The Gardens are set over 60 acres and feature a lake, waterfalls, picnic areas, forest walks, a variety of gardens styles, and several historical remnants. Here are some of the highlights...
Five Senses Garden
Built in 2003 with sponsorship from Whangarei Garden Discovery Inc, this garden stimulates our senses with a striking combination of plants and sculpture. A stroll through these raised beds invites us to Taste*, Smell, Look, Listen and Touch our way into the world of subtropical gardening.
The Five Senses Garden is a place to contemplate the marvellous variety of plant species available in our northern climate. It also reminds us that there is often more to plants that meets the eye (or ear, or tongue...).
*Please use your imagination! If everybody tasted the 'Taste' garden, it would soon disappear. Take only photos and time, thanks! -WQG Crew.
A favourite spot for many volunteers, the Bromeliad Garden is a classic example of growing the right plant in the right place. Bromeliads generally like this semi-shaded, free-draining slope; as do shade-seeking visitors on a hot summers day.
The Bromeliad Garden was established in 2000 and is maintained with the assistance of volunteers from the Northland Bromeliad Group. Orchids have recently been added to this stream-side garden, where dappled light and lush foliage make for a magical experience.
Fragrant Camellia Collection
One of the jewels in the Gardens crown, the Fragrant Camellia Collection is built around the Camellia cultivars produced by two local plant breeders: Jim Finlay and Os Blumhardt. In 2001-2002, Jim Finlay donated 115 of his fragrant Camellias to the Gardens, 49 of which are not found in any other public garden in the world.
Whangarei Quarry Gardens are very proud to showcase this unique collection, with a project to install name labels on every Camellia bush currently under way. A short term goal is to be accredited as a Camellia Garden of Excellence by the International Camellia Society.
Our Arid Garden is located in one of the sunniest and driest parts of the Gardens, and is therefore ideally suited to the cultivation of cacti and succulents. Ground level temperatures frequently rise over 40 degrees C in summer, with the highest temperature recorded at 50 degrees C.
Started in 2003 after voluntary input from local cacti enthusiasts, the Arid Garden features several striking (and spiky!) dry-loving plant species. All soil mixes are specially blended on site to create the best possible conditions. Be prepared for HEAT if you visit on a sunny day...
The Whangarei Quarry Gardens site was a fully-operational stone quarry from 1940 to 1974, and remnants of these days of industry are still visible in the valley. Concrete foundations and walls
emerge from forested hillsides; corroded steel fittings protrude where machinery and men once laboured; concrete tunnels burrow beneath lush subtropical plantings.
Our industrial heritage has shaped the landscape at Whangarei Quarry Gardens, and the physical remnants have provided some aesthetic inspiration during the Gardens' development. The secrets of the Gardens' fascinating past can be revealed to those who are willing to explore...
Our native forest, which covers much of the 60 acre site, is regenerating after extensive land modification during the quarrying days.
A multitude of flora and fauna make their home in our forested hillsides. Native birds such as tui, kereru (wood pigeon), pīwakawaka (fantail), and kotare (kingfisher) can be seen flying and foraging throughout the forest.
A series of arson attacks in 2005 – 2006 sadly destroyed about one third of our native forest.
The Northland community soon pulled together however, with 12,000 plants being planted in 2006 to re-vegetate the hillsides. One of our goals is to gracefully merge our subtropical plantings into the backdrop of native vegetation.
NO dogs, smoking or alcohol
permitted on site.