Guide12 hours Hamilton
Lovers of sport, great food and wine are all part of a population of people who have a palpable sense of loyalty to their city, and with plenty to be proud of it’s no wonder they have made it home.
The neatest things to see, eat and do.
Join the growing throngs of visitors who know Hamilton is much more than meets the eye. A place where quirky cafés and world-class eateries are popping up in every alley, it’s worth taking the time to explore.
As the sun rises you best get yourself dressed and out the door, Hamilton’s finest breakfast spots are calling…
127 Alexandra Street
A place for breakfast lovers, Miltons Canteen may unintentionally become your daily destination for a morning brew and delicious bite. Serving Supreme coffee and Noble & Savage tea alongside muffins, scones, slices, doughnuts, scrolls, brioches, cake, quesadillas, frittatas, wraps, sammies, chia puddings and raw slices, you can see what we mean when we say this place is good…
298 Victoria Street, New Zealand
A place to meet, eat and drink, Riverbank Lane is home to a number of bespoke businesses making a visit an easy one stop shop to cover all bases. Need a quick trim while you’re here? Fox & Kennedy Barbers can have you looking sharp in no time. Fancy browsing books for a while? The towering shelves at Browsers should keep you occupied. Or if it’s another dose of caffeine you’re after, then SL28 will make you a cup of the good stuff no questions asked – except maybe for how you’d like it.
1 Grantham Street
What’s a visit to a new city without checking out the local museum? Hamilton is not short on history, and you can find out all about it at the Waikato Museum (Te Whare Taonga o Waikato). Wander around the thirteen galleries and be amazed by one of the museum’s major highlights, the 200-year-old waka taua (war canoe) Te Winika, which was gifted to the museum by the late Maori Queen.
394 Grey Street, Hamilton East
If you thought all the action in Hamilton was in the centre, then think again, coz the East side sure has some good things going on too. In particular, Lovegrove Lane, an upmarket alleyway where boutique businesses sit side by side and offer you anything from yoga classes to freshly pressed juice. After a framing service or a bunch of pretty florals? Framing House and The Flower Crate have you covered.
Take a break from the city centre and head on out to the up and coming star suburb Hamilton East, where you’ll find everything from vintage clothes to very good espresso.
Shed 6, 394 Grey Street, Hamilton East
If you’re now hankering for some lunch, you’re in luck because the sixth and final shed in Lovegrove Lane is home to GG’s, a cosy café with good vibes aplenty. Decorated with 70s nick nacks that will leave you reminiscing over your family bach, GG’s are well known for their chocolate lamingtons and delicious savoury scones, as well as their free, functional WIFI.
Duck Island & Hamilton Gardens
It’s lucky there’s no such thing as being too full for ice cream, because just down the road is Hamilton’s best icy treat store. Duck Island has grown quickly to smashing success and are renowned for their imaginative flavours including Boysenberry Cheesecake, Sweetcorn + Blueberry Jam and Banana Brûlée + Ginger Caramel Swirl.
It’s always nice to wander while you contemplate not getting ice cream on your fingers, so meander on down to Hamilton Gardens which have been sitting pretty since 1960. The ‘Paradise collection’ of international gardens is a favourite among visitors, and feels like a trip through five countries in an afternoon.
If an afternoon pick-me-up is in order, then Hamilton continues to provide the goods. Spend the later part of the day ticking off those earlier town sights you missed in the morning.
Rocket Coffee Roasters
302 Barton Street
We hear you, we hear you, all that wandering through awe-inspiring greenery can leave you feeling a little fatigued, so why not pop back over to Hamilton Central and have yourself a caffeine pick me up from the people who know a quality coffee when they see one, Rocket Coffee Roasters. Open till 4:00pm, you best make it before the doors closed for a chance to see them roasting the very coffee you’re drinking.
Needle in the Hay
Ever tried to find a needle in a stack of hay? No neither have we, but we get the point. Lucky we’re here to tell you exactly where this little store filled with eccentric arts, crafts, homewares and records is so you needn’t get lost along the way. Happy to tread its own path, Needle in the Hay is a clever shop full of rad goods where you just might be pleasantly surprised by what you can find.
15 Hood Street
Late afternoon means it’s about time for a cold one, and what better place than Craft, a bar that prides itself on having no less than fifteen beers on tap. If you’ve timed it well, don’t pass up the Three Beer Thursday on from 4:00 – 7:00pm where you’ll get three new beers for $15.
In a city reluctant to go to sleep, you need only visit one of these evening establishments to see why locals choose to stay up late.
250 Victoria Street
Dinner time, so we’re recommending one of the best in the business. Dough Bros is homely, creative and full of great menu offerings like wood-fired pizzas, shared plates and the Hamilton-famous doughnuts. A separate vegan menu means no one misses out here, while you can wash it all down with local beers from Shunter’s Yard Brewery, or a range of sweet wines, sherry and port digestifs.
236 Victoria Street
Don’t call it a night just yet! On the same street is Wonderhorse, an establishment at the heart of Hamilton’s night scene, with amazing service, a whole lot of soul and a menu of magnificent cocktails. The place for good chats, group hangs or after dinner drinks, and open to the public from Wednesday till Saturday every week, wind down your night here in the intimate two-story loft.