Gardens things to do
AUCKLAND AUTUMN HIGHLIGHTS
Relish nature’s announcement of a weather change. The imperceptable bronze colour tinted leaves is sub-tropical Auckland’s autumn. Leaves reluctantly curl and crisp into a slow leaf drop.
- Great photo moments with your pet or favourite person
- Jump and throw leaves at your favourite person
- Enjoy autumn warmth, winter it’s not that bad … yet
- Plan a picnic with an option of indoors
- Vineyards, wineries, brunch where leaves turn gold
Autumn in Auckland is not a brush of brisk sharp cold days; rather it’s a fading of the heat of summer. Cornwall Park is a guaranteed leaf litter extravagance, streets with exotic mature trees (a sure indication of the promise of autumn splendor) and London Plane trees in the inner suburbs of Ponsonby and Grey Lynn are on the list for a town walk. Vineyards are beautiful in autumn and then there is the promise of a winery brunch. For more ideas what to do on cooler days in Auckland check Auckland guide, for places to go indoors when it rains.
Want to get out of the city, check out North Island autumn highlights, 1-day trip from Auckland, shake the cobwebs and explore the Waikato.
CORNWALL PARK AVENUE OF TREES
The avenue is a place to find the child in all of us. Jump into the mound of leaf litter, photograph a glorious curled oak leaf and throw leaves at your friends and family.
Throw leaves to create a drizzle of falling leaves for a selfie. The avenue of autumn leaves is part of Pohutukawa Drive. While exotic trees provide the autumn show the park is also home to extensive native bush. Enoy the pull of the seasons is very evident in Cornwall Park with its classical European sweeping lawns. Twin Oaks Drive includes Algerian Oak, Sessile Oak, English Oak and hybrids between these species. There are free guided walks with botanists. Check Cornwall Park website for more information.
Admission is free.
Cornwall Park’s Maori name for the hill is Maungakiekie – mountain of the kiekie (Freycinetia banksii) that grows as an epiphytic climber or vine.
Suburban gems do not often come as neatly packaged as Eden Garden. A disused quarry is now a sanctuary of five and half acres, minutes from the bustle of Newmarket and downtown.
There are maples and exotic foliage interspersed among the largest and most varied collection of camellias in New Zealand; a large number of vireya rhododendrons, rhododendrons and azaleas, a host of bromeliads, some magnificent hibiscus and a wide collection of New Zealand native plants.
The garden, with its winding paths, presents surprises around every corner. The cafe and plant centre contribute to a perfect day trip where you leisurely stroll at your own pace. There is an entrance fee.
WAIHEKE ISLAND VINES
Take your pick or visit a favourite. A courtyard cafe with stunning Hauraki Gulf views or perhaps with the Auckland skyline as a smudge on the horizon.
A glass of your favourite drop, a platter of olives, fresh cheeses and delectable snacks awaits your attention.
In the foreshore is an ordered row of autumn coloured vines reaching to the horizon in a palate of gold, red and yellowed vine leaves.
This is a perfect time of the year for relaxing long lunches at a local vineyard or strolling along the sun warmed sandy beaches, without the summer crowds but with the residual glow of summer warmth.
Waiheke island is a tempting destination for an impromptu getaway.
FRANKLIN ROAD, PONSONBY
While there are no Christmas lights the enormous hundred year old London Plane trees form a shaded summer canopy.
The huge leaves make for a crunchy bronzed leaf drop where you can stomp your way down to Victoria Park and the Viaduct Basin for a coffee.
Remember to check the suburb of Grey Lynn and its adjoining park for London Plane trees and other mature exotics lurking among the native bush.
For more ideas what to do in Ponsonby check out A day in Ponsonby – inner city suburb – Best Bits.
One of New Zealand’s great second hand book shops is in the area.
WESTERN SPRINGS PARK
A picturesque lake and willows gracing the paths makes for autumn instagram moments.
Enjoy a walk around the Western Springs Park or lake or find a spot for a picnic. Although remember do not feed the opportunistic gaggle of geese. They are determined to eat unsuitable food which causes poor nutrition and spreads disease.
The lake is a natural spring fed lake that supplied early Auckland and is now a sanctury for wildlife.
The park is adjacent to Auckland Zoo and MOTAT (Museum of Transport and Technology).
The lake’s original name was ‘Te Wai Orea’, which means ‘waters of the eel’.
AUCKLAND BOTANIC GARDENS
Auckland Botanic Gardens – a classic contemporary garden with a mixture of exotic and native plantings.
The mature exotic trees offer a glorious display yet it is the summer fading roses with enormous hips or the herbaceous borders with glimpses of seed heads and grasses thriving in the fading heat of autumn that make autumn in a cultivated space a delight.
Look for the seed heads and the fluffy feathers and delicate propellers attached to the summer spent plant making for great close up photo moments.
Another classic destination with Wintergardens in their permanent coat of tropical warmth, the majestic Auckland Domain Museum, mature trees, cricket grounds and the sense of nineteenth century planting exercises to create a public space for the growing city.
AYRLIES GARDEN & WETLAND (private garden open to the public)
Swamp cypress and liquidambars are autumn performers with sensational foliage displays adding reds and golds to the sweeping harbour views. The combination of native and exotic plantings is seamless.
Ayrlies is an inspirational garden with its combination of native and exotic plantings providing a backdrop for seasonal change in a climate where snow and ice are unknown. The sub-tropical garden is a homage to the rolling hills of Auckland. There are plenty of quiet spaces for contemplation.
A perfect place to experience autumn North Island style.
Admission fees apply.
- KAIPARA COAST SCULPTURE GARDEN
Kaipara Coast Plant Centre is a tranquil, peaceful oasis set amongst sculpture gardens on a rural property overlooking the Kaipara Harbour. Come and enjoy a relaxed art and garden experience. Stroll along with a gentle 1 km sculpture & garden trail set in a tranquil and inspirational rural oasis, located at award-winning Kaipara Coast Plant Centre. Listen to the birds as you enjoy the gardens and over 60 selected sculptures by leading New Zealand artists.
The Sculpture Trail is a large outdoor art gallery where sculptures are discovered while strolling through the gardens, the bush track and past the ponds.
The exhibition is changed every 12 months.
Admission fees apply, garden centre attached.
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