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Gardens & Parks

Autumn Great Public NZ Gardens for a Burst of Foliage Colour - Places to Visit

Autumn foliage display is nature’s dash of colour before winter. Crisp fluttering gold bronze leaves invoke shades of summer warmth. New Zealand with its extensive plantings of Northern hemisphere exotic trees provides visitors with plenty of places to visit for a stunning visual feast of autumn colour.

North Island autumn displays are best mid-May. The prolonged summer season gives dedicated autumn fans a chance to visit the South Island autumn foliage displays mid-April to mid-May. Public gardens are free to enter and usually due to their colonial heritage rich treasure troves of deciduous trees. New Zealand native trees are mostly evergreen with only 11 deciduous trees. 



Max in Cornwall Park, Auckland autumn among the leaves, Auckland, New Zealand Max travel assistant enjoying autumn foliage Cornwall Park, Auckland

Check out Our trees | See & Do | Cornwall Park for a tree trail with the outstanding enormous macrocarpa trees along Old Avenue a highlight. Macrocarpa, commonly known as bur oak, is a large and majestic deciduous tree that is native to North America. There are over 8,000 trees in Cornwall Park. Enjoy the panoramic city views reaching from sky to sea. There are two cafes as well as ice cream vendors located in the park. With the highest point in Auckland (One Tree Hill) within the park’s area it is a great place for instagram photo moments of Auckland skyline.

More about Cornwall Park




Vibrant yellow-orange leaves during autumn in Cambridge, Waikato, New Zealand Autumn glory Cambridge, Waikato

Visiting Auckland’s nearby weekend markets make sure to pop Cambridge, Waikato on the list. Check out Notable Trees of Cambridge and take a fascinating stroll through trees from around the world as you pass cafes, shops and galleries.

More about Cambridge (Waikato)


VINEYARDS are glorious in autumn with the deciduous vines fluttering gold leaves down the regimented rows. The bonus is the local wine cellar door.



Waipahihi Botanic Garden, maple walk late summer, Taupo, North Island NZ Waipahihi Botanic Garden, maple walk late summer, Taupo

A glorious forest in the making. One of New Zealand’s lesser known public gardens is the creation of dedicated local volunteers. Deciduous exotic maples mingle with flourishing native trees and plants. There are now well over 2,000 rhododendrons, camellias and azalea walking paths in the developing native forest, with other feature plantings. In autumn the Waipahihi Botanical Garden hosts an annual Music Day – usually on the Sunday after the Iron Man competition. It’s a wonderful showcase of local music. 

The best autumn displays for this mid North Island garden is early May. Autumn is in full force during May, and you will see spectacular leaf colours in the gardens, including a variety of maples and several Gingko trees, just south of the first carpark.

TIP: Extraordinary, you can drive (very slowly and carefully along a perimeter one way road making this a great garden to visit for those who are mobility impaired). And don’t forget to find the donation box.

More about Waipahihi Botanical Gardens




While the North Island has notable public gardens with stunning autumn foliage the best place for autumn glory is the South Island with its cooler climate creating ideal conditions for the burst of colour in April.


Check out 6 stunning autumn South Island places, things to do & see and combine the outstanding vistas with three visits to glorious South Island public gardens.


Farms plant poplar trees as natural windbreaks. The deciduous trees provide an incidental gorgeous autumn foliage display. Be careful finding a park on a busy state highway as you snap the farmer’s windbreak tree display.



Autumn vineyard, Wairarapa, Marlborough, New Zealand Autumn vineyard foliage display Wairarapa, Marlborough

What an awesome thing to do, a Marlborough wine trail combined with a visit to Pollard Garden, Blenheim’s public gardens with their extensive plantings of deciduous trees.

More about Pollard Garden




Autumn tree with sun beam, Hagley Park, Christchurch, Canterbury New Zealand Hagley Park autumn, Christchurch, Canterbury

Christchurch Botanic Garden is stupendous throughout the year. A lot of fun is the garden caterpillar tour of the mature deciduous trees in the garden adjacent to the Christchurch Arts Centre. Unmissable is Hagley Park and its walks under avenues of mature trees. The Christchurch Botanic Garden walking guide recommends early May as the optimal time to visit for autumn foliage displays.

More about Christchurch Botanic Gardens



Donovan Park, Invercargill, New Zealand @Southland, New Zealand Donovan Park, Invercargill, New Zealand @Southland

Invercargill Botanic Garden, Queens Park South Island is a gem. Another garden with a massive colonial heritage of exotic trees adding a welcome burst of colour with the decidedly chilly Southland wintery blasts heralding the advent of autumn. Queens Park is amazing with the 81-hectare urban park home to an 18-hole golf course & aviary & fitness trail. The park is free and open to the public every day of the year.

Invercargill Travel Guide


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