Hamilton City is New Zealand’s largest inland settlement. Centred on the Mighty Waikato River the city grew from the abandoned Maori Settlement that the Waikato Militia then occupied. The river has provided a very important trade route for many centuries and today still provides power and water.
Hamilton Gardens spectacular 58 hectares of displays and collections provide a wonderful sanctuary within the city for its residents and visitors. The Waikato Museum of Art and History boasts an impressive collection of Maori wood carvings, many recovered from local swamps and waterways.
The MV Waipa Delta still plies the waters of the Waikato River taking trips along the waterway. This 1877 vessel takes visitors from Memorial Park along the river and its classic bridges and picturesque tree lined banks.
A good selection of cafes, restaurants and shopping is available in the town centre.
Telling the story of gardens through themed collections, Hamilton Gardens explores different civilizations, and recreates historically important garden styles from all over the world.
You will be guided on a journey of discovery along paths delivering mysterious surprises. From a peaceful Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholar's garden to an Italian Renaissance garden, there are 21 themed garden areas with more being developed. Hamilton Gardens is not a botanical garden. Instead, it's a unique and internationally recognised concept that has been compared to a museum. Each garden collection has historic integrity and provides a window into the story of civilizations, their arts, beliefs and life styles.
Experience the wonders of Glowworms, start your tour by walking to the cave through a working farm and native rainforest. The tour follows the stream which runs through the cave. Most of the cave is open and spacious except for a twenty-metre length, which must be crawled through, you may get wet in this section! An experienced guide will lead you through the cave and will point out many interesting features and give you some background on their formation. A wide variety of stalactites and stalagmites can be seen, including giant pillars, fine straws and flowing shawls. The cave has an abundance of calcite formations and many glow-worms. The glow-worms and their dewy threads may be studied up close. In the big, cathedral-like cavern they resemble the night sky. At the end of the cave steps lead up through a beautiful native rainforest. The final leg of the tour comes out onto the farm with wide views and a glimpse of the sea, before returning downhill to the café.