Sunday morning. Grey rain stippled the windows. So much for meeting Tim’s family at the Auckland Botanic Gardens.
We tried to think of somewhere else we could go in South Auckland. Somewhere undercover that wasn’t a shopping centre. Easier said than done. We came up with Butterfly Creek and Spookers – can you think of any more?
We ended up walking around the gardens anyway. It was great. The rain slowed to a drizzle before stopping entirely. We even got some sunshine. That’s the thing about New Zealand weather: the whole ‘four seasons in one day’ thing can work in your favour!
The Auckland Botanic Gardens are very different to the Hamilton Gardens. They’ve got more room for starters. I definitely prefer the Hamilton Gardens, because each garden is like its own little world, but the Auckland Botanic Gardens have many cool elements to recommend them.
I liked the edible garden, especially as the café made use of the produce from it. (The café’s food was actually really nice.) I also liked the African garden. The simple conical sculptures – evocative of termite mounds – looked awesome. My favourite garden was possibly the Potter Children’s Garden.
There’s a Potter Children’s Garden in Hamilton too – at Parana Park, but the one in Auckland is quite distinct. It didn’t have as many ‘playground’ elements, but was more educational. It had a jungle section and a Maori section, for example, as well as an interactive sundial.
The gardens are very wheelchair friendly, which was good for us with Tim’s grandma. You can borrow mobility scooters from the Visitor Centre for free. The whole place is free to enter too. It’s only about twenty minutes from the airport, so keep it in mind if you’re ever touring New Zealand.
In case you couldn’t tell, I like visiting gardens. Maybe because I’m English. I wrote an article on NZ Top List called 10 Quite Nice Gardens to Visit in New Zealand. (Because, being English, I also tend towards understatement.) You could also check out my articles about Tupare and Te Puna Quarry Park. Just sayin’.