Auckland Botanic Gardens – we first found this in March 2010 as we were about to leave Auckland to head north.
We had gone to the Gardens at the Domain thinking they were the Botanic Gardens, but although these glasshouses, fernery and the long lily pool are all lovely, we were a bit disappointed, until we realised we were in the wrong place!
Seed head of the Lotus flower
The actual gardens are out of the city and are AMAZING, and free! In fact all the large botanical gardens that we have been to in New Zealand, that are similar in size and design to ours here in the UK, are free.
The gardens are relatively new, opening in 1982 after development started in 1973. They cover an area of 64 hectares (156 acres) including 10 hectares of native forest.
Our favourite areas of the Gardens are the Edible and Herb gardens, of course! However, the colour patterns of the Perennial Garden are beautiful, and the various Rose and Salvia gardens have to be wandered around slowly as well.
The Herb Garden shows herbs for culinary use as well as medicinal and cosmetic use.
The Potter Children’s Garden was quite good back in 2010, but was dark and damp in some places – not so inviting for small children. This area has now been extended from a sheltered small maze and interactive garden to a huge educational resource with purpose built indoor and outdoor classrooms and a library/resource room. A fantastic facility, that is also available to school children and their teachers.
When we first visited it in February it was open, so I naturally had a good nosey around and took heaps of photographs of the colourful signage and planting ideas.
Isabella – the lesser spotted New Zealand Wood Pigeon
The vegetable garden blackboard – I want one of these!
A bug hotel
Caterpillar of the Monarch butterfly eating the leaves of a Swan plant
The next time we stopped by (in March) the educational vegetable planting area was locked up and shut away from the public eye, so it was lucky that we had seen it already!
If you are ever heading to Auckland – bring a picnic and enjoy a fantastic day out!