CWC 2015: Hamilton First XI Highlights

From magnificent parks and gardens to a thriving cultural precinct, Hamilton offers a combination of fine dining and nightlife options as well as an eclectic mix of leisure, lifestyle and activity choices.

Hamilton hosts three matches at the ICC Cricket World Cup, including hosting New Zealand, South Africa and India in separate matches. Visit the official ICC website to see a full list of fixtures in Hamilton.

Come and explore

Meander through a lush tropical jungle, visit ancient China or indulge yourself in a Renaissance Prince’s 16th century garden at Hamilton Gardens.

Telling the Story of Gardens through themed garden collections, the Gardens is a window into the story of civilisations around the world. Hamilton Gardens is the Waikato’s most visited tourist destination and is only a five-minute drive from Hamilton’s central city.

Open every day during daylight hours and entry and parking is free. Access is off State Highway 1, on the southern side of Hamilton.

Hamilton Gardens

Go ape at Hamilton Zoo

Hamilton Zoo is home to over 600 native and exotic animals and boasts the largest free-flight aviary in New Zealand. Get to know animals during free daily "Meet the Keeper" talks. For a special experience, go behind the scenes on a Face2Face encounter and meet our Sumatran tigers, southern white rhinos, chimpanzees or lemurs.

Hamilton Zoo is committed to inspiring conservation action through participation in various projects and contributing to breeding programmes for endangered species.

Hamilton Zoo

Never a dull moment

Located in the heart of Hamilton's cultural precinct, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato and ArtsPost Galleries and Shop provide a rich experience of the arts and culture of the region.

The Museum’s 12 galleries tell the stories of arts, culture, history and science through visual and interactive experiences. Highlights include the majestic 200-year-old carved Waka Taua - Te Winika, Ngaa Pou Whenua the story of the four tribes of Tainui, art works by prominent New Zealand and regional artists and the engaging and quirky social history exhibition.

Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

Get on your bike

The Hamilton City River walkway and cycleway runs for 10 kilometres through central Hamilton, along the banks of the Waikato River.

The track is well signposted and can be accessed at multiple points along the river. It is suitable for riders of all fitness and experience levels. There are park benches and grassy areas along the track for riders who want to stop to picnic, or sit and watch the boats, birds and people go by.

Hamilton walkway and cycleway

Gourmet delights

Hamilton diners are spoilt for choice with an abundance of top quality establishments from which to choose. From a vibrant nightlife scene, award-winning restaurants and wine bars to top cafes, artisan bakeries and delis the city has plenty to offer.

Enjoy high tea at New Zealand’s only tea plantation, Zealong Tea Estate, partake in a brewery tour and tasting at Good George Brewery or pick up some fresh local produce from the Hamilton Farmers Market.

Dining in Hamilton

Cruising on the river

Experience the beauty of the Waikato River and enjoy a relaxing scenic cruise on board the Waikato River Explorer. With a fully licensed bar and a range of menu options available, you can relax as you travel through the heart of Hamilton taking in the stunning views of the city and Waikato River.

The Waikato River Explorer offers scheduled scenic cruises and a wine tasting tour, departing from the Hamilton Gardens, as well as charter options for groups.

Waikato River Explorer

Hit the shops

Boutique stores throughout Hamilton city sell high-end fashion and gifts while the Spanish-style Casabella Lane is known for its unique setting and elegant gift stores. Check out the city’s large modern malls including Centreplace, Westfield Chartwell and NZ largest shopping complex, The Base - Te Awa.

Towns like Cambridge, Tirau, Te Awamutu, Te Aroha and Matamata feature top antiques, boutique homewares and gift stores in charming rural settings and bustling weekend markets are perfect for local produce and handmade arts, crafts and gifts.

Shopping in Hamilton

Meet the Hobbits

In the heart of Hamilton and Waikato’s countryside is a place unlike any other - Hobbiton Movie Set; the permanent set created for ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ trilogies. Visitors will be treated to first-hand insights into the details that went into creating the set.

The hobbit holes, the Green Dragon™ Inn, the Mill and other structures can be viewed and you will see how this beautiful piece of farmland was transformed into The Shire from Middle-earth. End your tour at The Green Dragon Inn for a cool drink.

Hobbiton Movie Set tours

Go underground

An hour south of Hamilton the mystical world of Waitomo awaits. Millions of years in the making, Waitomo’s visually awe-inspiring cave network draws people looking for adventure and those looking for a sense of wonder, providing a playground unlike any other.

Weird and wonderful limestone formations emerge from the underground darkness which is also punctuated by the twinkling lights of thousands of glowworms. Take a walking tour or boat ride through the majestic caverns, or if you’re feeling more adventurous try the myriad of abseiling, climbing, zip-lining and black water rafting activities on offer.

Waitomo Caves

Natural splendour

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari is an internationally significant conservation project encompassing 3,400 hectares of native forest.

The ecological reserve provides a haven for native flora and fauna and the opportunity to spot some native birds such as Kaka and Takahe. The reserve’s southern enclosure features easy walking trails, a 16 metre high forest canopy viewing tower, a 600 year old rata and Kaka feeding.

Self-guided and guided options are available with the walks featuring aspects such as the Tautari Wetlands where visitors can get up-close with Tuatara and night tours which showcase the wonders of the New Zealand native bush after dark.

Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari

Beach times

With its black sand beaches, world-class surfing, tranquil harbour and laidback vibe, Raglan is a unique slice of Kiwi paradise just 45 minutes’ drive from Hamilton city.

Raglan’s bohemian atmosphere and idyllic coastal setting makes it the perfect spot for an afternoon browsing amongst the boutique cafes and shops or lazing on the beach.

Those with more adventurous activities in mind can try stand-up paddle boarding, take a surf lesson or head a short drive away to the beaches that make the area a surfing mecca.

Surf's up in Raglan