Hotels in Hamilton (North Island, New Zealand)

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Hotels in Hamilton

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Hamilton – A Warm Welcome from New Zealand’s North Island

Hamilton, one of New Zealand’s major cities, is located in the North Island’s Waikato region, around 80 miles south of Auckland. It’s an attractive, leafy city with a staggering 200 plus parks and reserves in the area to enjoy! The majestic Waikato River, the longest in New Zealand, flows through Hamilton and, along with several lakes, provides plenty of water-based activities to enjoy. Hamilton also features excellent hotels and attractions, making it a great base from which to explore the New Zealand landscape made famous by the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Getting to Know Hamilton

One of the best ways to get to know Hamilton and its people is to take a walk along the Waikato River, which means ‘flowing water’ in the Maori language. There are plenty of benches and toilets along the route and grassy areas offer the perfect opportunity for a picnic while relaxing and watching the joggers, boats and cyclists go by. As well as several hotels offering lovely views over the water, there are also plenty of attractions and parks nestled along the riverbank: foremost is Hamilton Gardens, which is free to enter and celebrates horticultural styles from all over the world including an English Flower Garden, Chinese Scholar’s Garden and an Italian Renaissance Garden. Some of the gardens focus on the production of food as seen in the Kitchen and Herb Gardens styled on 18th and 19th-century European gardens. There’s also a café overlooking Turtle Lake which is rich in turtles, eels and other wildlife.

Other Parks and Green Spaces

Along the river to the north of Hamilton Gardens is Parana Park which is a great place for families with young children. George Parr and his wife Annie (Parana being the combination of his surname and her first name) wanted to create a space for convalescing children and donated their labour of love to the city; there are paddling pools and playgrounds and also interactive native bird sculptures. Next to Parana Park is Memorial Park which was formed to help remember New Zealanders who lost their lives fighting for their country. A short walk south of the river is Hamilton Lake Domain, one of the city’s most popular parks. Its main attraction is the beautiful Lake Rotoroa, an important habitat for many species of birds and also a popular location for water sports. Innes Common, the park’s large grassy area, is ideal for an impromptu game of cricket before heading back to the hotel for a rest!

Victoria Street and Garden Place

Running parallel to Waikato River, Victoria Street is the main shopping area in Hamilton. It features restaurants, cafes and high-end fashion boutiques while some of the city’s best hotels are located here too. St Peter’s Cathedral, modelled on a 15th-century Norfolk church is a popular attraction and several modern sculptures dotted around provide interesting backdrops: The Farming Family, on the corner of Victoria Street and Ulster Street, depicts a husband and wife, their two children and various animals. Another popular piece of art is the Riff Raff Statue which shows Richard O’Brien, who lived in the city during his youth, in the guise of the famous character from the Rocky Horror Show. On Garden Place, the city’s main square and a popular nighttime spot, Te Tiaho o Matariki is a fascinating sculpture: centuries ago, Maoris used this area to observe the heavens and the sculpture represents the Pleaides constellation (Matariki in Maori) in the form of a growing vine.

Entertainment at Night

There’s no shortage of things to do of an evening in Hamilton. Lido Cinema in Centre Place Mall on Victoria Street shows the latest blockbusters, and Clarence Street Theatre is the place to catch a stage show. For a change from hotel food, Casabella Lane is a popular Spanish-themed street destination with cosy restaurants. Alternatively, Hamilton Night Market offers a different experience: every Saturday under the cover of the Kmart carpark on Bryce Street over 100 food stalls gather to create a scene more reminiscent of an Asian city; at times, there’s also live entertainment to enjoy here too. To take the fun into the early hours, Hood Street is known for its selection of bars and clubs. Sport fans will also want to experience this nation’s huge love of rugby: depending on the time of year, it may be possible to see one of the two rugby teams that play at Waikato Stadium.

Other Attractions to Enjoy

To learn more about local history, Waikato Museum is a must-see attraction. Located at the south end of Victoria Street, it features a wide range of artefacts, paintings and interactive exhibits that explore Maori and New Zealand culture. On the outskirts of the city, Hamilton Zoo on Brymer Road provides a home to over 600 native animals with highlights being a walk-through aviary and a herd of white rhinos. Adjacent to the zoo is Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park which is 60 hectares in size and features many indigenous species of flora and fauna and interestingly-shaped Horseshoe Lake. Both around an hour’s drive, Raglan is a must for surf fans and Agroventures Adventure Park in Rotorua provides bungee jumping and other extreme thrills. Last but not least, a 45-minute drive is the incredible Hobbiton, the home of beloved characters Frodo and Bilbo in the Lord of the Rings films. Nearby Matamata offers a great selection of restaurants and hotels.

Frequently Asked Questions about Hamilton