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The Waikato is a region of the North Island of New Zealand that lies to the south of Auckland and is named for the Waikato River that traverses its length. The Waikato River has several hydroelectric dams and the man-made lakes behind them are used for a range of water sports.

The Arapuni Suspension Bridge over the Waikato River


Map of Waikato


  • 1 Hamilton
  • 2 Cambridge
  • 3 Matamata – where Hobbiton was built for the Lord of the Rings and is now a tourist attraction
  • 4 Pirongia
  • 5 Raglan
  • 6 Tairua
  • 7 Te Awamutu – its museum contains one of the most famous early Māori artifacts, a large carved post known as Te Uenuku
  • 8 Te Kuiti
  • 9 Thames
  • 10 Whitianga

Other destinations

  • 1 Waitomo Waitomo Caves on Wikipedia – limestone caves populated by glowworms, a major tourist attraction



The Waikato River (Māori for flowing water) is New Zealand's longest river at 425 km (264 mi) including headwaters. The river's source is Lake Taupo, New Zealand's largest lake, and the river flows in a northwesterly direction through Hamilton to empty into the Tasman Sea at Port Waikato, some 50 km (31 mi) south of Auckland. The river between Taupo and Hamilton has been extensively developed for hydroelectric generation, with nine hydroelectric dams on the river built between 1929 and 1971, today supplying around 10% of New Zealand's electricity demand.

This area of New Zealand is partly agricultural, with dairying being the major agri-industry.

Within the region there are also areas of incredible natural value – such as the Coromandel Peninsula, Mt Pirongia, Waitomo, and more.

Get in

  • InterCity. A coach company that serves more than 600 destinations nationwide.

Get around



  • 1 Hobbiton Movie Set Tours, 501 Buckland Rd, Hinuera, near Matamata, +64 7 888 1505, toll-free: 0508 4 46224866 (HOBBITON). Located in the countryside in the triangle between Matamata, Cambridge and Tirau.
  • 2 Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo (Tours depart from the Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.), . A captivating blend of Waitomo's most compelling subterranean experiences. You start with a spiral 1.6 km descent from ground level via an incredible drum entrance and walkway into the underground cave.
  • 3 Giant dog and sheep metal structure, Tirau visitor centre. Made of corrugated metal, these buildings will bring a smile to tourists.







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This region travel guide to Waikato is an outline and may need more content. It has a template, but there is not enough information present. If there are Cities and Other destinations listed, they may not all be at usable status or there may not be a valid regional structure and a "Get in" section describing all of the typical ways to get here. Please plunge forward and help it grow!