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Hamilton is a city in the Waikato Region on New Zealand's North Island. Located about 130 kilometres south of Auckland, it has approximately 200,000 inhabitants, making it the fourth largest urban area in the country. Hamilton City is part of the wider Hamilton Urban Area, which also encompasses the nearby towns of Ngaruawahia, Te Awamutu and Cambridge.
Hamilton’s climate is oceanic, with highly moderated temperatures due to New Zealand’s location surrounded by ocean. Despite this, as the largest inland city in the country winter mornings can be cold by New Zealand standards (the lowest of the North Island’s main centres), occasionally dropping as low as -4 °C. Likewise summers can be some of the hottest in the country with temperatures rising as high as 29 °C. Hamilton also features very high humidity (similar to tropical climates such as Singapore) which can make temperatures feel uncomfortably warm or cold. Ground frosts are common and snow is possible but rare. The only recorded snowfall in modern times was light snowflakes in mid August 2011 during a prolonged cold period that saw snowfall as far north as Dargaville.
Hamilton receives considerable precipitation amounting to around 1,100mm over 125 days per year. This coupled with average sunshine hours of around 2000 makes Hamilton and the surrounding Waikato an extremely fertile region.
Typically summers are warm and dry and winters cool and wet. Fog is common during winter mornings, especially close to the Waikato River which runs through the city centre. Heavy fog usually burns off by noon to produce sunny and calm winter days. Hamilton also has the lowest average wind speed of New Zealand’s main centres as a result of its inland location, in a depression surrounded by high hills and mountains.
|Avg Max||24.4 °C||24.9 °C||23 °C||20 °C||16.7 °C||14.2 °C||13.8 °C||14.6 °C||16.2 °C||18.1 °C||20.1 °C||22.3 °C|
|Avg Min||12 °C||12.3 °C||10.9 °C||8.3 °C||5.9 °C||4.1 °C||3.3 °C||4.2 °C||5.9 °C||7.8 °C||9.3 °C||11 °C|
|Rainfall||80.2 mm||62.2 mm||90.8 mm||94.3 mm||105.3 mm||123.6 mm||137.3 mm||116.3 mm||107.3 mm||95.7 mm||96.4 mm||98.5 mm|
The Northern Explorer train runs 3 days a week from Auckland to Hamilton (departs 7:45am, arrives 10:15am), at $48 per person one way, then continues to Wellington. It runs from Wellington to Hamilton on 3 other days a week (departs 7:55am, arrives 4:30pm), costing from $139, and providing an opportunity to take in some beautiful New Zealand scenery, and the famous Raurimu Rail Spiral.
Because New Zealand's major highway (SH 1) cuts through the city, getting to Hamilton is simple. Drive south down State Highway 1 (SH 1) from Auckland. Drive northbound on SH 1 from Taupo, or connect to SH 1 from Rotorua or the Bay of Plenty.
Buses can be sometimes full, and sometimes empty, so it can pay to book a few days in advance. Booking in advance (particularly on the internet) can also save money - up to half the fare in some cases. In any case, travelling by bus is generally a cheap option, albeit a bit slow at times.
There is a bus service provided by Environment Waikato. Bus routes and times are available online, and cover the whole city.
The CBD and shopping area is easily walkable.
Most of Hamilton's clubs are located with easy walking distance of each other, in the Victoria/Hood/Alexandra Street area.
|Commercial Hotel||287 Victoria Street||hotel||-|
|Js Backpackers||8 Grey Street Hamilton East||Hostel||-|
|YHA Hamilton Microtel||140 Ulster St Hamilton||HOSTEL||-|
|Backpackers Central Hamilton||846 Victoria St.||Hostel||75|
|Eagles Nest Backpackers||937 Victoria Street Hamilton Central,||Hostel||76|
Internet cafés are widely available throughout New Zealand at rates of around NZ$2-4, though sometimes more in smaller places. Besides internet and e-mail services, most big internet cafés also offer some way for travellers to connect their digital camera and burn cds. Many public libraries have public Internet access, and most of them offer short free internet sessions. Wi-Fi access is getting more and more common in for example coffee places or fast food chains. It is becoming more common for Wi-Fi to be provided at hotels and motels, though sometimes at a fee. Wireless Hotspots are located in many cities and towns all over New Zealand from dedicated Wireless providers from whom you can buy connect time. Many camping holiday parks also have such services available.
See also International Telephone Calls
Dial 111 for emergency police, fire or ambulance services. The worldwide emergency number for GSM mobile phones, 112, can also be used.
The country code is 64.
Most payphones in New Zealand require the use of phone cards for payment and it is getting harder to find payphones that accept coins. As phone cards are available at a lot of outlets, they are easy to purchase and very handy as a backup in case of emergencies. Many of them also accept creditcards. Local calls are free from residential phones and charges for calling outside that area can be found at the front of the regional phone books, amongst many other services.
Mobile telephone coverage is effectively national in near urban areas although the mountainous terrain means that outside the urban areas, and especially away from the main highway system, coverage does have huge dead patches. Do not rely on mobile phones in hilly or mountainous terrain. Mobile telephone users can call 555 only to report Non-emergency traffic safety incidents, such as a breakdown, road hazard or non-injury car crash, to the Police. There are currently three major mobile carriers in New Zealand.
A prepaid sim-card connection pack with $10 credit from Telecom or Vodafone costs around $30, and prepaid sim-cards from 2degrees cost $10. Telecom has broader coverage in remote areas away from major cities compared to Vodafone and 2degrees.
Most areas have dedicated PostShops, however stamps can also be bought at grocery shops, supermarkets and book stores. There are two main formats for domestic mail, namely Standard Post and Fast Post. Fast Post is used next day delivery between major towns and cities (two days from rural areas), whereas Standard Post will take a few working days to deliver nationwide. Standard costs NZ$0.50 for letters/postcards (NZ$0.80 for larger envelopes), Fast Post costs NZ$0.80 (NZ$1.20 for larger envelopes). International mail takes about 3-6 days to Australia (NZ$1.50), and 6-12 days to Europe, Asia and the United States (NZ$2). Post boxes are white, red and black and can be found in many areas throughout towns and cities, including information about when their contents are collected. Most post offices and smaller post shops have opening hours from 9:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday, and 9:00am to 12:30pm on Saturday. You can buy stamps here, or at newsagents and general stores. For parcels, you can use the NZ Post or otherwise courier companies like TNT, DHL, UPS or FedEx.
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