The gardens of Dunedin

If you’re a big fan of the outdoors and in particular, of ornamental and manicured gardens, then Dunedin is a great place to go out exploring. Whether it’s the major gardens in the city like the botanic gardens of Chinese Garden or just the gardens of locals who are more than happy for people to come and look around, there are some stunning sights and wildlife to be discovered in and around Dunedin.

Dunedin’s climate

Dunedin’s gardens thrive in a wide variety of climates from coastal areas to sheltered harbour-side micro climates and that’s part of what makes for such a diverse set of gardens in the city. Each garden features a wide variety of styles and featured plants and Dunedin is home to two out of the six gardens in New Zealand that are considered to be ‘internationally significant’: the Dunedin Botanic Garden and the Larnach Castle Garden. Many of the gardens in Dunedin feature outstanding displays of rhododendrons which grow extremely well in Dunedin’s climate and they even have their own festival which is held every year in October.

Dunedin’s top four gardens

With so many gardens to choose from, it’s difficult to narrow down our favourites but here goes:

Dunedin Botanic Garden

Aerial view of Dunedin Botanic Garden. Photo credit: Dunedinnz.com
Aerial view of Dunedin Botanic Garden. Photo credit: Dunedinnz.com

Recognised as ‘internationally significant’, the first garden on our list has to be the Dunedin Botanic Garden. Set up as New Zealand’s first public garden, the Dunedin Botanic Garden covers over 28  hectares of hillside and flat land to the north of the city and features over 6,800 plant species as well as being home to many native birds including bellbirds, wood pigeons and tui. There is much to admire at the Botanic Garden and you can easily spend a few hours here wandering through the different sections and enjoying the bird song.

Find out more about the Garden here.

Larnach Castle Garden

Aerial view of Larnach Castle and garden. Photo credit: larnachcastle.co.nz
Aerial view of Larnach Castle and garden. Photo credit: larnachcastle.co.nz

Another one of Dunedin’s gardens recognised as ‘internationally significant’ the Larnach Castle Garden is another Dunedin gem. There is always something to see in the gardens at Larnach Caslte from the patterned garden to the lost rock garden to the serpentine walk – it’s not just one garden at Larnach Castle but more a series of delights that bring with them all sorts of different flora and fauna.

Find out more about the Garden here.

Dunedin Chinese Garden

Image of the Dunedin Chinese Garden
Dunedin Chinese Garden

Another hugely popular garden in Dunedin is the Chinese Garden. This is a perfect miniature of a traditional Chinese landscape painting and helps visitors to take a journey to a greater understanding of the history and heritage of China. The garden is an authentic Chinese Garden having been created with the support of the Shanghai Municipal Government and in fact the garden has a sister garden in Shanghai which was created in 1559. There is so much to discover in the Chinese Garden that you can easily spend a morning or afternoon just wandering through the many different sections.

Find out more about the Garden here.

Glenfalloch Gardens

Autum leaves at the Glenfalloch Gardens. Image credit: glenfalloch.co.nz
Autum leaves at the Glenfalloch Gardens. Image credit: glenfalloch.co.nz

Last but not least on our list are the Glenfalloch Gardens which are situated in peaceful and relaxing surroundings where you can enjoy stunning panoramic harbour views. The gardens are lined with beautiful rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias and fuchsias which integrate with native fern, exotic imports and indigenous New Zealand trees to showcase 120 years of conservation. This is definitely a four seasons garden and each season brings with it its own array of colours and smells. There is also a beautiful restaurant on site so why not make a day of things and head for lunch of dinner after a stroll in the gardens.

Find out more about the Gardens here.

If you’re still not sure which of the gardens to visit on your next trip to Dunedin, be sure to ask any of our staff members and they will be happy to point you in the direction of their favourite.

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