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What Car Would Best Suit a Day Trip From Hamilton?

day trips from hamilton

Planning to explore Hamilton? There’s no better way to check out the city and its surrounding areas than by way of a rental car. If you’re a fan of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, be sure to visit the Hobbiton Movie Set, or if surfing is your passion, then Raglan is the perfect place for you.

Best known for its amazing underground wonders, rolling green hills, award-winning eateries, and vibrant nightlife, do yourself a favour and see why Hamilton is a dream destination.


Waitomo

Waitomo Glowworm Caves

Recommended car: Hire a premium SUV such as a Mitsubishi Pajero or Toyota Prado. With plenty of room for passengers and luggage, an SUV is a perfect option for a comfortable ride.

Travel time from Hamilton: 1 hour

Top attractions: Waitomo Glowworm Caves, Aranui Cave, Ruakuri Cave, Waitomo Great Walk, Pureora Timber Trail, Museum of Caves.

Tips: Free parking is available next to the Waitomo Caves Visitor Centre and Legendary Black Water Rafting Co.

Directions: From Hamilton, head southeast on Anglesea Street toward Ward Street and follow the signs for Route 1/Route 3. At the roundabout, take the second exit onto State Highway 37 to reach Hamilton.

Cambridge

waikato region from mt pirongia with sanctuary mountain

Recommended car: Rent a compact car like a Toyota Corolla Hatch or Suzuki Swift. This type of vehicle is a smart choice for a short road trip with a small group of family or friends.

Travel time from Hamilton: 30 minutes

Top attractions: Lake Te Koutu, Cambridge Farmers' Market, Cambridge Museum, Maungakawa Scenic Reserve.

Tips: Driving in New Zealand may take longer than expected because of their winding roads. Use a GPS to find out driving times while planning your journey.

Directions: Only half-an-hour drive from Hamilton, visitors should follow signs for State Highway 1. Take the exit towards Cambridge and continue onto Cambridge Road/Thermal Explorer Highway.

Hobbiton and Te Aroha

bilbo baggins home and hobbit garden in hobbiton movie set

Recommended car: Rent a compact car like a Toyota Corolla Hatch or Suzuki Swift. This type of vehicle is a smart choice for a short road trip with a small group of family or friends.

Travel time from Hamilton: 45 minutes

Top attractions: Hobbiton Movie Set, Green Dragon Inn, Te Aroha Domain, Mount Te Aroha, Mokena Geyser.

Tips: The Hobbiton Movie Set is only accessible via guided tour. Be sure to book in advance with HobbitonTours if you want to experience the magic of Hobbiton.

Directions: Head south through Matamata in your rental car towards Cambridge to get to Hobbiton. Te Aroha is only a 45-minute drive from Hamilton.

Raglan

raglan surf beach

Recommended car: If road trip safety is your number one priority, as well as space and practicality, an intermediate SUV is perfect for you. A vehicle such as the Toyota Rav 4 or Mazda CX-5 will make your drive a whole lot more comfortable.

Travel time from Hamilton: 40 minutes

Top attractions: Bridal Veil Falls, Raglan Horse Treks, Raglan Walking trails, Raglan Rock, Mt Karioi.

Tips: Hamilton & Waikato Tourism recommends checking with the Department of Conservation before taking your pet on any of the trails in the region.

Directions: Bridal Veil Falls is signposted from State Highway 23 between Te Uku and Raglan. Access is via Te Mata Road off the Hamilton/Raglan Highway (SH23). Make sure to turn left onto Kawhia Road one kilometre past Te Mata, then travel another four kilometres to the car park.


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