Each year Hamilton Gardens attracts more than a million visitors, who come not for the plants but for the gardeners.

Hamilton Gardens , Waikato

One of the Waikato region's most visited attractions, Hamilton Gardens(opens in new window) hasn't been developed in the manner of conventional botanic gardens. Instead, it explores the relationships between people and plants, telling the story of gardens through different civilisations, in five garden collections that are spread over 58 hectares.

Hamilton Gardens is home to Te Parapara(opens in new window) - New Zealand's first traditional Māori garden. It showcases traditional practices, materials and ceremonies relating to food production and storage, drawn from the knowledge of local Māori which has been passed down the generations.

The Paradise Garden Collection includes gardens that represent China, England, Japan, America, Italy and India. Each garden is highly individual with a totally different design philosophy. Highlights include the Indian Char Bagh Garden(opens in new window), Italian Renaissance Garden(opens in new window), Chinese Scholars’ Garden(opens in new window) and more.

The Productive Garden Collection is all about gardens that are functionally useful. There's a herb garden(opens in new window), a kitchen garden(opens in new window) and a sustainable backyard garden(opens in new window).

The Cultivar Garden Collection tells the stories of plants that have been selectively bred for the garden. It includes areas devoted to roses, camellias, rhododendrons and Victorian garden flowers.

Finally, but possibly most memorable of all, is the Fantasy Garden. Here imaginations have been allowed to run riot, with a special focus on the themes of 'perfume' and 'time'. Highlights of this collection include the Tudor Garden(opens in new window), Tropical Garden(opens in new window) and Concept Garden(opens in new window).

Hamilton Gardens provides the setting for regular events and festivals(opens in new window), especially during the summer months. The showpiece is the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival(opens in new window) which takes place in the second half of February each year.

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