Timaru Botanic Gardens

The Timaru Botanic Gardens is a public botanic garden in Timaru and one of the oldest in New Zealand.

Timaru’s Botanic Gardens offer 19 hectares of lush plants, flowers and woods to explore.

The gardens include a formal rose garden, an aviary, a fern house, a conservatory, band rotunda, and native and threatened plant collections.

The people of Timaru lobbied the Canterbury Provincial Council in 1864 to make a reserve out of unsold land at the south end of Timaru. In 1868 the planting of trees and shrubs began. Majority of the early planting was done by convicts from the Timaru Gaol.

In 2014 the Gardens were recognised as a Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust.

The gates to the vehicle entrance on Queens Street close at dusk and open 8am. Pedestrian access is open 24 hours.

Waipahihi Botanical Reserve

Waipahihi Botanical Reserve is a 35 hectare botanical reserve in Taupo.

It is also known as the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens and sometimes referred to as the Taupo Botanical Gardens.

It is managed by volunteers. Volunteer begun work on the Waipahihi Reserve on October 1st 1966.

The gardens provide views on the Lake Taupo and Mt. Tauhara.

The garden is opened daily until dusk. Entry is free but donations are appreciated.

Waipahihi Reserve is located at the top of Shepherd Road, Taupo.

Sculpture in the Gardens

Sculpture in the Gardens is an annual outdoor sculpture exhibition at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.


Bev Goodwin & Jeff Thomson | twist…bob…spin

There are 20 sculptures dotted along a 2km trial throughout the gardens. There are also 21 permanent sculptures located around the gardens.

The temporary artworks are for sale and pricing is listed on signage by the artwork.

Pick up a map from the Visitor Centre, which provides descriptions of the artworks, including the medium used.

Sculpture in the Gardens is on until 25 February 2018. Auckland Botanic Gardens are at 102 Hill Road, Manurewa.


Jamie Pickernell | Gull Boy


Sam Duckor-Jones | Full length mirror


Bryn Jones | Survey


David Carson | Faux Topiary


Lang Ea | POP! BANG! BOOM!


Louise Purvis | Gravid


Lucy Bucknall | Howling Together


Graham Bennett | On Becoming Misdirected


Jim Wheeler | Golden Bough (Revisited)

Christchurch Botanic Gardens

The Christchurch Botanic Gardens is a public garden located in central Christchurch, next to Hagley Park.


The 21 hectare (52 acre) garden was formed in 1863 when an English oak was planted to celebrate the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Alexandra of Denmark.

At the Rolleston Ave entrance, next to the Canterbury Museum, is the Armstrong Lawn, which is named after John Armstrong one of the early curators of the Gardens. Located here is the Peacock Fountain, which was imported from England and unveiled in 1911 after a bequest from local businessman John Peacock. The fountain went into storage in 1949 and was restored and moved to its current location in 1996.


Peacock Fountain

Nearby is the Curator’s Cottage, this Tudor-style house was built in 1920. It is now a Spanish style restaurant and cafe, serving lunch, dinner and tapas 7 days a week.

The iconic Avon River runs through the Botanic Gardens. Visitors can take a guided Edwardian style punting tour on the Avon River through the gardens. The 30 minute tours depart from historic Antigua Boat sheds.

Curator's Cottage

Curator’s Cottage

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

Woodland Bridge crossing the Avon River

The Central Rose Garden was built in 1909. The rectangular garden is based on the rose garden owned by the Duchess of Sutherland in Herefordshire, England.

A highlight is the Garden’s six indoor conservatories, which are open daily from 10:15 am to 4 pm.

Cuningham House, which houses the tropical plant collection opened in 1923 and is named after Charles Cunningham, who bequest funds to the Gardens.

Townsend House has the cool greenhouse flowering plants collection. The original Townsend House opened in 1914, following funds from the estate of Annie Townsend. The current Townsend House opened in 1955.

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Cherub statues, Townsend House

Garrick House, which houses over 500 species of cacti is named after Henry Garrick who donated a collection of cacti to the Gardens. Next door to Garrick House is Gilpin House, which is named after Huia Gilpin, a former director of the Council’s Parks and Recreation department. Gilpin House has the orchid collection. Both Garrick and Gilpin House opened in 1960.

The Gardens’ alpine plant collection is housed in Foweraker House. This building opened in 1967 and is named after Jean Foweraker, who donated many plants to the Gardens.

The Fern House opened in 1955 houses a large collection native New Zealand ferns.

Garrick House

Garrick House

Fern House

Fern House

A more recent feature to the Gardens is the World Peace Bell, which was installed in the Gardens in 2006. There are fewer than 25 of these around the world. The bell is made from coins and medals from over 100 countries and symbolises a nation’s commitment to world peace.

World Peace Bell

World Peace Bell

The gardens are open daily from 7 am. The gates close 9 pm November to February, 8:30 pm March, 6:30 pm April to September, and 8:30 pm October. The cafe and visitor centre is open 8:30 am to 5 pm.

There are entrances on Rolleston Avenue, Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Street. There are public carparks at Riccarton Avenue and Armagh Streets with free parking up to 180 minutes. Note: The Armagh St is currently closed for repair.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens is a public garden located on State Highway 1 just south of Hamilton Central.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens

The gardens are open from 7.30am. They close at 7.30pm in the summer and 5.30pm in the winter. There is access from Gate 1 or 2 on Cobham Drive. The Information Centre and Shop is open from 9am to 5pm all year round.

Alternatively you can also walk along the edge of the Waikato River from the city to Hamilton Gardens, which is what I did. After crossing Victoria Bridge I turned right and followed the path along the river.

Along the way I passed Wellington Street Beach and Hayes Paddock.

Wellington Street Beach is Hamilton’s own inland beach on the edge of the Waikato River. The small sandy beach has a jetty, which local youth jump from and there is a large grassy area suitable for picnics.

The beach has significance with local Māori. It was an important waka (canoe) landing site for earlier Māori traders. Many Māori who swim in the river at this spot today perform the ritual or tohi, where they splash the water on their face. This is done five times as a blessing to each of the Tanui Māori kings – Potatau Te Wherowhero, Tawhaio, Mahuta, Te Rata, and Koroki.

Wellington Street Beach

Wellington Street Beach

Hayes Paddock was developed as a garden suburb of state housing. Between 1939 and 1945, more than 200 houses were along seven streets, which were mainly named after former Governor-Generals. Macfarlane Street, named after James MacFarlane, is the only street not named after a Governor-General. MacFarlane was partner in the company Henderson and MacFarlane.

Hayes Paddock is named after William Hayes, who farmed the area from 1903 to 1925. The area is now a protected heritage precinct under the Council’s district plan.

Path to Hamilton Gardens

Path to Hamilton Gardens

In 1960, four acres of land was put aside for the purpose of a public garden. Those original four acres make up what is the Victorian Flower Garden and the Hammond Camellia Flower Garden. Over time the gardens expanded to what it is today.

The gardens present the theme – the ‘story of gardens’. There are five themed collections, which are Paradise, Productive, Fantasy, Cultivar and Landscape. Within each of these collections are individual themed gardens.

The Paradise Collection is my favourite. It is like you are visiting another part of the world. The Paradise Collection includes an American Modernist Garden, Chinese Scholars Garden, English Flower Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, Indian Char Bagh Garden and an Italian Renaissance Garden.


American Modernist Garden – a late 20th Century garden designed for outdoor living, in the American West Coast tradition.

Chinese Scholar's Garden

Chinese Scholar’s Garden – an interpretation of the 10th – 12th Century Sung Dynasty gardens

English Flower Garden

English Flower Garden – designed in the style of an English 19th Century Arts and Crafts garden

Japanese Garden of Contemplation

Japanese Garden of Contemplation – an example of the 14th – 16th Century Muromachi Period gardens

Indian Char Bagh Garden

Indian Char Bagh Garden – an interpretation of a 16th – 17th Century garden built for the Mughal aristocracy.

Italian Renaissance Garden

Italian Renaissance Garden – an interpretation of the 15th – 16th Century Renaissance Gardens

The Productive Collection are edible gardens. The Kitchen Garden is a traditional European productive garden with a variety of vegetables and small fruits. Students from Waikato Institute of Technology maintain this garden as part of their studies. There is also a large herb garden, that is designed around four rectangular plots. The Sustainable Backyard is a garden that is designed around sustainable gardening principles.  The Te Parapara Garden is a traditional Māori horticulture garden.

Te Parapara Garden

Te Parapara Garden

The Fantasy Collection includes a Chinoiserie Garden, which has European interpretations of Oriental design that were fashionable in late 18th and 19th Century gardens. The Tropical Garden uses plants from other climatic regions. Hamilton Gardens currently has two fantasy themed gardens under development – a Tudor Garden and Surrealist Garden.

Tropical Garden

Tropical Garden

Although it was spring when I visited it was still very much winter so there was not a lot flowers blossoming in the Cultivar Collection, which includes the Hammond Camellia Garden, New Zealand Cultivar Garden, Rhododendron Lawn, Rogers Rose Garden, Victorian Flower Garden.

The last themed collection is the Landscape Collection offers nice short nature walks. This collection includes Bussaco Woodland, Hamilton East Cemetery and Valley Walk.

Another prominent feature of Hamilton Gardens is Turtle Lake, which is nice area for picnics. Located nearby is the Hamilton Gardens Cafe, which is open 9am to 6pm in the summer and 9.30pm to 5pm in the winter.

Turtle Lake

Turtle Lake

Hamilton Gardens, which recently won International Garden of the Year at the 2014 Garden Tourism Awards, receives over 1 million visitors a year. So next time you are in the Waikato region check out what is one of New Zealand’s best gardens!

Wellington Botanic Garden

The Wellington Botanic Garden is 25 hectares of protected native forest, exotic trees, themed collections of plants and outdoor sculptures, located only minutes from downtown Wellington.

Wellington Botanic Garden

Wellington Botanic Garden

The Botanic Garden has a rich history. Back in 1844, The New Zealand Company set aside just over 5 hectares of land for the purpose of a botanic garden. The Garden was established in 1868 and was managed by the New Zealand Institute. During 1870s another 20 hectares of land was added to the Garden. Since 1891, the Wellington City Council has managed the Garden.

I visited the Garden via the Cable Car, from Lambton Quay. The No 3 Karori bus from Lambton Quay stops outside the Founders’ Entrance. The public carpark is adjacent to the Lady Norwood Rose Garden with vehicle access through the Centennial Entrance. Parking limit is two hours.

Founders Gates

Founders Gates

After visiting Carter Observatory I walked down through the Australian Garden towards the Treehouse Visitor Centre. The Visitor Centre is open Monday to Friday from 9am to 4pm. During the months of November to April it is also open on weekends from 10am to 3pm. There is a lift from the Treehouse which takes visitors to the Gardens below. This is operational when the Visitor Centre is open.

View from Treehouse Visitor Centre

View from Treehouse Visitor Centre down to the Soundshell Lawn

From the Treehouse Visitor Centre I walked down through the scented garden to the duck pond, where mums and toddlers were feeding the ducks, before exiting through Founders’ Gates and reentering through the Centennial entrance and walking past Lady Norwood Rose Garden to the Begonia House.

Being that it was winter when I visited garden staff were busy in the rose garden preparing for the flowering season that begins around November. There are 110 rose beds set out geometric design with columns on three sides.

The Begonia House, a Victorian style glasshouse, contains tropical temperature displays all year round, allowing visitors to enjoy colour during the winter months. Also at the tropical end there is a large lily pond.

20140820_104857      20140820_104734      20140820_104906      20140820_105004

Begonia House

Begonia House

Also located in Begonia House is the Garden Shop and Picnic cafe. The Garden Shop is open daily from 9am to 5pm, October to March and from April to September the House is opened 9am to 4pm Monday to Friday (closed Tuesday), and 10am to 3pm weekends. The cafe is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 8:30am to 4pm.

After exploring the Garden, I walked through Bolton Street Memorial Park back to the city.

Bolton Street Memorial Park Gates

Bolton Street Memorial Park Gates

Bolton Street Memorial Park is home to Wellington’s eldest cemetery dating back to 1840. The cemetery closed to burials in 1892, except for burials in family plots, and the cemetery was transferred to Wellington City Council. The cemetery closed between 1968 and 1971, when part of Wellington’s motorway was built through a section of the cemetery. During this period, 3,700 burials were exhumed and relocated.

New Zealand’s longest serving Prime Minster Richard John Seddon is buried in Bolton Street Memorial Park. His grave is marked by a large monument. A statue of Seddon stands outside Parliament Buildings.