It’s a beautiful day in Hamilton. The sun’s shining with all the warmth of summer. What a wonderful day to stroll around Taitua Arboretum!
Pity we went yesterday when the weather wasn’t so good.
“Not a sky in the clouds,” a friend of mine said.
Ah well. We still enjoyed it.
Taitua Arboretum is a few minute’s drive out of Hamilton, towards Raglan. It’s free to enter and contains many hundreds of species of trees, both indigenous and exotic.
Now it just so happens that my partner’s uncle, who’s in New Zealand for a visit and was with us yesterday, is an international forestry expert. So what did Dr Alexander Hinrichs think of Taitua Arboretum?
“It’s pretty nice,” he said as we set out along the main track, umbrellas in hand.
The first place of note we came to was a ring of redwood trees, towering over us as one would expect redwoods to do. Inside the ring would be a nice place for a picnic on a more clement day.
On we went, the path carpeted with chestnuts. We were accompanied on our walk by a number of chickens. It was rather amusing to see them sheltering under a fir tree when the rain became too heavy. Even the ducks on the various ponds we passed were seeking shelter.
“It’s a diverse collection,” our international forestry expert commented. “Obviously not planted with any scientific thought, but it’s interesting. I like it.”
According to the leaflet we collected at the entrance, Taitua Arboretum was developed by a husband and wife who sourced many of the trees during their world travels.
It’s a good walk. Not as beautiful as the Hamilton Gardens, but different. Fewer people. More like a bush walk. There are 2.3 kilometres of walking tracks and bridges, according to the leaflet, and it seems a popular place for people to take their dogs.
The bamboo tunnel was cool. There was a Chinese archway, a tranquil pond and an intriguing sculpture…
I became rather excited when I saw a stone circle highlighted on the map, but, unfortunately, my excitement was somewhat misguided. (Does anyone know of any properly nice stone circles in New Zealand? Being a British history nerd I rather miss them. Obviously, there won’t be any ancient ones, as New Zealand wasn’t even inhabited by humans in the Neolithic, but maybe a modern enthusiast has built a “fake” one somewhere?)
There was also a classical ruin in the arboretum – fake, of course, but fun. I’m all for building follies – mock ruins of ancient buildings, such as Greek temples or medieval castles. I want to have one in my own garden one day, (though it will probably have to be a small one.) The Taitua ruin isn’t amazing or anything, but it’s a nice idea and I wouldn’t mind having a picnic there one day.
We’re all quite keen to go back to Taitua Arboretum on a sunny day. I don’t know if it’s worth travelling to Hamilton solely to visit it, but if you’re in Hamilton anyway then definitely go. You could combine it with a trip to Hamilton Zoo or the breathtaking Bridal Veil Falls.