Living in Hamilton

Hamilton's a great place to be a student. For a start, there are 40,000 other students to hang out with. Then there’s the adventure playground that is the Waikato: the cafés, shops, clubs, pubs and events, the easy transportation and the cheaper living.

With a university, a polytechnic and a wānanga, Hamilton is student central:

  • Great shopping at The Base, Chartwell Shopping Centre, and Centre Place
  • Cafés, restaurants and bars
  • International sporting venues
  • Theatre groups, art galleries.

You name it, Hamilton's got it.

What to do in Hamilton

Action Central

Adrenaline junkies, you’ve come to the right place. Waikato University is close to:

  • Raglan and the world’s best left-hand surf break and beautiful Coromandel beaches
  • Whakapapa's ski fields – Waikato is the closest university
  • Awesome mountain-biking, rock climbing and motor sport in South Waikato
  • Jet boating, quad biking and white water rafting
  • Bungy jumping, skydiving and wakeboarding.

University clubs cater for all of these activities, making it easy to have a go at something new.

The Day Life

All the benefits of a big city without the hassles:

  • Minimal traffic
  • Five minutes drive from campus to the central city
  • The facilities, shops and entertainment you expect and student discounts to match
  • Heaps of cafés and restaurants - Thai, Mexican, Spanish, Japanese, Indian, Chinese and more
  • Running and cycling tracks along the river and round the lake
  • Great traditions such as The Gallagher Great Race and cowbells at Chiefs games.

The Night Life

Hamilton has the best student nightlife in the country:

  • A local network of underground bands
  • Sixty bars and cafés on one block alone
  • Concerts that feature the latest up and coming talent in the New Zealand music industry.

Whether you're into hip hop, indie rock, house, punk, metal or sport on the big screen, there's a place for you. The night bus runs till 3.30am and taxis are cheap because everything’s so close.

'O' Week

Every year, the Waikato Students' Union puts on a week-long celebration welcoming students, called Orientation or 'O' Week.

During the day, activities include:

  • Live music
  • Competitions
  • Sports matches
  • Markets
  • A clubs day and much, much more.

After sunset the nightlife takes off. Top national and local bands play in Hamilton and our many bars and cafés turn it on for the students. On the study side, there is Academic Orientation and all new students receive a Welcome Pack to get them off to a great start.

Waikato events you won't want to miss:

Hamilton Accommodation

Accommodation in Hamilton is really affordable, and there are many options to choose from.

  • On-campus accommodation: All Waikato’s Halls of Residence are on campus, providing the ultimate student experience. Living in the halls is a great way to meet new people and immerse yourself in student life without the hassles of rosters and flat bills. See on-campus accommodation costs.
  • Off-campus accommodation: Students studying at Waikato are very lucky that the University is surrounded by a large amount of inexpensive private student accommodation very close to the University campus. More than 90% of the student population lives off campus, and most live within a 15 minute walk of the campus.
  • Homestay accommodation: Homestay is when a student lives with a New Zealand family in their home.

The Greater Waikato

The University of Waikato in Hamilton sits in the heart of New Zealand's North Island, only 90 minutes south of Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. The Waikato region is geographically and culturally diverse and offers a range of activities and attractions to enjoy which include the Hobbiton Movie Set and the world famous Waitomo Caves.

Find out more about what the region has to offer: