Drive south of Auckland and shortly you’ll hit the Waikato; a land so lush it served as The Shire in J. R. R. Tolkien’s legendary films. The region was named after the longest river in New Zealand, but is just as renowned for its rich rolling hills, mystic caverns, and black sand beaches. With spectacular beauty above ground and magnificent wonders below, you’ll remember the epic scenery on your Waikato road trip forever.
With flourishing farmland as far as the eye can see, Waikato is one of the most bountiful agricultural and pastoral regions in the world. If you’re a Lord of The Rings fan, visit the movie set at Matamata and explore the magic of the Hobbit-sized village in real life. To experience the great Waikato river itself, hop aboard a charming old paddle steamer and watch the world go by as you learn about local landmarks and regional heritage.
If you’re up for going underground, road trip down to the Waitomo area. Here, you’ll discover a subterranean maze of giant caverns swathed in stalactites and stalagmites (Age-old formations that have grown gradually over millions of years). Float through the dark waters on a classic barge, aweing at the silent beauty as glow-worms create a starry sky on the cavern ceiling.
For a slice of urban living, head to charming Hamilton. New Zealand's fourth largest city enjoys the award-winning Hamilton Gardens and a zoo with the biggest free-flight aviary in the southern hemisphere. Not to mention the winding walkways that line the Waikato River as it flows straight through the centre. For a small town feel, road trip to laid-back Raglan on the West Coast. Famed throughout the global surfing community for its unreal left-hand break, this little beach town is the perfect spot for some chilled out camping.
Discover the great range of campervans, motorhomes and caravans available for hire in Waikato below.