Tauranga Botanical Gardens in New Zealand: A Beautiful Discovery

Tauranga, New Zealand, is the largest city in the Bay of Plenty area. In addition to being the largest, most quickly expanding urban center, it’s also a great place for a vacation. Boasting everything from historic homes to lush forests, Tauranga has something for everyone. The most popular tourist attractions are the various gardens situated within the immediate and surrounding Auckland/Hamilton area.

LIST OF BOTANICAL GARDENS 
IN TAURANGA 
AND SURROUNDING AREAS


The Waterlily Gardens 

Captivating garden enthusiasts for over 70 years, the Waterlily Gardens started as a joint venture in the 1940’s by Tom and Mabel Gordon. In 2011, they were opened to the public and have been a popular destination for weddings, day trips, and romantic first dates ever since.

The gardens include an abundance of lakes and ponds overflowing with water lilies, serene forest walks, dense forests, rushing waterfalls, and well-manicured lawns. The gardens are home to 70 varieties of water lilies and dozens of trees native to New Zealand.

Guests entering the gardens are greeted with the formal lawns and on-site cafe, the Lotus Cafe. Continuing through the gardens, they will be taken past a variety of native trees including towering giant oaks, maple, and swamp Cyprus.

Past the lush forests are the ponds and lakes, with their glittering waters and abundance of water lilies, hand-made sculptures, and a backdrop of bright cherry trees. Over the stream lies a number of casually arranged ponds and the nature path, awash with local flora and fauna, that takes guests through the bush and back into the clearing.

Exiting the bush by way of the path, garden goers will find themselves strolling past sandy beaches and rushing waterfalls, finally stopping at the Garden’s two-acre lake. Here, guests can sit and have a picnic or snap a few photos, the weeping willow trees providing shade and shielding them from the sun.

After relaxing, guests can make their back to the Lotus Cafe for a quick bite to eat. Here, they can choose from an expansive menu of sweets, treats, savory dishes, and coffee. The cafe, as it stands currently, is only open for three of the four seasons and is available to large groups, so guests wanting to enjoy a cookie after their walk should book a group to explore with.

Fountain Gardens

Boasting over 30 fun water features, a collection of garden art and fountains, and a number of scenic foot paths, Tauranga’s Fountain Gardens are a wonderful place to spend the day. The gardens are family friendly and welcoming, offering guests the opportunity to host events and take group walking tours.

Regardless of where you are in your tour, you’re almost guaranteed to see a hand-carved statue such or fountain such as the Lotus Pond Fountain, the Spinning Fountain, and the Glass Bowl Fountain statue.

Visitors can opt to take a guided tour or stroll through the gardens at their leisure. Either way, they will experience all the best parts of nature. Both guided and individual tours start off using a series of walking paths.

The first of these paths winds through the native gully, which is surrounded by large, towering trees and giant flora and fauna. Continuing to follow, guests are taken around the garden’s pond and past the rose gardens.

Here, they can stop to interact with the seven dwarfs fountain, which features a fun floating footbridge. At the top exit of the gardens, guests will find a magnificent bamboo plantation, which is home to flowing streams, waterfalls, and, of course, tons of bamboo canes.

Yatton Park

Boasting over 30 fun water features, a collection of garden art and fountains, and a number of scenic foot paths, Tauranga’s Fountain Gardens are a wonderful place to spend the day. The gardens are family friendly and welcoming, offering guests the opportunity to host events and take group walking tours.

Regardless of where you are in your tour, you’re almost guaranteed to see a hand-carved statue such or fountain such as the Lotus Pond Fountain, the Spinning Fountain, and the Glass Bowl Fountain statue.

Visitors can opt to take a guided tour or stroll through the gardens at their leisure. Either way, they will experience all the best parts of nature. Both guided and individual tours start off using a series of walking paths.

The first of these paths winds through the native gully, which is surrounded by large, towering trees and giant flora and fauna. Continuing to follow, guests are taken around the garden’s pond and past the rose gardens.

Here, they can stop to interact with the seven dwarfs fountain, which features a fun floating footbridge. At the top exit of the gardens, guests will find a magnificent bamboo plantation, which is home to flowing streams, waterfalls, and, of course, tons of bamboo canes.

Hamilton Gardens

Hamilton Gardens in nearby Hamilton is a garden lover’s paradise, boasting over a dozen unique gardens and open areas. Each garden contains a mix of beautiful plant life and history from throughout the ages.

Every season has something for nature enthusiasts to enjoy. Summer is prime time for visitors to tour the English Flower Gardens, the Italian Renaissance Garden, or the Te Parapara Garden, where guests can help harvest sweet potatoes.

Autumn brings the perfect time for strolling through the Japanese garden of Contemplation, the Waikato River pathway where guests can stop for a riverside picnic, and the 16th century themed Tudor Garden. Winter comes and brings the ideal time of year for perusing the Hammond Camellia Garden, the Tropical Garden, and the Rhododendron Lawn.

Spring, as temperatures begin to warm, is the best time to see the Rogers Rose Garden bloom, admire the daffodils on the Hillside Lawn, and witness the fruit of winter’s labor with a walk by the Kitchen Garden. 

The gardens offer guided tours and a cute little gift and novelty shop. Also on the site is a quaint cafe and a great place for kite flyers and drone fans to fly their craft of choice below the tree line of the gardens.

Auckland Botanic Gardens

Just a short drive away from the Hamilton Gardens are the Auckland Botanic Gardens of Auckland, NZ. These gardens feature over 10,000 plant specimens from around the world, with each carefully-laid out garden having its own theme and natural charm.

Visitors can treat themselves to exploring the Conifer Garden, learning about herbs at the Herb Garden, breathing in the scent of ripe fruit at the Orchards, or relaxing in utter serenity within the peace of the Rose Garden.

Visitors with children can spend the afternoon at the Potter Children’s Garden, where the whole family can enjoy the magical maze, dig for grubs, watch educational presentations and demonstrations, and learn all about plants and their importance.

Hungry guests can make their way to the Cafe Miko, where they can sit down for a cup of fresh-brewed coffee and a biscuit, or a homemade lunch using fresh produce  picked directly from the Auckland Botanic Garden’s very own Edible Garden. Talk about a tasty way to end the day!

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit if you’re looking to admire the spring flowers is generally during the period of time from September until the end of November. During this short time, the weather is just warming up and the season’s new buds have started to stretch their faces toward the sun.


That being said, you can start to see the spring flowers as early as the first week of August, which is, technically speaking, still considered winter.


For summer greens, the ideal time to visit is January. However, this time is also peak tourist season, which makes all of New Zealand’s botanical gardens a hub of activity. If you can handle the crowds, though, you will definitely find the best selection of summer flowers in the middle of January. February is a good, albeit quieter, alternative for those looking to explore without a ton of hustle and bustle.


Fall flowers are most likely to be spotted during April and May, with May being the colder of the two months. April is a great time to visit botanical gardens that are located on and around grassy plains, as the wind is nearly nonexistent and the crisp temperature means that the autumn flowers are in full bloom.


Winter starts in June, making it the first month where it’s possible to spot the winter flowers as they push their way into the light. June is full of cold days and even colder nights, but the cold-loving flowers and greenery are abundant, despite the cold temperatures and frigid air.


You’ll spot all sorts of evergreen and conifer trees, as well as extremely hardy flowers in muted, cool hues.


These recommended times are only suggestions. Based on where you’re going in New Zealand and for what purpose, you may choose to go at a different time or at the very start or end of one of these time frames.


It’s important to remember that the seasons in New Zealand are different than those in North America, with our traditional summer months being their coldest winter months and vice versa.

CONCLUSION

Ah, the beauty of flowers - how can one not appreciate them? If you’re planning a trip to New Zealand and we’ve managed to catch your attention, we’d highly recommend paying a visit to any or all of the botanic gardens we mentioned.

Each one has its own personality and charm, as well as a dedicated team of people standing proudly behind them to guide you along. Again, we just remind you to be mindful of your seasons; don’t forget that they, depending where you live, could very well be reverse to what you’re used to!