After visiting Hobbiton, we headed to Hamilton for a night before heading to Auckland. This town seemed like a good place to live as it’s pretty much self contained with shops, restaurants, markets, schools etc… it’s quite like most places in New Zealand and not touristy and all.
Clarion suites @ the ambassador hotel
A simple no frills service apartment with a big room that had washing machine, a not so clean kitchenette as utensils were quite dirty, and the room had an overpowering smell from some air freshener which was quite annoying even after we opened the window. There were also some construction and other guests coming back late after drinks so it was quite noisy at night and day. Service was so so… we stayed for a night so it was not too bad.
Food in Hamilton was surprisingly good. We managed 3 restaurants.
Chim choo ree
Zealong tea estate
Zealong is about 10min drive from Hamilton. It’s clean air and vast land/ tea plantation created a relaxing environment. To buy some good quality tea, visit the retail shop on site or for a slow and relaxing meal, head to the restaurant just a short walk or drive to the other side of the estate. Service was tip top, food was delicious and infused with their teas. We particularly enjoyed the tea smoked chicken. They are particular about how tea is steeped and savored… there were a few rounds of timing the steeping time. Every time we added hot water placed on our side (like how we eat bakuteh in Singapore and Malaysia, there’s always hot water on the side for steeping tea), we had to leave the steeping time longer.
A glasshouse beside the water and park, very nice, very relaxing but we went too early and there weren’t much to choose from, only sandwiches, cakes and coffee. Their orange cake was so so good, moist and flavorful went very well with coffee.