Hamilton East is a popular area, close to the city centre, with character-style housing. Close to Waikato University, the Waikato River, and the Ruakura Inland Port, its local attractions include the Hamilton Gardens, Clyde Park, Claudelands park, Claudelands Event Centre, and various sports facilities.
Hamilton East was originally part of the Kirikiriroa Pā, which was confiscated in the Waikato Wars by the 4th Waikato Regiment and turned into a military outpost. Together with the Pakeha community on the Waikato River’s western bank, it formed the first European settlement in Hamilton.
From the 1870s until the mid-20th century, Hamilton East was sometimes known as ‘Irishtown’. This was due to the large concentration of militiamen who settled there who were of Irish descent, and many other Irish Catholics who came to live near the Catholic Church and convent.
Until the turn of the 20th century, developing the city was a slow hard slog. Military men who were not well versed in cultivating the tough terrain were farming the land surrounding the city. This changed when farmers from Taranaki and Canterbury moved to the area, bringing specialist farming knowledge with them. They enriched the soils and drained the swampy peat land surrounding Hamilton. Hamilton East prospered as a supply town to these farms and the population boomed.
Today, Hamilton East is a bustling cosmopolitan village popular for its character homes and proximity to the city.
Key attractions and notable landmarks
One of Hamilton’s most historic homes, Greenslade House (originally named Wairere), rests beside the river at the beginning of Wellington Street. Over 100 workers were involved in the construction of the house, which was built in 1910 by the former MP of Waikato.
The War Memorial at Memorial Park commemorates soldiers who fought in both world wars.
The Hamilton Gardens along Cobham Drive is the region's most popular tourist attraction with at least one million visitors each year. Set on 58 hectares beside the river the unique theme of Hamilton Gardens is ‘the story of gardens’, which is explored through a series of five garden collections.
Beale Cottage, on the corner of Beale and Grey Streets, is one of Hamilton's oldest remaining dwellings. Originally owned by the city's first doctor, Bernard Beale, he moved out when it became too small for his family of 12 children.
Real estate and design
As part of Hamilton’s original township, Hamilton East is an idyllic historic suburb with leafy streets and character housing. Popular villas and bungalows built early in the 20th century creates a village-type feel. High studs, exposed native timbers, and distinctive craftsmanship typify these homes. While many of these older houses have been renovated to include modern amenities, most owners bought the houses to recapture the nostalgia of the era.
There are also numbers of ex-state owned homes, particularly in the area of Hayes Paddock. These homes are particularly popular due to their proximity to the river and the Hamilton East village. While many have been modified to suit today’s lifestyle, development in the area is protected by Hamilton City Council rules to preserve the area’s special character.
During the 1970s, blocks of flats were introduced into Hamilton East. Pepper potted throughout the suburb, these allowed for higher density housing and now bring cosmopolitan diversity to the area.
Interestingly, Hamilton East is one of the few Hamilton suburbs to have a street grid plan—like a mini New York City.
Shopping and amenities
Hamilton East is a short distance to the CBD and its retail and grocery stores. However, the suburb is also well serviced with other shopping blocks.
The Clyde Shopping Centre and its surrounding shops in Hamilton East have built up a village atmosphere with specialty fashion shops through to hardware retailers—including a Lodge Real Estate branch.
Cook Street Social and The Eastside Tavern at the south end of the Grey Street cafe strip are two popular bars that also offer a varied bar menu. Students and business people mix easily in the fun casual atmosphere in both these places.
Hayes Common in Hayes Paddock is also a popular place to meet and enjoy coffee and fine cafe cuisine.
Sports and fitness
Part of Hamilton East’s popularity is due the array of recreational pursuits and facilities available within the area. Whether it’s walking along the river or through Hamilton Gardens, visiting Wellington Street beach and Hayes Paddock, exploring the interactive sculptures at Parana Park, or playing organised sport at Steele, Galloway, Lugton or Marist parks, there’s a multiple of activities to keep you busy throughout the year.
*Many schools have zoning policies, please check the geographical boundaries of a preferred school with a Lodge salesperson.
Distance from CBD
Much of Hamilton East is within walking distance of the CBD—from the Hamilton East shopping centre, across the Victoria Bridge into the CBD is approximately 2km. However, the Route 2, Route 10 and Route 13 buses run through East Hamilton on their way into the city from Silverdale, Hillcrest and Waikato University respectively.
The Route 29 bus also runs between the city and Hamilton Gardens, 10am to 3pm everyday, stopping Grey, Naylor and Galloway Streets.
A taxi fare from the heart of Hamilton East to the CBD is about $12.