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 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 - New Zealand's first traditional Maori garden. It showcases traditional practices, materials and ceremonies relating to food production and storage, drawn from the knowledge of local Maori 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, Italian Renaissance Garden, Chinese Scholars’ Garden and more.

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

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, Tropical Garden and Concept Garden.

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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