No stay at Otahuna Lodge is complete without a tour of the estate's own century-old garden. The tour provides insight into the history of Otahuna, explaining why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants, as well as the many ways in which the current garden team restores and maintains Heaton Rhodes’ greatest legacy.
Further afield, it is easy to see how Christchurch earned its nickname as "The Garden City". Guests can visit a number of renowned gardens, either on their own or guided by a local expert who can provide access to many gardens usually not open to the public. A delightful day can be spent viewing any number of these hidden attractions including mature English-style arboretums and gardens devoted exclusively to New Zealand native plants. There are more than 20 gardens to visit in and around Christchurch, including the ones below.
The Christchurch Botanic Gardens
The world-class Botanic Gardens - founded in 1863 - form the focal point of Christchurch’s Hagley Park. 52 acres encompass many themed gardens including the Southern Hemisphere’s largest herbaceous border, a riverside arboretum, rhododendron and azalea groves, a collection of New Zealand roses, and a native garden among many other feature areas.
Sir Miles Warren’s property, Ohinetahi, is one of New Zealand’s best formal gardens. Miles created the garden with his sister Pauline Trengrove in the 1970’s and has been adding to his collection of plants ever since. Highlights include many garden rooms dedicated to specific themes, a bog garden in a ravine crossed by its own swingbridge, a stunning herbaceous border and a collection of modern New Zealand art and statuary. Located in Governor’s Bay, the garden is set against the backdrop of Lyttelton Harbour in an extinct volcanic crater.
Just a few kilometres away from Otahuna is Frensham. This English-style garden is the result of Margaret Long’s passion for plants, including more than 350 different kinds of roses (the garden is named for one such rose). Border gardens are a study in colour and texture while the small buxus garden is an exercise in measured perfection.
Composed exclusively of native plants and cultivars bred in New Zealand, Broadfields is a garden with a keen sense of architecture. The design is semi-formal including 1.5 kilometres of totara hedge, formal reflecting pools and informal lily ponds, a wetland garden and a native beech forest. Created in 1992 in the middle of a horse paddock, Broadfields is a testament both to Kiwi plants and Kiwi ingenuity.