Huntly is a little town we came across about 1/2 an hour north of Hamilton.
We decided to stop for a few minutes (just because there was a town there) and found it a pleasant, non-touristy town where we also found the bakeries (at least 2 in the main street) to have exceptionally low prices.
I had a most delicious savoury quiche for only $2.50, and my husband tried his first ever smoked cod pie for just $2!
Delicous. Seems to be a NZ specialty, as we saw cod pies in many pie shops, the way we'd have meat pies.
This town is worth a stop for a little wander.
The Hamilton Gardens
This was my favourite garden, I lived in Japan for four years and thought this one was done very well. The garden was complete with a little "tea room" overlooking a pond. There is also a little zen garden which is typical of traditional Japanese gardens.
Although I haven't been to China I feel that this garden had a distinctly Chinese feel about it. There was a red coloured round shaped door that everyone passes through to enter the garden. This is good Feng Shui! The garden offers views of the Waikato River from the highest point where there is a pagoda.
This garden was very contemporary and actually my least favourite garden. There was a shallow pond that looked like a swimming pool and this mosaic of Marilyn Monroe. There was a lot of concrete and mostly trees rather than flowers. It might be a good place to visit with kids in summer to cool them off!
The Italian Garden was undoubtedly the most spectacular garden. It is truly stunning on a sunny day as you can see from the picture. The building at the end provides an excellent place for a couple to exchange their vows and looks over the Waikato River through the arches. To the right is a platform with vines and large concrete tables and chairs where you can enjoy a picnic lunch.
While I was walking in the garden I noticed these doves which obviously live in the little hut to the right of the picture. I can't remember which garden they were in... possibly the English garden which I haven't mentioned yet. When I visited the English Garden there were few flowers as it was the wrong time of year however in the spring and summer I hear it is just gorgeous. There is a large pond with lily's floating in it.