Hamilton- or “The Tron”, as locals commonly refer to it is known for the Waikato River, being en route to Waitomo Caves and Hobbiton…but there is so much more to Hamilton than meets the eye.
This month we will be showcasing some of the beautiful parks and wildlife, and when is the best time to go and visit? But first, a bit of history….
In 1960s, Hamilton Gardens was a rubbish dump covered in weeds with seagulls circling above. Then in the 1980s, it was decided that there was a better use for the space, and the idea for Hamilton Gardens became a reality.
Today Hamilton Gardens has an internationally unique concept that tells the ‘story of gardens’. And what a story it has been!
From the majestic Japanese-inspired gardens to the topiaries, the vibrant flora and fauna collections explore each garden’s history, context and meaning. Take just a few steps and go from China’s Sung dynasty to the grandeur of the Italian Renaissance era- where, if you’re lucky, you may even see a wedding happening or wander from the kitchen garden of an 18th-century European estate into a surreal world of strange topiary and giant-sized tools.
I went to Hamilton Gardens myself last summer and was amazed by the native birds and the different types of flora and fauna there. Everything from black shags, wrens, kingfishers and even black-bellied whistling ducks! Being Taranaki born and raised, this felt as close to home for me as it could be.
Another place where you can experience wildlife and see more of our native birds is Hamilton Zoo. I know what you’re thinking- what’s so great about a zoo?
A direct quote from the Hamilton Zoo website mentions, “Hamilton zoo boasts the largest walk-through aviary in New Zealand dedicated to native birds and plants; take a stroll through, and a cheeky kaka may land close by.”
The kaka birds are very similar looking to a kea, but they are slightly smaller, and their call sounds like their name, “ka-kaa”. They are also one of our rarest birds in Aotearoa, so seeing them in Hamilton zoo is a real treat.
They’re unlike any birds I have ever come across before. The kaka is fun, playful and very intelligent. Being from Auckland, it is a rare treat to see a kaka and it’s just one of the many reasons that make Hamilton such a special place to visit. Coming into summer, it is the ideal season to visit Hamilton as all the birds will have mated. With the days lasting longer, you have more time to experience the native birds and all the beautiful native sceneries Hamilton offers.