On Easter Sunday I made the drive to Hamilton to spend the day at the beautiful Hamilton Gardens with my friend, family and family friends. It was a gorgeous warm autumn day, and I was surrounded by gardens that transported me to a new country each one I visited, but the best part? It was free!
It had been a long time since I’d visited Hamilton Gardens, and while a day spent looking at gardens may not sound like the most exciting way to spend your day, it’s actually a pretty relaxing, enjoyable day out.
We left Auckland close to 10am and arrived at the Hamilton Gardens about an hour and a half later. It was packed. Before venturing into the actual grounds, we stopped for a quick bite to eat at their cafe (I was actually really keen to try a cafe I’d heard about, The Kirk, but with limited time we stuck to the Hamilton Gardens cafe).
First up were the ‘Enclosed Gardens’ and this is pretty much where we spent most of the day. The enclosed gardens are just that, enclosed within walls (or fences), each with their own theme. The first stop was the Italian Garden, which is probably my favourite, and definitely the iconic place to snap a pic (because if you didn’t go to the Italian Garden, did you even go to the Hamilton Gardens?).
Along with the Italian Garden, other themed gardens within the ‘Paradise Gardens’ included the Indian, Chinese, Japanese, English Rose Garden and Modernist American Garden, all themed around different eras within those country’s history and style.
Next within the ‘Enclosed Gardens’ were the ‘Productive Gardens’, which are tended to by students from WINTEC (which is pretty cool). These included the Te Parapara Garden, the Sustainable Backyard Garden, the Herb Garden and the Kitchen Garden. My fave was definitely the Sustainable Backyard, I could pretty much identify all of the fruit that grew within those grounds, much to my surprise, considering I hate gardening (I involuntarily picked it up from my green-thumb parents though). There were also some the fattest chooks I’ve ever seen as well.
“Oh cool! Is that their worm farm?!” – My mum.
This pretty much sums up my family as they walked through these gardens. Weirdos.
The final section of the ‘Enclosed Gardens’ was the ‘Fantasy Collection.’ Some of these gardens are still in the process of being created (like the Surrealist Garden, which looks like it’s going to be hella weird and cool – think Alice and Wonderland themed), but ones we were able to visit were the Tropical Garden, the Concept Garden and the Tudor Garden.
After that we walked to the Victorian Flower Garden, the Rose Garden and had a look at the glass house winter gardens which included a Cacti Garden (I am a sucker for cacti y’all, hence the feature image) and another Tropical Garden.
After this, with weary eyes and sore feet, we took the drive back to Auckland and headed out for a much needed scoff-down of dinner – the famous Shaolin Kung Fu noodles (blog post coming soon 😉 ).
If you have a spare day in Hamilton and are short on cash (or even Auckland for that matter, it really isn’t a very long drive) I’d definitely recommend a visit to the Hamilton Gardens. The ‘Enclosed Gardens’ are a must, the rest is pretty, but not anything you wouldn’t find somewhere else. For some, it may seem like a boring day out (and to be honest, I was initially apprehensive) but can you really beat getting some fresh air, light exercise and being surrounded by the most beautiful plants nature has to offer? I’d say no.
Note: Do bring good walking shoes. Or, just go barefoot. It is NZ afterall.
Have you been to the Hamilton Gardens? Let me know how you found it below in the comments.