Hamilton, New Zealand
Hamilton Travel Blog› entry 13 of 23 › view all entries
Hamilton is probably not at the top of anyone's list for travel in New Zealand. It's the 4th largest city in New Zealand, but largely unknown outside the country. It is situated about 80 miles south of Auckland on NZ Highway 1. The Waikato River flows through the middle of the city. The population is about 150,000 people now and has an economy of mainly agricultural uses. It is a hub for New Zealand's huge dairy industry, that giving the city the nickname of "Cowtown." We were headed here to visit friends that live in Hamilton.
We enjoyed a big breakfast at the Clearwater, packed up and then bid goodbye to Bernie and Sandra, the innkeepers.
The drive to Hamilton was nice with lots to see along the way. I taught Mom and Dad the New Zealand possum game along the way here. Possums were introduced into New Zealand as a way for people to make money from their fur, and having no natural enemies here, they went wild and multiplied exponentially. They are often roadkill here, as they get run over by cars as they cross the roads. Kiwis play a game where you guess the number of dead possums you will find on the road from where you begin to your final destination. Whomever guesses the closest wins something from the others. I thought it was one of the craziest things I had ever heard, but it does help to pass the time!
We checked into the Novotel Tainui in Hamilton shortly before noon, and then walked over to Scott's Epicurean for lunch.
We left Dad at the hotel for a nap, and Mom and I headed over to Hamilton Gardens to check it out. The gardens are immense and immaculate. They have several different gardens -- Japanese, Chinese, Indian, English, Italian and Modern American. There was also an herb garden, a vegetable garden, a wild flower garden and a sustainable garden. I think the most beautiful were the rose garden and the Italian Garden.
After our garden tour, we headed back to the hotel and cleaned up to go over to my friends' home for dinner. David and Wendy were the consummate hosts -- they cooked a wonderful dinner of green lipped NZ mussels, grilled lamb filets, baked pumpkin and a salad. We enjoyed a great visit with them.