We had a chat to one of our lovely friends Aimie Cronin, The Waikato Times Features Writer, about her favourite haunts in her home town Hamilton....
I was born in Hamilton and have lived here on and off throughout my life. I have always found that when I move away and come back, I appreciate the Waikato for its laid-back pace. It also has a range of amazing cafés as well as a vibrant art scene too - all you’ve got to do is scratch the surface.
Aglio Olio at Scotts Epicurean
This cafe is a bit of a Hamilton institution. The Aglio Olio is a staple on the menu and it’s a must-try and at $9.50 it’s a bargain. Finish with a slice from the cabinet and a great cup of coffee. Dave Tourelle the co-owner and barista knows all his regulars and his conversation is worth the visit on its own.
We like to claim Raglan here in Hamilton. Granted, it’s not part of the city, but it is only a 40 minute drive away and there are lots of Hamiltonians who take advantage of that. In summer, Raglan is bumper to bumper and in winter it’s charmingly quiet. There are obvious attractions - the rugged west coast beaches and the still harbour spots - but there is good food to be found (Raglan Sushi is my favourite) and Atamira is a must-visit boutique store.
This cafe and roastery is hidden behind shops in Barton Street. It’s a cool space with an industrial vibe, friendly service, lots of regulars and I think they make the best coffee in town.
The Hamilton Gardens
Home to so many events in summer, the Hamilton Gardens always has something happening, and a weekend will never go by without a wedding taking place so that’s always fun to spy on. I like to visit just for a picnic or a wander. The Indian garden (pictured) is my favourite. When it’s in full bloom it is such an explosion of colour.
Casabella Lane, on Barton Street, is home to some of Hamilton’s best fashion stores. The latest edition to the lane, Devereux and Villiger, adds quality hair and makeup to the mix. Bella Boutique sells fabulous shoes and RUBY has its own vibrant spot near the array of café and restaurants - it’s a dangerous little spot as there is so much temptation!
One of Hamilton’s finest dining establishments, Chim Choo Ree is an intimate space that does what it does perfectly. The food is amazing (the sage leaf, buttery ravioli is my fave) and the wine list can be navigated with the help of one of the very cool staff members.
The River Walk
For fit people, this trail goes on and on and it’s got spectacular views the whole way. I like to grab a coffee and wander down on a sunny day in the weekend, or if I’m feeling energetic, I tackle part of it in my running shoes.
This place has been around for almost 20 years and it’s the perfect spot to head when you have a bit of time to, well, browse. It’s impossible to leave without a good read. Located along Victoria Street in amongst cafes and restaurants, it’s a great place to duck into if you are waiting to meet a friend.
Held in an old carpark in town, the night market is a relatively new addition to Hamilton and people are flocking to it. It has a vibrant mix of cultures selling everything from food to haircuts to jewellery. Get there early to beat the queue for the churros.
Thank gosh for Lido Cinema - without it we’d be stuck for a venue for the NZ Film Festival or any of the more underground foreign films.
What are you must have items from our RUBY & Liam SS13 collections?