Monroe     Indian     Waikato

                  The Marilyn Monroe Garden                      The Indian Char Bagh Garden                             Waikato River Walk

Hennie and I recently visited family in New Zealand, Auckland and Hamilton in the Waikato district, and both are lovely cities. Auckland has a beautiful harbour with many islands scattered around, most serviced by a fleet of large catamarans.

A road journey of under 2 hours south through the greenest paddocks and trees is Hamilton, inland, but sitting on the banks of the fast flowing and wide Waikato River. The Waikato is a great venue for rowing competitions with teams from around the world gathering there.

My daughter, son-in-law, 3 granddaughters and Max the dog live on the river bank and all we have to do is cross the road and step on to the River Walk which takes you 7kms into the CBD. There is a walk-way on the other side too plus three bridges, so walkers are well catered for. Needless to say Max is a very well walked little dog.

The really big attraction for us (apart from the family) is Hamilton Gardens, once again on the river bank. These gardens are unique as the area is divided into over 15 themed gardens, a spectacular rose garden where they trial new roses, the loveliest Winter Garden and the list goes on.

The themed gardens are completely self contained and once inside you forget there are a lot more around the corner. My particular favourite garden is the "Indian Char Bagh" These gardens are always full of vibrant colour, the pavilion with it's brightly painted ceiling and mosaic floor, along with views to the river is a delight. "The American Modernist Garden" with a mosaic of Marilyn Monroe and "make believe" swimming pool is just so good.
I could go on for another 3 pages but will just list a few examples of what you can discover at Hamilton Gardens in the Waikato, New Zealand.

Chinese Scholar's Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, Italian Renaissance Garden, Productive Gardens - Kitchen Herb, and Te Parapara Maori Garden and I will not go into the Cultivar Collection, Landscape Garden Collection or Other Features.
If you ever end up in Hamilton, Waikato, NZ a visit spread over 2 days will see most but not all of what these gardens can offer. If ever there was a Garden City Hamilton is it, but do remember to take sturdy walking shoes and a RAIN coat.

Margaret Kendrick.