Weekend market for brekkie, where to eat and what to do
Hamilton is usually a swift drive by on the way south. There is plenty to do and see with the kids in Hamilton.
BEGINNINGS – EARLY SUNDAY MORNING
Whether driving from Auckland for a day trip or elsewhere, start the day at the Hamilton Farmers Market. The market is sheltered, indoors every Sunday in Claudelands. Pop up food stalls, freshly squeezed juices, counter food for a picnic from cornish pasties to handmade gourmet cheese. Try Mamas doughnuts, they are guaranteed a family favourite. Hamilton Farmers’ Market is an authentic farmers market as all of the vendors either make or grow the food that they sell. The market is indoors so it goes ahead every Sunday morning in Claudelands whether it is fine or raining.
AND IT’S NOT SUNDAY … BRUNCH @ PUNNET CAFE
Rain, blustery weather and you’re better off indoors. Punnet Cafe ticks the boxes with a kids menu that is innovative yet classic. Some kids enjoy hummus and carrot sticks while others enjoy a pancake stack complete with fruit and drizzled with fruit sauces. And for parents there is a glorious selection of frozen home cooked meals ready to pop into your goodie bag. And remember to check out the strawberry & elderberry jams.
The kids playground is fun, a helicopter, boat, plane and a train, and a fort, trampoline and swings all within view of the cafe.
Go drift car racing
A purpose built indoor track is the ideal place to pit parents against the kids in a drift car competition. Or race together. The minimum age is eight with a height restriction of at least 1.2 metres. There are controlled speed limits for kids and first time riders. Blastacars is an adrenaline spiked challenge and lots of fun for family and friends. Go sideways and give everyone the slip and slide.
Great birthday idea.
LUNCH – EARLY AFTERNOON
A sunny winter day in Potter’s Children Garden at Paranua Park & Memorial Park is a great choice to devour your Hamilton Farmers Market foodie treats. The park has a kowhai (tree) theme with a kowhai seed fountain, kowhai shaped slide and kowhai leaf viewing platform with views of the Waikato River. The dinky playhouse, the aviary and yellow (of course kowhai flowers are yellow) add to the charm. The park is located in Claudlands adjacent to Jubilee Bush. The bush is a remnant of the original kahikatea forest that was the original Hamilton landscape. There are boardwalks and plaques describing the bush plants.
Adjoining is Memorial Park and the original trees planted for the fallen soldiers.
Keep your eyes peeled for life sized War Horse sculpture in the park acknowledging the contribution of 18,000 New Zealand horses shipped with New Zealand soldiers in the (Boer) South African War and World War One.
There are paths linking Parana Park to the Waikato River and Memorial Park as well as the River Walk south toward Hamilton Gardens
Classic vehicle museum is fascinating with interesting elements for all age groups. Over 100 classic cars and petrol memorabilia from enamel signs, pumps, tins and oil bottles. The kids will enjoy looking at the vintage toys and pedal cars. For up to date opening hours check Classics Museum for details.
LATE AFTERNOON – THE DAY IS NOT OVER YET
Friday night in Hamilton is the Hamilton Night Market which is at The Base on the Corner of Te Rapa Road and The Base Parade where street vendors offer takeout food from across the world. Pop up stalls market kitsch, household ware, clothing, toilet brushes and toys. The night market is a feast for the senses.
Check out the top Hamilton families and kids-friendly attractions for more information.
BEST BITS TRAVEL GUIDE