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Life in the Waikato

Mr Pickles Local Restaurant

Life is good in the Waikato.

With easy access to Auckland, Tauranga and surrounding areas in the region – it’s easy to commute to work, catch up with friends, and take children to child care, school and sports activities. In fact, 85 per cent of residents say they love living in the Waikato.


Located at the heart of the upper North Island with easy access to New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand, Waikato people can enjoy the benefits of being part of a large population without the stress of big city living. Excellent roading and communications infrastructure make it easy to do business and keep in touch with family and friends.


The environment underpins our economy and is also our playground. Waikato has the most varied environment of any region in New Zealand - stunning coastlines, lush pastoral landscapes, forests, cave systems, mountains, the largest lake in Australasia, the longest river in New Zealand, geothermal activity, and internationally renowned wetlands – which means you can experience all the different elements of New Zealand’s great outdoors in a single day.

Economic Diversity

The region has one of New Zealand’s most diverse economies so job and career prospects are generally good, and further enhanced by the region’s world class education, science, research, health and other professional services

Culture and Connections

The region’s rich Māori and European heritage creates a unique regional identity. People are warm and welcoming, with around 70 per cent of Waikato people saying they know they can call on others when they need a hand. There are countless opportunities to gather as a community thanks to a varied cultural and sporting events calendar.

The Waikato region is home to a vibrant artistic community.

This is evident in the number of events, museums and galleries throughout the region. From sculptors and painters to illustrators and fashion designers, creativity is flourishing in the region providing ample opportunity to enjoy the arts.

View a  must visit hub of diverse creative activity or visit Creative Waikato's  Facebook page or  website. 


There is a wide range of housing, from apartments to lifestyle blocks with room for a pony and other livestock.


Pristine beaches, lush pastures, underground wonders, soaring volcanoes and a magnificent lake top the list when visiting the Waikato region, a place where movie magic and manaakitanga (hospitality) combine.

 The Waikato region covers a large swathe of the Central North Island, from the Bombay Hills and the Coromandel Peninsula in the North to the volcanic slopes of Mt Ruapehu in the South. Our coastline stretches from the rugged West coast to the sparkling white sands of our East coast.

Geographically and culturally diverse, it’s a place to dive in, to discover, to explore.

Kirsten Madill wins Emerging Leader Westpac Waikato Business Award 2017

Movie magic

Well-known for its nature-based tourism, underground wonders and Middle-earth movie magic, the region offers something for everyone.

The lush pastures of the central Waikato were the location for The Shire in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films, while just one hour south of Hamilton and millions of years in the making, the dramatic rock formations of the Waitomo area also featured in The Hobbit movie.

Waitomo is one of New Zealand’s most inspiring natural wonders, renowned for its labyrinth of limestone, subterranean adventures and magical glowworms.

With its black sand, fine surfing, tranquil harbours and laidback vibe, the region’s west coast is a unique and relatively unknown slice of Kiwi heaven.

Only five minutes from Hamilton’s central business district, visitors can be transported to a lush tropical jungle, ancient China or a riotously colourful Indian riverside garden. These are just three of a number of spectacular gardens that make up the international award winning Hamilton Gardens. The gardens explore the context, history and meaning of gardens through time, and from around the world. Hamilton Gardens hosts some 2000 events each year and is home to a range of public artworks.

Visit the Mighty Waikato website


Good for the Soul

Renowned for its natural beauty, rural farmland, misty rainforests and pristine golden beaches, the Coromandel on the region’s eastern flank has hundreds of natural hideaways, making it an ideal place to escape, relax and unwind. Situated just over an hour’s drive from Auckland, the white sand beaches, rocky coves, coastal walkways and excellent fishing spots make it a favourite holiday destination for New Zealanders.

Visit the Coromandel website

WS-Taupo-Huka Falls aerial view (1)

A National Treasure

Located in the centre of the North Island, the Great Lake Taupō has been dubbed nature’s ultimate playground. Mountains, geothermal areas, fast flowing rivers and the largest freshwater lake in Australasia, the Taupō area is home to a thriving tourism industry with a focus on walking and tramping, road cycling and mountain biking, adrenalin activities, water sports, great hospitality and a wide variety of accommodation options. Great Lake Taupō is the jewel in the crown of the North Island, and is gateway to The Volcanic Loop Touring Route taking in the Tongariro National Park.

Visit the Love Taupō website


Whether you’re hosting a conference, a meeting, a trade show or industry function, the centrality and diversity of the Waikato makes it a hard location to beat.

The Waikato is home to a suite of award-winning venues, which are all easily accessible by car, train, plane or bus.

Our variety of quality accommodation and dining options, exciting extra-curricular activities and support services means Hamilton City and the Waikato have everything you need to deliver a memorable business event. 

Hamilton and Waikato Business Events offers free, impartial advice and assistance to help with the organisation of an outstanding event in Hamilton and the greater Waikato region.

Find out more at  Business Events Waikato


By working together, working smarter and giving it everything we’ve got, we’ve leveraged off our strong early tradition in primary industry.

In doing so we've built a strong metropolitan city and vibrant towns situated in a wide and varied regional economy.

The Waikato region has one of New Zealand’s largest and most diverse economies and there is demand for skills in engineering, agriculture, management and building to meet forecast industry growth.  The region also has job opportunities in education, science, research, health and other professional services. From 2017 to 2019, employment growth in the Waikato region, as measured by the number of filled jobs, was 2.9% (compared to the national growth rate of 2.4%).  

The Waikato is a family-friendly region to work in. Its beautiful and diverse environment is greatly valued by residents.  The Waikato offers relatively affordable housing, excellent shopping opportunities, a busy events calendar, short commute times to work and top-notch educational opportunities from early childhood to university.

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