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Our most recommended Waikato Wheelchair accessible

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: Ruakuri Cave 1.5 Hour Guided Tour

2. 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: Maori Rock Carvings 1.5-Hour Scenic Cruise

3. 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 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.

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

4. 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.

Tandem Skydive Experience in Taupo

5. Tandem Skydive Experience in Taupo

Start your day in style with a complimentary pick-up from your accommodation in a stretch Hummer. Head to the drop zone, a 10 minute drive from the town center. On arrival, let the experienced and friendly team look after you. Go through the safety briefing and the available video/photo options. Be kitted up with all the equipment you need for a safe experience. You even get a free buff headband to wear during the jump and have as a keepsake.  Your skydive begins with a scenic plane ride up to 12,000ft, 15,000ft or 18,500ft (depending on the option you choose). You’ll begin to get incredible views of Lake Taupo, Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe – also known as Mount Doom from Lord of the Rings. Once you’ve reached altitude, the doors will open, you’ll sit on the edge of the plane with your tandem master seated behind you. After exiting the plane you will free fall at speeds of 200 kilometres per-hour for 45, 60 or 75 seconds. At 5,500 feet your tandem master will deploy the parachute and you can catch your breath while taking in the stunning views of the Lake Taupo area. You will then float back to earth with a relaxing parachute ride with your tandem master, arriving safe and soundly back at the drop zone. Once back on the ground it’s time for a high five and a hug. Check out how nervous you look in your exclusive Jump Photo before being dropped back to Taupo. 

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

6. 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.

Raglan: Scenic Harbour Sunset Cruise

7. 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

8. 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.

Hobbiton Movie Set & Rotorua Premium Day Tour from Auckland

9. Hobbiton Movie Set & Rotorua Premium Day Tour from Auckland

This full-day excursion begins with a pick-up at your preferred location in Auckland, and a scenic 2-hour drive into Waikato with the possibility of stops for photos en route to the Hobbiton Movie Set. On arrival, you’ll spend 30-45 minutes at the official Hobbiton Gift Shop and have a chance to grab a drink or a bite to eat at the famous Shire's Rest Café. Next you’ll 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. Your tour then continues to Rotorua, where you'll visit Te Puia and explore Te Whakarewarewa, a 60-hectare geothermal valley. You’ll also have an opportunity to see the kiwi bird house and viewing enclosure, watch traditional Maori carving and weaving, learn about Maori art and history and take a walk around a model pre-European Maori village and sacred marae. If you like, you can enjoy a meal prepared using ancient geothermal cooking techniques, watch a Maori haka performance and learn about Maori culture inside the sacred marae. At the end of the program it will be time to sit back and relax on the scenic drive back to Auckland.

Raglan: Nature Cruise of Raglan Harbour

10. Raglan: Nature Cruise of Raglan Harbour

You haven't seen Raglan until you've seen it from the water. Check out the spectacular natural surroundings on this nature cruise with live commentary in the Whaingaroa Harbour Conservation Area. Sit back and relax while you take in the stunning scenery. Listen to live commentary as well as music, and enjoy a wine or beer which are available to purchase from the bar. Admire the scenic views of the coastline including unique limestone formations and keep your eyes peeled for marine wildlife. Add fresh fish and chips from the famous Raglan Fish and enjoy some real local flavor as well.

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What people are saying about Waikato

Overall rating

4.9 / 5

based on 1,828 reviews

A very well organized tourist event with a lot of (parking) space, actually no waiting times and reasonable pricing. The time in "Hobbiton" is sufficient and worthwhile even for people who do not know the books or the films.

Our guide was Billy, very helpful, nice, informative made the tour a lot of fun and terribly interesting. He really loves Hobbiton by how express all the characters and fun things that you would have or may have missed in the movie.

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!

It was amazing I was a bit afraid but my tandem master andrew calmed me down☺️

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