Information Centre and Gift Shop

Our Information Centre and Gift Shop is accessible through the red arch as you enter from the Gate 1 carpark.

We offer a wide range of homewares and gifts with a garden theme. 

We also have a new range of ‘hands-on’ children’s products designed to stimulate an interest in the outdoors. These have been picked to match themes from our Fantasy and Productive Garden Collections.

Book a picnic basket

Enjoy a picnic for two while you're here.  

For more details call or email Hamilton Gardens Cafe.

Toilets and changing facilities

Toilets and baby changing facilities are located at the following locations:

Activity sheets for children

Click on the images to download our fun activity sheets for the kids.

Children's Discovery Trail

Children's Tudor Trail

Bingo for Kids

Children’s block sculptures

Have you seen the four blocks scattered across the maze in our playground? They have some activities for the kids on them.


Discover some SECRETS of Hamilton Gardens!


Each block has pictures on it like this:

To find the answer click here. To find the items pictured, click here.

Gift shop

Come and check out the range of childrens's items in our gift shop

Our gift shop is located in our Information Centre.



Hamilton Gardens Destination Playground

A playground with a garden theme

The playground is located near the Gate 2 entrance off Cobham Drive.

Our playground provides for imagination and roleplay, games and puzzles, and discovery and learning.

How to find us

We are located on State Highway 1, just south of central Hamilton in the North Island of New Zealand.

By car

View our driving instructions.

By bus

We are serviced by Bus Route 29 - Lakes and Gardens. The bus stop is at the main Gate 1 carpark. Note: the last bus departs Hamilton Gardens at 2.50pm.


Dogs are not permitted in the enclosed gardens or in Hamilton East Park Cemetery. They are allowed everywhere else on a lead. 

We also have an off-lead dog exercise area above the Gate 1 carpark.

Click to view these areas on our map.

Assistance dogs are always welcome throughout Hamilton Gardens. 


Both Gate 1 and Gate 2 on Cobham Drive will take you directly to carparking areas. 

Parking and entry to the Gardens is free. 

Day Delegate Package

Take the hassle out of organising your next full day meeting with our Day Delegate Package. Minimum 20 people.

The package includes:

Optional Add-Ons

Wedding Photography

Bookings for wedding photographs are not required and there is no charge. However, we ask that you are respectful to other wedding groups and visitors to the gardens.

Wedding Package

Take the hassle out of organising your big day with our wedding package. 

For more information, download our wedding brochure.

Arrange a time to see the possible venues and discuss your day by contacting our Events Coordinator Rob Wickham by email or phone (07) 838 6493.

Garden Ceremony

A wedding ceremony in any of the enclosed themed gardens, or within the wider gardens. Bookings are essential.

Price: $215 (GST incl.)


Enjoy more time with family and friends after your wedding ceremony.

This special add-on gives you up to three hours in the gardens of your choice, with the garden open to the public. 

Price: An additional $300 (GST incl., non-refundable)


This exclusive add-on allows you to have your garden ceremony in privacy with the garden closed off from the public.

Only certain gardens are able to be closed.

Hamilton Gardens is a public park, so in order to close a garden off from the public we are required to give public notice of a particular garden closure. 

Price: An additional $500 (GST incl., non-refundable)

Guided Tours

Explore the gardens with our experienced guides and get the 'inside story' on the gardens.

Learn more about our Guided Tours and how to book.

Bike Hire

A range of bikes are available to hire from Hamilton Gardens, with options for the whole family including cruisers, kid’s bikes and tandems. Full day and half day hire costs $30 and $15 respectively and includes helmets and bike locks.

Bikes can be hired from Hamilton Garden’s Information Centre between 9am and 5pm daily.

Visitors are welcome to cycle to and from Hamilton Gardens, but cycling isn’t permitted within the gardens.

Flying a kite or drone at Hamilton Gardens


You may fly a kite at Hamilton Gardens if it is less than 2 metres in size and flown under the tree line.  Kites must be flown in daylight hours only.

If your kite is larger than 2 metres or if you wish to fly it above the tree line you must obtain permission from the control tower at Hamilton Airport.


To fly a drone over Hamilton Gardens, you will need written permission from the control tower at Hamilton Airport.
You can do this online through​. This must be provided to Hamilton Gardens staff before approval will be given.

​Assessment will be based on whether the request is related to:

For more information please visit the Hamilton City Council unmanned aircraft/drone webpage

View more details on the CAA's rules

Our recent achievements

In 2015, the Friends fundraised for the installation of drinking fountains and the Alice in Wonderland sculpture in the Time Court.

In 2015 and 2016 our very successful annual Mansfield Garden Party has promoted the Mansfield Garden, currently under construction. The Friends are committed to raising a total of $150,000 for this Garden. 

In 2016, the Friends purchased a 1.75m bronze scarecrow, 'The Strawman' for installation in the Kitchen Garden during our annual Scarecrow Festival. 

Our involvement at Hamilton Gardens

Activities of the Friends

Our regular events include:

Visit the Hamilton Gardens events page for details. 

You may also like to join one of our groups:

Daily Guided Tours

Daily guided tours leave our Information Centre at 11am. Tours take approximately 1 1/4 hours.

Adults $15 - Child 6-14 years $8 - Children 5 and under are free of charge
Minimum of two people. 

Between 1 December and 31 March: Book before 9:30am on day of tour
Between 1 April to 30 November: 48 hours notice is required

Please enquire about public holidays. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. 

Phone: (07) 838 6782

Group Guided Tours

Adults $15 - Child 6-14 years $8 - Children 5 and under are free of charge

Please enquire about public holidays. Closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. 

Phone: (07) 838 6782

Picnic baskets are available during your visit and can be enjoyed in any of the gardens. Additionally, we can arrange morning/afternoon tea or a lunch in the Renaissance Gallery overlooking the Italian Renaissance Garden.

Ask about adding a river cruise on the WaIkato River to your visit. 

Guided Tours

Hamilton Gardens is the Waikato’s most visited attraction with approximately one million visitors each year. 

Telling the story of gardens through themed garden collections,the Gardens explore different civilisations, and recreates historically important garden styles throughout history. 

Visitors are guided on a journey of discovery along paths delivering mysterious surprises: step from a peaceful Sung Dynasty Chinese Scholar’s Garden into an Italian Renaissance Garden, before being enthralled by the grandeur of the Indian  Char Bagh (‘four quartered’) Garden. Hamilton Gardens has 21 themed garden areas with more being developed.

“The concept is, by far, the most exciting I have seen in my twenty year career as a researcher in the field of garden tourism. Hamilton could join the ranks of the five international destination gardens... this is because the vision, as stated, is indeed unique in the world and visually spectacular.” - Central Connecticut State University, World authority on Garden Tourism, Professor Richard Benfield

For group bookings please email our bookings team or call (07) 838 6782.   

Garden Events

Imagine a themed dinner in the Italian Renaissance Garden or canapes in the Chinoiserie Garden. Perhaps outdoor opera in the English Flower Garden or cooking classes in the Kitchen Garden. The choice is yours.

The themed gardens are available to hold special events such as pre-dinner drinks, afternoon teas, lunches or dinners where your guests can be transported into different worlds.

Environmental Commitment

Hamilton Gardens is committed to a range of sustainable management practices including:


International Garden of the Year 2014

Hamilton Gardens has received the prestigious International Garden of the Year award.

The win was announced in October 2014 as part of the 2014 Garden Tourism Awards held at the International Conference Gardens Without Limits conference in Metz, France.

The annual award is presented to gardens which distinguish themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a tourism attraction. Previous winners have included the Singapore Botanic Garden - which is currently applying for UNESCO World Heritage Status - and the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, Italy.

Mayor Julie Hardaker says “This is fantastic news. It puts Hamilton on the world gardens stage and I am sure the whole of Hamilton will be celebrating. It comes just as we start a major development programme at the Gardens which will increase the tourism options.”
Hamilton Gardens Director Dr Peter Sergel says: “Many local individuals and organisations have contributed to the creation of Hamilton Gardens, and this is some well-deserved recognition for what they have achieved. There is a lot more garden development still to occur and we’re constantly improving the way we do things. However this international award confirms we’re on the right track.”

Hamilton Gardens’ concept of tracing The Story of Gardens through different civilisations and time is considered internationally unique. This concept was recognised by award juror Michel Gauthier, who said the award from industry peers indicated Hamilton Gardens was “a leading example of integrating quality garden experiences to the tourism industry”.

Four gardens from around the world were considered for this unique award, with garden tourism expert Dr Richard Benfield nominating Hamilton Gardens. Following his visit in 2013 the American scholar said Hamilton Gardens’ concept of telling The Story of Gardens is unique in the world and visually spectacular. “The concept is, by far, the most exciting I have seen in my 20-year career as a researcher in the field of garden tourism.”

Hamilton Gardens’ development has been fast-tracked after Hamilton City Council approved a targeted rate for five more gardens within four years adopted in Council’s 2014/15 Annual Plan. The proposed gardens, and associated visitor facilities, will cost $7 million, however consultancy firm Horwath HTL estimates this investment will be recouped within three years through increased economic benefits to the region. Additional funding for the Gardens is being sought from grants and sponsorship.


International Garden of the Year 2014

Today, the gardens are an internationally award winning destination. 

International Garden of the Year 2014

Hamilton Gardens was awarded the prestigious ‘International Garden Tourism Award’ at the International Garden Tourism Network (IGTN) conference in France in October 2014. This annual award is presented to gardens that have distinguished themselves in the development and promotion of the garden experience as a destination tourism attraction. Previous winners have included Singapore Botanic Gardens and the Gardens of Trauttmansdorff Castle in Merano, Italy.

The award juror, IGTN member, Michael Gauthier said the award indicated that Hamilton Gardens was ‘a leading example of integrating quality garden experiences to the tourism industry’.

Hamilton Gardens was nominated by World Garden Tourism Council committee member Dr Richard W Benfield (Central Connecticut State University/world authority on garden tourism). Following his visit to Hamilton Gardens in 2013 he said ‘The concept is, by far, the most exciting I have seen in my twenty year career as a researcher in the field of garden tourism. Hamilton could join the ranks of the five international destination gardens … this is because the vision, as stated, is indeed unique in the world and visually spectacular’.

Outstanding Park Award 2016

Hamilton Gardens claimed the ‘Outstanding Park Award 2016’ at the New Zealand Recreation Association conference held in Queenstown. 

The judges described Hamilton Gardens as “an eye-catching and fascinating themed garden that has taken this facility from a local asset to both a national and international tourist attraction with positive economic flow-on for the whole community”.

Read more.

Supreme Award Winner McGredy Winder SOLGM Local Government Excellence ® 2016

We won the supreme award at the the SOLGM Local Government Excellence Awards ® for our development project 'Hamilton City Council: Council Transforms A City Dump – the Hamilton Gardens Project.'
This entry also won the Innovation in Council Community Relations category. 



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Hamilton Gardens Pavilion

The Hamilton Gardens Pavilion is centrally located within the Gardens and has been designed for expansive dinners, conferences, exhibitions, meetings and wedding reception.

There are four rooms available for hire in the Hamilton Gardens Pavilion.

Central Court - A large multipurpose space suitable for large dinners, presentations, shows, expos, and conventions. It can be joined to the Exhibition Hall to create a larger hall.

Exhibition Hall - It can be used for almost anything, but it is most suited to smaller expos, trade shows and exhibitions. It can be joined to the Central Court to create a larger hall.

Chartwell Room - A popular venue for seminars, meetings, public lectures and workshops.

Rotary Lounge - It features large north-facing windows and a private patio and is ideal for smaller workshops and seminars, meetings, or casual get-togethers. This room is only available until July 2017.

Hamilton Gardens Pavilion


Venue Cocktail Theatre Classroom Banquet Room Area
Central Court 540 450 250 300 543m2
Exhibition Hall 280 250 150 200 266m2

Central Court

& Exhibition Hall

800 650 350 500 809m2
Chartwell Room 150 120 70 85 153m2
Rotary Lounge 90 50 25 65 122m2



Become a Friend

Friends of Hamilton Gardens

Become a Friend of Hamilton Gardens and be a part of these treasured gardens, and their unique concept.

Hamilton Gardens has been built on a long tradition of volunteering. Hundreds of community volunteers have transformed the former rubbish dump into an internationally regarded garden. The Friends of Hamilton Gardens has played a critical part in this transformation.

Formed in 1989 by individuals with a desire to support the growth of the Gardens, the Friends continues to raise awareness and promote the use and enjoyment of the Gardens. We also staff the Information Centre daily.

Now, with the Gardens undertaking its ambitious goal to build five gardens in four years, the Friends is the community face of the Gardens and continues to play a key role in fundraising and hosting promotional events alongside Hamilton City Council. 

As a Friend you'll attend private garden unveilings, receive invitations for behind-the-scenes tours of gardens under development, receive discounts at local retailers and invitations to special events. You will also enjoy knowing you are making a valuable contribution to the Gardens being recognised as an internationally significant garden. 

For more information please call the Hamilton Gardens Information Centre on 07 838 6782. 

If you wish to make a donation or are thinking of leaving a bequest please contact the Friends' president Virginia Graham on 07 843 8109. Be assured all funds donated will go directly towards Friends of Hamilton Gardens projects. 

About Us

In the 1960s, Hamilton Gardens was a bleak city rubbish dump covered in blackberries with seagulls circling above. Remnants of the Gardens’ earlier history as a pre-European Pa, British military post, Victorian rifle-range and dog-dosing station lay scattered across the site.  Four acres had been part of the Hamilton East Town Belt and was passed over to Hamilton City Council for the purposes of a public garden; an opening ceremony for Hamilton Gardens was held on 24th July 1960. The site now extends over 54 hectares. 

Today, more than 40 years later, these humble beginnings have been overshadowed by the development of the Gardens’ internationally unique concept: The History, Context and Meaning of Gardens. Hamilton Gardens is not a botanical garden. Instead, its concept acknowledges there is a story to tell about gardens, their development over time and across cultures, and their use.  This concept was conceived in the early 1980s by Hamilton Gardens director Dr Peter Sergel and met with significant enthusiasm from city councillors. Some of its inspiration came from the Bundesgartenschau of Germany and other international garden shows, where many differing approaches to gardening and garden design are brought together on one site. The concept has also been compared to a museum, where each garden collection has historic integrity and provides a window into the story of civilisations, their arts, beliefs and lifestyles. More than 30 years later, Sergel’s sketchbook designs are almost identical to the themed gardens existing today. 

Assistance from the community, and trusts formed to support specific garden developments, has been invaluable to the Gardens development. For 20 years the Gardens benefitted from the labour provided by Taskforce Green and Pre-Employment Programmes which subsidised the wages of young workers while they developed skills on the job. 

Venue Hire

The award winning Hamilton Gardens provides a unique venue for your next event. Our team will discuss your options with you and provide you with a tailored quote for your event. Or you can take the hassle out of organising your meeting with our full day delegate package.

Arrange a time to see the possible venues and discuss your requirements by contacting our bookings team by email or phone (07) 958 5940.


Information Centre: 07 838 6782
Bookings team: 07 958 5940


Physical address:
Hungerford Crescent
SH1 (Off Cobham Drive)

Postal address:
Hamilton Gardens
Private Bag 3010
Waikato Mail Centre
Hamilton 3240
New Zealand

Historic images

Opening Times

Collections and Facilities Opening time Summer 
September 28 to April 5
April 6 to Sept 27
Garden Collections Paradise, Fantasy, Productive 7.30am 8.00pm 5.30pm
Victorian Flower Garden Display Houses 10:00am 5:00pm 5.00pm
Information Centre and Gift Shop* 9:00am 5:00pm 5.00pm
Hamilton Gardens Cafe 9:00am Summer 9.30am Winter 6:00pm 5.00pm

*The Information Centre and Gift Shop is closed on Christmas Day and Good Friday.

There are some garden closures during the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival each February. See Events for dates. 
Garden Closures for Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2017 are located here


Parking for people with limited accessibility is reserved in each of the main carparks. Most paths in the gardens are at less than a one in twelve grade. However the paths up to the Camellia Carpark and Victorian Flower Garden are steeper and we advise parking in the Camellia Carpark accessible from Gate 2 for easier access to the top areas of Hamilton Gardens. The café and restaurant are accessible to wheelchairs and scooters and provide accessible toilet facilities.

Book a wheelchair, mobility scooter or pushchair

Two mobility scooters are available for hire from the Information Centre. The charge is $8 per hour and a refundable bond of $20 is required. The time limit is two hours and instructions for their use can be given as required. Most paths in the gardens are accessible by mobility scooter.

Limited numbers of wheelchairs and pushchairs are also available from the Information Centre for $5 per hour. The proceeds are passed on to the Friends of Hamilton Gardens.

The mobility scooters and wheelchair can be booked in advance by contacting the Information Centre on 07 838 6782 and are available for use before 4pm.



Hamilton Gardens is a free public park located halfway between Auckland and Rotorua, Auckland and Waitomo, and only a short 45 minute drive from Hobbiton.

We are the perfect stopover to stretch your legs, take a guided tour or river cruise, and indulge in morning/afternoon tea or lunch!