What a jewel, these gardens are a delight and worth a visit no matter how short.
Wedged between SH2 and the Waikato River there are two main gates so access is good particularly as the Gardens are used for major art and cultural events with many car parks. Entry is free with opening hours for the central Enclosed Gardens are open from 0700 to 1800 hours, daily whilst the Victorian Greenhouses open from 1000 to 1700 hours, dependent upon the season. There is also a very friendly Information Centre and well stocked Garden Café and Restaurant so the opportunity for a full day visit is a good possibility.
Organised into zoned garden collections there are five main areas, two greenhouses and eight other attractions illustrated by colour code on the site plan available from the visitor centre. The Enclosed Gardens - Paradise Garden, the Productive Garden and Fantasy Gardens all flow into one another, cunningly hidden and disguised by walls, planting and walkways. The Cultivar and Landscape Gardens occupy a much greater area owing to their contents; nevertheless all are accessible with good paths and boardwalks. All that is missing is a ‘sensory garden’ however the sounds and smells will delight those with impaired vision.
The Kitchen Garden and the Sustainability Backyard (Productive Garden) are well worth a special visit and the Herb Garden does offer a slight sensory journey. Look out for the two beehives and the chickens. Access is easy but sensible footwear is probably a good idea as is a bottle of water on hot days. For those wishing to walk or cycle there is an established route through the Gardens back to the City centre.
Thank you Hamilton for such a great place to visit.
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