Travel Notes: Hamilton Gardens, NZ

Greg Stevens

Just one of the most outstanding gardens I consider I have at any time visited is Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand. Situated on the North Island, about 1.5 hrs South of Auckland, you will uncover the most incredible, imaginative and imaginative gardens I have ever found. 1 working day, I will get back there.

My views turned recently to my neighbors across the ditch with the storms. I have go through that Hamilton is in cleanup manner, but I have not observed a great deal on the gardens on their own. I hope they have been not far too severely ruined. Mother Nature can be a force.

The plain entrance hides secret gardens
The basic entrance hides top secret gardens.

Hamilton Gardens

At Hamilton Gardens, the emphasis is on showcasing several styles of backyard garden design and style and their cultural significance, relatively than exclusively amassing plants. Not like standard botanic gardens that prioritize plant collections, conservation, investigate, and education, Hamilton Gardens offers a unique notion of highlighting the historical and cultural context of gardens in excess of the previous 4,000 years.

All over historical past, gardens have served as a usually means of expressing important philosophical concepts of their time. In a lot of techniques, the record of gardens demonstrates the story of civilization and attitudes toward the all-natural globe.

Hamilton Gardens’ assortment of gardens delves into the record, context, and significance of various varieties of gardens. Each backyard offers a story and delivers insight into a unique civilization.

A assortment of style spots

The gardens are broken up into various parts, the Paradise Collection currently being just 1 of them. Of system, there are also a lot more classic spots, these as the sustainable yard, the Indigenous gardens, and the herb and kitchen gardens. There are different walks and bushland places, lawns, rose and camellia gardens and even a cemetery. Truthfully, it is also big to explore all in just one working day and unfortunately which is all we experienced. So we did the Paradise and the Fantasy sections.

The Paradise Selection

Discovering these gardens is like studying paradise, Italian, Japanese, Chinese, Modernist and Indian Char Bagh gardens. Each and every section is entirely enclosed and independent from the other. It’s like walking by means of distinct nations. Simply beautiful.

The Fantasy Collection

The surrealist Gardens were being not very open up when we visited, but I consider they are now, the Tudor Yard (think Alice in Wonderland), the Tropical Gardens, the Chinoiserie Backyard garden, the Mansfield Backyard garden (Feel Katherine Masfield’s “The Garden Party”), The Picturesque Backyard (Mozart’s “Magic Flute”). Thoroughly outstanding and mesmerizing. The facts and storytelling are compared with anything I have ever seen in a back garden in advance of.

What equipment to take

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 total-dimension (digitally). Which is not a serious concern as I didn’t system on printing these billboard sizes. The 18mm gave me the capability to capture more extensive-angled shots and the 200mm gave me zoom abilities. Specified the possibility once again, maybe my Tamron 28-75mm, my 70-300mm (each full-frame) and my extension rings for some macro are what I would throw in my package. I did not have a tripod either, but as it was these kinds of a attractive working day I hand-held all my shots. I am also a tiny lazy and couldn’t be bothered to have it all working day. But it could have been a additionally on a number of pictures.

Checking out the gardens

The gardens are open up each and every working day of the yr (9 a.m. — 5 p.m.) and totally no cost to wander at your leisure. There are parklands, playgrounds and cafes as perfectly as community facilities. It is also canine and smoke-free of charge with disability access to most areas. You can check out out extra about the gardens on their website. If you are ever in the area, it is absolutely truly worth a go to. I took so many images, but I don’t want to spoil the shock if you at any time get the opportunity to check out.

Beware, dragons!
Beware, dragons!


  • Acquire your time in these gardens, possibly even give considered to coming back a next working day.
  • Use good relaxed working sneakers, as you will be performing a great deal of walking.
  • Really don’t forget about sunscreen and hats also!
  • Bringing a tripod can be beneficial, despite the fact that not 100{f32667846e1257729eaaee80e922ba34a93c6414e9ad6261aff566c043b9e75d} essential Make your mind up regardless of whether it’s truly worth carrying for a entire day for a few pics.
  • Carry your perception of experience and whimsy.
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