Take a day and take your pick from a number of well-established gardens in the Hauraki and Coromandel region; reflective of the sub-tropical environment and weather systems, our gardens emphasize creative and innovative use of water, landscaping and New Zealand native flora.
As you might expect, gardens are often seasonal. so please check opening times when you are planning your visit.
Option 1: Near Thames
Ngatea Water Gardens are an unexpected treat for travellers passing through Ngatea on State Highway 2. Situated only 1 hour from Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Coromandel, they are also a fun day trip destination. The picturesque 5 acre property has funny signs and scenes throughout, and is complete with giftshop, playground, and function centre for weddings and other occasions.
Located 30 minutes north of Thames on the Tapu-Coroglen Road, Rapaura Water Gardens makes a great day trip and destination in its own right. Rapaura Water Gardens offers boutique accommodation, in park-like surroundings all in one tranquil location. It is open daily from October-May.
Take your time meandering through abundant native bush and ferns and noticing the sight and sound of Tuis, Fantails, Silver Eyes and Wood Pigeons. Take a gentle walk over bridges and streams to arrive at a shimmering waterfall, a great spot for a picnic to the refreshing sounds of the cascading "Seven Stairs of Heaven".
Spend the afternoon exploring seasonal displays of native and exotic flowers. Expect to see Irises and Bog plants in spring, Azaleas and Rhododendrons followed by Orchids, Begonias, Hydrangeas and Water Lilies from November to April.
Option 2: Near Waihi
At the Waihi Lavender Farm, you will have the opportunity to stroll through the purple fields and learn more about the multiple benefits of the flowers. Sweet floral lavender has many functional properties, apart from smelling so good. It's known to be an effective calming agent, and its antibacterial properties make it helpful in treating skin irritations, eczema and fungal infections. The farm shop has skin care products and soy candles, plus spectacular blueberry lavender ice cream! Open in season, early December through to mid-January.
Option 3: Near Coromandel Town
The Waterworks is a delightfully fun garden the entire family will be sure to enjoy. With over 70 water-powered attractions to look at, play on or interact with, The Waterworks is a ‘Coromandel-style’ amusement park in a vast garden setting. A true place of discovery, you will be fascinated by the ingenuity of the water attractions, enchanted by the quirky art and sculpture, and soothed by the tranquility of the native foliage growing throughout the property.
Pack a picnic and make use of the free gas barbecues and picnic areas alongside the Waiau river waterholes - great for a post-lunch swim. Alternatively, enjoy tasty refreshments and excellent local Coffee La La at The Waterworks Cafe after completing your day’s excursion.
While at The Waterworks take a short drive down the 309 Road to visit the Kauri Grove and Falls. If time permits you might also like to head into Coromandel Town for a visit through the 1.6-hectare predator-free fenced wildlife sanctuary and sculpture park at Driving Creek or take a night barbecue glowworm tour (in summer only).
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