The Top Places to Visit Near Hamilton
The central hub of the Waikato region, Hamilton offers an excellent base for exploring glowworm caves, native forests, lakes and Hobbit Holes. Plan your next adventure with this guide to the best day trips from Hamilton. The guide includes both self-drive day trips and guided day tours from Hamilton.
Plus, check out The Complete Guide to Hamilton for more trip-planning tips.
5 Best Day Tours from Hamilton
Before getting into the self-drive day trips from Hamilton, here are some alternative guided day tours. That way, you don’t have to drive yourself or plan an itinerary.
Guided Day Tours from Hamilton
- Waikato Hiking and Food Tour with Nature & Nosh Tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Raglan Art Tour with Meet the Makers (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Hobbiton and Rotorua Day Tour with Headfirst Travel (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Coromandel Hiking and Food Tour with Nature & Nosh Tours (on Viator and Tripadvisor)
- Various tours from Hamilton with Leisure Time Travel.
The Best Day Trip from Hamilton for Foodies
Venture to the west coast of the North Island and the bohemian surf town of Raglan. A vital stop on the way is the magnificent Bridal Veil Falls, while other activities in the town include learning to surf, paddleboarding to the “Pancake Rocks“, and browsing the streets of artisans, cafes and art galleries.
For more ideas on what to do, check out the 10 Epic Things to Do in Raglan.
The Best Day Trip from Hamilton for Luxury Travellers
Travel time by car: 1 hour one-way
If you haven’t seen New Zealand’s famous glowworms yet, then Hamilton is a great base to do so. Travel south to Waitomo to take part in caving, underground boat tours, walking tours and much more. There are also free attractions like the Mangapohue Natural Bridge, Marokopa Falls and the Ruakuri Bushwalk.
Check out more activities near Waitomo using the 10 Amazing Things to Do in Waitomo.
Hobbiton and Matamata
The Best Day Trip from Hamilton for Families
A popular trip for fans of The Lord of the Rings or any movie, for that matter, the Hobbiton Movie Set Tours (more info on Viator, Tripadvisor, Klook and KKday) is a manageable drive from Hamilton. If you want to make the most of your day, however, take a side trip to the North Island’s highest waterfall, Wairere Falls. Plus, check out the Hobbit Hole information centre in the rural town of Matamata.
Check out the 10 Things to Do in Matamata (That Doesn’t Involve Hobbits) for more activities on this day trip from Hamilton.
The Best Day Trip from Hamilton for Couples
Travel time by car: 25 minutes one-way
Escape the big city for the charming town of Cambridge. While the town has some excellent boutiques and cafe, it’s what surrounds the town that is likely to excite any road tripper. Lake Karapiro is just a 10-20 minutes journey down State Highway One, which is home to kayaking glowworm tours (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor). Alternatively, venture down the rural roads for an additional 30 minutes to Sanctuary Mountain (more info on Klook, Viator and Tripadvisor).
Plan more of your day trip from Hamilton with the 10 Great Things to Do in Cambridge.
Pirongia Forest Park
The Best Day Trip from Hamilton for Budget Travellers
Travel time by car: 30 minutes one-way
Nature is never too hard to find in New Zealand and the same goes for when you’re based in Hamilton. The Pirongia Forest Park offers a wealth of walks for all ages, from the family-friendly Mangkara Nature Walk to the advanced tramping trails to the Pirongia Summit. Access to the most popular walking trails is via Limestone Works Loop Road and Grey Road.
For more information on the walking trails, check out the Department of Conservation website.