Top 5 must-see gardens at Hamilton Gardens in Summer

Summer is the best time to visit Hamilton Gardens due to its longer days that stretch into the warm summer evenings, giving you even more time to explore. 

As summer paints the landscape with vibrant hues, Hamilton Gardens transforms into a symphony of colour, fragrance, and lush foliage. Sun-drenched days and balmy evenings provide the perfect backdrop to explore the diverse range of Enclosed Gardens and fun family events, each offering a unique experience during this peak season.

Summer is Hamilton Gardens peak season, so we recommend arriving early to get a carpark, or parking in nearby Hamilton East to stroll down to the majestic grounds. Make sure you wear and reapply lots of sunscreen if you’re planning to visit in summer as the sun can be harsh.

Top 5 gardens to see in summer

A group of people walking through the gateway to the Te Parapara Garden at Hamilton Gardens.

#1 Te Parapara, New Zealand’s only traditional Maaori productive garden

Summer is the perfect time to come see Aotearoa’s only traditional Maaori productive garden. 

Using techniques that have been passed down through the generations and showcasing the skills required to grow tropical crops such as kuumara in a colder climate.  In summer, the garden comes alive with the vibrant greenery of traditionally planted kuumara varieties.

What you’ll find in the Te Parapara Garden

  • Traditional Maaori materials, ceremonies and carvings
  • Find out what food and crops were of significance to Maaori
  • See how early Maaori used to protect their food against predators

Take a Guided Tour and learn about Te Parapara Garden and the significance of Maramataka, the Maaori lunar calendar.

Looking across the pond and grass at the English flower Garden

#2: The quintessential English Flower Garden

Step into the English Flower Garden and be transported to a realm of timeless beauty. The English Flower Garden evokes an era which valued craftsmanship and simple forms, known for ‘gardens of a golden afternoon’. Here, amidst the manicured lawn and curated flower beds, summer blooms reign supreme.

What you’ll find in the English Flower Garden

  • Plants and flowers displayed in all their glory
  • Victorian influenced ornate finery, set against natural motifs
  • Traditional lines with water features and simple pathways 
Wedding couple sitting at the fountain at the Italian Rennaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens

#3 Romance blooms at the Italian Renaissance Garden

Sun-kissed landscapes of Italy await you as you walk through the Italian Renaissance Garden. This is a garden of princes and poets that celebrates ancient myths and divine symmetry in a series of unfolding spaces. Lose yourself in the timeless charm of this Mediterranean oasis, where every corner reveals a new delight for the senses.

What you’ll find in the Italian Renaissance Garden

  • Romantic statues, classic architectural features and a small amphitheatre, ideal for weddings
  • Reflection of divine and cosmic order through geometric featured gardens
  • Arched trellises and raised terraces overlooking the gardens

A favourite garden for lovers, this is the perfect backdrop for weddings.

An outdoor food setting at the Mansfield Garden

#4 Wander through the sweeping storybook of Mansfield Garden

Inspired by Kathryn Mansfield’s short story ‘The Garden Party’, Mansfield Garden is an absolute joy in summer! With its party tent all set up, and its majestic spread is a delight for children, who love to explore its expansive grounds.

The aptly named Summerhouse located in Mansfield Garden is a popular small event venue, providing the perfect stage for an intimate evening event.

What you’ll find in the Mansfield Garden

  • A garden party scene with tantalising treats
  • A replica of Mansfield House
  • A visual display of a book come to life.
The pool in the middle of the Modernist Garden at Hamilton Gardens

#5 Cool off next to the Modernist Garden

Experience the bold and innovative spirit of American Modernism in the Modernist Garden. This unique space features clean lines, geometric shapes, and contrasting textures that come alive under the summer sun. 

Taking inspiration from pop-art and the hot Californian sun, deck chairs adorn the edges of the expansive kidney-shaped pool, the vibrant pops of colour from carefully chosen plants create a visually stunning experience in summer, showcasing the distinct aesthetic of American landscape design.

What you’ll find in the Modernist Garden

  • A large shallow pool that begs for you to dip a toe or two
  • Contemporary art and sculpture features
  • A simple, yet striking backdrop with deckchairs perfect for lounging

What summer events and activities are held at Hamilton Gardens?

Summer at Hamilton Gardens is not just about the beauty of the gardens themselves, it’s also our peak event season. 

The incredibly popular Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival is held during the latter half of February, transforming the space into a vibrant hub of music, dance, and theatrical performances. 

Guided tours, workshops, and special events are held throughout the peak summer season providing unique opportunities to delve deeper into the horticultural wonders and cultural heritage of the gardens.

A crowd of people sitting and enjoying food at Gourmet in the Gardens in Hamilton Gardens

Bring your appetite to Gourmet in the Gardens

Experience Hamilton’s favourite summer event at Hamilton Gardens, held on sunny Sunday evenings throughout summer. 

Gourmet in the Gardens brings a grand selection of food trucks and mobile vendors to the expansive Rhododendron Lawn where families and friends converge to socialise and eat delicious food, in a musical setting. A favourite event of Hamilton locals, we recommend walking, cycling or taking the bus to attend Gourmet in the Gardens as both carparks fill up very quickly!

Planning your summer visit

To fully experience the best of summer at Hamilton Gardens, we recommend packing a family picnic basket and sitting under one of our many trees or head to Hamilton Gardens Café for a refreshing treat.

We also recommend wearing comfortable shoes and bringing a hat with lots of sunscreen for protection from the summer sun which can be harsh in the summer months in New Zealand. 

With free drinking water available at drinking fountains throughout Hamilton Gardens, we also recommend bringing along a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated as you explore the diverse range of Enclosed Gardens, participate in a guided tour, or simply find a quiet corner to soak in the serene atmosphere and vibrant colours.

With its breathtaking displays, captivating events, and tranquil spaces, Hamilton Gardens offers an unforgettable summer experience. So, embrace the warmth of the season, let the beauty of the gardens inspire you, and create lasting memories within this horticultural masterpiece.

Looking across the garden beds towards the fountain in the Italian Renaissance Garden at Hamilton Gardens

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