The Auckland Botanic Gardens located near the Southern Motorway in the South Auckland suburb of Manurewa cover 64 hectares of land, including 10 hectares of native forest, and are home to over 10,000 plants from around the world.
It is a relatively young botanic garden, opening to the public in 1982 after 9 years of development and planning.
The gardens open at 8am, and close at 8pm during daylight savings and close 6pm during the non daylight savings period.
There is plenty of parking in visitor’s carpark, and they have an overflow parking area set up. The Howick and Eastern number 466 bus, which departs from Manurewa Interchange, stops outside the Garden gates.
The Haukaiwaka Visitor Centre, which opened in 2005, houses the information desk (pick up a map of the gardens here), displays and Café Miko. The Visitor Centre is open from 8am to 4pm (4:30 pm summer weekdays and 5pm summer weekends). The café is open daily from 8am to 4pm.
A reference library, opened in 1992, is located in a separate building adjacent to the Visitor Centre. It is open Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 11am to 3pm, or by appointment.
Free one hour guided walks of the Gardens depart from the Visitor Centre at 1pm on Wednesdays. The route varies depending on the guide, season, and the interests of those taking the walk. Our small group of six looked at the sculptures at the entrance, found a silver fern, explored the Edible Garden, Perennials, Orchard, and Potter Children’s Garden.
On Sundays (and Saturdays and public holidays during the summer) they run the Wiri Rambler ‘Train’, a small tractor, which tows carriages around a 30 minute tour of the gardens. It costs $2 for adults and $1 for children (under 5 is free). The ‘train’ departs from outside the Visitor Centre from midday till 3pm.
Provided the weather is good the botanic gardens is a great place to visit anytime of the year. During the summer and autumn months the perennials and rose gardens provide stunning colour. The magnolias and camellias offer wonderful winter and spring colours, as well as the bulbs in Spring Blossom Valley being well worth a look.