Just 90 minutes from Auckland, Hamilton Gardens present a variety of international gardening styles in a setting the whole family will enjoy exploring - for free.

Set beside the Waikato River, the gardens feature Maori, Chinese, English, Japanese, American, Italian and Indian plantings, as well as a perfume garden and vegetable and herb gardens.

Each garden not only contains plants and flowers from the profiled country, but also themed buildings and structures.

The Indian Char Bagh Garden is described as "a rainbow-coloured Persian carpet of flowers, spreading out from a distinctive chalk-coloured pavilion". It is a four-part garden and represents three of the world's most well-known religions - Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. There are also plant-specific gardens, including roses, camellias and rhododendrons.


There are lots of choices for walks, including around the gardens, through the Bussaco Woodland, the Hamilton East Cemetery or the Valley Walk.

Hamilton Gardens will also host a number of events this summer. On January 8 and 22, there will be free Scottish dancing at the gardens from 5pm to 8pm. It is free to join in and everyone is welcome.

In February, a number of other events, including art exhibitions and the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival, will be held.


a href="http://www.hamiltongardens.co.nz" target="_blank">Hamilton Gardens is located on SH 1, just south of central Hamilton on Cobham Drive.