photos by The University of Waikato
Hamilton Venues for Hire - The Complete Guide
by Raashka Mannie | 22 Apr 2022
On the banks of the glorious Waikato River, Hamilton is one of New Zealand’s busiest inland hubs. Their varied history and welcoming spirit make for an ideal place to hold events, no matter the size or nature. They offer views of sprawling parks, gardens, city centres and the river, and is known nationwide for The National Agricultural Fieldays (the largest agricultural trade show in the Southern Hemisphere). Our guide to Hamilton and the greater Waikato Region features some of the best venues they have to offer.
FMG Stadium Waikato
Best known as the spiritual home for rugby in Hamilton, FMG Stadium Waikato has also earned a reputation as a unique venue for functions and special events. With its range of spaces, each with its own flavour, personality, and the best views in town, FMG Stadium Waikato becomes the preferred choice.
Waitomo Glowworm Caves
Image by CaveWorld
Iconic and incredible, wow your guests at the Waitomo Glowworm Caves, 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 70km 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.
Hobbiton Movie Set
Image by RTW Backpackers
Transport yourself to The Shire with the Hobbiton Movie Set, another one of Hamilton’s beloved and famous venues. The 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.
Image by Harrows
SKYCITY Hamilton is a conference centre in the middle of the city, overlooking the Waikato River and serving as a convenient space for all conference and corporate needs. This Hamilton venue can accommodate up to 600 guests, with 3 breakout rooms and personalised service for every event. There are 6 spaces in total to choose from, from a banquet room seating 300 to a theatre for 500. SKYCITY Hamilton also comes with state-of-the-art in-house audiovisual equipment, with a dedicated and experienced team on hand to assist you. The space also features 8 restaurants, a casino, multiple bars and live entertainment for your guests. It’s one of Hamilton’s go-to conference venues with good reason.
Image by The University of Waikato
Nestled 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: 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.
Image by Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
The Greenspace is as eco-friendly and modern as its name suggests. Mere minutes from the city centre, this Hamilton venue can host up to 40 guests and makes for the perfect space for an intimate event, be it a meeting, luncheon or seminar. The Greenspace is focused on sustainable practices and giving back to the environment. For their innovation and dedication to the cause, The Greenspace won the Innovation Design: Building Design Award at the Waikato Sustainable Business Awards. They have a duo of spaces to choose from: the Kauri Room, hosting up to 30 guests, and the Totara Room, hosting up to 15. They also offer their kitchen for self-catering options, along with high-speed WiFi, secretarial support and state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment.
Image by Cambridge Raceway
A sprawling outdoor venue that offers everything under the sun and more, Cambridge Raceway is a Hamilton venue for the ages. With a rich and varied history, this flexible option has a total of 7 spaces for your upcoming function. These include the Public Bar, Skyline Lounge, Presidents' Lounge, Eastern Lounge, Members' Lounge, Boardroom and the Lawns & Grandstand. From milling around on their immaculate lawns and sipping cocktails to engaging in a productive meeting, Cambridge Raceway can accommodate it all. This Hamilton venue boasts a series of adaptable packages for your event, tailoring the details to your needs, as well as on-site catering, plenty of parking and more.
Image by Wintec
Wintec Venues has award-winning facilities, centrally located in Hamilton CBD, offering uniqueness and stylishness in spades with their sleek, industrial design that makes it a perfect modern backdrop for any and every event. There are 2 Long Rooms and 2 Event Rooms to mix and match, along with the main Atrium for larger functions. There is also the Training Space, to be found at their Rotokauri Campus, favoured for meetings and smaller events. Wintec Venues has a capacity of 500 guests, and their venues come equipped with laptops, projectors, staging, microphones and lighting, as well as an audiovisual technician on-site to assist you if needs be. All of their spaces are located at their City Campus, and they have a list of preferred suppliers for you to work with, covering everything from catering to styling.
KiwiRail Scenic Journeys
Image by The Great Journeys of New Zealand
Treat your guests to a truly unique experience with KiwiRail Scenic Journeys. The Northern Explorer is a scenic train that runs between Auckland and Wellington, offering inspiring views of the country and 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.
Image by Takapoto Estate
A boutique, luxury hotel, Henley Hotel is a luxe venue that resides within a Georgian-style manor. 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.
Ferrybank Conference Centre
Image by Stuff
Ferrybank Conference Centre, otherwise known as Hamilton’s favourite riverside venue, is a flexible space on the banks of the Waikato River. They specialise in hosting gala dinners, fundraisers and conferences, with a team committed to delivering excellence. They have partnered with Kerr & Ladbrook Catering to offer you and your guests a truly divine experience. Ferrybank Conference Centre has a capacity of 250 guests, with 3 main spaces to choose from: the main venue, catering for up to 250; the canapé function venue, catering for up to 100; and, finally, the Casual Lounge, which caters for up to 25 and is often used as a breakaway room or a meeting space. Close to central Hamilton, and equipped with WiFi and a range of audiovisual tech, Ferrybank Conference Centre is an ideal Hamilton venue for hire.
Image by Woodlands Estate
A historic and gorgeous New Zealand Homestead and Garden Estate established in the 1870s, Woodlands Estate plays host to many functions in Hamilton. This Hamilton venue features a purpose-built function centre, opening onto acres of gardens and open space. Choose to have your event at The Homestead’s Kauri Room, The Long Lawn, The Village Green, Oaks Glade or The Wisteria Room & Garden. With room for over 400 guests, Woodlands Estate is used to hosting gatherings both large and small. They have high-speed WiFi, catering options, audiovisual assistance and more. Your event can be managed and organised by their seasoned events team, after which you can choose to dine on the lawn under the sun. Woodlands Estate features historic fireplaces, mature trees and so much more, making it a charming option for a venue.
Image by Valdes Photography
Industrial, modern and charming, Grain Exchange is an events venue with character. With a Corten steel exterior, enormous windows to allow tons of natural light, a cobblestone deck and polished concrete floors, this Hamilton venue is as sleek as they come. They specialise in hosting small conferences, corporate hospitality, exhibitions and private functions of many kinds, with a capacity of 250 guests and on-site parking available. Grain Exchange also has an on-site kitchen for your caterer's use, equipped with a commercial burner and anything else you may need. There are also audiovisual supplies available upon request, as well as a duty manager. Grain Exchange is a 'no frills' venue in Hamilton that has a contemporary appeal, ideal for corporate events and more.
Zealong Tea Estate
Image by Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Purpose-built in the 2010s, Zealong Tea Estate 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.
Claudelands Events Centre
Image by MediaPA
Claudelands Events Centre is a multi-zone venue located a short walk away from Hamilton, with a staggering capacity of 6,000 guests and a total of 11 breakout rooms. In 2019, this Hamilton venue was designated 'Large Venue of the Year' at the EVANZ Awards. They are the third-largest venue in New Zealand, offering world-class facilities and 34 hectares of green land. Claudelands Events Centre offers top of the line audiovisual technology, ultra-fast fibre optics, on-site technical support for your event, optional on-site catering, and an experienced events team on hand to help you with the smooth running of your event. The spaces are flexible, able to be sized down or up depending on the nature of your event and act as a blank space, adapting to the ambience of your cocktail party, exhibition, gala dinner or more.
Mystery Creek Events Centre
Image by BCD Group
An indoor and outdoor venue, Mystery Creek Events Centre is settled on the banks of the Waikato River and is known far and wide for its versatility. The venue boasts 112 hectares of space, focused on creating bespoke events no matter the occasion. They are 10 minutes from Hamilton CBD and right next to the airport, offering convenience in spades. You will work with Mystery Creek Events Centre’s team of event professionals, experts in curating and creating tailored events, choosing between their multitude of spaces to host your function. The maximum capacity is 10,000 guests, and spaces include Mystery Creek Pavilion, Convention Centre, Convention Suites and more. The entire venue is also available for full hire. One of New Zealand’s most iconic events is held at Mystery Creek Events Centre: the New Zealand National Fieldays - the southern hemisphere’s largest agricultural business expo.
The Lawrenson Group
Image by The Bank Bar and Brasserie
The largest hospitality provider in Hamilton, The Lawrenson Group is a group of 13 quality venues across the region. These include New Zealand’s Top Regional Restaurant (Cuisine 2013) and several of Hamilton’s most popular bars. The venues included in the group are: Furnace (capacity: 90), Keystone (capacity: 200), Victoria St. Bistro (capacity: 50), VSB Functions (capacity: 80), Easy Tiger (capacity: 100), Bluestone Steakhouse (capacity: 100), Bar 101 (capacity: 100), The Helm (capacity: 400), Shenanigans (capacity: 250), The Outback (capacity: 1,350), The Hood (capacity: 300), The Bank (capacity: 400), Upstairs at The Bank (capacity: 100), and Hoot St. Studio (capacity 250). Each of these venues offers excellent service and the option of on-site catering. Each of these venues also has different attributes that make them unique, such as The Bank’s terraced rooftop garden and Victoria St. Bistro’s award-winning staff. No matter the event type, The Lawrenson Group has a venue that will be the perfect fit for your Hamilton event.
Image by The Great NZ Food Show
Established in 1922, Vilagrad Winery is a venue that specialises in fine wine, food and entertainment. It is Waikato's most beloved winery destination, with a series of multi-award-winning wines, all hand-crafted and hand-harvested at the winery itself. They offer superb Mediterranean cuisine for your on-site catering options, as well as on-site accommodation for any guests. Their venue space is large and flexible, accommodating anywhere from 300 to 500 guests, making it an ideal choice for conferences, gala dinners, cocktail parties and so much more. You can dine in the original cellar, tucked away amongst the barrels and golden light, or in the reception area as you overlook the picturesque vineyards. Vilagrad Winery also offers private tours and tastings of the winery, making for a unique and fun experience for all your guests.
Distinction Hamilton Hotel & Conference Centre
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Distinction Hamilton Hotel & Conference Centre is a trusted favourite amongst the corporate world, known for their impeccable service and top tier conference facilities. This Hamilton venue can host up to 600 delegates, offering 3 seminar rooms and 4 conference rooms, all with their own reception lounges and presentation facilities. They also offer on-site catering and accommodation options, creating bespoke menus for your events. Their hotel features a restaurant, bar, private dining room, gymnasium, 3 spa pools and indoor heated swimming pool, and free unlimited WiFi for your guests. Your event will be in good hands with Distinction Hamilton Hotel & Conference Centre’s dedicated event management team, experts that will ensure your Hamilton event runs to perfection.
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The home of cricket in Hamilton, Seddon Park has been recognised as one of the cricket world’s best “boutique” grounds and is available for hire as an outdoor and indoor venue. They are the headquarters for Northern Districts Cricket Association and the Northern Knights. This Hamilton venue is surrounded by tree-lined grassy banks and, in 2012, was rated as one of the 20 Best Test Cricket Venues in the world. As a venue, Seddon Park offers a trio of spaces: the Oaks Lounge, Willows Lounge and Boundary Club. The Oaks Lounge hosts anywhere from 30 to 110 guests, with a modern and spacious feeling. The Willows Lounge is more ideal for smaller gatherings, accommodating 12 to 40 guests, whilst the Boundary Club is an informal space on the edge of the green and can host up to 100 guests. Seddon Park offers bespoke menus for your Hamilton event, as well as event management and any assistance you should need.
FMG Stadium Waikato
Image by Stuff
Known for hosting Hamilton’s rugby events, FMG Stadium Waikato has since grown into a wonderful venue choice for corporate and private events. In the middle of Hamilton’s growing city centre, FMG Stadium Waikato offers plenty of space with a capacity of 350 guests and a total of 6 breakout rooms. It has a total of 8 spaces to choose from within the venue, with 5 levels, all equipped to host conferences, meetings, gala dinners, awards evenings, seminars and more. FMG Stadium Waikato is a few minutes from Hamilton CBD and only 17km from the airport, making it a perfect choice for an inner-city venue. They also provide on-site catering options and video-conferencing facilities for your convenience.
Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park
Image by Hamilton & Waikato Tourism
Hampton Downs International Motorsport Park has top of the range conference facilities, making 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.
Waikato Tainui College
Image by Urban Print
In the rural peace of Waikato, Waikato Tainui College is less than an hour’s drive from Hamilton Airport and is set on a hill with glorious views of the Waikato River and Haakarimata Ranges. This venue offers 6 different spaces for your event, including the Main Room, Tamaki, Mangatoatoa, Pare Waikato, Te Koowhao and Atrium. The capacities vary anywhere from 12 to 150, making this venue a perfect choice no matter your function type. Waikato Tainui College also has on-site accommodation, on-site catering, WiFi throughout the rooms and extra meeting/breakout rooms if needs be. This venue is rich with cultural heritage, awarding your delegates the chance to connect with the roots of New Zealand in a truly serene setting.
Image by Windy Ridge
Functions and events at Windy Ridge are as easy as can be with their combined experience and expertise. Located in Ohaupo Village, less than 10 minutes from Hamilton, Te Awamutu and Cambridge, this versatile venue features a dedicated events management team to help with the planning and running of your meeting. They have 2 main spaces for events: The Secret Garden Room, overlooking their flourishing gardens and Mount Pirongia, with an indoor area and conservatory joined with large bifold doors; and The Cellar Conference Room that boasts natural timber floors, floor to ceiling windows and an adjoining courtyard. Both spaces are filled with natural light and offer top-notch audiovisual facilities for your meeting. Windy Ridge also offers complimentary WiFi for you and your guests, as well as a fully licensed bar to make those after-work drinks all the simpler.
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.
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.
Image by Castaways Resort
Castaways Resort gives you the chance to have a getaway for your event. With a reputation for hosting incredible bespoke events, Castaways Resort is an award-winning venue that is a scenic 90-minute drive from the centre of Hamilton. Their features include on-site accommodation, plenty of activities and entertainment, a spa, complimentary WiFi and stunning views of the ocean. Their spaces include The Main Cliff Top Venue, The Tasman Venue, The Village and Chalet Boardroom, hosting anywhere from 10 to 150 guests. These 4 options are all available for your function, with tons of natural light and their events team on hand to help make sure your meeting runs exactly as planned. Head to their Agave Restaurant for a bite to eat afterwards if you’re not after a privately catered event, or unwind at their Bersantai Day Spa after a long day of work. Castaways Resort is here to offer itself as a versatile venue that doubles as a point of rest and relaxation.
Ibis Tainui Hamilton
Image by Booking
Side by side with Novotel Tainui Hamilton is Ibis Tainui Hamilton, a hotel that boasts the only restaurant in the city with views of the Waikato River. In the heart of the city, Ibis Tainui Hamilton is a hotel venue of convenience, offering friendly service and quality meals. They have multiple spaces, including Pukeko, Hula and I-Meet (the former 2 able to be combined for an even bigger space and the latter specifically designed to host meetings). Ibis Tainui Hamilton can accommodate up to 80 delegates, offering on-site catering, accommodation and high-speed WiFi for your function. They also have audiovisual assistance, from data projectors to screens, so all your event's needs are taken care of. Ibis Tainui Hamilton is a venue that emphasises comfort and ease of use, making for a sturdy Hamilton venue option.
The Narrows Landing
Image by Booking
Offering stylish surroundings, eclectic menus and cosy accommodation, The Narrows Landing is an exciting 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.
Image by Hamilton Fringe Festival
Primarily a live music venue, Nirvana Lounge is a space within Hamilton that is filled with the dreams and delights of many. This venue is best for informal gatherings, hire including assistance from their audiovisual specialist and full use of the venue. For catering and styling options, feel free to chat with the team on hand and they'll be happy to point you in the right direction. Nirvana Lounge has a maximum capacity of 110 guests cocktail-style and 40 to 50 when seated. When it comes to event hosting, they specialise in concerts, performances and relaxed soirées - the perfect tempo for a Hamilton venue reflecting the true nature of the city.
Image by The Hamilton Racing Club
Settled in Claudelands Park, The Grandstand is one of Hamilton’s historic venues, carefully resorted over the years and sure to lend your event a touch of charm. They offer special event and catering services, as well as a lovely indoor/outdoor flow. They can host up to 120 guests in their main space. Surrounded by green, manicured lands, The Grandstand is part of an authentically historic experience and is ideal for corporate functions such as weddings, private events and corporate functions. The venue has on-site parking and high-speed WiFi, with plenty of natural light and a flexible layout.
Novotel Tainui Hamilton
Image by Accor Hotels
Novotel Tainui Hamilton is one of Waikato’s leading hotels. Centrally located and on the banks of the Waikato River, this hotel venue can host up to 300 guests in over 6 contemporary spaces. They prioritise convenience and practicality, with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment in every meeting space and high-speed WiFi. Their events management team is there to help you seamlessly plan your function, with additional options such as on-site accommodation and catering. Their spaces include Fairfield Room, Pukete Room, Whitiora Room, Union Room, Victoria Room, Claudelands Room, Cobham Room and Boardroom. Each one has varying capacities and some come with the offer of combination should you need more space. Novotel Tainui Hamilton is a venue that endeavours to give you everything you need for your Hamilton event in one neat package.
Sir Don Rowlands Centre
Image by Kerr & Ladbrook Catering
On the cusp of Lake Karapiro, Sir Don Rowlands Centre offers unmatched views of Mount Maungatautari. This venue is multipurpose and flexible, with multiple spaces to choose from, including the Main Hall, Karapiro Room, Waipa Room and Te Manawa o Matariki Room. There is also a deck that overlooks the placid waters. Sir Don Rowlands Centre has a capacity of 1,000 guests, with 3 breakout rooms and facilities that include on-site accommodation, high-speed WiFi access, and a dedicated events management to help with organising and running of your Hamilton event. The venus is 25km from the Hamilton airport and just over 30km from the city centre, ensuring that it offers privacy and convenience in equal parts. Sir Don Rowlands Centre also features over 100 campsites, outdoor pursuits, a high and low ropes course, as well as 19 hectares of surrounding greenery.
Image by Eventfinda
Within the Hamilton Lake Domain and offering a serene waterfront setting, The Verandah is a modern venue that resides within the heart of Hamilton. Just 13km from the airport, this venue has a capacity of 400 guests and is perfect for any event type, from product launches and exhibitions to cocktail parties and trade shows. They offer on-site catering from their experienced chef, as well as thorough and seasoned event management from their committed team. The Verandah also features a deck area with a canopy that makes for a charming addition to your Hamilton event, whether you choose to have it as a breakaway space or an outdoor bar. They also allow events on their manicured lawn, allowing for marquee and gazebo set-up should your event require it.
For more great venue ideas, check out our venue guides for other major NZ cities: