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Intro to Waikato, New Zealand


Heading south from Greater Auckland visitors arrive in Waikato, famous for its underground limestone cave wonderland in the Waitomo area. Where the sun shines above ground, the Waikato River winds and carves its way through the lush, green hills, bush and undulating farmland. Visitors can enjoy the scenic splendour of bush cloaked mountains, spectacular waterfalls and hot mineral pools. Waikato's West coast boasts outstanding surf along the beautiful expanse of coastline.

The University City of Hamilton is Waikato's main hub, offering charming parks and gardens, great dining, culture and attractions. Hamilton's local zoo provides a fantastic opportunity to learn about New Zealand's native birds, in the Southern Hemisphere's largest free flight aviary.

There are a number of delightful smaller towns located throughout the Waikato region, each with its own charms and specialties.

Waikato's central location between Auckland, Rotorua and Tauranga make it a great base for a North Island holiday, each area only a 90 minute drive away. Waikato is the Maori word for 'flowing water'.

Things to do in Waikato:

One of the most enjoyable ways to experience the Waikato river is onboard a classic paddle steamer, where you can watch the world go by at a relaxing pace while listening to an informative commentary.

Stalactites and stalagmites aplenty can be found south of Hamilton, in the expansive Waitomo cave system. Millions of years in the making, this cave system offers visitors the amazing experience of floating gently through the darkness on a barge or in an inflated inner tube while marveling at the strange beauty of the glow-worms.

For any visiting surfers the funky town of Raglan on the west coast is probably already on your to do list. For any visitors not so keen on getting wet, Raglan's relaxed surf culture offers arts and crafts, good eateries and an easy going lifestyle.

Main towns in the Waikato region:

? Hamilton - New Zealand's fourth largest city
? Cambridge - antiques, arts and crafts
? Waitomo Caves Village - home of thrilling caving and adventure activities
? Matamata - thoroughbred horse racing centre of New Zealand
? Te Aroha - relaxing hot mineral pools

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