This section is dedicated to take away all your "I wish someone had told me that before I went!" experiences. This way, you are better prepared for what to expect, what not to expect and can spend less time settling in, and more time making new friends in your chosen hostel. We share our insider knowledge of tips, tricks and important things to look out for in Hamilton. To help you make friends with Hamilton before you visit, we've included a few helpful and fun things you should know about the area. Enjoy!
Hamilton is a pretty but functional town set squarely in the middle of the North Island of New Zealand. The city sits on the banks of the huge and impressive Waikato River (after which the whole district is named) and there are plenty of attractive walks and cycle routes along the riverside paths. There are a wide variety of hostels in Hamilton and they are generally of a good standard and situated conveniently for both the shops and the student-led nightlife.
Outdoor life is important in Hamilton. Perhaps the "must-see" attractions in the city are the Hamilton Botanical Gardens and Hamilton Lake. The gardens are truly spectacular and cover an enormous amount of ground. There are numerous themed gardens including a fantastic Maori themed one and you can easily spend half a day just wandering to and fro and taking in the beautiful surroundings. You can walk round Hamilton Lake and it's a popular spot with locals for picnics and the odd barbecue. As far as shopping and facilities go, Hamilton is excellent, less touristy than the likes of Rotorua (you'll see plenty of agricultural stores) but also catering to the student crowd. Near the centre of the town is the iconic Waikato Stadium, which is home to the local rugby team nicknamed "The Mooloos" and where tickets can be bought for the quintessential Kiwi experience at (often) very reasonable prices!
The nightlife is surprisingly lively with everything from Irish theme pubs to trendy, high-end bars and a wide selection of places to eat. Whilst it is student friendly backpackers are generally welcomed and the weekends have a friendly, laid-back vibe about them. Hamilton is a great central location to base yourself to explore the middle of the North Island, it is a laid-back, country town with an authentic New Zealand feel and all the facilities you will need to prepare yourself for further exploration.
Written by local enthusiast for Hamilton hostelsHowellsey