When deciding to emigrate from the UK we initially planned to move to Auckland - we'd lived in Parnell for about a year in 2004/5 pre kids and had loved it... But with vastly increased prices and a lot more traffic since we'd lived there last, a 2 year old and a 6 month old baby in tow plus a sister who was living in Hamilton, it just made more sense to make a home in the Waikato.
We found it surprising that Hamilton seemed to have a less than favourable reputation amongst people who didn't live here and we kept getting asked (especially by Aucklanders): Why here? We've been here for exactly four years now and it has in fact been a wonderful early childhood period for our girls. We've discovered some wonderful places to visit, play, explore and picnic, we've found lots of lovely cafes, eateries and interesting shops and we've met some amazing people along the way - some of which will be lifelong friends. Despite how much the city has grown in the last few years, we've decided that Hamilton is actually still a very well kept secret!
Hamilton is a very family friendly city with fantastic parks and green spaces, lots of indoor & outdoor activities, brilliant schools, great places to eat, a museum, various art galleries, safe suburbs where children still play on the streets together, numerous amazing events throughout the year (Balloons over Waikato has got to be our favourite annual event!) and above all else, truly lovely, lovely people.
As we pack our belongings once again to move on to our next adventure in Tauranga, we wanted to say a huge THANK YOU to everyone in Hamilton who has made our life here that much easier. It has been a wonderful four years and we are a little sad at the life we are leaving behind, but we will be back throughout the year to visit our favourite places.
Before we go, the girls have put together a list of their top spots for you:
10 Favourite Free* Places to visit in Hamilton:
- Hamilton Gardens
- The Lake & Lake Park
- The River Walks
- Claudelands Park & Jubilee Bush Walk
- Waikato Museum (*Some exhibitions are paid)
- Tauhara Park, Callum Brae
- Hamilton Libraries
- Parana Park & Memorial Park
- Garden Place Water Feature
- Minogue Park
Love Holly & Family x