What to do in Hamilton

by Noted / 19 June, 2017
Hamilton is one of the fastest growing centres in the country right now, which is great for visitors. More places to stay, more pubs, more shopping; Hamilton has it all. It’s a seat of learning and business development, but hasn’t forgotten about parks and bike tracks


FMG Stadium Waikato, Seddon Road, Hamilton Capacity: 25,800

Hamiltonians love their rugby, so FMG Stadium Waikato is routinely witness to a full house. Later this year it will be hosting two games in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, the first time that code has ever paid a visit to the park.

No need for taxis; the stadium is just a 15-minute walk from the city’s main drag, Victoria Street, which makes it rather easy to get to from where you probably want to be.


It might feel busy and expanding (because it is), but Hamilton is also well-known for its parks and gardens. There’s even a lake (Lake Rotoroa, confusingly) slap-bang in the middle of town. Hamilton Gardens borders the Waikato River which lazes its way through the city, making for an especially enjoyable amble if you have the time.


Hamilton is a river city, with the country’s longest waterway – the Waikato River – running right through the centre of town. Book a seat on the Waikato River Explorer and head up on deck with your camera for snap-worthy scenes of lush bush, mist-shrouded shores and big bridges. Pick your cruise perfectly and there are wine trips on offer too, although make sure your camera has its auto-focus function activated.


Inside SkyCity Hamilton you’ll find a variety of first class dining establishments, including

La Parrilla, which is receiving rave reviews for offering up the best traditional Spanish cuisine in town.

The award-winning Chim Choo Ree on Bridge Street fuses Asian fare with Kiwi classics, with a real focus on game meats. Book in before you head to the match.

If you want to twin your food with views, head to Gothenburg Café Restaurant & Bar on Grantham Street. You’ll be able to enjoy awesome tapas and gaze out over the Waikato River, all at the same time.


Imagine if gastro-boffin Heston Blumenthal decided to start brewing beer. We reckon Hamilton’s Good George Brewing would be the result. Yes, they create crafty classics such as amber and pale ales, a pilsner and both IPA and APAs. But they also have a penchant for the whimsical, with unique drops like Scarlett O’Hara Peach Cider, Rocky Road Black Stout and Rocket Coffee IPA pushing the boat out.


Grab a rental car (ideally one with surfboard-friendly roof-rails) and head west to Raglan on the Waikato coast. This hip spot mixes surf culture with championship coffee intake and a slower-paced rural Kiwi vibe. Whether you’re relaxing down at the beach, doing ‘bombs’ off the famous Raglan footbridge spanning the inner harbour, or chowing down in one of the many cafés and restaurants, you’ll pat yourself on the back for discovering this quintessential Kiwi seaside town. In fact, you’re only 45 minutes from Hamilton here, so look at hiring a Raglan beach house for your time in the Waikato... just for something completely different between matches.


Hamilton is an agri-science wonderland (if agri-science is indeed something you consider wondrous), with Waikato University a flash-point of all that is academically innovative and globally-focused within New Zealand’s robust primary industries. Hamilton also boasts around a thousand PhD-qualified scientists in residence. Brainy!


It’s not so much language as sound; head to a Waikato rugby game at FMG Stadium Waikato and the stands will resonate with the sound of a dozen cow bells, not being rung in unison. The provincial Waikato side is known as the ‘Mooloos’, hence the cow bell connection. Who needs an emotive stadium anthem to sing along to when the endless clonkin of unchoreographed cow bells will do?


This was originally published in The Tour, a souvenir magazine for the British and Irish Lions 2017. On sale now.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


New 'treaty' for Aboriginal empowerment owes much to New Zealand Maori
75169 2017-06-27 00:00:00Z World

New 'treaty' for Aboriginal empowerment owes much …

by Bernard Lagan

It's an overdue voice for Aboriginals and was wildly misinterpreted by those who should know better.

Read more
Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band revisited
75317 2017-06-27 00:00:00Z Music

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band revisited

by Graham Reid

Half a century ago the Beatles released Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Graham Reid considers the album and its reissue.

Read more
Small business by the numbers – why the sector defies generalisation
75517 2017-06-27 00:00:00Z Small business

Small business by the numbers – why the sector def…

by Rob O'Neill

Small businesses are vital to New Zealand’s economy, but efforts to understand them continue to fall short.

Read more
What to do and see in Wellington
74641 2017-06-27 00:00:00Z Sport

What to do and see in Wellington

by Noted

You lucky little blighters! Wellington really is a fantastic place to… well, do almost anything.

Read more
One smart way to win the America's Cup is to dare to be different
75588 2017-06-27 00:00:00Z Sport

One smart way to win the America's Cup is to dare …

by Paul Thomas

Team New Zealand’s grinders use their legs; Oracle’s use their arms, as did the grinders on every other boat that took part in the America’s Cup regat

Read more
On Radio: July 1, 2017
75492 2017-06-26 10:18:52Z Radio

On Radio: July 1, 2017

by Fiona Rae

The best of the week.

Read more
Crossword 1033 answers and explanations
Winston Peters: Kiwis in regions should get their fair share
75466 2017-06-26 08:35:11Z Politics

Winston Peters: Kiwis in regions should get their …

by Benedict Collins

Winston Peters wants New Zealanders in the regions to benefit more from the wealth they help generate.

Read more