The first time I visited Hamilton three years ago, I left with an impression that it was just like any other city and never gave much thought about it ever since.
Three years later, I recently returned for a weekend getaway up to the Tron City and I left feeling pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it – This time, it was a weekend well-spent with us venturing to several places slightly out of the city that I would definitely encourage you to visit if you happen to be there!
The Hamilton Gardens
The Hamilton Gardens is easily one of the biggest (and most beautiful) gardens I’ve been to in New Zealand’s North Island. It is a vast area of greenery that’s open to the public and I’d say its main attraction are the different themed gardens, ranging from concepts like the Italian Renaissance Garden, The Chinese Scholar Garden, Herb Garden and many more.
It’s pretty family-friendly and a great place to hang out with friends. I heard it’s quite sought after as a wedding venue and understandably so, as every corner is certainly picture-worthy! I’d imagine it would also be a great place for an afternoon nap or to host an outdoor concert during summer.
I could spend hours at this place just walking aimlessly just to enjoy the details of each garden, and I would certainly return after they’ve launched their new concepts that are currently being developed!
If you’re keen for a casual stroll or a picnic, we came across this beautiful place that’s nestled amidst farming pastures that’s ideal for it; a mixture of woodlands, lakes and gardens with a decent number of poultry running about!
It was a beautiful hue of red, yellow and gold everywhere, with all the leaves showcasing their different colours of autumn. We gathered that this park is also pet-friendly, observing many pet owners bringing their dogs for walks the day we visited.
Click here for more details on how to get there!
The Magnificent Bridal Veil Falls
As you drive towards Raglan, there’s a turnoff along State Highway 23 to get you to this place. It’s a relatively easy ten minute trail including walking down a flight of stairs for you to witness this majestic waterfall.
There’s three different viewpoints for you to choose from; my favourite would be the view at the base of the waterfall where we witnessed streaks of rainbows appearing through the waters. I have honestly not seen anything quite like it!
Surf’s Up, Raglan!
On a sunny day, take a 45 minute drive to this town for a day of rest, relax and even for some adventure if you’re up for it.
Raglan has quite a hipster feel to it, with many trinket stores scattered between eateries, with mostly vegan-friendly menus and a local fish n’ chip eatery that all the locals flocked at. It is an ideal place to head over for brunch and a walk after, which was exactly what we did.
If you’re looking for an afternoon snack, I highly recommend the curly fries at The Shack!
Raglan is well-known for also being a surfer’s paradise, where many would escape the bustling city with their surfboards to catch a wave over the weekend. At least, stay long enough to catch the sunset before you make your way home.
For more of my New Zealand travel, click here!