GO NZ: New Zealand best botanic gardens and scuplture parks

Auckland Botanic Gardens

A whole other word awaits 25km south of the city. With more than 10,000 plants to discover across 25ha, it’s hard to know where to start, so pick up a map from the visitor’s centre or pre-plan online. During the summer months, put the Rose Garden on the top of your list, with colourful, fragrant arches bursting into life. The Spring Blossom Valley will lift your spirits as we exit winter, but any time of year is great to visit the palm garden, native forest (its sheer size makes it perfect for a spot of forest bathing) or the African Plants Garden (you’ll forget you’re still in Auckland if you make it on a clear day).
Open: During alert level 3 lockdown, the visitor centre, car park and cafe are closed, but gates remain open for local walkers. Stick to social distancing guidelines.
Entry: Free
Online: aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz

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Hamilton Gardens

There’s a reason why tourists from around the world have flocked to these gardens. No matter the season, there’s something around every corner to delight and awe. Just ask Kiwi gardening expert Leigh Bramwell, who puts these at the very top of her list (a hard call after 30 years as a regular at the delightful Dunedin Botanic gardens). She describes a visit as “taking a trip around the world” – the perfect premise for our restricted Covid-19 world.

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