Steph and Emily's Hamilton

We are the owners/operators of Framing House, a picture framing and artisan homeware store down Lovegrove Lane in Hamilton East. We love our little shop and the friendly, independent businesses that share our lane.

As artists and craftspeople, we appreciate thoughtful design, from graphic work and functional ware, through to furniture, spatial design and architecture. In our 1950s brick home, you’ll find mid-century furniture, original art by New Zealand artists (with a focus on printmaking), handmade ceramics, a collection of picture books (even though we don’t have kids), fresh flowers, potato chips and Ollie our tabby cat.

Summer fun at Victoria on the River

Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Victoria on the River is an impressive urban architecture project, which has finally opened up the CBD to the Waikato awa. It’s a broad, tiered public space with an impressive view up and down the river. In summer, you may find live music, open air films or markets in this outdoor area. A perfect spot to enjoy a Duck Island Ice Cream from the nearby Riverbank Lane. ‘Te Tatau Ki Kirikiriroa’, a sculpture by renowned artist Robert Jahnke, stands central, acting as a tomokanga or gateway to the space.  The striking corten steel structure houses one of Jahke’s mind-bending infinity lighting illusions. On the Northern wall of VOTR is Charles and Janine Williams’ enormous, uplifting, mural ‘A Love Story’, depicting a Kaarearea in mid flight.

Victoria Park on the River.

Evening stroll at Parana Park

Memorial Drive, Hamilton East

The Hamilton City Parks and Gardens team do a fantastic job with all of our public gardens. On a warm summer evening, we stroll around Parana Park on our way home from work. The seasonal planting is always gorgeous and thoughtful, and the established areas are good for the soul. Sometimes we pick up takeaways from Winner Winner in Hamilton East, for a picnic dinner. Steph’s fave is the tasty Vegan BBQ Jackfruit Burger, and Emily’s is the succulent Chicken Sandwich.

Parana Park in Hamilton.

Tadpole ponds at Hamilton Gardens

Hungerford Crescent, Hamilton

While we love the highly structured and designed themed gardens (Japanese Zen, Italian Renaissance, and Tropical Gardens are faves), we also like to seek out the quieter spaces of the Bussaco Woodland when the Magnolias are in bloom, the Women's Suffrage Garden and Hammond Camelia Garden.

Our very favourite thing to do at Hamilton Gardens, is lying on our bellies in February to watch the hundreds of tiny frogs and fat little tadpoles in the pond outside the Victorian Display House. Walk north along the river trail from the Gardens to Hayes Common Café. The food is excellent, the atmosphere is stylish yet relaxed, and there are always friendly Hayes Paddock locals around with their beloved dogs. See Hounds on Hayes on Instagram.

People walking around the Italian Renaissance Garden.

Discover eco-goods at Organic Nation

245 Commerce Street, Frankton, Hamilton

We love making a special trip to this little gem in the Frankton Village, for organic produce and goods. It’s where we go to get our micro sprout seeds and eco-friendly toiletries and cosmetics.

The inside of the Organic Nation store.

Cosy up at Wonder Horse

236 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

When all you want is a snuggly, low lit spot to have a drink with close friends, this is the place. Expertly made cocktails and craft beer on tap, Wonder Horse is usually our first stop on the way to a meal out in Hamilton. We have so many great eats in The Tron, but some on the top of our list are: Chilli House, Shinjuku, Madam Woo, Bahn mi Caphe, Mexico, or Gothenburg. Often, we follow a meal out with a late looksie for secondhand finds at Browsers Bookshop on Victoria Street - open until 9.30pm most nights.

A cocktail being made at Wonder Horse.

Spoil loved ones at Poppies Book Store

19 Casabella Lane, Hamilton Central

Poppies Book Store down Casabella Lane has a thoughtfully curated selection of novels, coffee table books, gift books and picture books for little ones. We can happily lose an hour pouring over the art, design and architecture publications. Soul Gallery, across the road in Barton Street, is one of the places we go when looking for a special gift to send to loved ones overseas. They have an excellent range of jewellery made in NZ. And Needle in the Hay with Rocket Coffee, is another gem tucked down Racket Lane off Barton Street.

The exterior of Poppies Bookshop.

Enjoy the vibe at Waikato Farmers’ Market

3 Brooklyn Road, Claudelands, Hamilton

The Waikato Farmers’ Market is a Sunday morning routine for many Kirikiriroa residents. After indulging in a good coffee - often meeting with friends - we always leave with a couple of almond croissants from Volare, and a bag of locally grown fruit and vege. The live music and general vibe is relaxed and friendly. We enjoy walking to and from the markets through the Claudelands Park, where there are always families and dogs out enjoying the open green space.

Vegetables on display at Waikato Farmers Market.

Find enchantment at Wairere Nursery

826 Gordonton Road, Gordonton, Hamilton

One of Emily’s favourite things to do is plant shopping… and this nursery is the place that gets her green thumb tingling. Wairere Nursery is located along Gordonton Road and specialises in roses.  The team there are experts on the subject. The Nursery owners have created a picture book perfect garden walk that they have kindly opened for the public to enjoy. Carry on along Gordonton Road to The Mandarin Tree Gallery, owned and operated by the talented artist Claudia Aalderink.

A bush of red roses.

Join local artists at Weasel Gallery

260 Victoria Street, Hamilton Central

Weasel popped up in 2018, and is currently the only dealer gallery model operating in Hamilton. Director, Laree Payne is a passionate advocate for the arts, and curates quality exhibitions representing a variety of artists, from emerging, to those well-established. Weasel has been embraced by local artists, art enthusiasts and collectors. The gallery continues to evolve, challenge and grow. There is always an interesting artwork to see, and conversation to be had, when you walk in the mustard yellow door at Weasel.

The exterior of Weasel Gallery.

Explore University of Waikato Campus

Knighton Road, Hamilton

There are artworks waiting to be discovered all around the University campus. Steph was the Art Collection Curator between 2012-2017. You can find a programme of engaging exhibitions at the Calder & Lawson Gallery within the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. We always spend a bit of time around the lakes, where you might see a pile of ducklings sleeping, swallows, Tui in the blossoms, or maybe a dragonfly. The WaikatoUni App is useful to help with getting around campus.

Art in a river on the campus at Waikato University.