just a short drive south from the city centre is Waitomo Caves, an amazing subterranean experience that should top your list of things to do when in New Zealand. There’s a plethora of caves to descend into, plus black water rafting and swimming amongst the spectacular scenery. There’s no place like this in the whole of New Zealand, so make sure you take the time to visit the Waitomo Caves, you won’t regret it.

Visit Middle Earth

Ever wanted to see where Bilbo Baggins lived? Well, here’s your chance, because just a hop and a skip from Hamilton is the Hobbiton movie set, where you can enjoy a guided tour of 44 different locations used in the filming of not just the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, but also The Hobbit. If The Shire is your dream land, then it’s time to wake up and see the real thing!

Maungatautari Island

This inland ecological island has a 47kilometre fence around it to help threatened species to prosper and multiply in this restored ecosystem. The aim is simple, to re-introduce threatened species and plants and build a sustainable platform for them to grow. With over 3400 hectares to care for, this amazing region is a fantastic place to take a guided tour to understand more about how we need to create a healthy balance with nature before it’s too late.

There’s so much to see and do in and around Hamilton, that this is a great place to set yourself up in New Zealand for your whole trip. With everything so close, you can travel an hour in any direction and discover something totally different each day, and if you want to just chill out and relax, the city has plenty going on day and night. A wonderful place to start your New Zealand adventure.

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