Waka (canoe) sternpost, Kawhia - By PhillipC
Credit/Licence flickr: By PhillipC

Waikato, just an hour’s drive south of Auckland, encompasses the coastal towns of Hamilton, Raglan and Kawhia and the lower reaches of the mighty Waikato River flowing through some of the world’s richest dairy country.

The Waitomo Caves with their glowworms and underground activities are a highlight. To the east, the long peninsula of Coromandel on the Hauraki Gulf is a popular holiday escape for locals drawn to its spectacular coastal scenery and beaches, especially on the east coast. The west coast is home to the historic towns of Thames and Coromandel.