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Waikato
Island tours

Island tours

Our most recommended Waikato Island tours

Waitomo: Glowworm Caves Guided Tour by Boat

1. Waitomo: Glowworm Caves Guided Tour by Boat

Discover New Zealand's natural wonder of Waitomo Glowworm Caves on a guided boat trip. Glide by boat through this underground complex, watching millions of tiny bioluminescent insects lighting up the rocky limestone. Explore this cave complex, including a chance to visit the Cathedral Cave on foot. The caves were formed over 30 million years ago and comprise 2 levels. The upper level is dry and includes the entrance to the cave and formations known as the Catacombs, the Pipe Organ, and the Banquet Chamber. On the lower level are stream passages and the Cathedral. Begin on foot as your local guide brings the caves to life with stories about their history. Then, board a boat and marvel at the light display as you glide silently through the starry wonderland of the Glowworm Grotto.

Matamata: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

2. Matamata: Hobbiton Movie Set Guided Tour Ticket

Take a guided tour of Hobbiton Movie Set in the heart of the Waikato region. 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.

Waitomo Caves: Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

3. Waitomo Caves: Labyrinth Black Water Rafting Experience

Float down an underground river, slip into fast waters, jump off a small waterfall and take in the magic of the glowworm grotto of Ruakuri Cave on this Black Labyrinth adventure. Put on your gear and learn from professionally trained guides that will take you ziplining, rafting, and caving.  Check in for your black water adventure in Waitomo. Get all your equipment and instructions from your guide before you begin the subterranean journey. Leap over cascading waterfalls and weave and climb through a glowworm-studded wonderland. After an energized trip, float serenely down the underground river. Enjoy the glow worm show on the vaulted limestone galleries up above. Ride a stream that twists and turns through a canyon, and tumble down a hidden waterfall and rock slide before emerging into the sun-dappled Waitomo forest. 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, coffee, and friendly Kiwi service. 

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, on 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.  Afterward, 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 Cave, 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.

Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise

5. Lake Taupo: Maori Rock Carvings 10.30 AM 1.5-Hour Cruise

Cruise through the crystal-clear, turquoise waters of Lake Taupo, taking in the vibrancy of Maori culture on a cruise. Explore the stunning surroundings of the lake while surrounded by rugged mountains and lush trees on the banks. Enjoy an optional fishing demonstration. 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 represents a triumph of Maori artistry and the continued preservation of indigenous culture. After visiting the Maori Rock Carvings, watch as the crew gives a trout fishing demonstration by setting some fishing lines and talking about the various fishing options allowed on Lake Taupo (if option selected). At the end of the trip, you’ll head back to the dock to disembark.

From Auckland: Waitomo & Hobbiton Bus Tour with Lunch

6. From Auckland: Waitomo & Hobbiton Bus Tour with Lunch

See the magical Waitomo Caves and the Hobbiton Movie Set on a full-day sightseeing tour from Auckland. Step on board your luxury GreatSights coach tour and travel south, taking in typical New Zealand scenery as you ride – lush green farmland and rolling hills. The Hobbiton Movie Set has become one of New Zealand’s must-see destinations. A working farm near the small town of Matamata was transformed into a film set for the world-famous Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit movies, and today you can visit the set and see where the magic was created. See highlights like the original Hobbit Holes, the Green Dragon Inn, the Party Tree, and more. Your tour guide will share behind-the-scenes stories and fascinating facts about how the film set was brought to life. Then stop at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, a network of underground tunnels and caves made from incredible limestone formations. Set off on a 45-minute guided tour of the caves, ending with a truly special boat trip through the Glowworm Grotto, where glowworms twinkle and shine overhead as you sail through a dark and silent cavern. After exploring these two top New Zealand visitor attractions, your driver guide will take you back to Auckland, returning in the early evening.

Waitomo: Ruakuri Cave 1.5 Hour Guided Tour

7. Waitomo: Ruakuri Cave 1.5 Hour Guided Tour

Explore Ruakuri Cave, New Zealand’s longest guided underground walking tour. Ruakuri Cave offers a captivating blend of Waitomo's most compelling subterranean experiences. Ruakuri Cave has displays of glowworms and is filled with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites formed over millions of years. Journey down through the spectacular spiral entrance, and marvel at the softly folding shawl-like limestone formations and crystal tapestries.  Hear the distant thunder of the subterranean waterfalls and get up close to the glowworms. Major features include Holdens Cavern, named after James Holden who first opened the cave to the public, The Drum Passage, The Pretties, and The Ghost Passage. Your knowledgeable guide will bring the history, features, and legends of the cave to life with their storytelling. Many of the guides are locals whose parents and grandparents have guided in the caves. The experience will leave you awe-struck and humbled by the sheer majesty of nature.

Lake Taupo: Sailing Trip to the Maori Rock Carvings

8. 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.

From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Full-Day Trip

9. From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Full-Day Trip

Enjoy a day trip from Auckland to the world-famous and magical Lord of The Rings Hobbiton Movie Set in the heart of Middle Earth. Get picked from your hotel in a comfortable 16-seater mini-bus and driven through the stunning Waikato countryside (the most extensive farming area in the world) on a fully guided journey to Hobbiton. During the trip south, encounter stunning scenery, great photo opportunities, beautiful mountains, and see several different farm animals along the way. After the drive, you will arrive at the Alexander Family Sheep Farm and Shire's Rest (the entrance to Hobbiton) where you can see thousands of sheep, grab a bite to eat, get your coffee fix, or enjoy an ice cream while your guide collects your tickets to the movie set. Next, you will board one of the big green Hobbiton buses to depart on a 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, step into the lush pastures of the Shire, visit 44 hobbit holes, see amazing gardens, hear the secrets and stories about the making of the movies, and enjoy a cold beverage at the famous Hobbiton pub "The Green Dragon Inn." After the tour, you will be guided back through the Alexander Family Sheep Farm for another stop at Shire's Rest for a spot of souvenir shopping and maybe a bite to eat before you begin your journey back to Auckland.

From Rotorua: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch

10. From Rotorua: Hobbiton Movie Set Tour with Festive Lunch

Venture to the lands of Middle Earth on this half-day Hobbit movie set tour from Rotorua. Visit the working sheep farm that director Peter Jackson transformed into the Shire. See where Bilbo Baggins lived and the quest for the ring began, and enjoy a festive lunch. After departing the Lake Rotorua area your coach will take you across the scenic Mamaku Ranges and through the native Fitzgerald Glade, before arriving in the Waikato Region and the rolling hills of the Shire. While exploring the Hobbit film set, your guide will recount fascinating details on how the set was created as well as provide inside stories on the making of the films. During your tour, you'll see such famous movie locations as the Green Dragon Pub, the mill, the double arched bridge, and the famous Party Tree.

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What people are saying about Waikato

Fabulous adventure even though cloudy skies, the wind cooperated! François was delightful, entertaining, humorous, professional — obviously I can’t say enough. Hang on to him if you can!!

Lovely to paddle in the ocean to a secret lagoon - the whole family had enjoyed the experience! The guides were experienced and friendly

Mauro and Katrina made this a great fun experience .exciting at times . Gave us an interesting tour of the coastline Worth every cent