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Gardens & Parks

Whangarei Quarry Gardens – Places to Visit

North Island

Whangarei Quarry Garden is a bucket list destination for garden lovers. Visitors will enjoy the conversion of an industrial ugly quarry into a magical garden space. Whangarei Quarry Gardens is a #nzmustgo destination while in Whangarei with its picnic areas and spectacular success at repurposing an ugly industrial quarry into a curated garden.

Whangarei Quarry Garden elevated picnic area overlooking gardens
Whangarei Quarry Garden elevated picnic area overlooking gardens

Whangarei Quarry Gardens top sights:


  • The deep still waters of the quarry lake are backdropped by the rock face quarry cuts making a dramatic contrast. The garden is supported by the hard work by volunteers and dependent by koha (donations).
  • Look for the sculptures interpreting the history of the site and the artful use of industrial remains as decorative pieces in the gardens.
  • Great picnic spots and plenty of interesting objects and things to do for families and kids.
  • The local favourite is Quail cafe / restaurant for its leisurely brunches. The best time to visit Quail cafe is during the week as locals throng to the Quarry Gardens during the weekend.

Explore over 60 acres of cultivated gardens located within a former quarry. Bookings are recommended for the Quail Cafe.

The site was a functioning quarry from 1940 to 1974. Concrete foundations are still visible and industrial remnants form part of the garden story as industrial repurposed decorative objects. The corroded steel fittings frame lush subtropical bromeliads. To turn a quarry into a spectacular garden is a feat of imagination and hard toil.


The Gardens are set over 60 acres and feature a lake, waterfalls, picnic areas, forest walks, and a variety of garden styles.

Whangarei Quarry Gardens sculpture Northland NZ
Whangarei Quarry Gardens sculpture, Northland

Whangarei Quarry Gardens suffered substantial damage during a tropical storm mid 2023. The dedicated volunteers have sectioned off part of the garden while they work to restore the gardens to their former glory. Your visit is important as are the donations to support the upkeep of the Whangarei Quarry Garden.



The Quarry Gardens describe the styles as…

Whangarei Quarry Gardens Orchids

Five Senses Garden

Built in 2003 with sponsorship from Whangarei Garden Discovery Inc, this garden stimulates our senses with a striking combination of plants and sculpture. A stroll through these raised beds invites us to Taste*, Smell, Look, Listen and Touch our way into the world of subtropical gardening.


Bromeliad Garden

A favourite spot for many volunteers, the Bromeliad Garden is a classic example of growing the right plant in the right place. Bromeliads generally like this semi-shaded, free-draining slope; as do shade-seeking visitors on a hot summer’s day.


Whangarei Quarry Gardens picnic area has plenty of bench seating and easily accessible from the carpark with its sloped path access.

Fragrant Camellia Collection

One of the jewels in the Gardens crown, the Fragrant Camellia Collection is built around the Camellia cultivars produced by two local plant breeders: Jim Finlay and Os Blumhardt. In 2001-2002, Jim Finlay donated 115 of his fragrant Camellias to the Gardens, 49 of which are not found in any other public garden in the world.


Arid Garden

The Arid Garden is located in one of the sunniest and driest parts of the Gardens. The ideal growing conditions has led to a flourishing collection of cacti and succulents. Ground level temperatures frequently rise over 40 degrees C in summer, with the highest temperature recorded at 50 degrees C. The plants love it.

Whangarei Quarry succulents contrast with steel from former life, New Zealand
Whangarei Quarry succulents contrast with steel from former life

Recommended a sun umbrella in the height of summer when viewing the cacti.


For those whose fitness levels find 60 acres daunting you have the opportunity to book a Golf Cart Tours. Book a one hour guided tour of the Gardens in an electric golf cart. Up to 5 guests can be accommodated in the golf cart for the 1 hour tour of the gardens. It is a perfect solution for visitors less able to manage the paths.


Enjoy a tour of the entire Gardens, in comfort and with a guide taking you through the interesting history of the site. Forward bookings are essential for the guided tours. For more information about the Quarry Gardens click here, Whangarei Quarry Gardens.


And let’s discover more about what to do in Whangarei


  • Whangarei travel guide
  • Whangarei Hatea walkway with its sculptures and art installations
  • AH Reed Memorial Park
@HATEA Loop Whangarei
@HATEA Loop Whangarei

Whangarei Quarry Gardens

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