Hamilton is situated in the North Island about 90 minutes drive South of Auckland. Hamilton is the centre of the Waikato Region, one of New Zealand's richest agricultural regions. The city of Hamilton is built around the beautiful Waikato river. The Waikato river was once Hamilton's only transport and communications link. Now State Highway 1 passes through the city of Hamilton linking the whole of New Zealand.
Hamilton is the 4th largest city in New Zealand with a urban population of around 200,000 people.
Originally called Kirikiriroa when the first Maori inhabited the region, it was later renamed Hamilton after Captain Fane Charles Hamilton, the popular commander of HMS Esk, who was killed in the battle of Gate Pa, Tauranga. The area has been settled by Maori from the Tainui iwi for centuries. Several villages were situated on the banks of the Waikato River. The rich soils were used extensively to grow traditional crops such as kumara. Fortified pa were built on strategic headlands, particularly on the bends of the river. During the late 1840s to early 1860s Waikato tribes used the river to transport large quantities of flour, maize, pigs, potatoes, kumara, flax, timber and fish to the markets Auckland.
While agriculture has traditionally been the dominant industry in Hamilton, other sectors such as manufacturing and retail are catching up and providing more diverse business opportunities in Hamilton. The Hamilton Airport connects to many popular destinations in New Zealand and Australia.
Hamilton is home to the biggest agricultural trade show in the southern hemisphere, the Fieldays. Each year the city holds the Balloons over Waikato event which attracts many hot air balloon enthusiasts from all over the world. There are many events held at the nearby Claudlands Event Centre and Mystery Creek Events Centre.
Within a 90 minute drive there are other places to visit: Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Raglan for it’s famed surf beach and arts and crafts, Tauranga and the “Mount” for shopping and café beach lifestyle, Matamata to view the location that Hobbiton was filmed in the Lord of the Rings movie and you can’t miss a trip to Rotorua for the thermal mud and geysers as well as a fantastic place for finding out about Maori history and lifestyle.
Check this great video clip about Hamilton.