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Published: 2014-02-11 00:00:00

Saturday’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic and getting to the Hamilton Gardens for this popular event will be even easier for parents, with free bus rides from the city centre.

Children attending the Teddy Bears Picnic will also have the chance to rock with Waikato Regional Council’s Ruben the Road Safety Bear, who will be making a special guest appearance. 

The regional council’s No. 29 Lake and Gardens bus service will be operating free trips between the Bryce Street transport centre and the Hamilton Gardens on Saturday 15 February. 

Buses depart hourly from the transport centre from 10.25am, and the last bus of the day leaves the gardens at 2.50pm. Timetable information is available at

“This event is a family favourite, attracting several thousand children and their parents each year, and the council is pleased to be able to support it,” said the regional council’s acting public transport operations manager Ben Barlow. 

“So, pack your picnic and head for the bus – we’ve got 26 routes in Hamilton that are fully wheelchair and pram accessible, as well as air conditioned, making bus travel a comfortable transport option on the day,” he said. 

Fares will be payable when travelling on other routes to the transport centre; however, children aged under five years travel free. 

“And once people are there, Ruben hopes to have lots of children join him on the Rhododendron Lawn about 11am to perform his popular ‘Ruben rock’, which promotes his key safety messages,” he said.

The popular bear is the mascot for the regional council’s young road user safety programme and teaches children aged up to about seven years old how to be safe on and around our roads. 

The programme, supported by NZ Police and the NZ Transport Agency, saw Ruben deliver 293 road safety lessons to 16,511 children throughout the Waikato in 2012/13. 

Ruben’s website ( features his key safety messages, activities for children, as well as helpful links and information for teachers, parents and caregivers. 

  • The Teddy Bears Picnic is part of the annual Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival. There is gold coin admission to this event, which runs from 10am to 2pm on the Rhododendron Lawn.