Aotearoa's Underground Haunts, Rooftops and The In-betweens

A view of the Pink Lady building looking up from the ground.

From rooftop bars to underground haunts and hidden gems in-between, New Zealand has plenty of incredible spots hiding in our cities and towns. They may be a bit hard to find, but the best stuff takes a little effort, right?

Forget the Chocolate Eggs, Let’s Hunt For The Best Hot Cross Buns

A big tray of hot cross buns from Volare, Hamilton.

It’s that time of year; hot cross bun season and we’re all about it.

Leafa Wilson’s Hamilton

Leafa looking to camera.

I have been a multimedia performance artist for 30-odd years. I use the name on my birth certificate for my lifelong performative work ‘Olga Krause - Deutsche Kuenstlerin’. Leafa is my given ancestral name from my grandfather. We moved to Kirikiriroa-Hamilton 24 years ago and I have been curator of art at Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga for almost 17 of those years. My field of expertise is art in all its manifestations. My husband Craig and I have six children and four (or nine including their siblings) precious mokopuna.

An Ode to Long, Lingering Lunches Across New Zealand

People having a long lunch at Tussock Hill Vineyard, Christchurch.

Is there anything more satisfying than a lingering long lunch?

Dial-Up Summer With 10 Of The Best Things To Do In Hamilton

Surrealist gardens at Hamilton Gardens.

If there’s one way to make our favourite season even better, this is it.

Spend Consciously At Hamilton’s Best Sustainable Stores

Colourful items and a rack of vintage clothing from FOUND store in Hamilton.
This is the definition of feel-good shopping.

Get Your Foodie Fix At Hamilton’s Best Healthy Eateries

Person holding healthy bowl of muesli from Frank, Hamilton.

Sink a superfood smoothie or smash back a vegan feast as you eat your way around Hamilton's wholesome food scene.

We’ve Found 8 Of The Best Chinese Restaurants In Hamilton

Bowl of dumplings in broth from Chinese restaurant in Hamilton.

Consider Friday night feasts for the next eight weeks sorted.

Tick Off Your Reading List At New Zealand’s Independent Bookshops

Bookcase jam packed with books at The Last Chapter, Wānaka.

Support local and score a good read? You don't have to tell us twice.

Fill Your Cup With Hamilton's Best Creative Boutiques and Galleries

Inside Soul Gallery in Hamilton.

This is one sure-fire way to soak up the city's artistic energy.

Lift Your Gallery Wall Game With Our Guide To Buying Art Online

Woman hanging art print on the wall by Mathilde Langevin.
Wave goodbye to boring blank walls.

Score The Inside Scoop On New Zealand’s Best Ice Cream And Gelato Spots

Two ice creams in holder at Utopia Ice, Christchurch.
Because ice cream is categorically the best thing about summer.

Shop Feel-Good Fits With 11 Sustainable NZ Clothing Brands

Woman wearing gingham hat and dress from Mina.
This is feel-good clothing in more than one way.

9 Best Independent New Zealand Florists to Celebrate Spring

Close up of a bouquet.

Are you ready for a fresh bunch of blooms as we head into Spring? Here's where to go for your floral fix.

Where to Get the Best Hand-Pulled Noodle Spots in NZ

A woman eating a bowl of noodles at Miss Peppercorn in Christchurch.

Great hand-pulled noodles are silky, springy, chewy ribbons to savour. Here are a few places across Aotearoa to find the best.

Shhh, We've Discovered New Zealand’s Best Hidden Laneways

David Bowie mural on Hannah's Laneway in Wellington.

Go beyond the guidebooks and explore our favourite secret laneways. You won't regret it.

Indulge in Retail Therapy, We've Found the Neatest Places to Shop in Hamilton

Pink clothes on racks.

From clothing stores to bookshops, we’ve scoured the city from Hamilton East to Frankton for the neatest places to indulge in a bit of retail therapy.

Making His Mark

Alan Deare sitting in a cafe.
Alan Deare has made his mark on the cultural sector and publishing, picking up a swag of awards along the way. A decade on from establishing Area Design, Alan shares his thoughts on contemporary culture, music and the brand identity of some of those neat places he’s had a hand in creating.


Pastries at Gather Food House in Frankton, Hamilton
From rags to riches, Frankton has long been touted as the Cinderella of Hamilton. This eclectic railway suburb now hosts some fantastic eateries and producers. With a rollercoaster history in its rearview, this suburb is under ongoing transformation, guided towards a trendy future. With plenty of beautiful old buildings, business investment, and a younger population calling it home, Frankton is quickly rising as a destination.

Man With a Plan

A photo of Matt Stark.
Well-known about town thanks to his development of some of Hamilton’s new favourite nooks and crannies, Matt Stark tells us about packing away his tool belt and swapping it for folders full of plans.

A Good Life

A portrait of Esther Vreede
An architecture graduate, teacher, and mum of two, Esther Vreede is no stranger to hard work. But a dark time with depression caused her to rethink and slow down her life, and in time brought forth the creation of something very very good.

The Trekker and Traveler

A photo of Colin and employee from Trek 'n' Travel, Hamilton.
It’s not often you’d think to send a postcard while travelling to someone at a retail shop back home, but for visitors to Colin’s store, that feels like exactly the right thing to do.

Scientists in the Kitchen

An image of Mônica Senna Salerno & Jenny Oldham.
Finalists in the latest SheEO awards, Mônica Senna Salerno and Jenny Oldham are no strangers to building a successful business. We take a moment to hear more about goat’s cheese and what links science to cooking.

Butter up, This Is the Tried and Tested Guide to Hamilton's Best Scones

A scone on a table at Miltons Canteen cafe Hamilton.
Put the apron back in the drawer and save the Edmonds recipe for another day, because when it comes to delicious scones, Hamilton hospitality spots have you covered.

Treat Your Mate to a Date at These 4 Charming Places in Hamilton

People dining inside Gothenburg restaurant in Hamilton.
Maybe it's a first date, or maybe you're celebrating a big old anniversary. Put on your best dress, grab your partner, and head on out to some of the neatest date spots in town.

Hamilton East

Looking down Lovegrove Lane, Hamilton.
For a city that prides itself on sport and agriculture, Hamilton East is injecting a much-welcomed dose of creative flair to the Waikato region. Locally owned and operated ice cream and fried chicken joints lie opposite vintage shops, and down a converted alleyway you’ll find anything from yoga to modern-day grocers. A young and enthusiastic atmosphere makes this suburb a bubbly addition to the centre of town located just over the bridge. Known affectionately as ‘Irishtown’ in the mid 20th Century due to the high number of Irish inhabitants, Hamilton East now welcomes visitors from all around the globe, and most notably to the stunning Hamilton Gardens that sees about 1.3 million people through its gates every year.

12 hours Hamilton

The interior of Mr Pickle's in Hamilton.

The neatest things to see, eat, and do.

The celebrity chef

The creative force in the Madam Woo kitchen, Josh Emett has impressed eaters up and down the country.

Coffee Roasters

A coffee on a table.

Those roasting, brewing and serving it the best