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It’s just over an hour south of Auckland, in the middle of the Waikato region. It doesn’t have impressive skyscrapers or a city beach, and in the past it’s even been the butt of the odd joke by residents of other cities. But spend some time in Hamilton and you’ll find a whole host of reasons to stay a little longer.
Sitting on the banks of the mighty Waikato River, amid lush green farmland, Hamilton is chock full of beautiful scenery. With a river running through it, a lake and botanic gardens to wander around, and a green belt full of parks, walking and bike tracks, you have only to step outside to enjoy Hamilton’s natural wonderland.
If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, Hamilton has you covered. Take to the skies in a hot air balloon, visit New Zealand’s only tea farm, or check out red pandas, Sumatran tigers, chimps, lemurs, giraffes and rhinos at the Hamilton Zoo.
Waikato Museum has more than 38,000 objects in its collection ranging from science and social history to Maori taonga and a quality display of visual art. There’s also public art around the city, from classic bronzes commemorating Waikato history to the famous statue of Riff Raff (Hamilton is the birthplace of Richard O’Brien and the Rocky Horror Picture Show).
Fresh food thinking
On any given day in Hamilton you can sample the wares at an array of markets sprinkled around the city – from night markets, collectables, clothing, crafts and of course fresh fruit and vegetables from local growers.
Hipsters will welcome the craft beer bars and breweries including Good George and Craft Beer Garden, and lovers of fine dining can appreciate establishments like Palate, Chim Choo Ree, Victoria Street Bistro, Gothenburg, Alpino, and a myriad of other eateries.
Black sand beaches
Yes, Hamilton is an inland city… but black sand beaches, great surf breaks and relaxed coastal holiday spots are only a short drive away. Raglan, Port Waikato and Kawhia harbour are all easy day trips from Hamilton.
Once you’ve sampled Hamilton’s delights, we guarantee you’ll be back!