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.