Oamaru Public Gardens was established in 1876 and is one of New Zealand’s oldest public gardens.
At the main pedestrian entrance on Severn Street is the Craig Fountain. This Italian marble fountain was gifted by John Craig JP and erected in 1915. The fountain is surrounded by a lawn, bench seats, and colourful flower beds.
In the centre of the Gardens amongst the rose garden is the Display House. It houses exotic plant specimens and is open daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
Another highlight is the Wonderland Garden, which features an ornamental stream flowing past a Swan Fountain and a bronze statue created by Scottish sculptor Thomas J Clapperton, and gifted to the Gardens by former Mayor Robert Milligan in 1925.
The Chinese Garden is a tribute to the early local Chinese community. It was created in 1988 as a symbol of friendship between Oamaru and the Chinese community, many of them descendants of the Central Otago gold miners. The garden features many rock and water features, including a colourful ceramic dragon and pandas carved from Oamaru limestone.
Other gardens include a Camellia Garden, Rhododendron Garden, Fragrant Garden, New Zealand Native Garden and Fernery.
There is also a Band Rotunda, Aviary and Children’s Playground. There are many lawns, picnic tables, and barbecues for social gatherings.
Free parking and vehicle access is from Chelmer Street. Pedestrian entrance is either from Chelmer or Severn Street. The Gardens are open from dawn to dusk.