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Heart-filled Hamilton

It may not be as popular as other landlocked NZ cities, but the North Island town of Hamilton can hold its own when it comes to fascinating local culture and the lush greenery typical of Kiwiland. And if you’re looking for nightlife, the thriving set of bars and restaurants along the main stretch almost leaves Auckland in the dust!

For 500-plus species of critters – not to mention NZ’s only tapir – check out the fantastic Hamilton Zoo. For a bit of culture and all sorts of contemporary Kiwi artwork, meander through the gallery at ArtsPost, or take a cruise and enjoy some ace Hamilton cuisine down the Waikato River. Whether it’s the stunning natural setting, friendly locals or laid-back vibe, Hamilton will make its way into your heart and stay there.

Hamilton’s Top 10

10. Hot-Air Balloon Ride Wake up to Hamilton from the sky and gaze across to the sunrise peeking out from behind the snow-capped distant mountains.

5. Bank No, not an actual one! This 19th century bank has been revamped into a killer bar with a fantastic selection of local wine and beers on tap.

9. Wairere Falls Just out of the city in the Kaimai-Mamaku Forest Park, they are the highest in North Island at over 153m (502ft).

4. MV Waipa Delta While away the afternoon in this replica of an 1876 paddle steamer.

8. Kayak Tour There are plenty of tour options around the city for getting on a canoe and exploring the rivers.

3. Waikato Museum Crammed with all sorts of interesting art, science and history in five massive areas.

7. Victoria Cinema If you’re feeling particularly highbrow, sit back with a cocktail while watching the swankiest of art-house films.

2. Riff Raff Check out the life-size statue of the time-warping alien from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in honour of former Hamilton resident (and Rocky Horror creator) Richard O’Brien.

6. Waterworld Drop the kids at the waterslide and float the afternoon away in the spa.

1. Hamilton Gardens From the extravagant themed flowerbeds to the fragrant herb patch, it’s a glorious place to stop and, um, smell the roses.

Hamilton Events

For the biggest Christian music festival in the Southern Hemisphere, check out the Parachute Festival in January.

Celebrate the multicultural mishmash in Hamilton at the annual Indigo Festival in March.

Rev heads should head over in April for the ITM400 Hamilton Supercar Race.

Rug up for the annual Waikato Winter Show in May (technically May is still spring, but we won’t burst their bubbles…)

Get your stopwatches ready for the spectacular rowing regatta that is the Gallagher Great Race in September.

When To Go

Hamilton enjoys warm, humid summers, and actually has the most summertime thunderstorms in New Zealand.

Winter is usually pretty frosty, but during the day is quite mild and great for exploring the museums.

The absolute best time to head into Hamilton is during spring and autumn when the air is dry and the sunshine is ace!

Getting Around

Hamilton has an expansive bus service that is relatively cheap – take advantage!

Pick up a four-ride day pass for $4.60 if you’re planning on doing some heavy-duty exploring.

The CBD of Hamilton is quite small and easily walkable if you’re keen for a stroll.

Hamilton Information

Though in the long shadow of Auckland, the North Island, New Zealand city of Hamilton is nonetheless worth a visit. While a coastline dearth may have the city at a slight disadvantage from other North Island tourist destinations, as a gateway to the scenic Waikato region, Hamilton is superb.

With just under 200,000 people, Hamilton is indeed the urban heart of a traditional, culturally vibrant area of New Zealand. Explicit proof is on hand at points of interest like the Hamilton Farmers' Market and Waikato Museum. The city plays host to a number of important events throughout the year, like the Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival, Hamilton Underground Film Festival, National Agricultural Fieldays and Couch Soup Festival. For a typical slice of Hamilton life, head to Waikato Stadium to catch Waikato Rugby Union action or indeed, Seddon Park for cricket. No visit to the city is complete however, without a tour of Hamilton Gardens, the most popular attraction in the region.

Attractions & Activities

Attractions

  • Hamilton Gardens
  • Waikato Museum
  • Waikato Stadium
  • Hamilton Astronomical Society Observatory
  • Ngāruawāhia
  • Activities

  • Hamilton Gardens Summer Festival
  • Hamilton Underground Film Festival
  • National Agricultural Fieldays
  • World Rally Championship
  • Couch Soup Festival
  • Restaurant & Nightlife

    Restaurants

  • Iguana St Bar & Restaurant
  • Palate
  • Canvas Restaurant & Bar
  • Woodbox
  • Sian Sushi
  • Nightlife

  • Cuebar
  • Diggers Bar
  • Lock Stock & Barrell
  • The Cardiff's Arms Sports Bar
  • The Alamo Bar
  • Climate

    Hamilton has a temperate climate, with four distinct seasons and above average rainfall for the year.

    • Summer (November to February) 10-24°C
    • Fall (March to May) 7-23°C
    • Winter (June to August) 4-15°C
    • Spring (September to October) 7-18°C


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    1 Hamilton City Oaks

    4 stars
    4.5 / 5 86 reviews

    237 Victoria Street Map

    Includes Wifi

    A remodelled 1925 heritage-listed architecture, Hamilton City Oaks blends old world elegance and modern facilities suitable for discerning travellers visiting this part of New Zealand. While in... More

    this was a great stay for the time i was there
    I was there on business and was great for what I needed
    21 Jul 2015

    2 Aaron Court Motor Inn

    3 stars
    3.0 / 5 5 reviews

    250 Ulster Street Map

    Aaron Court Motor Inn Hamilton welcomes travellers to comfortable and affordable accommodations conveniently set close to the city centre. Vacationers at this Hamilton motel can catch races at Te... More

    WE MOST HAD THE OLDEST NOISIEST ROOM OF THE WHOLE COMPLEX
    only A TRICKLE OF HOT WATER IN THE SHOWER. Old saggy bed. bad odour in the room. Old small Tv
    21 Apr 2015

    3 BEST WESTERN Hygate Motor Lodge

    4 stars
    4.5 / 5 10 reviews

    299 Ulster Street Map

    For a satisfying business or leisure trip, choose BEST WESTERN Hygate Motor Lodge, a splendid property that welcomes you with a warm smile and also offers you a cosy atmosphere where you can enjoy... More

    HELPFUL
    RECEPTIONIST SHOWS ATTENTIVE WHEN ASK FOR SERVICE.
    30 Dec 2013

    4 Kingsgate Hotel Hamilton

    4 stars
    4.3 / 5 55 reviews

    100 Garnett Avenue, Te Rapa Map

    Kingsgate Hotel Hamilton is the perfect choice when visiting this scenic garden city teeming with historic landmarks splendid gardens and sporting venues. It is ideally located accessible to... More

    Great location for swimming event at Waterworld
    The Kingsgate is a fairly dated, but adequate hotel with very helpful and friendly staff. It is perfectly situated a few hundred yards from Waterworld where our swimming competition was being held....
    28 Jul 2015

    5 Beetham Park Motel

    4 stars
    5.0 / 5 3 reviews

    297 Ulster Street Map

    Beetham Park Motel Hamilton is located close to Hamilton's CBD, Waikato Stadium, V8 Supercar Track, Waterworld and ProDrive Golf Driving Range. It is in vicinity to Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton Zoo,... More

    6 Novotel Hamilton Tainui

    4 stars
    4.6 / 5 31 reviews

    7 Alma Street Map

    Rate includes Breakfast

    Travellers find idyllic base at the deluxe spaces of Novotel Hamilton Tainui conveniently positioned close to transport options and attractions in Hamilton. This New Zealand hotel places travellers... More

    Great weekend away
    My wife and I had a very enjoyable time at the Novotel. Staff were pleasant and efficient. Breakfast was yummy and plentiful. Ideally located for a stroll along the river, or to the centre of town....
    22 Jul 2015

    7 ibis Hamilton Tainui

    3 stars
    4.7 / 5 94 reviews

    18 Alma Street Map

    Rate includes Breakfast

    Set on the banks of Waikato River, Hotel Ibis Hamilton Tainui offers chic comfortable accommodations and scenic city or river views to business and leisure travellers while in Hamilton. The hotel... More

    excellent city central location
    perfect location for city centre events, multiple food options. Staff very helpful. Would recommend that wifi service be included in room rate as other accommodation options do.
    13 Jul 2015

    8 Motel Six Hamilton

    3 stars
    4.0 / 5 1 reviews

    30 Abbotsford Street Map

    Vacationers looking for self-serviced spaces while visiting the lively Hamilton City find suitable base at Motel Six Hamilton. Travellers at this cosy hotel can play slot machines and bowling at... More

    Quite friendly Hotel
    Was a great stay over night. Parking was a bit pushed but got one in the end. Someone had taken up two car spaces. Apart from that it was perfect
    13 Dec 2014

    9 Park View Motor Lodge

    5 stars
    5.0 / 5 7 reviews

    450 Tristram Street Map

    With all the contemporary comforts, the Park View Motor Lodge Hamilton is a simple timeless refuge, offering elegant accommodation and copious services for a memorable stay. GeneralPark View Motor... More

    Outstanding Motel
    Just wanted a room for one night that was in walking distance to The Founders Theatre. We went to see a Dr Hook concert which was fabulous JUST like this gem of a motel. Lovely spacious room with...
    3 May 2015

    10 Quest on Ward

    4 stars
    4.5 / 5 20 reviews

    42-47 Ward Street Map

    Whether in this part of New Zealand for business or leisure, travellers find suitable base in the comfortable accommodations of centrally located Quest On Ward Serviced Apartments Hamilton. This... More

    Don't Judge A Book etc
    When you arrive out the front you think this is going to be tiny but it wasn't. From the moment we checked in we were made to feel very welcome and nothing was a trouble to the manager (Robert) The...
    8 Apr 2015
    Prices reflect the lowest "base rate" found over the next 30 days. Rates are subject to change and may not include taxes and fees, hotel service charges, extra person charges, or incidentals, such as room service. Converted rates are provided for your convenience. They are based on today's exchange rate, but the hotel will charge you in the local currency. Taxes may be payable in addition.
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