Situated on the banks of the Waikato River, Hamilton is one of the most lively and fastest growing cities in New Zealand. The city has a youthful character, thanks to its large population of students who ensure that Hamilton’s bar and restaurant scene remains robust. Wherever you are in the city, the lakes and mountains are never far away, so it’s the ideal hub for urbanites who still want the great outdoors on their doorstep.
Things to do
The area around Hamilton was populated by the Maori people long before European settlers arrived. Head to the Waikato Museum to find a fascinating set of galleries which reveal the richness of their culture, including a permanent exhibition on Maori astronomy called Te Whanau Marama. There is also an interactive science gallery, and visitors with interest in Hamilton’s natural history can also join hosted bat tours to local nesting sites.
St. Peter’s Church is on the site of the first Anglican church in Hamilton, though the present building dates only from 1916. Modelled on a 15th-century church from Norfolk, England, it’s built from reinforced concrete. The church’s eight signature bells were created in London and shipped here in the 1930s.
Hamilton has a comprehensive public transport system, including the free CBD shuttle serving the Central Business District. The CBD runs in a one-way loop, but Waikato Regional Council’s BUSIT buses run on nearly 40 other routes across the city and its surrounding area. It’s far more pleasant, and environmentally friendly, however, to use the extensive network of designated bicycle lanes.