Things are heating up in Hamilton—and we’re not just talking about the weather. Summer dates are all about spending time in the great outdoors, embracing your sense of adventure, and making the most of the glorious sunshine. Whether you and bae are an outdoorsy couple, or more “we like to eat cheese in the park”, here are nine of the best summer dates in Hamilton.
Go Blueberry (Or Strawberry) Picking
Show your partner how much you love them (ie. “berry berry much”) with this fruitful date. Pick your own berries at one of the Waikato’s countless berry farms. Newstead’s Ruakura Berry Shop and Tamahere’s The Strawberry Farm both offer the chance to pick your own strawberries, while Blueberry Country allows you to pick blueberries at their Ohaupo, Ngatea and Otautau locations. Once your Tupperware container is full, refuel with a well-deserved real fruit ice cream.
Catch A Movie At The Sunset Cinema
Calling all lovers and movie buffs alike… Outdoor movies have come to Hamilton. Pack your picnic blanket and head along to Seddon Park for their enchanting Sunset Cinema. This summer’s four-night series offers something for everyone with Aquaman, Grease, Toy Story 4 and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. Grab tickets here and plan an adorable date for two underneath the stars.
Lace Up Your Walking Shoes
Spend some quality time with bae AND Mother Nature by exploring Hamilton and the wider Waikato by foot. The region has an abundance of beautiful vistas including staggering mountains, lush bush, tranquil springs, and the iconic Waikato River. There’s everything from leisurely strolls (Taitua Arboretum, Hamilton Lake Domain and Waikato River Paths), to steep challenges (Hakarimata Summit Track, Karioi Summit Track and Te Aroha Summit Track). Take your pick of our best walking and hiking tracks around Hamilton.
Picnic At The Hamilton Gardens
You probably could have thought of this one on your own, but no list of summer dates would be complete without mention of the world-class Hamilton Gardens. Pack a picnic brimming with summer fruit, flaky pastries and—of course—lots of cheese. Alternatively, head along on a Sunday evening to align your visit with the ever-popular Gourmet In The Gardens. The recurring event sees a selection of mouth-watering food trucks and stalls take over the Hamilton Gardens for the ultimate picnic in the park.
Discover The Garden Arts Festival
For a high-culture date to remember, head along to the annual Hamilton Garden Arts Festival this summer. The vibrant outdoor festival showcases the best of Waikato’s creative community as well as a curated selection of national and international talent. The two-week-long festival has countless date-worthy events with music, theatre, dance, film, and comedy on the cards. You’ll find the full line-up here.
Eat And Drink Al Fresco
If you prefer the traditional dinner and/or drinks date, make the most of the weather and dine outdoors. The biggest and best courtyards in Hamilton can be found at Mr. Pickles, Gothenburg, Good George Dining Hall, and The Bearded Weasel. Our advice? Make a day of it and graze the afternoon away (ice-cold drinks mandatory).
Trawl The Farmers’ Market
If your date is the wholesome type, then suggest a visit to the Waikato Farmers’ Market. You’ve got two options each and every weekend with the Cambridge market on Saturdays and Hamilton market on Sundays. Grab a coffee and an almond croissant, then find a spot to sit down and bask in the sun. Whether it’s your first or millionth date, the chill vibes are always charming.
Go For A Kayak
Hire a kayak and take your significant other for a cruise. Explore the Raglan Harbour via kayak or paddleboard with a rental from the friendly team at Raglan Kayak. Alternatively, check out Lake Karapiro with Lake District Adventures or The Boatshed Kayaks. Both companies operate evening kayak tours that follow the Pokaiwhenua Stream through a twinkling glow worm canyon. This magical date is the perfect balance of romance and adventure.
Take A Trip To Raglan
Speaking of Raglan, a trip to the West Coast town is a summer must-do. On arrival, grab an expertly brewed coffee from the folks at Raglan Roast before brunch at The Shack. Wander the township’s quirky boutiques and check out the studios of clay masters Tony Sly Pottery and The Monster Company. Spend the afternoon at Ngarunui’s black sand beach and finish the day with fish and chips at The Wharf Kitchen and Bar. Best summer date ever, right?
Need further summer date inspo? Treat your boyfriend or girlfriend at Hamilton's Best Ice Cream Joints.
Image credit: Hamilton Gardens by Sylvain Cleymans, Filip Mroz