Hamilton Gardens are a true masterpiece and pretty much this city's only attraction and reason for stopping a bus load of tourists. There is alot to take in but my favourites are the theme gardens with the Japanese, 1950's American and Italian Renassance gardens standing out. Every couple of years a new theme garden is added. One is the 'Kitchen Garden' which is a working facility and an amazing site when ready for harvest. Another is a Maori cultivation garden but you see many of those in Rotorua. The American garden is more an impressive Lido deck with sun loungers a large splash pool that is popular with kids and watched over by a large tile mozaic of Marilyn Munroe. The Italian Renassance Graden is considered the diamond in the crown and always the venue for theatre with it's ampitheatre attached. Sadly the statues of Romulus and Remus are constantly vandalised - a reminder of Hamilton's still small town mentality, and religious leanings.
Botanical gradens are scattered around the massive grounds and there are plenty of places to picnic. Being on a sloping hill down to the Waikato River, you can be afforded some pretty impressive panoramic views.
A central hub of conference facilities complements the standard Cafe, information and gift centre. All this located by a large ornamental lake with outdoor concert stages and eating spaces. A safe childrens Playground is located next to the rose gardens. Car Parking can be at a premium on hot days and public holidays. But Public Transport passes through the carpark from the CBD. The riverside leads to the new jetty where the Waikato Explorer departs for various river cruises daily. River walks radiate from here which can lead you back to the inner city and the War Memorial Gardens, themselves an attraction on their own. (sometimes mistaken as Hamilton Gardens). The summertime outdoor theater programme makes for a great evening out and on some nights, full dining facilities are provided. As a regular visitor on my morning run and walk, always pleasent to watch the seasons change the view in this city asset.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.