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Spread over 50 hectares southeast of the city centre, Hamilton Gardens incorporates a large park, cafe, restaurant and extravagant themed enclosed gardens. There are separate Italian Renaissance, Chinese, Japanese, English, American and Indian gardens complete with colonnades, pagodas and a mini Taj Mahal. Equally interesting are the sustainable Productive Garden Collection, fragrant herb garden and precolonisation Māori Te Parapara garden. Look for the impressive Nga Uri O Hinetuparimaunga (Earth Blanket) sculpture at the main gates.
Recent additions include a Tudor-style garden and a tropical garden with more than 200 different warm-climate species. Booking ahead for the guided tours is recommended. To get to the gardens, catch bus 29 (adult/child $3.30/2.20) from the Hamilton Transport Centre.