Beautiful gardens, world-class cuisine and stylish shopping
A Visitor’s Guide To The Best Things To Do During Your Stay
Located on the banks of the Mighty Waikato River, the vibrant, flourishing city of Hamilton has plenty to offer the curious traveller, from the wildly popular Hamilton Gardens and the expansive grounds of Zealong Tea Estate, to carefully curated boutiques and homewares stores. Other Hamilton attractions include superb eateries and the local farmers market, which both showcase the best of the region's bountiful fresh produce, while the local events programme is full of ideas of other things to do in Hamilton and its surrounds.
Explore the Hamilton Gardens
Welcoming more than a million visitors a year, Hamilton Gardens is one of the city's top attractions and an absolute must-see for its specialist gardens alone. Each themed garden is treated as an exhibit and nestled within five sections - Paradise, Productive, Fantasy, Cultivar and Landscape. Channel your inner Marilyn Monroe in the Modernist Garden, step back in time to early 20th century New Zealand at the Mansfield Garden, or delve into New Zealand's only traditional Maori productive garden, Te Parapara, which draws from the knowledge of local Maori passed down through generations. Pack a picnic and take your time.
Pick up some fresh produce from the Hamilton Farmers' Market
If you're in town on a Sunday, make your way to Claudelands Arena for the weekly Hamilton Farmers' Market from 8am to 12pm. Here you'll find a wide array of artisan products and the best of the region's fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables; pick up some breakfast (or perhaps something for your picnic at Hamilton Gardens), browse the offerings from the local butchers and fishmongers, grab yourself a coffee and go for a wander. You might even find some gourmet dog treats for the most important member of your family.
A visit to the award-winning Zealong Tea Estate is one of the best things to do in Hamilton and a lovely way to spend an afternoon indeed. Set on beautiful grounds just out of town at Gordonton, New Zealand's only commercial tea estate produces 100 percent organic tea from its 1.2 million plants. Sign up for a specialty walking tour culminating in a tea ceremony with your guide at Zealong's tea house, or schedule your visit around a fine-dining experience. We'd go for the signature Southeast Asian High Tea if we were you.
Hamilton is seriously stylish when it comes to shopping, with a number of boutiques and homewares stores worth a browse. Sisters on London offers designer brands, gifts and accessories from New Zealand, Australia and beyond, while Needle in the Hay, housed in a former panelbeaters on Racquet Lane, stocks an electic range of stuff from vintage shoes to homewares and vinyl. Over in Hamilton East, Lovegrove Lane is more of an indie destination, where you'll find a mix of shopping, food options and wellness studios - think street art, outdoor furniture and a cool community vibe.