If you want to find the best group activities in Hamilton or around Hamilton, you have come to the right place. We cover group activities for those who love nature and the outdoors, for those who are into movies, for those who treasure their garden and finally for groups of adventure seekers.
Visit Bridal Veil Falls and Raglan
The Bridal Veil Falls is an apt name for these falls. They are stunning 55m falls that have resulted in many couples tying the knot. They are a short 10-minute walk from the carpark with multiple viewing platforms. There are 300 steps to get to the base of the falls and that will take another 10 minutes. The falls are located in the Wairēinga Scenic Reserve, which is a dense Tawa dominated forest. Due to the size of the falls expect to get some water spray. The falls are 15 minutes from Raglan and are a perfect stop between Hamilton and Raglan.
Raglan is a popular surf beach, with its black sand and heavy swells. At the right time, it can have amazing left-hand wave breaks that will go the length of the beach. In recent years Raglan’s town size has grown considerably. Raglan has a number of activities that you can enjoy such as; paddleboarding in the harbour, surfing or surf lessons on the beach, horse trekking through farms and down the beach, harbour cruises or just enjoying an ice cream under a pohutukawa on the beach. These activities will suit all your groups’ needs. Expect the trip to Raglan from Hamilton to be approximately 1 hour and aim to spend the whole day at Raglan exploring the many things you can do.
Sanctuary Mountain Maungatautari
Experience New Zealand like it used to be. Mountain Maungatautari is a mainland ecological island approximately 1-hour travel from Hamilton. Surrounding it is a 47km pest-proof fence that is one of the longest in the world. It has provided a habitat for countless birds, insects and reptiles that are threatened in New Zealand. It is a world-class conservation project. Come with a school group to be educated, a church group to see the wonders of God’s creation, a walking group to enjoy the fresh air of the forest. The sanctuary provides tours at various times of the day and night to experience the different aspects of native New Zealand before humans came along.
On your bus trip to the sanctuary, you will pass through the lush Waikato pastureland. There are a number of stops that we can make on the way such as the Lavender farms or Wetland Centres, or numerous cafe. On the way home, we can take a separate route through Arapuni, Karapiro and Cambridge. This will give you a good view of the Waikato river snaking its way through the countryside.
Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park and Waihi.
If you are a tramping group take a trip to the Kaimai Mamaku Conservation Park. It has some amazing waterfalls, gorges, and native bush that will lift your spirits. It was an old gold mining area, so you can experience how the gold miners laboured in the early 1900s. The walks vary from short 15 minute walks to 8-hour hikes. If you want to just enjoy the area with minimal walks, travel by bus and stop along the way for short walks all the way through to Waihi. You can also visit the gold mine at Waihi and travel out to the beaches. During this trip, you will get to experience and enjoy crystal clear rivers, native bush, and the white sands of Waihi. You build your trip and we will take you there.
Hamilton City Gardens Tour
There is good reason why Hamilton City Gardens is the top tourist attraction in Hamilton. It is not just the beautiful 54-hectare park with vibrant colours and sensual smells, but the many culturally themed gardens that take you on a journey to many countries and time periods around the world. It provides a place to visit and enjoy for both the young and old, increasing your appreciation of the natural world and providing inspiration for your own garden. The themed gardens are free and open between 7:30 am and 5:30 pm in the Winter and 7:30 am and 7:30 pm in the Summer. If you have a green thumb it is worthwhile booking a 75-minute tour to give you a deeper insight into the different flora and what goes into these masterpieces.
The gardens are categorised into 5 themes. The Paradise themed gardens are impressions of different gardens across the world. They include gardens such as; Chinese Scholar’s Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, English Flower Garden, Modernist Garden, Italian Renaissance Garden, and the Indian Char Bagh Garden. The Cultivar Garden themed gardens are a selection of plants cultivated for gardens across the world and time. They include the following gardens; Rogers Rose Garden, Rhododendron Lawn, Hammond Camellia, Victorian Flower Garden, New Zealand Cultivar Garden, and the Dutch Renaissance Garden. There are three more themes including 17 additional gardens. It is a truly amazing set of gardens as a group activity in Hamilton that shouldn’t be missed. This is why in the summer months the carpark can be full, so renting a bus for your group will save time and frustration in finding parking. We recommend that you mix your Hamilton Gardens Tour with either the Waikato River Explorer or the Zeacon Tea Estate to give you brilliant day out.
If you are a fan of the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit films you cannot go past visiting Hobbiton. It is the location of the Shire in Peter Jackson’s adaptation of The J.R.R Tolkien series. This place is hugely popular year-round and is perfectly set up for you to enter Middle Earth.
Tours are throughout the day across the 14 acres of movie set. You can view the 44 hobbit holes that were built to different scales to allow the actors to appear smaller or larger. The guides are very knowledgeable and are able to give you a detailed insight into the location and explain how the films came to life. To enhance your experience enjoy refreshments and brewed beverages at the Green Dragon Inn. Expect to spend between 2 and 3 hours at Hobbiton. The bus trip is one hour from Hamilton through the lovely Waikato countryside. There are a number of interesting stops we can make on the way such as Stud farms, “The Town of Trees & Champions” (Cambridge), and Lake Karapiro for kayaking or rowing.
Get up close and personal with animals at the Hamilton Zoo. This is a well designed Zoo, balancing the needs of the animals with nice enclosures, but also enabling you to get close to the animals in their natural setting. Your kids will love the variety and being able to interact with the different animals. If you have a group of kids you can book a tour that will excite and educate them. The Hamilton Zoo provides a great group activity in Hamilton for young and old. You can also enjoy a picnic at the Zoo or if you need to cook, book one of the BBQs at the Zoo. There are over 600 animals at the Zoo from the many cheeky monkeys, to the always watchful Meerkats and the powerful Tigers. The Zoo is located just outside of Hamilton, within 10 minutes from the central city. It is on the west side of Hamilton and could be linked with a trip to the beaches in Raglan.
Pick your own berries
The Waikato region offers a number of ‘pick your own’ orchards. All sorts of berries and other fruits are available with this option. Enjoy walking through the fields sampling the fruit and filling your container with the best fruit Waikato has on offer. A number of berry sites also have local shops where you can purchase fruit and real fruit ice-cream. This is a great option for a fruit-loving family. We are happy to customise your bus trip to stop at one of these locations to fill you up on fruit. The seasonal fruit that you can pick for your group activity in Hamilton are; strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, persimmon, pears, peaches, apples and nectarines.
Black water rafting at Waitomo Caves
Welcome to the underworld, the glowworm-studded wonderland below Waitomo. Different adventures are available to suit everyone’s level of adventurousness meeting the needs of all your group. Abseil into the abyss, jump off underground waterfalls, float through the stars of the underworld or weave through the labyrinths. You won’t want to miss the adventure you get at the Waitomo Caves. As you come out of the underworld, into the light, everything is brighter, sweeter and richer. It’s an experience you cannot miss.
The bus trip is just over an hour travelling south from Hamilton. On the bus trip, you will pass through beautifully green countryside dotted with small farming towns. If you want to turn it into a day trip we can take you to Pirongia National Park for views across the Waikato, or if you want to combine it with a beach trip we can take you to the hot springs on the beautiful beach at Kawhai.
Zealong Tea Estate
The most commonly consumed drink in the world is water, the second is tea. There are many types of teas, and just out of Hamilton we are growing it on some of the best soil in New Zealand. Zealong runs tea tours for you to experience and deepen your understanding of tea. After this tour, you will know how to get the best result out of the tea you buy.
In addition to this, you can also enjoy the High Tea experience at Zealong or enjoy the great meal selection in their lovely restaurant. It’s a short 10-minute bus trip from Hamilton and it is best to allow 90 minutes for the tour. It would be worthwhile combining this visit with a walk through the award-winning Hamilton Gardens.
Waikato River Explorer
The Waikato River is the centrepiece of Hamilton, faithfully flowing over the centuries from Lake Taupo through to port Waikato. It is NZ’s longest river at over 450km. Waikato means “flowing water”. It creates the powerful Huka falls and provides power to countless houses and business across NZ owing to the many dams that exist along the river. In centuries past it was the main highway into central NZ, supplying towns and settlements up the river. Generations have swum in the river, taken their water and benefited from it’s flowing water.
With Waikato River Explorer you can get up close and personal with the river. The Waikato River Explorer provides a Cafe Lunch on the 60-minute cruise. You will travel from the Hamilton Garden down to the Claudelands Bridge and back with great commentary on the Maori Pa sites, bridges and the nature surrounding the river. It’s an excellent trip to link with your visit to the Hamilton Gardens or other group activities in Hamilton.
So what are you waiting for, book your next group activity now.