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Know Before You Go
- Hamilton is home to the Hobbiton Movie Set. If you're a Lord of the Rings fan, you'll be able to visit the Shire as well as a few other set locations from the movies.
- If you're looking to soak up Hamilton's nightlife, head to Victoria Street. There's a great selection of bars, nightclubs and casinos that will keep you busy until the wee hours of the morning.
- Don't leave the city without visiting the Hamilton Gardens. It's won the International Garden of the Year award multiple times, and entry is free.
- When planning your trip to Hamilton, try organising your dates around the 16-20th of March. You'll be in town for the Balloons Over Waikato festival where tens of unique hot air balloons fly over the region.
- If you love second-hand shops, Hamilton's streets will not disappoint. While you can find these shops all over the city, go to Liverpool Street, Ulster Street, River Road and Te Aroha Street for the greatest concentration.
- There's free central city Wi-Fi available in most of Hamilton's public spaces. But you can also find Wi-Fi spots at any of the public libraries, McDonalds or Starbucks.
Getting Around Hamilton
- Walking is one of the best ways to get around the CBD and the shopping area. You'll be able to get to most places within a 5-10 minute walk. But if you need to go elsewhere, there's a variety of public transport options to choose from.
- The most convenient and cheapest way to get around Hamilton is with the CBD shuttle. The shuttle leaves every 10 minutes, five days a week, from 7:00 a.m to 6:00 p.m, and the best part is that it's free.
- The city has 28 bus routes and around 900 bus stops. There also regular services to destinations like Raglan and Waikato. A one-way fare will set you back NZD 3.30, and day pass options are available as well.
- If you want to explore the city and its surrounds on a bike, there are a few rental places in Hamilton. Prices start at NZD 35 per day and are perfect for exploring the Pukete Mountain Bike Park.
- While taxis are available in Hamilton, there aren't as many as in other New Zealand cities. During peak times, it could take up to an hour for your ride to arrive and you'll struggle to hail one down from the street.
When is The Best Time to Visit Hamilton?
The best time to visit Hamilton is during its summer months. From December to February, temperatures are a comfortable 23ºC with little chance of rain. Days are also at their longest, meaning you'll have more time for adventuring. But it is the city's high season, so book your accommodation in advance to avoid the price jump.
If you want to avoid the summer crowds, winter is the perfect time to explore Hamilton. Temperatures from June to August reach highs of 14ºC during the day and drop to a chilly 5ºC in the evenings. But if you don't mind packing a few extra layers, you'll be able to explore all the Middle-earth attractions without the busloads of tourists.
A great time of year to visit Hamilton if you are an avid hiker is during Autumn. From March to May, the cooler weather will make your trek easier, and you'll avoid the summer hiking crowds.
It's also Hamilton's shoulder season, so you'll find hotel rates lower than other times of the year.
Spring (September to November) also sees fewer crowds. If you go during this season, you'll be in time for the city's blossoming gardens and lower prices before high season begins.
Airports in Hamilton
Hamilton Airport is 14 km from the city centre and is New Zealand's second busiest certified airport for flight movements. It's home to the fourth longest commercial runway in the country and is a gateway to destinations in the Central North Island.
Both Air New Zealand and Sunair have daily scheduled flights to the main cities and tourist hotspots around the country.
Getting To and From Hamilton Airport
The cheapest way to get from Hamilton Airport into the city centre is with one of the shuttle bus services. It will take about 20 minutes to get to your hotel and fares average around NZD 30 depending on your final destination. Shuttles can be booked ahead of time or arranged once you arrive at one of the stands outside the Arrivals terminal.
If you want to catch a taxi, you can find the rank at the entrance of the airport. It takes 20 minutes to get into the city, but during peak hour traffic it might take you 40 minutes or more. Bookings can be made online, and taxis are available from the airport 24/7.
There are also car rental services available at the airport from a number of different providers at competitive rates.