As you saw from my last post, I was off in New Zealand for a few weeks recently. On this trip I decided to stop in Hamilton for a few days so that I could see the Hamilton Gardens. Now when I lived there in the early 70s , Hamilton was known for its rose garden up by the lake and then another nice but ordinary, rose garden was built near the main road south during that time. It therefore was a bit of a puzzle to me as to what the Hamilton Gardens actually were that I have been hearing about over the last several years. Obviously something big had been happening if Hamilton had become well known by tourists and Kiwis alike for its garden.
I was able to get to the gardens by local bus from the central bus terminal in the city. It only goes every two hours or so but the bus drives right in to the park buildings past the extensive lawn, forest and lake area that are behind the rose gardens up by the main road that I mentioned before. Actually, at this point I made a detour as the very first sign I saw as I got off the bus was an arrow pointing to boat rides on the Waikato river. I had always wanted to go on the river but never did so here was my chance. Off I went to do this for an hour before I actually started looking around the gardens. A lovely boat ride to the city center and back.
I still did not really know what I was going to see at the gardens so it was really eye opening when I went into the visitors center and saw a map of what was there. This area between the river and the main road has really been a waste land area that was badly used for many years, Now a miracle is happening there and there are big plans for the future still. The main area of attraction is the area of enclosed gardens. Imagine huge garden rooms each designed to show the garden of a different culture or time period. It was really stunning. You need at least a few hours there and you could stay all day. To make it even better, admission is free! There are donation boxes, a small gift store and a lovely cafe by the lake if you want to contribute. If you want to learn more about the place you can have a look at their web site. www.hamiltongardens.co.nz
Here are a few photos taken that day. Remember you can click on them to make them bigger to see the detail. I will have to go back in a few more years to see what new is done....plus I did not get up to the old rose garden area which is now called the Victorian Flower Garden. There are walks around the lake still to do too. I just ran out of time.
|Japanese Garden of Contemplation|
|Indian Char Bagh Garden (the bees loved this one)|
|Italian Renaissance Garden|
|Te Parapara Garden (Maori garden for growing kumera/sweet potatoes)|
|Walled Kitchen Garden|
|The boat and jetty on the Waikato river for the boat ride.|