The Hamilton Gardens are one of my favourite places to explore, but exploring them using the NZ Bird Edition of the Getting Lost Game gave them a whole new dimension.
The Hamilton Gardens are one of my favourite places to explore so when we were travelling back from New Plymouth I knew I had to take a quick detour and stop in to have a look. Undeterred by the 30 degree scorching day, the kids urging to “just go home” or the speeding ticket I got coming off the motorway I was on a mission. I was also on a mission to explore a little differently this time so I took the NZ Bird Edition of the Getting Lost Game with me to explore the Hamilton Gardens.
The NZ Bird Edition charts your direction based on what birds are doing and the great thing about it is that it forces you to be utterly in the moment and really take notice. My first card was to sit under a tree and wait until I see a bird. I know this garden so well. My sister got married in the garden next to it and this is the garden we nervously waited in to walk her down the aisle. But I realised that day that I'd never actually appreciated that garden. Sitting on that bench waiting for a bird I realised what I'd missed. I saw butterflies and bees, I watched the leaves blow as families raced passed me and I realised that the very best thing about the NZ Bird Edition is that it makes you slow down and really see what's around you.
I went through all the gardens, following the cards in a direction that defied logic or any other person's pattern, but made my day richer for the undefined chaos of it. And I saw so much I'd never noticed on my many visits here before.
My favourite garden has always been (and I think always will be) the Italian Garden. The scale of it blows me away and the riot of colour. I could spend hours in here photographing it from different angles and never get bored - so indulge me for a few extra photos of this one.
In my quest for bird related clues I did find myself spending much longer in gardens that I had walked through quickly before and noticing thing that I hadn’t in the past.
The gardens were packed the day that we were there (in the height of summer) and there was something quite magical about being still and trying to tune out all the chatter and noise and focus instead on hearing which direction the bird call was coming from.
For me the NZ Bird Edition allowed me to explore a familiar place in an unfamiliar way and that made all the difference.