From the peaceful Japanese Zen Garden to the explosion of color in the Indian Char Bagh Garden, anyone who loves nature will enjoy this man-made paradise.
A stroll through the Hamilton Garden’s Paradise Collection is a journey through three different continents, taking in some of the world’s most diverse gardening traditions.
Although it’s just one section within Hamilton Garden’s 140 acres (58 hectares) of space,the Paradise Collection is by far the most popular. Other collections include local plants, a perfume garden and roses.
The curving water features in the American Modernist Garden make a striking contrast with the classical feel in the Italian Renaissance Garden, where ornate statues of mythical figures watch over ordered rows of neatly shaped shrubs.
Wander through the English Flower Garden, with its box hedges and weathered brick paths. One of the earliest examples of garden design is in the Chinese Scholars Garden.
The most educational of the other sections in the Hamilton Gardens is the Productive Collection, which features a working kitchen garden as well as an example of how the average family can make their own garden sustainable.
This collection also holds the impressive Te Parapara, the country’s first dedicated public Māori garden. It showcases plants that are culturally and agriculturally significant to the native people of New Zealand and describes techniques they use.
Find a perfume garden, complete with Chinese Pavilion, in the Fantasy Collection and head to the Cultivar Collection to see a stunning rose garden and rhododendron lawn.
In the center of the gardens, The Pavilion is home to the Hamilton Gardens Café where you can buy a range of snacks and meals. Stop here to enjoy an open-air lunch amid the floral displays.
Take a self-guided tour with the map you can download from the Hamilton Gardens website. For a different view of the gardens, jump on board the Waikato River Explorer, which departs from the gardens. The 90-minute cruise is very scenic, especially in the fall.
The Hamilton Gardens are close to downtown, free to enter and open daily. There are regular events, and any day of the year you can enjoy a picnic lunch with family or friend