Planning a Trip
Getting There & Getting Around
By Plane -- Air New Zealand National & Link (tel. 0800/767-767 in NZ) provides daily service to Hamilton Airport (www.hamiltonairport.co.nz). The airport is about 15 minutes south of the city. A shuttle service is provided by Roadcat Transport (tel. 07/823-2559) or Airport Shuttle (tel. 07/843-7778).
By Coach (Bus) -- Both InterCity (tel. 09/623-1503) and Newmans (tel. 09/623-1504) link Hamilton to other major centers. Within Hamilton, Busit (tel. 0800/428-754; www.busit.co.nz), runs the free CBD Shuttle, which loops around the inner city; while the Orbiter connects the city's suburbs and main shopping areas. You'll find details of their departure times at the Transport Centre on the Corner of Bryce and Anglesea streets, where the visitor center is .
By Train -- The Tranz Scenic Overlander route passes through Hamilton on the route between Auckland and Wellington. Call tel. 0800/872-467 or visit www.tranzscenic.co.nz for timetables and reservations.
By Car -- Hamilton is on State Highway 1, so you'll pass through it heading north or south. It's usually slightly over an hour's drive from Auckland, but the stretch of road between the two cities is notorious for bad accidents that result in fatalities. Please take particular notice of all yellow-line road markings, which designate no-passing sections of a highway. It's 1 to 1 1/2 hours to Rotorua, Tauranga, or Taupo.
For rental cars call Waikato Car Rentals, Brooklyn Road, Hamilton (tel. 0800/154-444 in NZ, or 07/855-0094; www.waikatocarrentals.co.nz).
By Taxi -- Hamilton Taxi Society (tel. 0800/477-477 or 07/847-7477; www.hamiltontaxis.co.nz) operates a 24-hour service.
Both State Highway 1 and the Waikato River run through the heart of Hamilton, although there is now a rather convoluted bypass through the suburbs if you want to avoid the inner city area altogether -- just follow the signs as you approach either the north or south ends of the city. Victoria Street is the main street, and the main shopping area fills a compact area around it. The central area is easily negotiated on foot or by car.
The Hamilton i-SITE Visitor Centre (tel. 07/839-3580; www.visithamilton.co.nz) is in the new Transport Centre on the corner of Anglesea and Bryce streets. It's open Monday through Thursday from 7:15am to 5:30pm, Friday to 7pm, Saturday 9am to 5:45pm, Sunday 9:30am to 4:45pm; closed December 25. The Waitomo i-SITE Visitor Information Centre, 21 Waitomo Caves Rd., Waitomo (tel. 0800/474-839 in NZ, or 07/878-6184; www.waitomoinfo.co.nz), is open daily 8:45am to 7:30pm in summer, 8:45am to 5pm in winter. Cambridge i-SITE Information Centre, corner of Queen and Victoria streets, Cambridge (tel. 07/823-3456; fax 07/823-3457; www.cambridge.co.nz), is open Monday through Friday from 9am to 5pm and weekends 10am to 4pm in summer; and in winter, Monday through Friday from 9am until 5pm, weekends 10am to 4pm. Information Raglan is at 4 Wallis St., Raglan (tel. 07/825-0556; fax 07/825-0557; www.raglan.org.nz), and is open Monday through Friday from 10am to 5pm, and Saturday, Sunday, and holidays from 9am to 4pm.
The Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival (tel. 07/856-3200) is held in mid-February each year. Balloons Over Waikato (tel. 07/839-3580) is a spectacular event featuring over 30 hot-air balloons in mid-April. The NZ National Agricultural Fieldays (tel. 07/843-4499; www.fieldays.co.nz) is a huge event staged at Mystery Creek in mid-June. It attracts nearly 150,000 national and international visitors. For further information on Waikato events, contact Events Hamilton (tel. 07/838-6679; www.whatsonhamilton.co.nz or www.visithamilton.co.nz).