It doesn't matter which season we're in, there's nothing quite like enjoying food outside on a clear day. Yes, we all agree, whether elaborate or utterly simple, picnics rock.
And so, a clear day dawns in the city of Hamilton.
While undoubtedly an urban area, the surrounding regions of the Waikato are regarded as one of New Zealand's green belts, a strong dairying region.
And it was the development of dairy farming, and Hamilton’s location as a perfect transport hub on the main north-south route, that made it the city it is today. In earlier times Hamilton was a minnow, compared to booming gold rush towns like Waihi. Well, yes, times change...
But the order of this day, a clear blue sky day? Building on that green belt fame, a place where the greenery is sure to grow. A picnic in Hamilton Gardens. Where a touch of paradise awaits. And some truly excellent local food.
And green fingers
For those without green fingers, and even for those with, a visit to the magnificent Hamilton Gardens will leave you green with envy.
The gardens are a sight to behold. Veritable worlds of gardens await. Perhaps a picnic in the Italian Renaissance Garden, the Indian Char Bath Garden, or the Japanese Garden of Contemplation?
This magnificent Paradise Collection of gardens offers a trip around the world, at whatever speed you fancy. And they take you away, to gorgeous places faraway. Now that’s an offer that’s almost too good to be true… but once you are walking their pathways, there’s no doubting is it true. A precious place, indeed.
A little something to get through a round-the-world whirlwind
And the very best thing? With wonderful local food artisans so close by, it’s almost no effort at all to pull together some fabulous Hamilton local food offerings for a picnic. To enjoy, perhaps, in “Italy”, without the jet lag.
Ever so close to the gardens you'll find a wonderful gouda cheese shop. Here you find another little piece of Europe, with cheese upon cheese lining the shelves.
This shop is home to many impressive New Zealand made cheeses, and it was the first (and continuing) home of award winning Meyer Cheese. Come here to see a showcase of the fantastic contribution that European immigrant families have made to our culinary history. And, to go with that cheese, some super-good local Volare breads, and New Zealand made charcuterie and cured meats, are available. Now that’s what you’d call a good picnic combo.
If you're in the mood for an even bigger bakery range, the main bakery is also little more than a stone's throw away. Let’s face it, Volare does mean to want, to desire… And you might. So this is worth a stop on the way to the gardens, where on offer is a New Zealand take on European styles, mainly Italian, French and a delicious Turkish pide. Oh, and there’s an excellent San Francisco sourdough. And plenty of customers, so get in early!
And for the perfect end to this
OK, so you’ve done Italy, Japan, India… what next? Well, as we’ve said many (oh so many) times, it’s always time for ice cream.
As luck would have it, you’re very close to another treat, an artisanal ice cream maker, with an enticing range of ice creams. This is a small batch operation, making its creations on site. With some fantastic flavour combinations - jam on toast… smoked apple pie… orange blossom chocolate chip… choosing is the only hard part.
With artisan ice cream in hand, what a day you’ve had. This round-the-world picnic sure does rock. A first class experience, no doubt about it.