Auckland Botanic Gardens

This coming July, we will have lived in Auckland for 2 years. Today, for the first time, we visited the Auckland Botanic Gardens. Why has it taken us so long? Well for a start, it’s miles away in South Auckland and the only way to get there is in a car on the motorway.

What did we think of the place? We used to be frequent visitors to the Christchurch Botanical Gardens and also the Dunedin Botanical Gardens and by comparison, Auckland’s were a real disappointment. It is quite an arid place with a glaring absence of established trees. They only opened in 1982 so maybe this is why, but if so, I would still expect to see many younger trees. It was hot and sunny today. A few shady trees would have improved our walk immensely.

The rose garden was an uninspiring place. It gives the impression that someone has just gone and plonked out a few gardens then stuck in a winding path. There’s no design there at all. It’s true that the rose gardens in Christchurch both at Mona Vale and the Botanical Gardens set the bar pretty high, so perhaps we have just been spoilt by that. But roses are beautiful and the olfactory delights sensational, it surely doesn’t take much…

There was one feature of the gardens worth plugging, and that was the Children’s Garden. Daniel and Elizabeth had a delightful time frolicking about in this little area with its streams, bridges, cacti, mini-forest and a maze. There’s nothing like this in Christchurch’s gardens, but Christchurch does have an enormous playground and free outdoor swimming pool especially for kids. Auckland has neither.

Immediately after leaving the children’s garden, we were shocked to find ourselves on a road with cars. This was within the gardens themselves and the cars belonged not to gardeners, but the general public. There was no footpath. There were also times on our walk when we could hear the cars rumbling along the nearby motorway.

If you’re a tourist to Auckland with limited time, give the Botanical Gardens a miss. The Domain and Cornwall Park are far nicer places to visit.

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  1. Rachel,
    It’s so delightful to see Daniel and Elizabeth (and you) enjoying the Children’s Garden.I thought of them when Eve and I were passing the park under the Storey Bridge this afternoon when 4 children were galloping around the riverside.Childhood passes soooo quickly and they should enjoy it to the max.

    1. Thanks, Doug. I completely agree. We love all the noise, and chatter and games and general fun that comes with having small kids around the house.

  2. Rachel, I’ve been meaning to comment on this for a while. The photos are gorgeous and belie the rather negative comments you’ve made. Have you forgotten what a welcome stop it was for us last year en route to the Coromandel Peninsula? Perhaps, I saw the best end sitting with a howling Freud in the car? In a perfect world, cities wouldn’t have to have budgets and priorities. Perhaps Auckland City Council is concentrating on improving its roads and bike paths, or even more urgent matters.

    1. I do remember our stop there and it did look very enticing from that viewpoint. Perhaps I was a bit negative in my post. We did have a nice day. We have also been spoilt by the magnificent gardens in Christchurch. Ben was similarly disappointed.

      What excuse it there for allowing cars within the gardens though? That surely is taking Auckland’s love affair with the automobile a little too far. Have you ever visited any botanical gardens in the world that allow public cars to drive through? I haven’t, but I haven’t visited all that many. It was especially mind boggling because this public road lay right next to the exit from the Children’s Garden which would surely see a large volume of children escaping through it only to head straight to a road.

      There are no new bike paths being built anywhere here. Just roads and motorways. They’ll never get it.

      1. I grew up in a terrible dump, Thursday Island in the fifties, so most other places always look rather nice by comparison. Perhaps you should run for a seat on the Council at the next elections?
        Although our botanic gardens have roads through them, I don’t think the public is allowed to drive on them nowadays.

  3. I heard this week that New Zealand no longer has a deficit. This has happened without a mining boom and despite the impact of the Christchurch earthquakes. A remarkable feat! Compare this with Australia’s situation where we have an ENORMOUS deficit, growing at an alarming rate. Our triple A credit rating is now at risk. All this despite a mining boom and having the world’s best treasurer, Wayne Swan,,!
    Obviously, your botanical gardens weren’t a priority but you can be proud of the fiscal management.

  4. If the roads are too busy & house prices too high, why did you move here to make them even more busy & expensive? And yes, the general tone of your blog is negative about Auckland. Why do CHCH people take pleasure in trashing our city? We don’t do it to you.

    Here’s a tip; move to Dunedin.

    1. These are my own opinions. While Auckland is not a city that I like, I’m sure there are many happy people who live here and love the place.

      I presently have no choice but to live here because I am a stay-at-home mother and this is where my husband was able to find a job after the Christchurch earthquakes. We would have moved to Dunedin if he had managed to find a job there, but he didn’t. I am hopeful that we will find somewhere else to live in the not-too-distant future.

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