Rachel Hope Peary's Hamilton

I am a Hamiltonian, a lover of good food, deep conversation, music and movement in many forms. I spend my days juggling my work as an artist, a yoga teacher, a picture framer and a parent. What underpins all my passions, would be the desire for authentic experiences. I’m drawn to places that are curated by passionate people who are living their best lives. It shows up in how they make their food and how they collate the objects for their shops.

Shop local on Lovegrove Lane

Lovegrove Lane, Hamilton East

Lovegrove Lane is a slightly hidden lane off Grey Street in Hamilton East. This is where I spend a huge chunk of my time! There’s a beautiful flower shop, a grocer that offers a delicious dal and salad lunches on Tuesday and Wednesday, a yoga studio and a picture framer where you can find a changing selection of thoughtfully handmade objects for the home - from ceramics to textiles. Then nourish yourself with delicious, lovingly made food, with many vegan and gluten-free options.

The Love Grove Lane in Hamilton.

See the latest at Weasel Gallery

260 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

I love to spend an afternoon at Weasel. Owner Laree Payne has impeccable taste and you know you’re always going to see amazing work from around New Zealand and Australia. Exhibitions are on display for three weeks so there is always great new art to see and conversations to be had. I’m in there to see every show! I drag my son along to openings.

The Weasel Gallery interior.

Catch a gig at Never Project Space

Level 1, 123 Commerce Street, Hamilton Central

Never Project Space is a multidisciplinary space that is home to many different artists and makers. It also hosts art exhibitions and gigs. Almost every Friday evening, Never hosts live music or spoken word, and provides an inclusive space to socialise and enjoy the company of the many expressive and eccentric creatives that call Hamilton home. 

Ceramics on a table at Never Project Space.

Indulge at The Chilli House

237 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

As a health fanatic, you could say this is my dirty little secret. My partner and I have a look that says, “Yeah, we’re getting Chilli House tonight.” This happens at least once a week. Full access to the chilli and sesame sauce is a good reason to eat in, but they do takeaways, too. There’s a great variety of options for vegan and vegetarians. Try the vegan dan dan or the spring onion pancakes. 

The inside of the Chilli House restaurant in Hamilton.

Have a visual treat at Holiday Tattoo

Level 5, Panama Square, Hamilton Central

Even if you don't plan on getting a tattoo on your visit to Hamilton, a visit to Holiday Tattoo in Panama Square is a must. The small, stunning, plant-filled space is a visual treat as well as being home to Hamilton's best tattoo artists. If you do visit, be sure to use the bathrooms for a pink-tiled treat. If you need a place to catch up on some work, the co-working spaces at Panama Square are the one.

A man stitting at a bench inside Holiday Tattoo.

Find seclusion at the Waikato River Walk

Victoria on the RIver, Hamilton Central

The mighty Waikato River that runs through our beautiful city is a treasure, a picturesque hidden gem of our city. I like to hunt around for little trails into secluded spots, where you feel like you’re the only person there. We recently moved to this side of town, so the river is my access to water and greenery. I relish the feeling of being submerged in a space, rather than a big open view. The river and the trails help you feel immersed in the bush when you’re just 10 minutes walk from the main city street.

People walking along the Waikato River Walk.

Experience the Waikato Farmers’ Market

3 Brooklyn Road, Claudelands, Hamilton

A stroll to and around the Waikato Farmers’ Market  is a ritual Sunday treat that I enjoy. It’s the place I go to get all my fresh produce for the week, plus there are delicious artisan-made goods and live music. A family friendly activity that is helpfully located near a great park for the kids to play while you sip your coffee and devour some pastries.

Honey on display at a market.

Revamp your look at Found Store

298 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Found is a treat of a shop run by Liz and Ann-Maree, right in the heart of the great new Riverbank Precinct. The shop is a perfect mix of everything, from hand-blown glassware to a curated selection of vintage finds. I have known Liz for a few years and she’s an amazing stylist. I go in and tell her, “I’ve got this event, these are the shoes…” and she’ll build a look. They stock a really awesome natural make-up brand, and Ann-Maree is a make-up artist who always shares little tidbits. 

A customer standing at the counter at Found Store.

Reset at Solscape Raglan

611 Wainui Road, Raglan

Raglan is a 45 minute drive from Hamilton and is home to Solscape. The food, accommodation, views and yoga are a restorative spot for me and somewhere I love to have a mini-staycation if I need a few days to reset. A grounding spot to nourish yourself and your family.

A Solscape building covered in Ivy.

Picnic at Taitua Arboretum

25 Taitua Road, Temple View, Hamilton

On the way home from Raglan, or even as a short afternoon trip / picnic spot, the lakes and woodlands of Taitau Arboretum are beautiful. You can easily spend an hour or more exploring the walks and picnic areas. It's free and open from 8am till half an hour before sunset. 

The Taitua Arboretum.