Hamilton’s vibrant café and bar scene is recognised as the most up-and-coming in New Zealand. A mix of modern eateries and long-running success stories populate the city streets and suburbs, affording Hamilton a great variety of dining options.
Victoria Street, in the city’s CBD, attracts a range of clientele with a number of great dining hotspots. Breakfast at Scotts Epicurean Café is locally renowned – enjoying river views, great coffee and a simple menu of childhood favourites, such as green eggs and ham. During the week business folk mix with lunching friends at Domaine; a trendy restaurant that celebrates modern New Zealand flavours. For a quality evening of fine food, Victoria Street Bistro is an excellent space in which to celebrate a special occasion.
A short drive from Hamilton’s centre sits Cambridge, a small town atop most New Zealand foodies’ lists. Located on Alpha Street, Onyx is renowned for its wood-fired pizzas and seafood platters. The Boatshed Café offers a unique experience, serving coffee and cake overlooking the picturesque Lake Karapiro. Located on Mystery Creek Road – in between Hamilton and Cambridge – the Woodbox Winery Restaurant and Bar is a great escape in which to indulge in a menu of seasonal ingredients and local wines presented with flair.
Venture further out of town to discover the Waikato region’s renowned dairy industry. An hour from Hamilton city, in Putaruru, the Over the Moon Dairy Company produces 9,000kg of cheese per year… Free tastings, cheese making demonstrations and factory tours are available onsite.
Hamilton’s fashion scene is dominated by mega shopping centres, which are scattered throughout the city. Located on Victoria Street, Centre Place is a modern shopping hub that offers a wide range of choice in clothing, footwear, electronics and dining. In Chartwell, international shopping giant Westfield provides a considerable choice of both local and overseas brands. The suburb of Te Rapa hosts Dress Smart Outlet Shopping; a sale lover’s heaven, which offers over 30 stores, with goods reduced by up to 70% off normal retail prices.
Outdoor precincts take the backseat in Hamilton’s shopping scene; however Victoria Street and Casabella Lane are not to be overlooked. Strewn with European influences Casabella Lane boasts a handful of specialty stores; while Victoria Street showcases the city’s culture, with great souvenir shops like Belmerino New Zealand.
Stroll the Hamilton Farmer’s Market at the River Road car park in the city centre to mingle with the locals and taste some of the north island’s finest produce. A historic community gathering place, the market offers locally grown and produced food and products.