Travel Notes: Hamilton Gardens, NZ

Susan Howell

One particular of the most extraordinary gardens I assume I have ever visited is Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand. Positioned on the North Island, about 1.5 several hours South of Auckland, you will find the most amazing, imaginative and artistic gardens I have ever found. 1 day, I will get back again there.

My thoughts turned recently to my neighbors across the ditch with the storms. I have read through that Hamilton is in cleanup mode, but I have not uncovered significantly on the gardens themselves. I hope they ended up not far too seriously broken. Mother Mother nature can be a power.

The plain entrance hides secret gardens
The plain entrance hides secret gardens.

Hamilton Gardens

At Hamilton Gardens, the focus is on showcasing various styles of yard design and their cultural significance, instead than exclusively gathering crops. Not like standard botanic gardens that prioritize plant collections, conservation, investigation, and training, Hamilton Gardens presents a exceptional thought of highlighting the historic and cultural context of gardens around the earlier 4,000 years.

Through background, gardens have served as a signifies of expressing vital philosophical tips of their time. In quite a few strategies, the heritage of gardens demonstrates the story of civilization and attitudes towards the pure globe.

Hamilton Gardens’ collection of gardens delves into the record, context, and significance of distinctive varieties of gardens. Every single backyard garden provides a tale and gives perception into a distinctive civilization.

A collection of design and style parts

The gardens are broken up into distinctive locations, the Paradise Collection being just a single of them. Of system, there are also much more traditional spots, this kind of as the sustainable backyard, the Native gardens, and the herb and kitchen area gardens. There are different walks and bushland parts, lawns, rose and camellia gardens and even a cemetery. Honestly, it’s also large to investigate all in a person day and regrettably that’s all we had. So we did the Paradise and the Fantasy sections.

The Paradise Assortment

Exploring these gardens is like finding out paradise, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Modernist and Indian Char Bagh gardens. Every single part is completely enclosed and separate from the other. It’s like strolling by unique nations. Simply just beautiful.

The Fantasy Assortment

The surrealist Gardens were not really open when we visited, but I believe they are now, the Tudor Garden (assume Alice in Wonderland), the Tropical Gardens, the Chinoiserie Backyard, the Mansfield Backyard (Imagine Katherine Masfield’s “The Yard Party”), The Picturesque Backyard (Mozart’s “Magic Flute”). Completely amazing and mesmerizing. The particulars and storytelling are unlike nearly anything I have ever noticed in a backyard garden prior to.

What gear to get

At the time I only had a Sony 18-200mm lens with me, it is an APS-C lens so the illustrations or photos have been not full-size (digitally). That is not a authentic situation as I didn’t approach on printing these billboard sizes. The 18mm gave me the means to seize much more broad-angled photographs and the 200mm gave me zoom capabilities. Presented the opportunity once again, perhaps my Tamron 28-75mm, my 70-300mm (both of those comprehensive-body) and my extension rings for some macro are what I would toss in my kit. I didn’t have a tripod possibly, but as it was this kind of a wonderful working day I hand-held all my photographs. I am also a tiny lazy and could not be bothered to have it all working day. But it could have been a in addition on a couple of shots.

Traveling to the gardens

The gardens are open each and every day of the 12 months (9 a.m. — 5 p.m.) and fully absolutely free to wander at your leisure. There are parklands, playgrounds and cafes as nicely as general public services. It is also puppy and smoke-free of charge with disability obtain to most places. You can test out far more about the gardens on their internet site. If you are at any time in the location, it is unquestionably value a stop by. I took so several shots, but I do not want to spoil the shock if you at any time get the chance to check out.

Beware, dragons!
Beware, dragons!


  • Choose your time in these gardens, most likely even give considered to coming back again a 2nd day.
  • Dress in very good snug working shoes, as you will be executing a ton of going for walks.
  • Really do not fail to remember sunscreen and hats as well!
  • Bringing a tripod can be valuable, even though not 100% required Come to a decision whether or not it’s well worth carrying for a whole working day for a handful of photos.
  • Bring your feeling of journey and whimsy.
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