Located a couple of hours south of Auckland, Hamilton is not typically a prime tourist destination. The highlight of our stay was reconnecting with some new friends that we met while traveling in Thailand. There are a number of great sights that can be reached within a short drive of Hamilton. Plus the Hamilton Gardens are a very pleasant way to spend a few relaxing hours.
Things To Do & See
If your travel plans take you through Hamilton, then be sure to make a stop at the Hamilton Gardens. This attraction is free and there is always something in bloom. We enjoyed a leisure walk through the gardens one morning. It is also a great place to take a walk or enjoy a nice picnic.
Raglan is home to black sandy beaches and some it touted as some of New Zealand’s best surfing. This cute seaside town is about a 45 minute drive from Hamilton. The main street is lined with cafes, shops, and restaurants.
Look for the turn off to Bridal Veil Falls on the way to/from Raglan. An easy short trail leads you to the top of the waterfall. If you have time follow the path and stairs to the additional viewing points. All though, all view points are lovely. We think the top view point is the best for photos! (The one at the top of the stairs, prior to heading down to the middle and low view points.)
If you are a fan of Lord of the Rings then consider a visit to Matamata to view the rolling hills and take a tour of the Hobbiton Movie Set. There are many tour options available. You may also want to check out Wairere Falls, while you are in the area.
We had the opportunity to meet up with some new friends at the Helm. They have a great outdoor patio, serve a good selection of beers, and also have tasty $5 pizzas on Sunday afternoons/evenings.
There are a lot of accommodation options in Hamilton. Our motel was on Ulster Street, not far from the main downtown area, and there were lots of motels, hostels, and hotels located in close proximity.
We stayed in one of the studio units. This motel was perfect for us as it was affordable, comfortable, recently renovated, had a small kitchen and provided free unlimited wifi access to guests.