Waikato & Coromandel
The Waikato is fertile farm country, and while the locals might get excited ringing their cow bells at Chiefs rugby games at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium..... for visitors..... not so much.
We know we’re in for a slap in the head for not writing up Hamilton as the place to go in New Zealand, but the country’s 4th biggest city with around 180,000 people is definitely not NZ’s biggest drawcard.
That said, some interesting spots around the region are worthy of attention. Hobbiton, near Matamata, is like the holy grail for Hobbit tragics, while the Waitomo Caves, with the impressive cave system and glow worms, have been attracting visitors for over a century.
Then you can find surf-town NZ on the west coast, at Raglan with its suitably shaggy locals and good bars and eateries.
Meanwhile, the Coromandel peninsula offers excellent beaches, hiking and vibrant summer holiday towns such as Whitianga and Whangamata.
Hot Water Beach is a popular spot on the east coast of the peninsula where you can dig your own hot pool in the sand.