What’s 5 Stars and Free? The Oamaru Public Gardens

There’s a utopia hidden away in Ōamaru that has often been overlooked, but no more! The Oamaru Public Gardens have received a 5 star ‘Garden of National Significance’ rating. Following an on-site assessment, the gardens were evaluated on landscaping and planting design, horticultural maintenance, visitor experience and wow factor.

Praising the use of space and variety of plants, lead assessor Jan Woodhouse stated, “It is such a privilege for us to visit gardens that are clearly the result of hours of work by passionate, creative and knowledgeable people and we come away inspired and indeed humbled by our experiences.”

Established in 1876, they are one of the oldest gardens in New Zealand. We don’t need to wish for Rivendell, Narnia, or the unnecessarily aggressive Whomping Willow at Hogwarts. Once you step through the classical gates it’s immediately clear you’re in a fantasy-land. The Ōamaru Public Gardens boasts ambitious architecture and art including the opulent Craig Fountain, a romantic gazebo, and a bronze statue by renowned Scottish sculptor Thomas J. Clapperton, inspired by the iconic Peter Pan sculpture in London’s Kensington Gardens.

As the sun increases its attention on us, you’ll want to prioritise spending more time under the tree canopies, meandering through the many gardens on display. From the New Zealand Native Garden to the Chinese Garden, the Rose Garden to the Wonderland Garden you can easily get lost in these magical spaces.

Aside from a paradisical number of flowers, the Ōamaru Public Gardens also feature a playground and BBQ available for public use.

The next time you need a little 5 star serenity make sure you visit our little Ōamarutopia.


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