The city, lying at a major road and rail nexus, is situated in the centre of the Waikato basin, on both the east and west banks of the Waikato River.
As of 2004, the city has been enjoying the benefits of rapid growth without yet suffering related negative consequences, though traffic congestion is increasing at a faster rate than population growth, unaided by the fact that State Highway 1 runs through the city's urban area.
Hamilton is home to more than 25,000 tertiary students, mostly enrolled in one of the city's two main tertiary institutes, the University of Waikato and Wintec (Waikato Institute of Technology).
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