Waikato’s most popular attraction, HobbitonTM Movie Set, remains open every season, providing at least five tours a day, seven days a week. Visitors are invited to join a walking tour through the enchanting movie set as pictured in the trilogies, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit before enjoying a brew inside by the fire at the Green Dragon Inn. Cosy up to the warm interiors of the mystical world of Hobbiton with friends and family this winter season.
Nestled at the base of Mount Te Aroha, the hot springs provide a sanctuary of rest and relaxation. Soak in the wooden barrel spas, supplying spa-goers with the ultimate authentic healing remedy. These mineral spas also offer luxury massage and spa beauty treatments for visitors looking for the full remedial package.
A 15-minute drive from the town of Raglan, the spectacular 55-metre waterfall offers visitors scenic views of the lush flora of North Island. Discover the Bridal Veil Falls (also known as Wairēinga Falls) as you explore the native bush of Waikato.
The recently restored No. 2 Bath House has retained its Edwardian design with a modern twist. There are three separate outdoor pools to enjoy, along with a separate kiddies pool. Beyond the bath house, you can discover the nearby shops, restaurants and galleries, or wander through the walking and biking tracks or the museum.
A hidden gem and locals secret, Kawhia is a super relaxed, small beachside town with natural hot springs along the main beach. Two hours either side of low tide, geothermally heated water bubbles up through the black sand. Have a dip in the ocean then bring a shovel and dig your own bath!
Sail the crystal-clear waters of Lake Taupō to see the magnificent Māori rock carvings at Mine Bay. Matahi Whakataka-Brightwell, a master carver after completing his 10-year training period, decided to return to his grandmother’s land and carve the landmark as a gift to his land. One of New Zealand’s most extraordinary contemporary art works, the mainrock carving stands at over 10 metres high. Accessible only by water.
Soak away your worries in a warm mineral-rich thermal pool at the ever-popular Taupō DeBretts.
Set in a steaming thermal valley, relax and soothe tired muscles in the two large outdoor pools, private indoor pools or freshwater pools and spas. The kids are well-catered for with a thermally heated freshwater children’s pool, an interactive warm water playground with water pop-ups, streaming jets, and two racing slides.
Looking for a more intimate experience? Bathe in thermal pools enriched with minerals and silica. Strategically located below the Wairakei silica terraces and waterfall is a perfect setting for complete rest and relaxation and a ‘feel back in time’ sensation.
This seasonal event celebrates the beauty of the cooler months through music, food and entertainment. Running throughout the winter school holidays, there is something new on daily for all members of the family to see and enjoy.
Did you know that Taupō is famous for trout fishing? Experience a different side of the region when you stay by the river at Tongariro Lodge. While most avid fishers visit the region in the warmer seasons, the winter months bring fish that are of the best size and quality of the year. If you’re a non-fisher, there are also lots of great walks to do around here in winter.
Taupō is home to two awesome jet boat rides on the mighty Waikato River. Get up close with the mighty Huka Falls with Hukafalls Jet in Taupō or ride with Rapids Jet, New Zealand’s only whitewater jet boat experience. With splash jackets, and heated handrails to hold on to, there is no reason why you shouldn’t book a trip during your winter holiday.
The dual UNESCO World Heritage Tongariro National Park is a place of unimaginable natural beauty and spiritual significance, located in the heart of the central North Island. Taranaki Falls is one of Tongariro National Park’s best short walks. This easy loop is jam-packed with fascinating natural sights including Taranaki Falls themselves which tumble 20 metres into a boulder-ringed pool.
Situated on the southern shores of Lake Taupō, come relax in the soothing and therapeutic waters of the thermal hot springs of Tokaanu. With both a private natural mineral pool and large public pool with fresh chlorinated water, there are options for everyone in temperatures ranging from 36˚C to 41˚C. Preschoolers can splash around in their own fresh chlorinated pool, which is right beside the main pool. The Tokaanu Stream has immense cultural significance for the local Māori tribe Ngāti Kurauia, who have used the thermal pools for bathing, communal cooking, and dyeing traditional clothing.
Relax in healing mineral water at the only free geothermal hot pool in Taupō! Soak under a waterfall or in the natural rock pools while taking in the stunning views of the deep green, crystal-clear waters of the Waikato River. Otumuheke is a historical bathing and meeting place for Māori, and in 2018 underwent a significant upgrade of new facilities including river-edge lounging platforms, a hot spring seating area, coffee kiosk and storyboards explaining the historic significance of the area. While there, consider walking the nearby Huka Trail, which follows the banks of the Waikato River to Huka Falls.
Bay of Plenty
Bay of Plenty is well known for its popular truffle picking season throughout autumn and winter. Truffle hunting, being specifically popular among good food lovers, is a must-visit experience. Since opening in 2015, Te Puke Truffles provide a personal, hands-on picking experience for visitor truffle enthusiasts. Plus enjoy a truffle lunch at a local restaurant.
Taste the decadent sensation of Ohiwa, Black Diamond Truffles at this truffle export operator. Exported worldwide but grown on the native land of Central North Island’s Bay of Plenty – this truffière has been producing Black Perigord Truffles for over 18 years. Located on the Ohiwa Harbour, the truffles are grown in the unique volcanic soils by New Zealand’s most knowledgeable scientists. Get hands-on and enjoy a truffle hunting experience.
Waimarino Kayaking Tours operate during every season due to the Bay of Plenty’s warmer climate. Escape the frosty, winter months and explore mystical caves. Visitors are invited to kayak before sunset to experience an evening visiting the enchanting glowworms on the picturesque Lake McLaren. A 100% locally owned and operated tour, offering a five-star kiwi experience.
The only hot ocean water complex in the world! Hot salt water eases aches and pains and is believed to help improve mobility and detoxify our bodies. A variety of pools are nestled right at the base of Mauao (Mount Maunganui) and feature massage jets, shade sails and built-in seating. There’s a terrific toddlers’ pool and you can treat yourself to a soothing massage or private pool if you wish. This is one of the Bay of Plenty’s top visitor attractions and shouldn’t be missed.
Amid silver fern (punga) trees and lush native bushland lies Fernland Spa, a peaceful retreat in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty. With a sparking clean main pool with in-built seating, enjoy the abundant birdlife during the day while benefitting from the pure mineral waters. Or book a private indoor hot pool or open-air spa, some of which come with bubbly jets, perfect for unwinding with a partner or a group of friends.
Nestled inside a holiday park are two natural mineral pools fed from an underground aquifer 250 metres deep. Extensively refurbished in March 2023, the pure thermal water is guaranteed to feel silky soft on your skin, and the continuous flow of the spring water’s tiny bubbles will soothe your soul. Mineral water is pumped constantly and replenished every 3–4 hours. Both pools are emptied and cleaned daily.
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