Australia and New Zealand Mini Series Part 27: North Island, New Zealand: Auckland Botanic Gardens

Islands by Jeff Thomson

This is the twenty-seventh post in my series of short reflections on different places in Australia and New Zealand, as experienced during my November 2019 visit. Today concludes my account of a journey through New Zealand’s North Island.

map of New Zealand
map of New Zealand
Map of Australia and New Zealand

In my last post I wrote about our visit to the Coromandel Peninsula.

Map of the Coromandel Peninsula

I described our stay in Hahei, on the South Pacific coast, and our boat trip to Cathedral Cove: which appears as the first dramatic setting for the Pevensie children as they arrive unexpectedly in Narnia in the opening scene of the film Prince Caspian.

On the last day of our day we headed south again back to Auckland. Before returning to Auckland airport for our return flight to Brisbane, we visited the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

The entrance to the gardens featured lovely architecture, sculptures and water features.

Inside the entrance area we found an art gallery and cafe. Here in the Auckland Botanic Gardens, Sculpture in the Gardens will showcase and celebrate some great sculptors and artists through to March 2020. We found much to inspire, move and challenge us. I was particularly impressed by a white sculpture of a sad seated girl: poignant, graceful and evocative.

White sculpture of sad seated girl in the entrance area of Auckland Botanic Gardens

Another sculpture which fascinated me, by artist Oliver Stretton-Pow, represents a vision of a city. Called Just City, the artist created it in 2019 using wood, steel and found objects.

Just City, a sculpture in the entrance area of Auckland Botanic Gardens, created in 2019 by artist Oliver Stretton-Pow, using wood, steel and found objects.

Out in the gardens we found this intriguing installation by artist Jeff Thomson. Jeff is known as “Mr Corrugated Iron” and he called this installation Islands. Using corrugated iron, water, galvanised steel mesh, hay, wire, wetland and aquatic plants, he has re-created some of the 50-pus islands of the Haurakia Gulf. He hopes that by playing with positive and negative shapes, he will make us question the relationship between land and sea.

Later we wandered through an area of the garden which featured giant bees on honeycomb.

The ingenious use of arts and sculpture interwoven with colourful planting delighted us all.

Elsewhere in the gardens, we found an area devoted to demonstrating styles of garden design and planting suited to specific climates and location; I was interested to find a recommendation of “green manure” very similar to that seen in Ryton Organic Gardens in Warwickshire a year or so ago. ‘Green manure’ rules, in both the UK, and in New Zealand twenty six hours fight away!

We then set off for Auckland airport and so ended our tour of New Zealand’s North Island, a green and beautiful land full of majestic landscapes and sublime coastal scenery, along with outstanding tourist attractions and awesome geological wonders.

In my next post, the last in my ‘Australia and New Zealand’ series, I share more images of lovely botanic gardens: this time, on the slopes of Mount Coot-tha in Brisbane.

SC Skillman, psychological, suspense, paranormal fiction & non-fiction. My next book, Paranormal Warwickshire, will be published by Amberley Publishing on 15th June 2020 and is available to pre-order now either online, or from the publisher’s website, or from your local bookshop.

Published by SC Skillman

I'm a writer of psychological, paranormal and mystery fiction and non-fiction. My latest book, 'Paranormal Warwickshire', was published by Amberley Publishing in November 2020. Find all my published books here:

3 thoughts on “Australia and New Zealand Mini Series Part 27: North Island, New Zealand: Auckland Botanic Gardens

  1. I don’t believe I’ve seen the ‘Prince Caspian’ film. Must look out for it. Absolutely love that sculpture too, beautiful. In fact, the whole area is beautiful and on the bucket list for our next visit when and if normality returns! Great posts. Thank you so much, Sheila. I have loved this series.

    1. Thank you for your comment and I am so glad you have enjoyed this series. Auckland Botanic Gardens was amazing and we were fortunate in that they had the special sculpture exhibition on when we visited. Re ‘Prince Caspian’, the four children (Peter, Susan, Lucy and Edmund) are all on a London underground platform in their school uniforms, going back to school and then they are on the tube train. The train goes into a tunnel and then the tunnel melts into that view through the arch onto Cathedral Cove. They realise they have all been magically transported back into Narnia; they walk through the arch and onto the beach and then run towards the sea, filled with joy, tearing off their shoes and socks, and they all rush into the water, splashing each other and laughing.

    2. Thank you, I am so glad you’ve enjoyed the New Zealand series. Re. ‘Prince Caspian’, in the opening scene of the film the four children Peter, Lucy, Susan and Edmund are all on an underground train platform in school uniform ready to set off for school. They board the train, it starts its journey and goes through a tunnel. Then the tunnel melts into the arch which leads to Cathedral Cove. The children run through onto the beach, realising they have been magically transferred to Narnia, and then rush towards the sea, tearing shoes and socks off, and into the water, laughing and splashing each other. A lovely scene.

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