Our first stop outside of Auckland was Hamilton. It’s about an hour and a half south of Auckland and the fourth largest city in New Zealand with a population of only 140,000. We found our lovely riverside apartment perched on a hillside overlooking Waikato, the longest river in New Zealand. The views included college teams practicing their rowing skills.
There were many choices of things to do in the area including just relaxing but we were persuaded to visit the 2014 Garden of the Year chosen by the International Garden Tourism Network. The Hamilton Gardens turned out to be a wonderful way to spend a day and the weather was perfect AND the Garden is free!
We started with lunch at the café and had English pasties and Lemington and cream for dessert (turns out it’s like a snowball filled with heavy cream).
Fortified, we launched our explorations at the Paradise Garden Collection. This is 5 lovely gardens representing some of the most significant garden traditions of China, Japan, England, Italy, and America.
Not only were their typical flowers arranged in the tradition of the culture, but there where facades of iconic buildings of that culture.
In addition to these five gardens, there were Tutor, Maori and sustainable gardens. They were all well maintained and flowed nicely together. We saw at least a half dozen gardeners stooped over pulling weeds and deadheading flowers. We also got to dash through sprinklers and cross over bridges near ponds and streams.
At the end of the afternoon, we made our way to the rose garden. It was aptly named Rogers Garden. I say this because my brother, Roger, loved roses. He would have been truly in paradise in this botanical heaven. Roger, I hope you are resting in a place as beautiful as this was.