Enjoy the fruits of this remarkable community garden project as you explore areas planted with species of indigenous and subtropical plants.
Whangarei Quarry Gardens are a community-run project that feature landscaped gardens, a visitor centre and a café. Explore the many gardens that include a collection of camellias and an area with cacti and succulents. Whangarei Quarry Gardens is home to a regenerating forest that is teeming with indigenous plants.
From 1940 to 1974, the site was a fully operational quarry. Notice remnants of this former industry: the concrete foundations, corroded steel fittings and tunnel entrances jutting out of the forested hillside. In the late 20th century, the area was handed over to hard-working volunteers who created the lush public gardens existing today.
Stop at the Five Senses Garden to see a beautiful display of plants and sculptures. This particular garden invites visitors to admire a selection of indigenous plant species. Other gardens include the Bromeliad Garden, a shaded slope with orchids and other attractive flowering plants.
See a colourful display of camellias in the Fragrant Camellia Collection. This garden is one of the most popular places in Whangarei Quarry Gardens and is recognised for its rare camellia species, many of which are not found in any other public gardens in the world. Another highlight is the Arid Garden, with an impressive collection of cacti and succulents.
A regenerating indigenous forest covers most of the 24-hectare (60-acre) former quarry area. Explore the forested hillsides and look for its many birds, including pīwakawakas (fantails) and kotares (kingfishers) foraging in the bush and flying above. Notice how the new subtropical growth merges seamlessly with the surrounding forest. The site features streams, waterfalls and a peaceful lake.
Find the Whangarei Quarry Gardens just 3.5 kilometres (2.2 miles) from the centre of Whangarei. The gardens have a small café serving coffee, pastries and light meals. Stop at the visitor centre for restrooms and outdoor seating areas. The gardens are open daily and the café is open Wednesday to Sunday. Entry to the gardens is by donation.