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Hamilton & Waikato Backpackers & Hostels

Just south of Auckland lies the lush, green region of Hamilton and Waikato – also known as The Shire from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films. The major city of Hamilton is known for its walks, cafes and nightlife while underneath the Waitomo hills lies the famous Waitomo Caves, a labyrinth of caves, underground rivers & sinkholes.

Currently 10 hostels in this area

Filter by Location: View All , Waikato & Waitomo (5), Hamilton (2), Raglan (3)

Within nature
In the heart of Waitomo Village, nestled amid the captivating glowworm caves are the Waitomo Village Chalets.
Shared Kitchen & Bathroom Facilities, Private Rooms with ensuites, WIFI, Parking, Continental Breakfast

Veined by its sacred eponymous river, the Waikato region in the central North Island forms an intermediary in the island’s geography. The long sea swept plains of Northland and Auckland give way to an increasingly rugged and foreboding landscape, as the mountains of the Tongariro Park, on the northern cusp of the region, come into view.

The great lakes for which New Zealand is renowned make their first and most dominant appearance in Lake Taupo, the largest lake by surface in the country, and the dynamic underground thermals help perpetuate a diverse surface. With ripe vineyards streaming the valleys, hillsides dense with forestry, and rivers tumbling through ravines, Waikato takes you through an almost subtropical experience, showcasing the full range of New Zealand’s geological influences. 


The largest and most populous city in the Waikato region, Hamilton was once disregarded by British settlers as boggy and unfit for agriculture. Maori tribes dominated the area, for whom the Waitomo river was totemic, and a source of fishing and access to the Tasman sea upstream.

However, as merchants moved in and commerce along the river grew, European influence came to dominate, and thus Hamilton was established as the capital of the region, helping to feed Aucklanders and acting as a gateway to the spa towns of Rotorua and Taupo.

Hamilton Centre is now a lively downtown of shops, bars and restaurants, dotted with parks and gardens complementing the banks of the Waikato river which divides the city. Proud of its diverse population, Hamilton Gardens is a celebration of cultures coming together, with designs in Maori, Chinese, English, Italian and Japanese producing a horticultural hotchpotch, and with a café it makes a very relaxing setting in which to spend an afternoon.

There is a very young and trendy vibe to the centre, due in part to the popular University of Waikato and its sprawling campus on the east side of the river. The Hillcrest and Hamilton East areas are especially cosmopolitan, with a huge range of restaurants to be found on either side of the Anzac Parade Bridge.

All Other Backpacker Hostels in This Area

Eagles Nest Backpackers
937 Victoria Street, Hamilton
+64 (0)7 838 2704
Shekinah Backpackers
122 Punga Punga Road, Pukekawa
+64 (0)9 233 4464
Castle Rock Adventure Lodge
1250 Owairaka Valley Road, Wharepapa South, RD7, Te Awamutu
+64 (0)7 872 2509
YHA Raglan
611 Wainui Road, Raglan
+64 (0)7 825 8268 or 0800 278 299
Karioi Lodge Backpackers
5b Whaanga Road, Whale Bay, Raglan
+64 (0)7 825 7873
Raglan Backpackers and Waterfront Lodge
6 Wi Neera Street, Raglan
+64 (0)7 825 0515
Backpackers Central
846 Victoria Street, Hamilton
+64 (0)7 839 1928
Juno Hall Backpackers
600 Waitomo Caves Road, RD5, Waitomo Caves
+64 (0)7 878 7649
Putaruru Hotel Backpackers
79 Princes Street, Putaruru 3411
07 8833911