|The gardenswere created in 1976 when local visionary Chris Parker set to work landscaping a little over ten acres of land running down to the harbour’s edge.With his English background, botanical knowledge and the site’s natural attributes of fresh water springs, ponds and wetlands he transformed this once bare land into a beautiful and special garden.Sealed paths meander through spectacular golden Swamp Cypress and water trickles its way to the sea through an elaborate series of ponds.
Most of the original plantings remain to this day and year round colour is provided by the giant camellias and magnolias brightening the winter hues. Azaleas and lilies form the spring and summer palettes with shades of green, red, yellow and orange. Several native birds are on display including the Kea (New Zealand Mountain Parrot) and if you visit over winter you may be lucky enough to see Kotuku Ngutu Papa or Royal Spoonbill swooping over the ponds. You will certainly hear the distinctive croak of white faced herons as they glide between treetops and in late winter there are dozens of Tuis in the flowering cherries.
For Bird enthusiasts the gardens are an oasis, visitors can get up close and experience a fantastic area of the bird sanctuary.
The wetlands area is home to a number of Kawaupaka (little shags) and occasionally Kotuku-ngutupapa (Royal Spoonbill), white faced herons nest in the magnolias, while paradise shelducks, black swans and Papango(black teal) grace the ponds.
In the more formal areas of the gardens visitors can see Kea ( NZ Mountain Parrot), Kereru (Wood Pigeon), Kakariki ( NZ Parakeet).
Open 10am – 4.30pm, 7 days from September to May. Winter hours are June to the 2nd Monday in September, weekends and school holidays only. Groups are invited year round by appointment.