Kim & Cameron's Hamilton
Cameron was born and raised in Hamilton and after working as a chef in Sydney for five years, he returned home to open a restaurant with two friends. I’ve been in Hamilton since moving to study management at the University of Waikato. I was making coffee at a café across the road from Cam’s restaurant and that was that! I joined the team at Chim Choo Ree and we ran that until 2018, selling to focus on Duck Island and our two young children.
We opened Duck Island Ice Cream with our business partner, Morgan, in Hamilton East five years ago. I have grown to love Hamilton. It’s big enough to have everything you need, but not so big that you miss out on a sense of belonging. There is a real opportunity here to create and support, and there’s a lot on offer if you know where to look! I feel very thankful to be a part of a community of creatives and we get real joy from seeing independent creatives, hospitality or otherwise, thrive in Hamilton.
Eat incredible food at Sage
15 Hood Street, Hamilton Central
Lani, the chef, has created his own dining concept inside a craft beer bar. He worked with us at Chim Choo Ree and now he’s gone off to do his own thing, which is a super-relaxed dining setting and this incredible food that’s almost unexpected. Grab a beer and don’t miss out on the charred broccolini with dan dan sauce or the amazing beef tartare. It’s consistent, beautiful food, and we love supporting Lani’s creative and independent take on food.
Taste a perfect cup
539 Te Rapa Road, Hamilton
The Hamilton outpost for Raglan Roast has fast become a regular weekday coffee spot of ours. An excellent sunny spot in an industrial part of Hamilton that delivers that a perfect cup every time.
Do it Sichuan style
24 Collingwood Street, Hamilton Central
When we owned the restaurant, our favourite staff meal would be picked up from here. It’s been a firm choice for 10 years. Sichuan Style is an authentic Sichuan restaurant with super-friendly staff and incredible service. The green beans are delicious and the lamb with cumin is always a crowd favourite. If you’re dining alone, there's nothing better than a big steaming bowl of dan dan - go vegan or not. And make sure to add an extra-large bottle of beer.
Stroll the hothouse at Hamilton Gardens
Hungerford Crescent, Hamilton
This is our special place to stroll in the Hamilton Gardens. The gardens are just minutes from our home, and yet when we’re there, it feels like we have travelled a while. It’s a place where I can completely reset and re-engage. We usually stroll along the Waikato River from there. It’s great how you can start at any point in the river and end up in the gardens. The hothouse is full to the brim with exotic plants and succulents, and there's a sprawling lawn, sculpted flower beds and a selection of mature trees to laze under. This part of the gardens often gets overlooked or missed, but it’s well worth a detour up the hill.
Power lunch it at Hearth
394 Grey Street, Hamilton East
Tuesdays are usually our busiest day at work, so we try to make a habit of popping into Hearth for Katie’s power lunches. Hearth is connected to the yoga studio she owns and runs down Lovegrove Lane, and is open Tuesday and Wednesday for a few short hours with a small but perfectly formed offering - Dahl and salad, homemade bread, soup and bliss balls. It’s lunch with a smile and a chat that just makes you feel good.
Cheese and Pickle toasties from Ann Fern
19 Knox Street, Hamilton Central
This place is great for a quick stop. Try the epic cheese and pickle toasties (apparently the vegan version is next level). Ann Fern has delicious Rocket coffee which you can enjoy in their beautiful curated space in an office building lobby.
Stroll down Lovegrove Lane
Lovegrove Lane, Hamilton East
I love stealing a few minutes to stroll down this little laneway that’s close to home and work, and houses some great local businesses. I like to grab some weekday blooms from The Flower Crate or browse through the Framing House, and then finish off with a coffee and the chocolate peanut butter bark at GG’s Café. Lovegrove Lane is always the perfect detour.
Inspirational art at Sandz Studio
6 Kent Street, Frankton, Hamilton
Sandz Studio is an art studio and workshop for artists with disabilities. There is a gallery attached where their work is displayed, along with that of community artists. The gallery is open Tuesday-Friday. You can meet the artists and view the gallery space. We have purchased a few pieces from local Sandz artist Kamini Nair which have really brightened our home.
Fish and Chips on Raglan wharf
Raglan Wharf, Raglan
Raglan is only 40 minutes from Hamilton so it's the perfect place to head for an afternoon with the idea of Raglan Fish at the wharf for dinner. Collect some smoked or fresh fish on your way home, too! You can’t head to the wharf and not pop in to admire the homewares at Tony Sly Pottery. If you can’t resist taking something home, the small pasta bowl is perfect and we use our set daily.
Catch a show at The Meteor
1 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central
The Meteor is Hamilton’s performing arts venue that showcases local creatives and national acts through a diverse selection of events - comedy, music and video performance, musical theatre. Usually, we are able to book last minute or just turn up for door sales. The space is a great asset to Hamilton.