Gardens In Whanganui

Gardens In Whanganui

By Deb Alexander

Whanganui is definitely the place to come to see some beautiful gardens!

Garden lovers will rejoice when visiting our hidden gems, one of which I had no idea existed until only a few months ago! I love colour, plants, nature and fresh air and visiting a park, garden or reserve always rejuvenates my soul and leaves me feeling relaxed and ready to return to everyday life. I always feel as though I am transformed into another world when I visit any of the Gardens In Whanganui with their beautiful outdoor spaces.

In this article I am going to talk specifically about three gardens (although there are more!) in Whanganui which are well worth visiting. Yet another reason to visit our Little City as soon as possible!

Gardens In Whanganui - Winter Gardens, Virginia Lake

Lake Virginia – Whanganui’s Premier Reserve

Lake Virginia, Whanganui, New Zealand
Gardens In Whanganui - Winter Gardens, Virginia Lake

Lake Virginia is a beautiful reserve and the perfect place to visit with the family.  The Winter Gardens is absolutely beautiful and is open all year round with displays that change regularly. Entry is FREE so make the most of this awesome attraction.

When I enter I love being greeted with the brilliant pop of colour! I adore the colourful tropical plants as well as the beautiful flowers and ferns. I also find the quirky pieces of art scattered throughout the Winter Gardens interesting. There are also some water features too. Beautifully maintained in an awesome art-deco style building which is cool to photograph!  When I have completed the interior, I always have to step outside and enjoy the wonderful outdoor displays with plants and art sculptures – they are very intriguing. Even though I have visited countless times, I still feel the need to explore every corner each time I visit and look for something new!

I also enjoy the many other great things Lake Virginia has to offer. Walking around the Lake is an easy 25 minutes with a lot to see along the way. I have always been particularly impressed with the amount of greenery and ferns.

The Lake is teeming with birdlife and is a tranquil place to be at one with nature. I enjoy spending time with my kids feeding the ducks. afterwards, we like to visit the bird aviary.  There is plenty of space for picnics and the Funky Duck Café is located next to the Winter Gardens.

There is a lot to see at Lake Virginia so be sure to visit soon!

Lake Virginia is a beautiful reserve and the perfect place to visit with the family. Entry is FREE so make the most of this awesome attraction!
Funky Duck Cafe, Virginia Lake, Whanganui, New Zealand

Bason Botanic Gardens – Garden Of Significance

Gardens In Whanganui - Bason Botanic Gardens, Whanganui, New Zealand

When I arrive at the Bason Botanic Gardens, I never know quite where to start – truly! There is so much to see. The Bason Botanic Gardens is a haven just outside of the City on the way to Kai Iwi Beach. When the late Stanley Bason gifted his farm to the City Council in 1966, he wanted a botanical reserve created. So work began and the Botanic Gardens have been thriving since 1971.

The Bason Botanic Gardens consists of large green parklands, wetlands and a lake, numerous gardens & walkways and impressive artistic sculptures.  There are many BBQ areas and all the usual amenities to have a great day here – we often come with a cricket set and a stack of sausages and just enjoy the surroundings! The Gardens are a popular space enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Orienteering, geo-caching and disc golf are also enjoyed here too.

Bason Botanic Gardens, Whanganui, New Zealand
The Bason Botanic Gardens consists of large green parklands, wetlands and a lake, numerous gardens and walkways and impressive artistic sculptures.
Bason Botanic Gardens, Whanganui, New ZealandBason Botanic Gardens, Whanganui, New Zealand

For garden enthusiasts, there are three conservatories to enjoy and also a fern house. The Bason Botanic Gardens is home to one of the most extensive collections of garden orchids in the country – they really are magical and makes me feel as if I have just entered a Japanese haven of peace and calm. The daffodils in spring are a must see. There are also gum trees (they smell so lovely!), a huge array of native plants all around the reserve and a Mediterranean inspired hillside. A beautiful garden full of colour sits adjacent to the original homestead. There are many peaceful spots where I like to sit and reflect, a favourite of mine is the Japanese Tea House which blends in perfectly with the landscape.

Entry is free so be sure to visit the Bason Botanic Gardens and stay a while!

Paloma Gardens – Garden of national significance

Gardens In Whanganui - Paloma Gardens
Gardens In Whanganui - Paloma Gardens

I am embarrassed to admit that up until recently, I had never heard of the Paloma Gardens.  A ‘Garden of National Significance’ a few minutes’ drive from my home and I didn’t know about it?! Absolute madness!

Recently, I was invited to visit the Paloma Gardens and I have to say that I was absolutely blown away! The Paloma Gardens is a hidden piece of paradise on Whanganui’s doorstep. Perhaps the fact that this place isn’t advertised as much is an advantage – the way I see it is that I now know about this slice of awesomeness and I can tell people about it, but only if I want to!

The Paloma Gardens is located in Fordell, about a twenty minute drive from Whanganui. For a small cost, visitors can come and enjoy the gardens in all their glory. You can even stay here – The Red House and The Yellow House offer two very unique accommodation options.

I made sure to allow a few hours to enjoy the gardens so I didn’t rush things and I’m so glad I did. I tend to get carried away taking photographs when such beautiful views are all around me!

If you are looking for a Whanganui attraction that is still a bit of a secret then you must visit the Paloma Gardens 🙂

I enjoyed every inch of the Paloma Gardens so it is extremely hard to pick a favourite part but a particular highlight for me was the Bamboo Forest. This place was unbelievably magical with towering bamboos lining a boardwalk – a complete haven. I loved the wedding lawn and can envision many beautiful weddings taking place here (plus, you would never need to go anywhere else for photos!).  I loved the Mediterranean inspired garden, the coloured steps are a bold stand out. The Desert House was fascinating – the cacti are most impressive. I was overjoyed to find Frangipanis here – my all-time favourite flower! I loved the pond with the Houdaki House as a feature, an incredibly tranquil spot.  The Garden of Death is a work in progress but still worth a visit – I haven’t seen anything like it! Every part of the Paloma Gardens is incredible so you must see it all!

Whanganui Gardens - Paloma Gardens
Gardens In Whanganui - Paloma Gardens

The gardens are open every day of the year, all daylight hours. No need for an appointment, unless you want a guided tour, and then hosts Clive and Nicki are ready and waiting to show you around and answer any questions you may have! (Note that bookings are essential for a guided tour). They are a wealth of knowledge and their passion for this place shines through effortlessly.

So if you are looking for a Whanganui attraction that is still a bit of a secret then you must visit the Paloma Gardens – believe me, you will not be disappointed and you’ll never want to leave!

I hope this has given you some inspiration when planning your visit to Whanganui. Our temperate climate means that there are many different plants and flowers to marvel at. So why not get out and amongst nature and give your soul the rejuvenation it needs. Our gardens should definitely be on the list of places to see in Whanganui. Take it from me – you will feel completely relaxed and calm when you are done!

From our destination to yours…
Deb

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