Hamilton Gardens have come a long way since their days as a dumping ground, and have been carefully cultivated and expertly landscaped over time to form what is perhaps NZ's premier botanic attraction. Consisting of 20 different individual gardens, each with their own theme covering influences from east and west, that range from Chinese Scholars, Indian Char Bagh, Te Parapara to Victorian Flower Gardens and various others. It's a veritable "United Nations" of plant life. Teeming with a bevy of colours and fragrances, this entirely free attraction does a great job of integrating water into its layout, with its river and lake - as well as several water features - adding an additional layer of life to the proceedings. It's the result of an incredible amount of time and effort put in, and makes for one of the only true "tourist" attractions in Hamilton city. The gardens offer a number of other side-benefits for the visitor as well that can help to extend a visit; there's a great on-site cafe that sells quality food, plenty of sheltered spots offered for days of inclement weather, and plenty of regular exhibitions held year-round so that something is always changing and repeat visits are encouraged.