Hamilton & Waikato
Hamilton–Waikato is a fertile region of gentle plains, pastoral scenes and rolling hills that conceal vast underground networks of spectacular limestone caves.
Flanking the mighty Waikato River, which flows through the heart of the North Island, this prosperous farming region has had an international reputation as a tourism destination for at least 125 years. First it was the underground lights of glow-worm caverns in the famed Waitomo Caves; now it’s the home of hobbits, as featured in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit film trilogies.
Long before Europeans were on the trail through the Waikato, Māori lived in this historically and culturally significant land. Many Waikato Māori trace their ancestry back 800 years, to the arrival of the Tainui waka (canoe), and before the arrival of Europeans the area was well populated with Māori pa (fortified villages) and an important centre of Māori commerce.