Hamilton Gardens

Chinese Garden, HamiltonMy family’s been to Hamilton lots since moving to New Zealand. It’s a nice city, despite the comments. (Kiwis think it’s boring. Young people call it Hamiltron, a nickname heaving with irony.)

The Waikato River runs through it, there are a few nice restaurants, and it’s got a big, bronze statue of Richard O’Brien in full Rocky Horror costume, designed by Weta Workshop, because he used to live there. If that doesn’t make you want to visit Hamilton, here’s what used to be the official city slogan: Hamilton – more than you expect.

Seriously, though, you should visit.

The best place to go in ‘the Tron’ is the Hamilton Gardens. We go there every time. The gardens are impressive, varied and very beautiful. We rarely get round all of them in one go, but they’re free to enter, so you can go as often as you like.

There’s a lake you can walk around with a waterfall tumbling into it, a huge Victorian flower garden, a café and a giant chessboard, but they’re not the best bits. The best gardens are in the Paradise Collection.

There’s the Japanese garden, where you can sit in peaceful contemplation…

Japanese Garden, Hamilton

There’s the Indian garden, where your senses are assaulted with vibrant colour…

Indian Garden, Hamilton

There’s the Chinese garden, where you can have a lovely picnic next to a pond…

Chinese Lake, Hamilton

There’s the English garden, at once homely and beautiful…

English Garden 2

There’s the American garden, where you can cool your feet with a pleasant paddle…

American Garden, Hamilton

And there’s the Italian garden, which feels as romantic as Romeo and Juliet’s Verona…

ItalianGardenHamilton

And there are so many other gardens besides, with the Waikato River sailing past in the background. The only bad thing about the Hamilton Gardens is they can get really hot, so make sure you take a floppy hat.

 

Article by Abigail Simpson, author of POMS AWAY! A British Immigrant’s View of New Zealand

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