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Waikato

Culinary & Nightlife

Our most recommended Waikato Culinary & Nightlife

Waikato: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

1. Waikato: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

Take a guided tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set in Waikato. Step into the stunning landscapes of the Shire, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies. Take a once in a lifetime opportunity to see the only set that remains intact from the movie trilogies. Wander the rambling paths of The Shire and see the Hobbit Holes in the rolling hillsides. Follow your guide around the set as they show you the most famous locations and explain how the movie magic was made. Walk around the 12-acre set, past Hobbit Hole and the Mill. Then, step into the world-famous Green Dragon Inn. Sample an exclusive, specially brewed beverage to conclude your own Middle-Earth adventure.

Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

2. Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

Cruise through the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of Lake Taupo, taking in the vibrancy of Maori culture all the while. After boarding your cruise, explore the stunning surroundings of the lake, surrounded by rugged mountains and lush trees on the banks. As you glide through the lake on your deluxe Catamaran, you’ll come to a massive carving depicting the traditional facial tattooing of the Maori people. Inspired by centuries of rich Maori tradition, artist Matahi Brightwell carved the elaborate relief into the side of a cliff directly above the lake’s pristine waters in 1980. Depicting one of his grandmother’s ancestors, the carving represent a triumph of Maori artistry, and the continued preservation of indigenous culture. Perfect for the whole family, after taking in the carving, you can feed the ducks, and maybe even catch a fish. After 1.5 hours, you’ll head back to the dock to disembark.

Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

3. Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Māori Rock Carvings Scenic Boat Cruise

Admire beautiful Māori rock carvings set against a stunning mountainous backdrop on a 1.5-hour journey around Lake Taupo's waters aboard a boat that features live audio commentary. Relax and enjoy coffee or tea and a homemade muffin as you admire panoramic views of New Zealand, picturesque mountain tops, and historic rock carvings inspired by centuries of rich Māori tradition and art. Explore the open decks that allow you to feel the cool outdoor breeze or cozily snuggle into one of the indoor booths, and enjoy a trout fishing demonstration by the crew — you may even get a "taste of Taupo" if all goes well.

From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

4. From Auckland: Hobbiton & Waitomo Caves Day Trip with Lunch

Join this tour to visit two of New Zealand's most iconic and famous attractions, the Hobbiton Movie Set and the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, in a day trip from Auckland.  After pickup from your central Auckland hotel, travel south over the Bombay Hills for panoramic views of the Waikato Region and the scenic Hauraki Plains. Arrive at The Shire's Rest in Matamata, the home of the Hobbiton Movie Set. Your guide will help you skip the crowds so you can explore the Movie Set on an official 2-hour tour. Be escorted through the 10-acre site and learn fascinating details of how the Hobbiton Movie Set was created.  See Hobbit Holes, The Green Dragon Inn, and The Mill. Savor a complimentary specially-brewed beverage at The Green Dragon Inn.  Afterwards, travel to the mesmerizing Waitomo Glowworm Caves, where you'll enjoy a Kiwi-style lunch at The Homestead in Waitomo. On the way, share stories from Hobbiton and interact with your fellow travelers.  Glide silently by boat in the world famous caves and be amazed by the thousands of magical glowworms.  Your guide will likely be a descendant of the Maori Chief who originally explored the Caves and can share with you the remarkable history of the area. Walk through the majestic Cathedral Cove, famous for its acoustics. The return trip takes you through some of New Zealand's most beautiful countryside before following the majestic Waikato River northwards part of the way back to Auckland. You will pass Taupiri with its very sacred Maori burial ground. The day concludes with your return to your accommodation.

Waitomo Caves Black Abyss Ultimate Caving Experience

5. Waitomo Caves Black Abyss Ultimate Caving Experience

The Black Abyss is the ultimate Waitomo adventure and is the caving tour of choice for natural born adrenaline junkies everywhere. Expert guides will help you descend into the black, seemingly bottomless depths of Ruakuri Cave, zipline through a gallery of illuminating glowworms, and climb underground waterfalls. Check-in for your black water adventure in Waitomo. Your guide will ensure you are properly equipped and offer some technical instruction before you descend into the underground network at Waitomo Caves. After abseiling training and practice with your guide, abseil 35-meters into the seemingly bottomless black depths of the glowworm-studded Ruakuri Cave. Your descent continues deeper with a flying fox zipline through a gallery of illuminating glowworms.  Prepare to be awed by the magnificent caves with stalactites and stalagmites that decorate the cavern walls as you traverse through the black water.  Enjoy adrenaline-fuelled fun as you clamber down, float through the canyon and scramble up waterfalls before resurfacing into daylight. At every stage, you're accompanied and supported by experienced caving guides from The Legendary Black Water Rafting Company who know and love this totally unique and mind-blowing environment. At the end of your exhilarating journey, enjoy a hot shower, hearty soup and bagel.  The rafting base is located a short distance outside Waitomo Caves village. This is the booking and assembly point for all black water rafting expeditions. It is also the home of the Long Black Cafe, where you'll find delicious food, great coffee and friendly Kiwi service. The Long Black Cafe is a great place to sit back, relax and enjoy the high energy atmosphere as excited visitors depart and arrive from their various expeditions. Internet access and merchandise are also available. 

Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

6. Waitomo: Glowworm Cave 3-Hour Guided Eco-Tour

Get off the beaten track on this intimate 3-hour tour through some of New Zealand's natural wonders. Start with a brief walk through native bush and the scenic Mangapu gorge.  Hike through beautiful native New Zealand forest, wade through freshwater streams, climb over boulders, and explore untouched limestone caves and spectacular rock formations. Enjoy the mesmerizing glowworm displays in privately owned caves that remain unspoiled by paths or electric lights.  Finish up your tour with a shower, a hot cup of coffee or tea, and some light refreshments. 

Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

7. Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

Enjoy a true sailing experience onboard a classic sailing boat with a sailing tour of Lake Taupo. Explore the beauty of the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, its breathtaking clear waters and stunning surroundings of mountains, hidden bays, and the lush green of bushes and trees. Learn from your local and experienced guide about the history of the lake, the Maori Rock Carvings, and their cultural significance. Get involved in the sailing side and give the crew a hand or just sit back, relax and enjoy the comfort and space on this classical sailing boat. Listen to some music and the sound of the water when gliding through the lake, only using the power of wind whenever it is possible. Stop for a swim in the fresh waters before snuggling up under some blankets on the way back to shore.

Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

8. Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua and Wai-O-Tapu Day Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to continue southwards towards the active geothermal area of Rotorua. During the drive, pass through the unique town of Tirau, the corrugated iron sculpture capital of the world, and the stunning Fitzgerald Glade. Upon arrival in Rotorua, enjoy a guided tour of the city’s most famous and historical sites including Lake Rotorua, The Government Gardens, the Blue Baths, Thermal Springs and Polynesian Spa. Take some time to rest for lunch and then head to Wai-O-Tapu Geothermal Wonderland considered one of the most surreal places on earth. Here, admire the Champagne Lake, Devil’s Bath, local mud-pools, geothermal craters and other geothermal wonders before a fully guided trip back to Auckland and the end of your tour.

Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

9. Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set and Waitomo Small Group Tour

The tour starts with pickup from Auckland city, where the adventure begins as you drive through the stunning Waikato countryside, the most extensive farming area in the world, on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. Along the way, don’t forget to take advantage of the photo opportunities as you admire the stunning natural landscapes all around of beautiful mountains and farmlands. After the drive, arrive at Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest, the entrance to Hobbiton, and marvel at the thousands of sheep that live here. While you’re here, grab a bite to eat, a coffee, or enjoy an ice cream to cool off while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, hop on board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on your two hour fully guided tour of this amazing 12-acre movie set with a professional Hobbiton guide to ensure you get the most out of your visit. During your tour trip into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear secrets and stories about the making of the movies and finish your LOTR experience with a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub, The Green Dragon Inn. After your LOTR experience, it’s time to head west towards the stunning Waitomo region. Along the way admire the incredible hydro dams, beautiful farmland, race horses and the Kiwiana capital of New Zealand. Before arriving at the caves, stop by Waitomo homestead for lunch, and a little surprise too. Once in Waitomo, explore the ancient and amazing caves and marvel at the many cave formations including Stalactites, Stalagmites, and Lime Columns before descending even further underground for your Glowworm Grotto experience. Board your glow-worm boat for a cruise on the grotto river with thousands of glowworms sparkling above you. Unique to New Zealand for over 120 years, Waitomo Glowworm Caves are a must see for any traveler. On the guided trip back to Auckland the sights continue with New Zealand's longest river, Huntly power station and the Maori Queens’ burial site.

From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

10. From Auckland: Hobbiton, Rotorua & Waitomo Caves Day Trip

Visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, Rotorua, and Waitomo Caves in one day on a fully-guided tour from Auckland. See three of North Island’s iconic sites in one attraction-filled day. Be ready and waiting at your hotel in time for your specified pickup time. Travel from Auckland to Hobbiton through Waikato. On arrival, you’ll be guided through the picturesque twelve-acre site and given fascinating details of how the movie set was created. The official tour concludes with a complimentary drink at the Green Dragon Inn. Climb back into the vehicle for the approximately 55-minute drive to Rotorua where you will spend around 1.5-hours.  Arrive at Te Puia where you’ll have lunch. Te Puia is home to the Pohutu geyser, visible from the restaurant. You will get great views of the geyser and thermal valley from the restaurant and a good photo opportunity. The tour does not include admission to Te Puia or time in the thermal Reserve, but does include a tour of other key areas of Rotorua such as the lakefront, and government gardens. After Rotorua drive to the world-renowned Waitomo Caves where you’ll enter the caves on foot and ride out in a small boat. Above your head will be thousands of tiny glowworms radiating their unmistakable luminescent light as an expert guide provides informative commentary. 

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What people are saying about Waikato

Great, informative and very smoothly run. There was a little uphill walking which challenged my compromised lungs but you do it at your own pace if necessary. Was very disappointed that more than 3/4 of the people who got on the bus to begin the tour were not wearing a mask and didn’t throughout the tour. The guide and bus driver were but they didn’t say anything to the participants and I felt very angry at the selfishness and unsafe as a result.

Well organised and run tour. Our guide Mike was very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful throughout the whole day, making sure everyone got the best possible experience. Highly recommended!

Gorgeous views of the rock carvings. Māori people have great skills and talents. Thank you for the free coffee, muffin, and friendly staff!

Excellent tour. Our guide Theresa & driver Kevin were very friendly & knowledgeable

Really fun tour, brillianty run. I highly recommend this tour.