© 2011 notworkrelated - David Rutter & Helen Roscoe. All rights reserved. notworkrelated_nz_hamilton_06

New Zealand – Hamilton – 20th November

Our next destination was Hamilton which is only 50km or so from Te Aroha so no big drive today! We wanted to get to the Farmer’s market held every Sunday on River Road. We got there just after 10am and found a nice little bustling market where we bought some veggies at a very low price!

We didn’t really have any expectations of Hamilton so we decided to nip into the I-site to get some info on what we could do while there for the day. We were given the top things to do in Hamilton with the first on the list being to check out the Richard O’Brien sculpture in the guise of Riff Raff the time travelling alien from the planet Transsexual (The Rocky Horror Show). He lived in this town and this was where he wrote The Rocky Horror Show and where it was first performed! History! The original theatre is no longer there just his statue standing in its place. From there we wandered over to The Art House, a free art space playing host to local artists. They had some really cool gift ideas in their shop and we particularly liked the porcelain paper cups.

We then went to The Hamilton Museum which is also has free admission. They house historic and contemporary art both in the Maori and Western sense with the top floor showcasing a huge Waikato Rugby exhibition that was really well curated. So we were impressed with the art that we saw and then drove over to the Hamilton gardens where the New Zealand Rose Festival was taking place.

We enjoyed a picnic and then wandered into the the Rose gardens where awards were to be presented for New Zealand’s BEST rose! Apart from the fact that there could have been more support from the public and more interest for them to be involved in i.e. stalls and cake! There was a fairly good turn out, more so from the Rose supporting community! We learned why Lemon & Lyme won so many awards including the top dong; because it is very difficult to achieve that colour, each rose is always really well presented and the leaves are always in a good condition no matter what the age of the rose plant! So we watched and applauded whilst enjoying some local ale before finally leaving after some live jazz to explore the actual Hamilton Gardens.

We only visited the sculpted and landscaped gardens being the Indian Cha garden, Italian walled garden, the 60′s American garden, and the Chinese, Japanese and English Rose gardens. All of which are beautiful with the Italian garden standing out.

After an enjoyable afternoon at the gardens we decided to get over to the coast to Raglan with the hope of booking a surf lesson for the next day. It’s about an hours journey to Raglan from Hamilton and we drove straight through to Manu Bay home to one of the world’s best left hand surf breaks. We are complete novices to the surf-lingo but this is supposed to be one of the best spots in NZ for surfing which was good enough for us. We decided to stay at Karioi Lodge where the Raglan Surfing School is located, more for ease than anything. They are based at Whale Bay and have lodges, cabins and spots for vans and tents. They also charge $15 per night per person in a van on a loop away from the main lodge. There are around 6 spots up on the loop with a kitchen and shower block.

After choosing our spot and cooking dinner we went to explore the bay area. It didn’t look good for the next day weather wise but we were hopeful that we would be able to do a surf lesson first thing. Back at the lodge we sat in the main common areas, and logged onto their pay-for Wi-Fi. Why is it that free Wi-Fi hasn’t hit off over here? You have to pay for it nearly everywhere and not many places actually have it! Enough moaning, this hostel has a good atmosphere with the Stray travellers being bussed in every day. There is also a nice group who live and work there too. The fist Sunday Sessions took place in Raglan that night but we didn’t know about it until the next day, it sounded like a good event and the lodge were arranging drop offs and pick ups. We had a quiet one!

(Leica M9, Summicron-M 50mm f/2.0, Leica 90mm f/2.8, Zeiss 18mm f/4 ZM processed in Lightroom 3)

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