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Hamilton Gardens/Riverlea Loop

Intermediate
 3.3 (3) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A soft-surface exploration of the Hamilton Rose gardens and Riverlea river walks via Malcolm St Beach.


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Map Key

6.2

Miles

9.9

KM

97%

Runnable

173' 53 m

High

52' 16 m

Low

433' 132 m

Up

437' 133 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

14%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Off-leash

Features Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Overview

A Hamilton classic. This area is popular as the "summer circuit" for local harries club 'the Hawks' and any athlete looking for an undulating soft-surface break from the cobblestone river paths.

Need to Know

Dogs are off the leash along the river's edge from the Jetty to Echo Edge Bush (ascent to the Cemetery), and Hillside Lawn areas. Dogs can be expected throughout the run with the most "anti-social" encounters generally taking place around the Scouts Hall around Hungerford Cres.

Runner Notes

The small reserve below Riverlea Rd at the boardwalk end is typically wet most months.

Description

The majority of this run takes place on mowed grass as it weaves through the famous Hamilton Rose Gardens up and over to Malcolm St beach before looping Riverlea and returning to it's starting location at Cobham Drive Bridge. Done right, this run is almost entirely off-road with only a short section of the Riverlea Rd footpath required to complete the loop.

From the Rose Garden Carpoark, run the grass of Governors Lawn through to Turtle Lake including a short cobblestone path loop of the Hammond Camellia Garden above the Rhododendron Lawn. From Turtle Lake, descend to the Waikato River jetty and along the river's edge in Bussaco Woodland to the Echo Bank Bush before climbing sharply to the Hamilton East Cemetery.

Follow the worn path along the ridgeline beneath the old conifer pines as the track rises to its highest point, a Trig in the horse paddocks. Climb the turnstile and continue southwest to Howell Ave. Descending Howell, turn right into Callard Place cul de sac continuing the descend to Malcolm St beach via the Hammond Park reserve.

Stay close to the Waikato River (true right) and meet the beautiful raised boardwalk section which at times rises into the treetops. Leaving the boardwalk cross a small reserve to find the gravel road that climbs to the end of Riverlea Rd. Remain on Riverlea Road (footpath) for almost 1km before turning left into Hudson Rd, and left again into Balfour Cres.

Leave Balfour on the obvious path back down to the Riverlea reserve to complete this southern loop before rejoining the elevated boardwalk section and reversing your journey back up to the route's highest point (the horse paddock trig). Here you can loop back to the rose gardens via Hungerford Cres through the Cemetery before descending off the Hillside Lawn above the Gate 1 car park, back down to the Rose Gardens, Turtle Lake and Governors Gardens to finish back where you started.

This is an excellent variable run with plenty of side loops and options throughout the journey to add distance and terrain. There are few runs in Hamilton City that offer such varied soft-surface running. As such, this has been a staple training grounds for decades of the region's finest athletes.

Flora & Fauna

Keep an eye out for karp and even red-eared turtles in the eponymous Turtle Lake.

Contacts

Local Club: SQUADRUN

Feb 18, 2021: An Unexpected Victory

Aug 22, 2020: Lady Chats 2

Aug 16, 2020: Lady Chats

Shared By:

Kerry Suter

Trail Ratings

  3.3 from 3 votes

#4412

Overall
  3.3 from 3 votes
5 Star
33%
4 Star
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3 Star
33%
2 Star
33%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#58

in New Zealand

#4,412

Overall
22 Views Last Month
953 Since Jul 22, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Turtle Lake glimmers peacefully in the center of Hamilton Gardens.
Jan 11, 2017 near Hamilton, NZ
Tui birds grace Hamilton Gardens along the Governor's Lawn Loop.
Feb 15, 2017 near Hamilton, NZ
Fiery fall colors grace Hamilton Gardens in the autumn.
Jan 11, 2017 near Hamilton, NZ
This is a map of Hamilton Gardens.
Jan 11, 2017 near Hamilton, NZ

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