Not far from the much-maligned but sure-to-rise city of Hamilton are park-like grounds that must be the envy of many a Keep New Zealand Beautiful afficionado.
But before I introduce you to the TreeChurch and Gardens, I have to say: It doesn’t pay to get snobby about Hamilton these days.
You may feel this hub of blandness known for petrolheads and industrial and suburban sprawl ill deserved the title of New Zealand’s Most Beautiful Large City 2020. You’d be wrong.
Hamilton’s central business district is being smartened up big time, and the parks and gardens are great, including some beyond the imagination of other centres of similar size.
The main Hamilton Gardens on the eastern side of the river feature an unrivalled layout of large “garden rooms” from all around the world, with landscape and garden architecture that take you to a different country around every corner.
However, let’s leave Hamilton and enjoy a unique piece of the Waikato landscape less than 20km away.
Head for neighbouring small town Ōhaupō, put 119 West Road into your directions app, and prepare to be wowed upon arrival by the English-style park-like grounds of the TreeChurch and Gardens.