Localite Scott Barker shares his favourite 10 things to do in Hamilton for free.
See it all on a map here: Map of the top 10 free things to do in Hamilton.
The Waikato river basically splits Hamilton down the middle, running from one end of Hamilton to the other, and dominates the landscape Clearly someone had some forethought and created walkways along the river bank. It’s pretty, scenic, and pram/dog and cycling friendly.
Probably the most famous attraction in Hamilton, and famous for its themed gardens. These gardens are extensive; and entry is how we like it – free. The Gardens are slightly to the south of the CBD. The most photographed gardens are the American Modernist Garden and the Italian Gardens.
Hamilton has loads of great parks and open space, so #3 is another one. Not to be confused with the lake in Rotorua, the Hamilton Lake is called Lake Rotoroa. There is a very good children’s playground and café by the lake front. Remember to take some bread – the ducks are entertaining.
Garden place is a pedestrian section of central Hamilton CBD. It’s a hub point and a nice place to “people watch”, sit on the grass to eat lunch, and catch any street entertainment.
5. Ride at the Pukete mountain bike track
A good basic track that’s 10km long, mostly flat, and just a nice easy ride after work, or with the kids. It’s also within the city borders.
6. Kick balls around with friends in Hamilton’s many parks
As you’re beginning to see, Hamilton is all about the parks and the outdoors, so get out there and kick a ball around!
7. Window shopping at The Base
Get your fix of outlet shopping.
Richard O’Brien, creator of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, whilst not born in NZ, spent his teenage years in Hamilton and Tauranga, and this statue of his character Riff Raff is pride of place in Victoria St, Hamilton. Stop by, get your picture – makes a great talking point when you show off your pics.
Entry to the museum is free, and exhibits are educational. The building is kind of interesting, too. Perfect for a rainy day.
A bit out of Hamilton on SH23, this is a great place to head for some serenity. The park covers 20ha, with walking trails under mature trees, lakes and woodland gardens. Makes a nice picnic spot. Dogs are also allowed, but on a leash.
Well that’s 10 but cheekily we’ll add some more courtesy of Natalie Dean at Hamilton & Waikato Tourism.
Dedicated to promoting local artists, this gallery is free of course and right beside the museum in a nice heritage building. For more info and other art galleries in Hamilton.
Everyone loves a good Market and if you’re in Hamilton on the weekend, you’ve got a choice. Saturday is the Frankton Market from 8am-1, Commerce St, Hamilton and Sunday is the Farmers Market located in the River Road Car Park, 204 River Road Sunday morning from 8 to noon.
For the Aussies, a pā is an ancient Maori Settlement. So if you’re visiting the Waikato a great free cultural experience, this ancient site has been made into a park and sites on the side of the Waikato River.
Been inspired to visit Hamilton; Find out where the best places to stay in Hamilton are.
More Top 10 lists
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