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“Hidden gem” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Dunedin Chinese Garden

Dunedin Chinese Garden
Corner Rattray and Cumberland Streets, Dunedin 9058 , New Zealand
006434773248
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Ranked #22 of 38 Attractions in Dunedin
Type: Gardens, Outdoors
Attraction details
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
20 attraction reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Hidden gem”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2011

A fantastic unexpected courtyard garden. Go there and be surprised (and stop for tea and dim sum)

Visited October 2011
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Date | Rating
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“Really Enjoyable”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 23, 2011

From the other reviews it seems the Chinese Gardens are a hate it or love it experience. My mum and I loved the whole design. Westerners build for function and prettiness. This Chinese scholar's garden/retreat is designed with the spirit of the structure and scholar in mind. As you walk around you notice how the shape of the central bridge matches the edge of the rocks as you look out from a particular place. The spire of the First Church fits in a little hole in the rock if you stand in just the right place. The lattice windows of the final hallway zig and zag so you can look straight through them all. The rocky section has several stairways and pathways to get over it. The plants are sparse but nice looking and traditional.
I ordered a Chinese tea and it was served in a pretty clay pot with matching cup. You have to carry it on a tray across to the tea house or there are several little tables and stools in the courtyard. It was a bit cold outside and the tea house was heated. There is a choice of a few snack foods or crackers. Definitely not a coffee and cake place but we didn't expect it to be. The gift shop had beautiful silk scarves for $12 and we each bought one. There is a variety of Chinese knick knacks and some more expensive items like a calligraphy brush set.
There are information plaques around the site explaining the design and in the foyer there is a video of how it was built. We watched the video after looking around. We thought it was well worth the $9 NZ entrance fee. Children under 13 with an adult are free.
I wouldn't call it wheel chair or stroller friendly from what I can remember. Older primary age children should enjoy the rocky pathways. They provide a challenge without being too dangerous. We managed to walk all over except some of the steeper rock steps. Mum is 83. From memory the only place to sit is in the tea house and courtyard. In summer you can buy fish food and feed the gold fish in the pond.
It is almost in the centre of town not far from the station and there is a free car park.
This garden was a lovely addition to our self guided garden tour of Dunedin and surrounds.

Visited October 2011
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Dunedin, New Zealand
1 review
“Cultural Experience”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2011

While relatively 'small' what one needs to appreciate is the history behind Chinese Garden building, the symbolism and therefore the meaning of what was constructed, how and why. When this is understood what one stands in is much more easily appreciated. Without the benefit of an informed guide the value of what is before one can easily be missed. So really a hidden treasure!!

Visited February 2011
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New Zealand
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
13 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
41 helpful votes 41 helpful votes
“Terrible Tourist Trap - Waste of $$$$”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed February 13, 2011

Nine dollars buys you entrance into a swimming pool that has a few plants around it. i have seen many hotel swimming pools that are much more attractively landscaped. They call this a "garden" and it has barely any plants. It is a tiny area surrounded by white walls. it takes five minutes of slow walking to see the entire thing. Absolutely the worst tourist attraction in Dunedin. Please avoid.

Visited January 2011
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, UK
Top Contributor
80 reviews 80 reviews
25 attraction reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
35 helpful votes 35 helpful votes
“One of a kind”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 14, 2010

Great place to visit for the adults and kids. My children enjoyed exploring these gardens and climbing around the rocks. These are the biggest Chinese gardens in the Southern Hemisphere and they make a nice connection with the nearby Early Settlers Museum given the history of the Chinese in NZ foillowing the gold rushes.

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