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Waikato Family-friendly activities

Our most recommended Waikato Family-friendly activities

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.

Waitomo: Glowworm Caves Guided Tour by Boat

2. 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.

Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

3. Lake Taupo: 1.5-Hour Maori Rock Carvings 5:00 PM Cruise

Enjoy a summer evening cruising on Lake Taupo. Chris Jolly has been entertaining guests for 40 years, and his tour to the Maori Rock Carvings is known worldwide. Recently restored, these rock carvings were created in the 1980s and still tower above the water, truly a sight to behold.  With family friendly activities on board and split level comfort, this tour is a must for those visiting the region. Enjoy the full bar as you cruise around the Lake Taupo bays, learning onboard from the live commentary. With views of Tongariro National Park and spectacular scenery, this is one evening to be enjoyed by all.

Raglan: Scenic Harbour Sunset Cruise

4. Raglan: Scenic Harbour Sunset Cruise

You haven't seen Raglan until you've seen it from the water! Relax and enjoy a fun, narrated Nature Cruise provided within Raglan's Whaingaroa Harbour. Sit back and relax while you take in the stunning scenery. Your cruise meets the Harbour Mouth just in time for you to enjoy the beautiful colours of a West Coast Sunset. Enjoy 90 minutes of good humour from the crew, great music. Enjoy a wine or beer available for purchase from the bar. You also have the option to add fresh Fish & Chips from the famous "Raglan Fish". This is a good vibe local operation. Come aboard and join the fun for your scenic Raglan Harbour Cruise.

From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

5. From Auckland: Hobbiton Movie Set Half-Day Trip with Tour

Travel in comfort in a luxury Mercedes van from Auckland to the famous Hobbiton Movie Set. Your trip begins with a pick-up at your preferred location in Auckland. Enjoy a scenic 2-hour drive into Waikato with stops for photos en route.  On arrival, spend 30-45 minutes at the official Hobbiton Gift Shop and have a chance to grab a drink or a bite at the famous Shire's Rest Café. Next, embark on a 2-hour guided tour of the 1,250-acre sheep farm with amazing views of the Kaimai Ranges. Your guide will then lead the way through the 12-acre site that’s home to Hobbit Holes, the Old Mill and the Double-Arched Bridge. Stop for a complimentary drink at The Green Dragon Inn. At the end of the Hobbiton Movie Set visit, head back to Auckland along the scenic roads of Waikato, arriving at approximately 2:00 PM - 2:30 PM.

From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

6. From Rotorua: Lake Taupo & Orakei Korako Geothermal Park

Get a fantastic geothermal experience without the thronging crowds with this day trip to Orakei Korako from Rotorua. Discover a geothermal park boasting the most active geysers in New Zealand. After exploring Orakei Korako, visit Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Depart Rotorua after pickup from your hotel between 9 AM-9:15 AM and travel to Orakei Korako. Somewhat off the beaten track, Orakei Korako, also known as the Hidden Valley, is nestled in the Taupo Volcanic Zone between Taupo and Rotorua. After a 45-minute drive to get there, take a short boat ride across the lake then enjoy 2 hours to explore the thermal area featuring up to 23 natural geysers in a constantly changing landscape. Marvel at the number of boiling hot springs and the vibrant colors all around you, or take a native bushwalk through this untouched geothermal paradise. Next, move on to Huka Falls and the Taupo area. Lunch is at your own expense but there are multiple places for you to choose to eat. In Taupo, be guided by your driver and visit the lake front and other interesting sights. Your driver will find out what interests you and, if possible, tailor the day to maximize the stops to suit your interests. Return to Rotorua after Taupo for drop-off at your accommodation between 3:30 PM-4:30 PM.

Raglan: Sunset Canyoning Tour and Glowworm Experience

7. Raglan: Sunset Canyoning Tour and Glowworm Experience

As the sun goes down, begin your journey into the ancient stream flowing off Mount Karioi. Wrapped up in the latest canyoning suits, jump into the freshwater pools. Climb and abseil cascading waterfalls all whilst under the light of your head torch. Feel safe in the company of an experienced guide, as they lead you on a great adventure. Throughout the trip hear the stories, history, and knowledge of the landscape and local area from your passionate guide. Following the stream find yourself in awe of the native flora and fauna surrounding you. As darkness falls, you'll begin to see the luminescent transformation take place. Witness new worlds of light being created by the native New Zealand glowworms who call this place home. Take a minute to stop for a moment of peace and tranquillity, with a hot cup of freshly made Kawakawa tea.

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What people are saying about Waikato

Breathtaking tour conducted by Taylor. Slightly tainted by the couples who obviously follow ‘child led parenting’ and allowed their kids to just cry and scream through the whole tour. Best to go in the afternoon, but be warned, there is really nothing in Waitomo apart from the caves, so probably best to do early afternoon and then head into your next place.

Staff were very friendly and helpful throughout the entire visit. Great stories on the actual filming from our guide Mike who was happy to take pics for us and answer any questions. Loved it!

Amazing experience loved it We had visitors over from Ireland & Poland & we all thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip The guide was awesome Highly recommend A++++

A good incite into the history of the caves and glow worms. Amusing and informative guide.

Much better than expected. A must see when visiting New Zealand.