Taupo Rose Gardens

The Taupo Rose Gardens are located in South Tongariro Domain adjacent to the Taupo Museum.

The Rose Garden was established in 1979 when 800 rose bushes were initially planted by the Taupo Rose Society.

Taupo Rose Garden

Taupo Rose Gardens

In December 2007 the garden was renamed The Joan Williamson Rose Gardens in honour of Joan Williamson-Orr, to recognise her 30 years of service to the Taupo District. Joan Williamson was the Mayor of Taupo Borough from 1986 to 1988 and Taupo District from 1988 to 2001. Later she served on the Lakes Health District Board from 2001 to 2010.

Visitors can walk through the gardens to a path that leads down to the Taupo Boat Harbour. There are no gates to the gardens so visitors are free to visit as they wish.

The centrepiece to the garden is a large gazebo, which is perfect to sit and relax. Within the rose gardens there are also fountains, bird baths and a sundial.

Gaezbo

Gaezbo

Sundial

Sundial

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Entrance to Auckland Botanic Gardens, Hill Road, Manurewa

Entrance to Auckland Botanic Gardens, Hill Road, Manurewa

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.

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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

The Haukaiwaka Visitor Centre

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.

Silver fern

Silver fern

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.

The Potter Children's Garden

The 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.

Visitors may be surprised to know all roses are grown spray free

Visitors may be surprised to know all roses are grown spray free

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.

Take a moments rest in the gardens.

Taking a moments rest in the gardens.

Takapuna

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Rose Gardens, Takapuna

Yesterday afternoon I went to Takapuna Beach. After a quick visit to Shore City mall I made my way through the rose gardens and walked along past the Hurstmere Road shops and down to the beach.

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Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store, The Promenade

Once on the beach I walked down to the rocks at the end of beach and then walked back to the boat ramp and stopped for a Peanut butter and choc ice cream at Takapuna Beach Cafe & Store.

I then walked back up to Hurstmere Road and ordered fish n chips from High Tide Seafood, which is opposite the Hospice Shop at the end of Parkway Arcade (56 – 60 Hurstmere Road).

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Takapuna Beach, Rangitoto Island in the distance

I sat on the grass eating my fish n chips overlooking the beach as beachgoers swam, sunbathed, kicked a soccer ball around, played volleyball, and parents watched young triathletes prepare for a triathlon.

The Takapuna Beach .kiwi Tri Series was being held on Friday. I watched the 3:9:3 youth event, where they swim 300 metres, bike 3km, and run 3km.

The adult category followed the youth triathlon but rather than stay and watch I walked to Killarney Park, which surrounds one side of Lake Pupuke, a fresh water lake in a volcanic crater. It is amazing that in this country you can walk from a beach to a lake in less than 15 minutes.

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Lake Pupuke, Killarney Park

Couples were picnicking in grassy slopes of Killarney Park, while screaming teenagers dived and ‘bombed’ into the lake from the jetty. Some say if you take a bird’s eye view of the lake it resembles a heart – I heart Takapuna!

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The PumpHouse Theatre, Killarney Park

In 1884, a pump house was built on the shores of the lake to supply the local area with fresh water. This pump house was replaced in 1906 and was used a water supply source until 1944. The iconic pump house building, which still stands today, became a protected heritage building in 1983 and is now a theatre venue. Unfortunately when I visited construction was being undertaken so the building was surrounding by scaffolding.

Next to the PumpHouse Theatre is a café which is open from 10am to 4pm. So it was closed when I visited.

At the PumpHouse I watched Shoreside Theatre’s summer Shakespeare in the Park production of Othello. It’s interesting to note that this year marks the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth so what better time to enjoy Shakespeare’s rich language.

The play was held in the outdoor amphitheatre under the stars. Shoreside Theatre provide cushions for the wooden bench seats, which are much needed as the play runs for just under three and half hours.