Category Archives: Parks

Hamilton playgrounds: Power Rankings

Playgrounds are a little like bars. They all essentially perform the same function but their design and overall appeal can vary markedly.

Here in Hamilton we have just about as many playgrounds as we do bars (still no bar/playground combo, yet)  but are they all the same?

We sent out Hamilton mother-of-three Angela Cuming into the wilds to compile the definitive Tron Playground Power Rankings for the winter of 2017.   

 

# 1 Steele Park

Corner of Cooke and Grey streets, Hamilton East.

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The Steel Park playground only opened in June but it’s already top of the Power Rankings because it’s just so darn wonderful.

It’s got a real community feel and a good mix of equipment, including those annoyed in-ground trampolines that kids love and parents desperately try and avoid falling into.

What makes this one so great, however, is that unlike a lot of other playgrounds it is actually near shops and cafes and stuff, and that means it is near COFFEE.

Yay: Being next door to Duck Island Ice Cream.

Boo: Being next door to Duck Island Ice Cream (try waiting until your kids are on one of those trampolines and sneak away).

 

# 2 Claudelands Park

Boundary Road, Claudelands.

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This is not a very fashionable or trendy playground and that’s why I love it so much because you are always guaranteed a good mix of parents who don’t want to parent that day and are happy sitting on one of the benches and letting their kids go nuts running around.

It’s a good place for a bit of hands-off parenting because it’s basically in the middle of a big field and your kids can’t run off anywhere or get up to mischief.

It’s actually three-playgrounds-in-one, with separate areas and equipment for babies and toddlers, primary school aged kids and bigger kids (and grown ups). There’s a flying fox and undercover tables and benches if you fancy bringing a picnic lunch, and it’s handily located right next to Jubilee Park if you want to combine a walk through some stunning native bush while you are there.

Yay: There’s a flying fox and you can watch grown men and women relive their childhood in varying degrees of success.

Boo: The genius who designed it decided to landscape the garden beds with millions of tiny little gravelly rocks. Expect at least one of your children to eat some of it.

 

 

#3 Potter Children’s Garden, Parana Park

Memorial Drive, Hamilton East.

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Small but perfectly formed, this park is like a Victorian fairy tale come to life, with bird aviaries, giant statues and sculptures for children to play with, gorgeous gardens and a front row seat of the Waikato River. There’s not a lot of traditional playground fare like swings and slides, but trust me you kids won’t mind.

Yay : The fountains and shallow ponds your kids can play in.

Boo: The fountains and shallow ponds the ducks like to play (and toilet) in.

 

#4 Hamilton Gardens

Hungerford Crescent, Hamilton.

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If I could have designed a playground when I was seven years old this would have been it. It’s whimsical and wonderful with a giant stage, caterpillar statues, decorative bird houses and a wonderful giant worm to slide down.

There’s also an amazing tree house that only big kids can climb up into, giving parents a much-needed break from bored teens asking to be dropped off at McDonald’s while the little kids play.

Yay: You can bribe kids into leaving early by promising them an ice cream from the nearby Hamilton Gardens cafe (also sells coffee).

Boo: It is smack bang next to a car park so you have to be on red alert for wandering toddlers.

 

#5 Minogue Park

Tui Avenue, Forest Lake, Hamilton.

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First up, do not rely on your GPS to find this park because you will quickly enter Dante’s little know seventh circle of Hell: a tired and bored toddler in the back seat repeatedly asking where mummy is driving to.

But once you do find it this playground is pretty special, with a  mix of old school stuff like roundabouts and swings and cool new stuff like those great/annoying mini trampolines. There is also lots and lots of sand, plus this great big wooden structure that funnels water along a series of channels. It’s got a bike track that runs around the perimeter of the playground so a good option for older kids.

Yay: Because it’s a bit out of the way it doesn’t get as crowded as other playgrounds.

Boo: The bike track means you are constantly freaking out that a kid on a BMX is going to knock your toddler over.

 

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Can You Believe It’s Winter in Hamilton?!

The Waikato winter may be known for its harsh(ish) temperatures and unrelenting fog, but still roses are blooming, gorgeous men from hot (literally and figuratively) countries are descending on the city to perform ball tricks in shorts (not the only ones to show a little leg on this roundup! Scroll down for more), and parents are keeping their children entertained in the great Hamilton outdoors.

This may be the perfect city.

This is your latest #lovethetron roundup.

Dying of cuteness overload from this little snapshot of @jakequinn and his brood of mini-Jakes just chillin’ on a winter weekend. Being a dad is so hot right now!

Being a mum could be pretty hot right now too if you are anything like @nzdodo who discovered this cool BMX track in Hamilton!

@juliehardakerNZ heads to the FIFA and hangs out with these gorgeous, colourful mini Colombians!

A big Saturday morning Aglio Olio Hello from @megancampbellnz and mini-Megan!

Meanwhile @Camtheguzz takes her brood to the Hamilton Zoo before the FIFA. Love the silly faces!

A pair of Hamilton foodies: @chamfy celebrates @hipecon’s birthday!

So many Hamilton icons in one place! @MOMENTUMCheryl and @ReeVarcoe check out everyone’s favourite cupcake place now open in Garden Place.

Nawwwwww. Cute @justlyrica goes tree planting on Arbor Day

So swish! Love the @xero stand at Fieldays from @iscolincrowley!


@skinditty hangs out with high-rollers from ‘Straya at @mysterycreek

Sneak peek into @juliehardaker’s winter garden, where roses bloom even in the cold Hamilton winter. Stunning!

Epic shot at the FIFA U20 from @leontakesshots!

@PeteClouston cheers on Colombia ahead of their game against Qatar. Great colours!

From the real thing to something a little bit different: @hornykitten snaps this cute FIFA display at everyone’s favourite comic book store @MK1Comics

And it was all yellow: @chamfy snaps Garden Place at sunset. Magic.

Gorgeous winter full moon in full bloom, from @h_ahartley!

Why play Bejewelled when you can just wear it? @chamfy finds a novel way to counteract the winter blues on a rainy Hamilton day.

Best thing about Fieldays? The totally awesome fashion! Loving the pink gumboots @Rural_News!

Despite the looming rainclouds, @mmiisskkaa indulges in a classic Hamilton pastime at the lake!

‘Mist-erious’: Beautiful early-morning shot of the famed Waikato fog from @waikato

Traffic light through the early-morning mist from @ns510x. So cool.

Amazing sight: @chamfy snaps magic oozing from @meamobile in this early morning shot.

Yet another covetable office window view in Hamilton -this time from @AdamCrouchley. Absolutely stunning, first thing in the morning!

From fog to frost: We love this closeup of an icy morning from @skinditty!

Build our own burger, @G00d_Neighbour? We’re totally there!

What’s Korean for ‘yum yum’? @hamfoodblog has the perfect winter lunch at Minsokchon!

Part 1 of @UrsulaEdg’s perfect Hamilton night out: Dinner at Victoria Street Bistro.

Part 2 of @UrsulaEdg’s perfect Hamilton night out: Drinks at Wonderhorse!

Worthy adversary: @waikatomuseum races us to 1,500 and wins with 3 followers to spare!

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Anzac day

Commemorating and considering the effort and loss that happened during the great war and all other wars is a hugely individual experience; but also one where people come together for dawn parades, church services and to lay wreaths. This year our city commemorated the ANZAC centenary with a statute created by Matt Gauldie being unveiled on Victoria street as seen below as well as a widely attended parade, poppies on the newly renamed ANZAC bridge and an exhibit opening at the Waikato Museum. 

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This first picture is from twitter and was posted by @adamcrouchley we don’t think we’ve ever seen the newly renamed ANZAC parade this busy and to see so many Hamiltonians to stop and consider loss, the war and our nation is really touching.

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These next two photos were also posted on twitter by none other than Britain’s Deputy High Commissioner Patrick Reilly who laid a wreath and attended the ceremony at memorial park; but also got a picture of the new statue of Sapper Moore on Victoria Street created by Matt Gauldie

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This next picture is from @kiwivix on instagram and shows the exhibit happening right now at the Waikato Museum. 

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Once again from @adamcrouchley we think this picture is stunning with it’s poppies, blurred crowds and light bursts. It really shows the energy and uniqueness that comes from people gathering early in the morning to reflect on our past. 

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From @do.mo.jo is a great photo about how ANZAC day comes alive especially for those in currently in service with this soldier taking a moment to reflect. 

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Waikato University

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Mainly taken in autumn and summer, the university’s best seasons, these are just a slice of what there is to see on campus and the fascinating things that go on there.

Out in Hillcrest each year the University adds students, academics and an air of grace, purpose and innovation to our city. Hamilton is blessed to have such an institution – with its outrageously pretty grounds that are unique in New Zealand – so we’d like to wish a happy 50th Anniversary to Waikato University!

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Can You Believe It’s the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival?

We’ve been following the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival over the past week. From stunning fireworks to amazing talent, to one of the most beautiful venues in New Zealand, the HGAF has outdone itself this year. We’ve turned up in person to soak up the atmosphere, and we’ve followed the action on Twitter. We’re so in love with it all that we’ve dedicated our latest #lovethetron roundup to the #HGAF.

Keep following the action on the hashtags, and the official Twitter: @HGAFestival.

Oh, and for those of you die-hard Ska fans, check out this gallery of the Melbourne Ska Orchestra live at the artsfest from @kiwicanary.

Enjoy!

Hamilton Gardens Arts kicks off with a bang. In real life: @flibertygibbety’s other half outdoes every other guy on Valentine’s Day. Heeh.

The Festival kicks off with a symphony under (shooting) stars (fireworks). Beautiful, from @webtaniwha.

@waikatotimes gives us sneak previews in the lead-up to the the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival with these guys and their ah-mazing body art.

Hula and hoopla from Campground Chaos, from @flibertygibbety.

Campground Chaos continues with an airborne picnic table! Another amazing shot from @flibertygibbety.

@webtaniwha enjoys opera under the stars at the Medici Garden’s outdoor amphitheater.

@MediachickNZ has tea with the Hatter.

@MediachickNZ has tea with the Hatter.

@NZVic is left speechess after @MelbSkaOrchestr. And check out that full moon!

@BSMphotography snaps a rare moment of quietness at the Italian Renaissance Garden.

Meanwhile, @flibertygibbet checks out movies in Roger’s Rose Garden

Too cute. @webtaniwha spots these budding #HGAF performers at the Farmers Markets on Sunday morning.

From budding performers to the real deal at @HGAFestival: the amazing (and Aria-nominated) Bustamento.

Every day is an artsfest at the Tudor Garden, with Nick Bottom hanging about. Another amazing shot from @BSMphotography.

From one Shakespearean character to a troupe: these guys bring the Bard’s work to life on stage. From @flibertygibbety.

Hamilton’s all lit up for @pauline_sinel at the artsfest.

Jazz under trees: @HGAFestival shows us how summer is really done.

Kooky installation on Turtle Lake, from @HGAFestival.

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Can You Believe It’s Hamilton?!

It’s our latest #lovethetron roundup!

A Midsummer Night’s Snow at Parachute! Beautiful, from @NZVic.

Winefest: @flibertygibbety heads to Mystery Creek for the Vineyard Tour on a beautiful Friday night.

It’s a Hamilton safari for @chamfy, hanging out with white rhinos at Hamilton Zoo!

@ZooWildMan's red panda friends are making us die of cuteness!

@ZooWildMan’s red panda friends are making us die of cuteness!

Fiji Baby? Or the next best thing: @kyleeBeee heads to the new Tropical Garden at Hamilton Gardens.

The Hanging Gardens of Hamilton. @teradar and @staceyolivernz are certainly impressed!

The Hanging Gardens of Hamilton. @teradar and @staceyolivernz are certainly impressed with the new Tropical Garden!

Every evening, at sunset, Hamilton magically transforms into a tropical paradise. But shh, it's our little secret, right @tarasutherland? ;)

Every evening, at sunset, Hamilton magically transforms into a tropical paradise. But shh, it’s our little secret, right @tarasutherland? 😉

Mazes and Dragons: @DarkroomJesse hangs out at the newly-opened Tudor Gardens.

We love that there are so many new gardens opening at the Hamilton Gardens. @DarkroomJesse hangs out at the newly-opened Tudor Gardens.

It’s a beautiful Hamilton summer for cricket, right @WWright360? We’re betting @blackcaps would agree!

Clash of the Warriors: The amazing summer of sport in Hamilton continues as @WiganWarriorsRL take on @NZWarriors at Waikato Stadium. This from @its_carene.

@tarasutherland gets into the league spirit at Waikato Stadium!

@tarasutherland gets into the league spirit at Waikato Stadium!

@amj_nz snaps the Bridge St Bridge illuminated at night.

We love #chamfyfoodporn from @chamfy, especially when it’s from Banh Mi Cafe, and when it comes with festive Chinese New Year pouches!

Croquettes and crockery: more deliciousness from @chamfy at the new Chim-Choo-Ree.

Noms! @its_carene has our tastebuds envious with pizza and cider at @HouseonHood!

Noms! @its_carene has our tastebuds envious with pizza and cider at @HouseonHood!

Look who dropped into Artspost to help rebuild Christchurch! Head on over and check out this and more new works.

Here's an old friend we haven't seen in a while. It's Captain Hamiltron, courtesy of the incredibly talented @JMiddleton_imgs.

Here’s an old friend we haven’t seen in a while. It’s Captain Hamiltron, courtesy of the incredibly talented @JMiddleton_imgs.

Dragons herald in the lunar new year, and @HamiltonWaikato was there to soak up the atmosphere!

Chinese New Years Revelling: @timmacindoe welcomes the Year of the Horse at Garden Place

The best thing about wandering past @centre_place on summer evenings is the wafting scent of jasmines. Love!

@puketotara celebrates World Wetlands Day at beautiful Waiwhakareke.

It's a beautiful #smalltownfest for @JessVandy at Raglan

It’s a beautiful #smalltownfest for @JessVandy at Raglan

Spotted by @AnnaJaneWilkins : an all-natural swimming spot tucked away in the Tron. Too pretty!

@WriteOnNZ goes for a wander around Hamilton's Lake Rotoroa and spots some quirky #HamiltonHousePorn

@WriteOnNZ goes for a wander around Hamilton’s Lake Rotoroa and spots some quirky #HamiltonHousePorn

...and on the topic of quirky architectural features, @jessvandy spots wall art by Shida & Eno on Waitangi Day

…and on the topic of quirky architectural features, @jessvandy spots wall art by Shida & Eno on Waitangi Day

More #smalltownfest fun with @hello_im_megan at Te Pahu.

More #smalltownfest fun with @hello_im_megan at Te Pahu.

Best friends: @tarasutherland snaps an intimate moment between man and pitbull

Best friends: @tarasutherland snaps an intimate moment between man and pitbull

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Can You Believe It’s Christmas in Hamilton?!

It’s our #lovethetron Christmas roundup! Meri Kirihimete Kirikiriroa!

Templeview illuminated. Breathtaking, from @alexefear01

New Zealand’s largest Christmas tree on New Zealand’s prettiest town square, from @webtaniwha.

Electric, eclectic Christmas: @chamfy heads to the opening gala of Trees at the Meteor. We love the amazing pieces this year!

We #lovethetree

Dreaming of a Bright Christmas: @Sports_Billy enjoys the beautiful December weather from above at @thelandof_.

Seeing Red: Santa gives more than presents this year, with the @KidsCanNZ Santa Run along the Waikato River. This from @MOREFMWaikato.

Mini @MeganCampbell and her delicious Christmas cupcake from Girl on a Swing in Chartwell. Yum!

Meanwhile, @chamfy discovers Scrumptious Cupcakes from Fairfield at yet another Christmas ‘do.

A very special birth right in time for Christmas at Hamilton Zoo! Chur @waikatotimes.

Festive and feelgood: @madeleinesc0tt visits the Hospice Waikato memory at @centre_place.

@_JennaMarie_ and her two favourite gents @nzjosiah and @derekmasuo head to Little George to enjoy Xmas tunes from the very talented Two Gents.

Naww. Too cute. @georgie_pienz and @jessemulligan cosy up for a snap in front of the tree, during the Seven Sharp live show on Garden Place.

Home for Christmas: @MxDEJ returns to the Tron and gets his @BeigeBridgae on and enjoys the sunshine at the cricket.

After a year of fancy chapeaux for all manner of occasions, we are not surprised Captain Hamiltron has pulled out his Kris Kringle hat. We wonder if he has reindeer antlers too? This from @georgie_pienz.

@webtaniwha enjoys the decked-out halls at St Stephens Church in Tamahere.

Lunchtime Christmas Cheer: @georgie_pienz heads to Garden Place to enjoy Coral’s sweet tunes.

A quick shot of the Tree at night from an upcoming holiday special on @RetailSeries.

Gorgeous Christmas presents at Tamahere markets, from @rotowarriors!

And speaking of Christmas presents, check out this amazing gift to Melville from the talented Jeremy Shirley and the community. This from @flibertygibbety. Love.

We love the buzz on the streets of Hamilton in the leadup to Christmas. @flibertygibbety snaps these cool people playing right outside @CreativeWaikato

Hamilton decks itself out in festive green (and sunshine!) in preparation for Christmas. Gorgeous, from @swissn_

@DutchCatNZ takes the niece and neff from Dunners on a Christmas tour of the city.

Pre-Christmas kiddie fun on Garden Place. @_JennaMarie_ reckons it looks like fun -we have to concur!

Browsers is on our list of ‘must-dos’ when it comes to Christmas shopping in the Tron. Looks like @gydeelaine thinks the same!

Festive treats: @chamfy enjoys a Christmas truffle at @CoffeeandFood!

Santa’s Little Helpers: @whiskeycully gets his mail from someone on very important Santa business.

Just one more of the tree!

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