photos by Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
12 Unique Hamilton Venues
by Raashka Mannie | 20 May 2021
From nightlife to booming agriculture, there is so much that Hamilton is known for. In a region as green as Waikato, it stands out because of its ever-growing nature. Some of the region’s most unique and interesting venues can be found in Hamilton, from the famed Hobbiton Movie Set to the much-loved Waitomo Glowworm Caves. If you’re looking to surprise your guests with an extraordinary venue choice, we’ve got you covered. Here are 12 of the most unique Hamilton venues available for hire. If you’re searching for even more options, our comprehensive guide can be found here.
Hobbiton Movie Set
Image by Hamilton and Waikato Tourism
You and your guests can make your way to The Shire with the Hobbiton Movie Set, serving as one of Hamilton’s beloved and famous venues for hire. This unique space is a replica of The Green Dragon Inn, as seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, featuring their exclusive Southfarthing ale, stout, cider and ginger beer. The venue can hold up to 250 guests and is fully themed, with fully-licensed bars and on-site catering. The Hobbiton Movie Set is happy to hold a banquet or themed buffet dinner for you and 90 guests, all set up inside The Inn itself. Adjacent to it, The Party Marquee has a painted canvas exterior, vibrant bunting and colourful lanterns, making it as festive as it is fun. Hobbiton Movie Set is a unique Hamilton venue option that is sure to wow your guests.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Image by Reddit
Waitomo Glowworm Caves is one of the most unique Hamilton venues on the block. Iconic and incredible, you can dazzle your guests with nature at this surprisingly flexible space, playing the longtime part as one of Hamilton’s favourite venues. They’re happy to host team meetings and corporate events, with plenty of exciting activities to boot. This Hamilton venue was awarded The New Zealand Architecture Medal and has a capacity of 700 guests, with 3 breakout rooms for conversation and mingling. They are 70 km outside of the city centre and offer complete event management, the option of on-site catering and high-speed internet access. Waitomo Glowworm Caves is a gorgeous space, offering unparalleled beauty and the chance to visit one of New Zealand’s greatest tourist attractions.
Image by Tourism Export Council
Hamilton Gardens is a venue that thrives off one of the unique aspects of the city: their green thumbs. Within the gorgeous and flourishing Hamilton Gardens, the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion is a prime, multipurpose venue that can accommodate any and every event. There are 4 spaces to pick between, including the Central Court, with a maximum capacity of 540 guests; Exhibition Hall, with a maximum capacity of 280 guests; Chartwell Room, with a maximum capacity of 150 guests; and Huddleston Room, with a maximum capacity of 18 guests. If desired, the Central Court and Exhibition Hall can be combined to host up to 800 guests. Each of their available spaces was designed with a particular use in mind, from intimate meetings to expansive workshops and elegant cocktail parties. Hamilton Gardens also allows for garden events in their themed gardens. They have a host of catering options to choose from and are happy to make your event unforgettable.
KiwiRail Scenic Journeys
Image by NZ Travel Organiser
With KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, your guests will be treated to a truly unique experience. The Northern Explorer is a scenic train that runs between Auckland and Wellington, offering inspiring views of the country and doubling as an extraordinary event space. You can hire a KiwiRail or even the whole train for your event. Their purpose-built carriages are spacious and comfortable, and KiwiRail features catering by Wishbone, WiFi access, seasoned staff and even themed carriage options for your event. You can have a conference on the move with KiwiRail Scenic Journeys, creating a truly memorable and unusual experience for you and your guests to enjoy. The train departs from Hamilton when scheduled, but when privately booked in its entirety, the train can travel whenever and wherever you so choose.
Zealong Tea Estate
Image by Zealong Tea Estate
Unique to a T and with tea, Zealong Tea Estate was purpose-built in the 2010s and has a dedicated function space that offers gorgeous views of New Zealand’s only commercial tea plantation. There are 3 options to choose from: the Pavillion, which features plenty of natural light, an alfresco terrace and a capacity of up to 70 guests; the Vista, completed in 2016, with an indoor/outdoor flow and a capacity of 300 guests; and the Executive Suite, a smaller space for up to 25 guests, elegant and ideal for intimate dinners, tea tastings, meetings and so much more. Zealong Tea Estate also offers an educational experience regarding tea, which is as delicious as it is unique. Their teas are organic and award-winning, and they have come to specialise in hosting any number of events, from dinner parties to seminars. Zealong Tea Estate is a 20-minute drive from the centre of Hamilton and offers incredible in-house catering for any function.
Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park
Image by Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park
There’s no place in Waikato quite like Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park, equipped with top of the range conference facilities that make it one of Hamilton’s favourite venue choices. Located on the Northern boundary of the Waikato Region, it has recently undergone a complete renovation to modernise and refresh it for upcoming events, the venue now estimated to cost NZ$50 million. It has a total of 11 suites and a pavilion for functions, able to host up to 500 guests. They offer unique and exciting team building activities, such as go-karting and 4WD experiences, which is sure to make your event stand out from the crowd. Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park also offers on-site accommodation for your guests, as well as on-site catering options to make planning your Hamilton event all the easier.
Image by Henley Hotel
Henley Hotel is a boutique hotel that doubles as a luxury venue, residing within a Georgian-style manor and offering a unique opportunity for you and your guests. The entire hotel is available for exclusive hire and has numerous gardens, lawns and outdoor spaces at your disposal for your event. This venue can host up to 250 guests and has a total of 5 breakout rooms, all filled with natural light. Henley Hotel is located on 29 acres of private land and is a breezy half-hour drive from the centre of Hamilton. They have hosted a myriad of events, be it a fashion show or a Great Gatsby ball, and have a team that is dedicated to making your function stand out from the crowd. They offer on-site catering, a miniature cinema, historic chapel, and even a helicopter pad for guests that want to arrive in style. Henley Hotel does luxurious like none other in Hamilton.
Image by Hamilton Central Bussiness Association
The Meteor is a space for the community to share their creative experiences and outlooks. As a Hamilton venue, they believe events are a collaboration, with a committed and cheerful team available to help you with running, managing and organising your event, whether you’re looking to plan the perfect menu or wondering about audiovisual technicalities. There are 3 spaces in The Meteor to choose from, including The Black Box (a black box theatre space with a capacity of 350), The Nancy Caiger Gallery (an exhibition space with a capacity of 130) and a Rehearsal Space (a modern, light-filled space that can be used as a breakaway room or on its own). For storage purposes, they also have a workshop that can be arranged for your use. The Meteor is unique to Hamilton in the sense of its creativity and a strong sense of community, with many resources available. It’s a popular Hamilton venue and runs by a tight schedule, so don’t hesitate to take a look.
The Narrows Landing
Image by Booking
Offering stylish surroundings, eclectic menus and cosy accommodation, The Narrows Landing is an exciting and unique venue in Hamilton that can host any function. With their seasoned and professional team on hand, this Hamilton venue can cater for up to 200 guests. There are 5 spaces to choose from with The Narrows Landing. The Pirongia Deck is their largest space, with high ceilings and plenty of natural light, great for anything from gala dinners to seminars with their in-house audiovisual supplies. The Observatory is much more intimate, an organic space ideal for meetings, much like The Matangi Room that offers more space but the same cushy atmosphere and its own bar. Their Main Dining space is open plan and bathed in light, with a lovely indoor-outdoor flow to the main deck and manicured gardens. Finally, The Escape Room is their most informal space, perfect for relaxing featuring a private bar, full dance floor, pool table and so much more. The Narrows Landing is steeped in nature and offers a uniquely pretty Hamilton venue for all.
Te Rapa Events Centre
Image by Te Rapa Racing Club
Waikato is known for many things, one of which is professional horse racing. Te Rapa Events Centre is at the very centre of this, embodying an integral and unique piece of Hamilton. Experienced with all event types, this Hamilton venue has 6 function spaces on 3 different levels: Fosters Lounge, Kentucky Lounge, Herbie Dyke Lounge, Centennial Lounge, Flemington Lounge and Colours Lounge. They can host up to 500 guests and offer amazing on-site catering options courtesy of their private chefs, as well as on-site parking for 750 vehicles. With its central location, Te Rapa Events Centre also epitomises convenience, offering easy access to a host of nearby accommodation and dining options. They are happy to provide audiovisual assistance, with expert suppliers on hand, and are sure to make your event run as smoothly as possible no matter the occasion.