The culturally diverse city of Hamilton is situated in the Waikato region of New Zealand’s North Island. To find the lowest rates available on car rental in the city, compare and secure your vehicle with VroomVroomVroom.
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Have a car waiting from the moment you touch ground by hiring through one of our airport rental partners. We work with four rental brands that service Hamilton Airport (HLZ), offering a wide selection of vehicles at great rates that we compare for you.
Cruising the vibrant, bustling streets of Hamilton can be quite the experience. From the popular Hamilton Zoo to the gorgeous Hamilton Gardens, you’re sure to lose yourself in the city sights. Here are some of our top tips when driving in Hamilton:
Yes. Our car rental partner is likely to charge a one-way fee for this, but we include this in the rates we compare for you.
Hamilton Airport sits 17 minutes south of the city via State Highway 3.
It takes an hour-and-a-half to drive from Hamilton to Auckland via State Highway 1.
There's plenty to do in Hamilton, and in the surrounding Waikato district. A frequent winner of "Best Waikato Event" as voted by the public of Hamilton, Balloons Over Waikato which is held in March each year, is one of the popular events. There are three venues, Innes Common, Hamilton Lake and the University of Waikato. You can catch a sunrise balloon ride on any of the festival days. A highlight of the weekend is the Zuru Nightglow, when balloons glow in the dark to a soundtrack of orchestrated music, with a finale of fireworks.
Make sure to use our travel guide to find the best things to see and do with your rental car.
Paintball Hamilton by Hinterland AdventuresAddress: Hutchinson Rd
This Kiwi-owned business is known for their paintball and other exciting outdoor activities such as clay bird shooting, outdoor laser tag, and archery. The Hinterland Adventures site is just 15 minutes north of the city centre. All groups are very welcome including schools, stag do's, work functions, sports teams and birthday parties.
Waikato River Explorer
Address: Hamilton Gardens, Hungerford Crescent (departure and pickup)
Road trips are fun, but you can also try cruising for a change. The Waikato River is the lifeblood of Hamilton City, with many opportunities for recreation. Enjoy the scenery and tranquil surroundings of the Waikato River by cruising the Waikato River Explorer's 47-foot vessel. This popular charter vessel called Cynthia Dew can seat up to 54 passengers and accommodate up to 75. They offer lunch, scenic, and wine tasting cruises from Thursday to Sunday all year round.
Waikato River Walks
Or, get up close to the water with a river-side walk at these scenic paths:
Hobbiton Movie Set Tours
A fantastic day out. Book your tickets for a tour at the thatched-roof i-site office in Matamata, a 45-minute drive from Hamilton. You can then choose to drive yourself to Hobbiton, another 20 minutes, or relax and opt for a bus ride there. The site itself is a little remote, so the bus ride takes the worry out of the trip. Hobbiton is large, so upon arrival, you board another bus for your tour. Guides are super-knowledgeable and have lots of behind the scenes stories. There's plenty of time off the bus to wander the attractions at your own pace. Finish your tour at the Green Dragon pub, with a cup of tea and a cheese scone. Read more about it in our useful article.
Address: Accessed from Limeworks Loop Rd
With multiple tracks to suit your level of fitness, there is nothing more idyllic than the spectacular views this mountaintop has to offer. Get hiking shoes, comfortable clothes, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the sense of satisfaction that comes with a good day of adventuring. Mt. Pirongia is a 40-minute drive from Hamilton.
Cricket at Seddon Park
Seddon Park is New Zealand's fourth largest cricket venue and is popular for its village-green atmosphere, and picnic vibe. As part of the ANZ Test Series, watch the New Zealand cricket team, the BLACKCAPS play Pakistan of 25-29 November.
Address: Hungerford Crescent
Not just a destination during spring and summer! The Hamilton Gardens are one of the city's premier attractions. It is more than a botanical garden, it is more a living museum with over 21 themed gardens to enjoy. Linger in the Italian Renaissance Garden or take a moment in the Japanese Garden of Contemplation.
Address: 183 Brymer Road
This crowd-pleaser is perfect for the whole family to enjoy the day or afternoon. If you aren't with the family, it's also a perfect first date! With native and exotic animals from around the world, plus a cafe to enjoy lunch, Hamilton Zoo offers a truly fun time.
Just 40 minutes of driving time from Hamilton is Raglan. This a surf side community has a big focus on the creative and artistic lifestyle. Have a surfing lesson, and try to stand up like the pros. Relax in the cafes or on the verandah of the Harbour View Hotel, the iconic pub in the centre of town. You can stay the night there too. Check out the Raglan website, they even have a Friday afternoon local surfing update!
Underhill Valley Earth Huts by Canopy Camping
Address: Whatawhata RD 2
If you're looking for the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, or simply want a romantic refuge for you & your partner, then make sure to check out the Underhill Valley. Staying in the earth huts may remind you of the Hobbiton village. Each hut was beautifully handcrafted to promote sustainable living. Underhill Valley was established more than 15 years ago, yet remains the best-kept secret in Waikato!
Brooklands Country Estate
Address: 5908 Hwy 22, Waingaro
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city's nightlife and retreat to the peaceful, lush, green country of Waingaro Valley. Here you will discover a luxury accommodation that offers fine dining, a spa, a swimming pool, a library, a golf course and many other activities to help keep you entertained in such a secluded area. Sounds to us like the perfect getaway!
Argent Motor Lodge
Address: 27 Lorne Street, Melville
Ranked #2 of the 62 hotels in the city by TripAdvisor and located within close proximity to the Waikato Hospital and Lake. This cosy, top-class service and modern motor lodge offer great accommodation space and facilities at affordable rates.
Restaurants & Bars
Smith & McKenzie
Address: 13 Lynden Court, Chartwell Square
For those who are searching for the best steaks in New Zealand, make sure to drop by Smith & McKenzie Chophouse. This restaurant can accommodate up to 150 guests, but it also features a separate bar, two garden areas and a special functions room. Smith & McKenzie is known for their tender steaks -- which use a slow cooking technique to ensure that meat is tasty and juicy. They also have a wide selection of wines and beers to compliment your steak.
Address: 20 Alma Street
Situated right in the heart of the city, Palate is one of the top restaurants in the Waikato region. It was established in 2005 and is headed by highly-acclaimed Chef Mat McLean, who is also the owner of this restaurant. Chef McLean and his hardworking team aim to provide the highest-quality, freshest food all the time. Palate has received numerous awards including the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Award (2012) and the Entertainment Gold Award (2014.)
If you are looking for great coffee, great food, and great service, then The District is the place to be. It is open from Monday to Saturday with dinner served every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Their seasonal menus feature local produce from the Waikato and other New Zealand regions. Make sure you try their beer-battered fish and chips, flash-fried squid and stone-cooked pizza. They also have a wide selection of wines, cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks and hot beverages.