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Published: October 13th 2009
Is it a church or a castle?
The last couple of weeks have seen a sudden onset of cold, wet weather just when we were starting to think spring was finally on its way. Then suddenly this morning the sun came out to play! Not wanting to waste the opportunity, we jumped in the car and headed south to Hamilton, about 1.5 hours from Auckland.
Hamilton is one of NZ's major cities but with a population of around 130,000 it is small enough to explore on foot. We started our walkabout with a quick pitstop to Subway to buy our lunch and then made our way to Lake Rotoroa about 20 minutes away. En route we spotted a few unusual buildings, most notably a church that looks like a castle and an old water tower. Not very exciting you might think but in a country that's only been populated by non-Maoris for 160 years, these structures become more historically signifcant than they ever would elsewhere in the world!
Down at the lakeside, the sun shone only intermittently and the cold breeze chilled us right through. Nevertheless, we tucked into our tasty sandwiches and watched the world go by. It seemed like half the population of Hamilton
Oh look, something slightly old (and we're not talking about Jude for once!)
(and their dogs) was by the lake today and some people were actually mad enough to rent pedalos or canoes and venture out into the cold lake. Bonkers!
We made our way back through the city centre, across one of the numerous city bridges and walked along the river. The water level was high due to all the recent rainfall so I was pleased to take a path that meandered through back streets and parks further up and away from the river's edge. Our route took us through the Memorial Gardens where we saw an authentic Spitfire aircraft on display, in memory of the fallen from the two World Wars.
One last key landmark remained for us to see and this was the real reason we had opted to see Hamilton today - the statue of Riff Raff. Yes, I'm really talking The Rocky Horror Picture show here!
On the main street in the city centre there is indeed a life-size bronze replica of Richard O'Brien dressed as the long suffering butler from the movie. The statue stands on the spot where the Empire Theatre used to be, and which once showed movie double features around the
Glynn's lurking around these giant trees somewhere but can you spot him?
time Richard O'Brien lived and worked in Hamilton. It was this that inspired him to write the Rocky Horror Picture Show - easily one of my favourite movies of all time. Apparently it's also the only statue in NZ of a ficticious character. I wonder why they didn't make a statue of Richard O'Brien as himself? Who knows...
Hamilton is a very pleasant looking city with plenty of shops and a seemingly disproportionately large amount of bars and restaurants but I have to admit, 4 hours felt like more than enough time to see everything we wanted to!
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