Dunedin Botanic Garden top sights
Highlights are found year round:
- Spring is known for the Rhododendron Garden & Cherry Walk, September to October
- Summer roses and bedding plants & picnics under mature deciduous trees, November to late February
- Autumn for the blaze of foliage colour, March and April
- Winter and the Edwardian Glasshouse
Dunedin Botanic Garden is New Zealand’s first botanic garden and holds the status of six star Garden of International Significance. Opening hours are controlled by the season, dawn to dusk the beautiful wrought iron gates are opened. There is strictly no vehicle access into the botanic garden.
- It occupies 30.4 hectares in North Dunedin at an altitude of 25 – 85 metres above sea level
- The Garden located on the spur of Signal Hill has over 6,800 plant species
- The Garden has over four hectares of Rhododendron Dell with more than 3,000 rhododendrons
- The rock collection is an important reservoir of NZ alpine plants
- The Garden reflect Victorian era botanical interest in plants of the world with mature collections from temperate climates of North Asia, the South, Central and North Americas, Southern Africa, the Himalayas and the Mediterranean
Public bus to the Dunedin Botanic Garden is easy, catch bus 11, 14, or 8. Check Octagon to Dunedin Botanic Garden ORBUS routes for details.
Yes, the Dunedin Botanic Garden has guided tours. Guided Horticultural Tours will give you an overview of a particular area of the Botanic Garden.
They are guided by Botanic Garden curatorial staff. Depending on the season and the groups specific interest we tailor these tours to the group. It is best to go for a 2-2.5 hour tour length as this gives people a really good look around the Garden, especially if they are avid gardeners! However you may not have that long so 1.5 hours is ideal. Tours require a minimum of 8 people.
Dunedin Botanic Garden has car parks on Cumberland Street North and Lovelock Avenue. Opening hours of the garden change depending on season.
Year round the garden is open dawn to dusk, check out the Edwardian Glasshouse in winter or explore hidden trails in summer and picnic in quiet corners.
The Dunedin Botanic Garden is located at the northern edge of Dunedin CBD. Dunedin Botanic Garden is 250 metres of the University of Otago and one of the city’s most historic cemeteries, the Northern Cemetery. The botanic garden is on a spur of Signal Hill.
Indoors enjoy the elegant Edwardian glasshouse (1908). There are three wings, The Tropical House maintained at at an average daytime temperature of between 22°C and 28°C with high humidity levels suited to plants from tropical regions of the world. Sub-tropical collection of orchids, bromeliads and tender subtropical trees and shrubs are grown. Plants such as Ficus, vireya, rhododendrons and peace lilies are also displayed. And cati and succulents.
Enjoy the enthusiasm of the Dunedin horticulturalists in their blog, “Blooms and Scents in Winter’ When you think about it, mid winter flowering is a pretty big ask of any plant. We expect them to put on their Hawaiian shirts and look cheerful in the face of frost, biting southerlies and the occasional snow storm. On top of that they discover that even if they do make the effort, all the bees are on a go-slow and will only come to the party if it’s over 10 degrees Celsius.
There are a few, that are undeterred by all this and we can always count on plants like Chimonanthus and Hamamelis, or even a few early rhododendrons, to lift the mood. One favourite though is the deciduous Viburnum ×bodnantense ‘Dawn’ which can flower from autumn through to spring. Individually each flower is quite small but they come out in clusters that rival some camellias for size.’ source Blooms and Scent in Winter
The Dunedin Botanic Garden has hill slopes and steps however there are wide flat trails. All trails are clearly signposted for accessibility. Check visitor map (in the travel pack section) for details.
Dunedin Botanic Garden toilets are located in the lower garden under the Alpine House open – 10am – 4.30pm & Upper Garden toilets in the car park open – dawn till dusk.
CREST Train Tours, Go for a fun ride and at the same time support disadvantaged children.
Videos of the Botanic Garden
Check out the Dunedin Botanic Garden in these video clips….
Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden
We invite you to support us in ensuring the future of the Dunedin Botanic Garden by becoming a member of the Friends of the Dunedin Botanic Garden Inc.
Favourite and hidden picnic spots at Dunedin Botanic Garden
All are near car parking and beautiful, fascinating plants (source Dunedin Botanic Garden website).
Rhododendron Dell South Lookout
A flat grassy area, The Point offers views for miles and instant access to the woodland tracks of the wild, forested end of the Rhododendron Dell. A woodchip track off lower Lovelock Avenue gets you there in minutes.
Friendship Lawn, near Aviary
Sloped towards the sun, this large lawn is surrounded by exotic species from all around the world. From the upper garden carpark, follow the signs to the Geographic Collection.
New Zealand Native Lawn, beside Lovelock Avenue
This flat, manicured lawn, near the upper garden carpark, is so beautiful it is popular for weddings. Check out the divaricating lancewoods that start life as twisted and prickly then grow to graceful trees.
Arboretum, below the Aviary
With tall trees and open, grassy glens, the arboretum is wild and beautiful – find your own secret spot. The arboretum is a five minute walk from mid Opoho Road or park in the upper garden carpark.
North Asian Lawn, near Opoho
A wee gem, this private lawn has views to Flagstaff and is bordered by plants from Japan, Korea, and China. It’s an easy, flat walk from the intersection of Signal Hill Road and Lovelock Avenue.
Lawns near Playground
Just by the main gates are some interesting places that are fun to explore. The Clive Lister Garden uses tall plants to create the feeling of being in a room filled with colour and texture. The nearby Knot Garden is a copy of the one at Shakespeare’s garden and looks like a mini maze.
Lower Garden Trees
Between the lower garden carpark and rose garden are huge expanses of lawn, offering plenty of space for running and playing. Mature specimen trees have interesting labels and create a graceful, park-like atmosphere.
Herb Garden Lawn, behind Information Centre
Tea is made from a plant that grows beside this lawn – Camellia sinensis, in the species border of the Camellia Collection. The fascinating Herb Garden has labels describing how these plants help people.
For more gardens to visit in Dunedin check out Larnach Castle, Lan Yuan Garden, Olveston House, Glenfalloch Garden and Restaurant, Port Chalmers Rhododendron Deli in a former quarry. And remember to check out the botanical bedding displays in front of the glorious Victorian architecture of the Dunedin Railway Station.
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