In New Zealand, Hamilton seems to be known as the city where there is “nothing to do” because there are no large attractions. But coming from the US where 90% of the cities are towns without attractions, it didn’t phase me when the flight attendant warned us that we might get terribly bored. Having been here a week so far, I would say this town has more than enough to keep someone happy: a museum, an art scene, authentic restaurants, a university, a rugby team, parks, shops, and an outstanding garden.
Hamilton Gardens is by far the most visited attraction in Hamilton and possibly the Waikato region. I believe that this garden alone puts Hamilton on the map as a place to visit… it is absolutely gorgeous AND FREE. It is managed by Hamilton City Council and volunteers run many services, including the Information Center. There is also a delightful cafe on the lakeside with a stunning view.
The gardens have been thoughtfully designed to show off plants of certain regions and plants that are cultivated for use. The sections include: Paradise Garden Collection, Cultivar Garden Collection, Productive Garden Collection, and Landscape Garden Collection.
We were there on Sunday for about 4 hours and only made it to half of the gardens, but we did also enjoy the bustling cafe for 45 minutes. At the main pavilion they were holding a Wedding Expo showing off all the packages they had for ceremonies and receptions, which could’ve been why it was quite busy.
These are from around the central lake area.
We enjoyed it immensely and will be back again to see the rest!