Hamilton, New Zealand’s largest inland city, is just a 1½ hour trip down State Highway 1 from Auckland.
The city is the commercial centre of the rich Waikato dairy farming and thoroughbred horse breeding region. Naturally they have adopted the tourism slogan ‘Where the Grass is Greener’. The region offers a relaxing country experience along with the bustling city life of cafes, retail therapy, museums and fabulous gardens.
A quarter of Hamilton’s population are students and Waikato University boasts the largest campus in the country. There are plenty of day trips to be made from Hamilton and lots of free and low cost activities as follows:-
Walk down Victoria Street to the ‘Southend’
This is the heart of the restaurant and cafe scene, which caters for all budgets and tastes.
Stroll along the bushy banks of the Waikato River
A wonderful network of riverside walkways extends down to the Cobham Bridge.
Relax on the green domains around Hamilton Lake
A walkway encircles the lake taking just over an hour to complete.
Visit the city’s premier attraction – the Hamilton Gardens
Allow at least half a day to absorb the immense variety of stunning theme gardens including English, Chinese, Japanese and Italian. A ‘must see’ attraction.
Visit the Waikato Museum of Art and History at ‘Southend’
The Maori collection includes an 1836 war canoe and there are hands-on science and technology exhibits.
Experience the aquatic delights of Waterworld at Te Rapa
Relax in indoor and outdoor pools, enjoy the barbecue facilities and the hydro slides.
Take in the excellent Hamilton Zoo
The natural enclosures and focus on preserving endangered species make this one of New Zealand’s best zoos.
Cruise the Waikato River on the Waipa Delta paddleboat
This historic vessel made its first voyage on the Waikato in 1877.
Drive west to visit Waitomo’s subterranean wonders
There are stunning limestone formations, streams and glowworm grottos below ground and the superb Walkway and Ruakuri Bushwalk above ground.
Make a day trip to the Pureora or Pirongia Forest Parks
Pureora has short walks and nature tours through magnificent podocarp forest. Pirongia is a bush covered extinct volcano.
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