Located on the west coast of New Zealand’s North Island, Waikato is situated south of Auckland and is named after the Waikato River, which runs its length. A mainly pastoral region dominated by dairying and agriculture, the main city of Waikato is Hamilton, approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes’ drive south of Auckland. Getting to Waikato from Australia by air takes approximately 3 hours, with Auckland being the main international gateway.
Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand offer direct flights to Auckland daily from Adelaide, Brisbane, Cairns, the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney with connections available from other regional and capital cities. Flight times vary between points of departure, however most direct flights to Auckland take approximately three and a half hours from the east coast of Australia.
If you’re wondering how to get to Waikato from Auckland, it’s an easy drive along the Southern Motorway before continuing on to State Highway 1. This route passes through the towns of Ngaruawahia and Huntly and takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive in Hamilton. Waitomo is another popular destination in Waikato and is known for its famous tourist attraction, the Waitomo Caves.
Although it takes an additional hour to travel from Auckland to Waitomo, it’s an easy drive and one of the more popular self-drive journeys to make. Taking approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes, the journey from Auckland to Waitomo follows the Southern Motorway and State Highway 1 to Hamilton before taking State Highway 3 south to Te Awamutu. From here, continue south on State Highway 3 through Otorohanga and Kihikihi before turning onto Waitomo Caves Road and following it all the way into Waitomo Caves Village.
Another popular way of getting to Waikato is by the Overlander Train which passes through Hamilton, Otorohanga and Te Kuiti on its way to its final destination in Wellington. This is a great way to sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery without having to worry about the road.