Well what a lovely surprise Te Puna Quarry Park was. The transformation of this disused quarry to spectacular gardens and walking tracks was commenced in 1997 and all work and maintenance was carried out solely by volunteers. Now there is something for everyone to enjoy: picnic lawns, panoramic view, sculptures, bush walks, a butterfly house, specialized gardens and much more.
This park is a credit to the dedicated volunteers who have created a very special attraction for the community and visitors to the area. There is plenty of parking including overnight for self contained vehicles and caravans.
If you are a lover of gardens, nature and art I highly recommend Te Puna. There are ponds, tree ferns, cymbidium orchids by the thousand, native tree plantings and exotics such as vireya rhododendrons – a wild garden rich in spectacular contrasts. Special garden areas include irises, cacti and succulents, an Australian area, a native Arboretum, a Bonsai corner, a South African area and a Palm Grove. There is a butterfly garden where monarch butterflies happily fly free.
The track was steep in places so I was pleased that I was wearing sneakers/walking shoes. Definitely worth making the time to visit Te Puna with it’s wonderful panoramic views, from the gentle walk on the formed pathways taking one through all sorts of flora suitably grouped into their botanical origins and backgrounds which includes areas specifically devoted to orchids, fuchsias, herbs and much more.
The many fascinating sculptures crafted out of stone, wood, metal and ceramics situated throughout the gardens make for an interesting cultural touch as one meanders round the different pathways and comes across these works of art or man-made surprises.
The quarry park also has divine views of Tauranga and Mount Maunganui. We soaked in the great views at many places but they were best as we climbed higher.
This is where I saw my first “Silver Fern”growing.
The park is dog friendly too, but only on a leash. There are plenty of benches and grass areas to rest throughout the park; there are also a few drinking fountains and toilets.
It is free to enter this lovely spot, but worth while leaving a donation when you leave. Take a picnic and make a day of it.
From ponds to panoramic views, from gardens to butterflies, this old Quarry has become a magical place of distinctive beauty. You will love this place. I did.