From traditional English rose gardens to organic lavender fields, Manawatu is home to a large collection of diverse and breathtaking gardens. Here are just a few of our finest.
Located a stones throw from the city, and down a tree lined driveway is the beautiful Greenhaugh Gardens which surround an 1874 colonial homestead – making a postcard perfect picture. The semi-formal gardens are set on two-hectares and are a legacy to more than 30 years of dedication. A legacy of established trees sets a serene backdrop to the many roses, perennials, and seasonal flowers, all framed by box hedging giving the gardens an English feel. Follow the paths through to the pergola which is draped in wisteria, leading to the water and woodland gardens. Pack a picnic and spend an afternoon in this stunning garden, where you’ll be greeted by the resident donkey and Basil and Poppy – the four-legged guardians of Greenhaugh.
Open Monday to Saturday. $10 entry fee.
Greenhaugh Gardens, Palmerston North
Apiti Lavender Farm
Fields of purple await you at this quaint organic lavender farm, just south of Apiti in northern Manawatu. Tucked away down a little country lane, over six acres of lavender and herbs are grown here and are carefully cultivated and processed into essential oils. The on-site miniature store offers an array of lavender products to buy, hand made with the essential oils grown here. A must visit when the lavender is in full bloom between mid-December to the end of February, this garden is a whimsical place, perfect for picnics.
Open seven days. Gold coin donation.
Apiti Lavender Farm, Apiti
Cross Hills Gardens
Located in northern Manawatu, near the village of Kimbolton, Cross Hills sits 540 metres above sea level and is a world-renowned rhododendron garden. With more than 2,000 varieties of azaleas and rhododendrons, waterfalls, ponds and secret pathways set amongst mature trees and views out across the Manawatu plains below, you’ll spend hours exploring this seven-hectare park. The Millennium Maze is a hit with people of all ages, made of camellia hedges it’s a colourful bit of fun to be had. Peak flowering season is October through to November.
Don’t miss the annual Cross Hills Gardens Country Fair each November, with more than 150 boutique stalls dotted throughout the gardens, it’s a must see!
Open seven days. $10 entry, kids are free.
Cross Hills Gardens, Kimbolton
Just north of Kimbolton Village, an expansive park-like gardens awaits. Enjoy wonderful picnic sites, large lawn areas, interlinking ponds, heritage rhododendrons from around the world, older New Zealand hybrids and unique deciduous azaleas. This iconic garden has an ever-evolving landscape and fascinating history. Peak flowering season at Heritage Park runs from October through December, when the park is a vibrant palette of colour. Dogs are welcome here too, provided they’re on a leash.
Open seven days. $7 per adult.
Heritage Park Rhododendron Gardens, Kimbolton
Caccia Birch Gardens
The beautiful Caccia Birch Gardens overlook the Hokowhitu Lagoon and are part of the Category One listed Historic Places Trust property – Caccia Birch House. The English rose garden frames the sunken courtyard and a 100-year-old wisteria flowers in November bringing even more colour and fragrance to this expansive garden. The stunning magnolia trees are abundant and at their best in September through to early October. Through summer, there are often open-house afternoons on Sundays that are worth a visit to explore this grand old homestead – an icon of Palmerston North’s heritage.
Open seven days. Free entry to the gardens.
Caccia Birch Gardens, Palmerston North
Caroline’s Gardens and Store
Coffee, shopping and gardens – what more could you want? Caroline’s Gardens and Store is a weekend destination like no other and is less than 20 minutes from the city centre. Country gardens surround a 100-year-old homestead, set upon two tiers and centered with a bespoke water fountain. The tree lined driveway welcomes you to the property and leads you to the on-site boutique store ‘Design and Desire’ which is filled with beautiful homewares and gifts. Open every day throughout December up to Christmas.
Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday and by appointment. Free entry.
Caroline’s Gardens, Aokautere