Waikato Weekend: Hamilton

Hamilton may not be everyone’s idea of a weekend destination, but there is a lot going on here, and of course, it provides access to the Waikato region.  I was working up there on Friday, so Karl joined me for a short break.  We were lucky with good weather, and spent a lovely Saturday over in Raglan (which will be in the next post).

View from the hotel 

Unfortunately, due to heavy rain the week before, part of the walk along the river was closed due to flooding.  I have done part of this on a previous visit, and highly recommend it on a warm, summer day.

Friday evening sunset, Hamilton

There are loads of places to eat in the city, more than one might imagine.  On Friday night, as it was quite late by the time Karl arrived, we just ate close to where we were staying at Caffe Centrale.  The bruschetta we had to start with were covered with fresh and tasty tomatoes, and my carbonara was just right (and with no cream, as it should be made).  Good service, and clearly popular with the locals.  For dinner on Saturday evening, we headed over to  Gothenburg, with its tapas based menu with a bit of Swedish influence.  I had actually been there before, but this was Karl’s first visit.  We picked four plates – Toast Skagen (toast, prawns and a real classic), gin soaked Ora King salmon with orange and dill crème fraiche, Swedish styled pork and beef meatballs with pepper gravy and pickled cucumber, and crispy potatoes served with mustard aioli.  I had a glass of chardonnay from Rod McDonald and Karl a Gothenbrau Lager, and I opted for some manchego cheese to have afterwards, served with a lovely little bit of honeycomb, while Karl had an Irish coffee. Excellent food, and a very busy place, and advise you to book should you wish to go there.

Hamilton is also home to the Good George brewery, and there are a number of places in town where you can sample their beer and ciders, such as Little George on Hood Street.

Drop Hop Cider

On Sunday morning, we went for a short stroll before heading out to the airport, enjoying a crisp, winter day, where all you need is a cosy sweater and warm coat to keep you warm.

A winter morning in Hamilton

As you are walking along Hamilton’s main Victoria Street, you are likely to spot the statue of Riff Raff from the cult movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  You may wonder why, but in fact it is to commemorate Richard O’Brien, co-author of, and performer in the film, who lived in Hamilton and worked next door on the site of the now demolished Embassy Theatre.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show remembered in Hamilton

There are numerous cafes for brunch if that is your thing, and a great second hand book shop, Browsers, that is even open on Sunday mornings. I can’t believe I still have not been to Hamilton Gardens – waiting for spring for a visit there, and a good reason to go back to The Tron.

Browser’s book shop
Flying home to Wellington, Sunday afternoon

The featured image at the top of the page is the Waikato river, the longest river in New Zealand, that passes through Hamilton.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on thistlesandkiwis@gmail.com


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