Hamilton City Profile
Hamilton is the largest and fastest-growing city in the historic Waikato region.
In the mid 19th century the area hosted some of the most significant battles of the Maori Land Wars. The remnants of that bloody time still exist today, fascinating history buffs and curious travelers alike. But the Hamilton of today has a much more contemporary flavor. There is a buzzing café and nightclubbing scene, and beautiful parks and gardens for those wanting to enjoy a slower pace. Hamilton also has a reputation for hosting some of New Zealand’s most exciting arts, sports, and music events. Hamilton may not be New Zealand’s largest city, but it seems there’s always something going on.
200, 300 [Source: Wikipedia.org - 2009]
Hamilton is the largest center of the North Island’s Waikato region. It lies approximately 80 miles south of New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, on the banks of the Waikato River.
Hamilton experiences moderate temperatures and regular rainfall throughout the year. Summer temperatures average between 22ºC and 26ºC, while in winter, temperatures tend to fall between 10ºC and 15ºC. Winter mornings are typically foggy and ground frost is common, but it rarely snows.
Places of interest
Hamilton Gardens in the south of Hamilton are the city’s most popular tourist attraction.
The fauna collections are cleverly organized into themed areas which tell the garden’s story. The gardens host several events each year, including the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival and Pacific Rose Bowl Festival. The nearby Waikato River is New Zealand’s largest river, and home to many recreational activities. You can get your blood pumping with a jet boat tour, slow things down with a canoe ride, or simply soak up the scenery with a walk along the river’s edge. The Waikato Museum remembers the region’s rich history with its collections of Maori treasures, called taonga, and displays devoted to Tainui culture and the Maori King. The museum has eight galleries in all which show touring exhibitions and artifacts from its own collection. While New Zealand culture and history is the focus, the interactive science exhibit is a big hit with curious kids. While you’re there, make sure you visit ArtsPost next door. This community art centre features an ever-changing display of works by local artists.
While the Waikato Museum looks to New Zealand’s past, Hobbiton celebrates the face of contemporary New Zealand. Guided tours will show you what’s left of this hobbit village created for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Hobbiton is situated on a sheep farm in the rural town of Matamata, almost 40 miles east of Hamilton.
Where to eat
Hamilton has almost 200 cafes, bars, and restaurants offering everything from standard pub fare to gourmet treats. Most of the city’s eateries can be found in the historic south end of the city.
Visit Victoria Street if you’re in the mood for ethnic cuisine. You can choose from Master House serves up Chinese, while the flavors of Bollywood can be found at Indian Aroma and Jaipur Walla Indian Restaurant. European tastes are represented too at Barzurk Gourmet Pizza Bar, Go Vino, and Le Dome Belgian Beer Café.
Barflies should head to nearby Hood Street. Singer Bar, The Bank Brasserie and Bar, and The Loaded Hog all offer hearty pub fare and some of New Zealand’s best brewed beers. Once you’re done with your meal, you can then enjoy the live entertainment options most nights of the week.
Where to stay
Hamilton provides a range of accommodation options, from contemporary facilities in the city to more character-filled options in the rural areas.
If convenience is what you’re after, consider the motels in the heart of urban Hamilton. They’re close to attractions, restaurants, and public transport. The Park View Motor Lodge and Bella Vista Motel offer luxurious spaces, while the Rosetown Motel and Boundary Court Motor Inn cater for travelers on a budget.
What bed and breakfasts lack in convenience, they make up for in character. You’ll enjoy old fashioned hospitality, historic surrounds, and hearty morning meals at Matangi Oaks, and Titoki Boutique Accommodation.