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Making the Most of a Cheap Car Rental in Hamilton 

Car Hire
Travel Guide
man giving two thumbs up inside his car rental in hamilton

A Hamilton car hire is the best way to see the city and the surrounding district of Waikato.  Enjoy the riverside and Hamilton Gardens, then head to central North Island attractions nearby.  VroomVroomVroom  can help you find the cheapest car rental with minimum effort. Compare the rates of the top suppliers in the rental car industry such as Hertz, Thrifty, Avis, Europcar and Budget.

How to get the best deal on Hamilton car hire

  1. Book well in advance, there will be the largest range of vehicles available the further out you book.

  2. Although Hamilton is a small city, it is close to great tourist spots in the North Island, so is a centrally located place to start your road trip.

  3. Contact us if you have any queries. We have a fantastic customer care team, who you can speak to, email, or get instant answers from on live chat. With a Hamilton car hire, you can enjoy your road trip in the Waikato region and have the freedom to go anywhere, anytime you want!

Drive around Middle-Earth Paradise

A cheap car rental is easy to find, even if you're in Middle-Earth! You can find the most affordable deals on rental cars in Hamilton and anywhere in New Zealand here at VroomVroomVroom. 

A highlight of the Waikato region is the film-set-turned-tourist-attraction, Hobbiton in Matamata. It only takes around 45 minutes driving time to Matamata  from Hamilton. You can book tickets to the attraction at the thatched-roof i-site in Matamata and opt for hassle-free bus transport to the site as part of your tour — or even better, make your own way there in your own rental car! It's just a further 20 minute drive.  You can read more about Hobbiton at our travel guide.

If the airport is more convenient for you than Hamilton City, we can help you with that too! Read our Hamilton Airport guide to get the know-how on finding the most affordable rental vehicles at the terminal. Or if you'd prefer a campervan experience in Hamilton and surrounding areas, check out our campervan page.

Heading to Hamilton for Fieldays?

Fieldays is the Southern Hemisphere's largest agricultural expo, held just outside Hamilton at Mystery Creek every year in June. Over 1000 exhibitors  show their ideas to more than 126,000 farming-interested patrons over four days.  Read more about this iconic expo on our events page.

Explore the Waikato with the convenience of a rental car

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 out travel guide to find the best things to see and do with your rental car. 

Things To Do

Waikato River Explorer

Address: Hamilton Gardens, Hungerford Crescent (departure and pickup)

waikato river cruise

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:

  • Memorial Park- Rose Gardens (east side)
  • Rose Gardens- Hillcrest Beach (east side)
  • Bridge Street- Governers (west side)
  • Governers- Beerescourt (west side)

Hamilton Gardens

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.

Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

Address: 501 Buckland Rd, Hinuera, Matamata 3400, New Zealand

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

Paintball Hamilton by Hinterland Adventures

Address: Hutchinson Rd

players at hinterland paintball in hamilton city

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.  

Hamilton Zoo 

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 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!

Mount Pirongia

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.

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Places To Stay

Underhill Valley Earth Huts by Canopy Camping

Address: Whatawhata RD 2

underhill valley earth huts by canopy camping

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 night life 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 offers great accommodation space and facilities at affordable rates. 

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Places To Eat

Smith & McKenzie

Address: 13 Lynden Court, Chartwell Square

smith mckenzie dining experience at hamilton

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

palate at alma street in hamilton

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.) 

The District

Address: Home Straight, Te Rapa (opposite Bunnings Warehouse)

interior of the district at hamilton

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-coooked pizza. They also have a wide selection of wines, cocktails, non-alcoholic drinks and hot beverages.

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What's your travel experience in Hamilton?

Share your comments with VroomVroomVroom below!

hot air balloons over waikato

Fieldays at Mystery Creek Events Centre every June of each year 

This four day event is the largest agricultural expo in the Southern Hemisphere, and attracts over 120,000 visitors from all over the world. Don't worry if you don't know your hoggets from your spring lambs, there is something here for everyone: tractor pull competitions, an Ag-art wear show, and extreme air displays. Ladies, don't miss the Rural Bachelor of the Year competition, where the most eligible young farmers show of their skills across speed fencing to speed dating. You are likely to come away with some designer merino from one of the many trade stands to warm you up for the rest of your New Zealand visit.  

Cricket at Seddon Park

Seddon Park is New Zealand's fourth largest cricket venue, and is popular for it's 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. 

Hamilton Car RentalHamilton
Hamilton,North IslandNew Zealand
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