Hamilton Gardens

Top choice in Hamilton

A greenhouse and a pond in Hamilton Gardens.

Getty Images/Lonely Planet Images

Spread over 50 hectares southeast of the city centre, Hamilton Gardens incorporates a large park, a cafe, a restaurant, and extravagant themed and enclosed gardens. There are separate Italian Renaissance, Chinese, Japanese, English and American gardens, and the Char Bagh Garden is inspired by the gardens near India's famed 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.

Other highlights include a Tudor-style garden and a tropical garden with more than 200 different warm-climate species. A garden inspired by a Katherine Mansfield short story opened in late 2018, and the development of a surrealist garden is also under way. To get to the gardens, catch bus 29 (adult/child $3.30/2.20) from the Hamilton Transport Centre.