What To Expect
Be sure to grab a map as you enter the Huakaiwaka Visitor Centre, this will help point out areas of interest, toilet facilities, and where to find the best picnic spot! Don’t miss the beautiful Rose Gardens or the Spring Blossom Valley both in full bloom on a crisp spring morning.
Check out some of Auckland and Northland’s threatened native plants is specifically designed habitats including wetlands, miniature islands, lava fields, sand dunes, and much more. Head over to the Rock Garden for a quirky collection of cacti and succulents or try the Palm Garden for a more tropical feel.
Kids will love the Potter Children’s Garden with its educational insights into the New Zealand Native Wood Pigeon (Kereru), rain forest, and magical maze. The 4 km Native Forest loop is perfect on a hot summer's day; enjoy New Zealand's native rainforest in its original state with excellent Rimu, Kahikatea, Miro, Mataī, and Tōtara specimens along with many others.
The Magnolia Gardens are a treat in the winter or early spring months, while the Camellia Garden provides a vibrant splash of color with its huge collection of Camellias on display. Get inspired at the Edible Garden or enjoy the sensory overload of the Herb Garden as the birds, bees, fragrant flowers, and seeding plants take center stage.
Guided tours of the Gardens take place every Wednesday beginning at 1 pm. These are free of charge and no booking is required. There are also guided group walks available during the week if booked in advance, there will be a cost for these inquire at the Huakaiwaka visitor center.
Don’t feel like walking around the park? Take a 30-minute tour of the ‘Wiri Rambler’. This purpose-built tractor-train service will let you sit back and relax as it takes you around all the top spots in the Botanic Gardens. Rides cost $2 per adult and $1 per child.
Collect the free map of the Botanic Gardens from the Huakaiwaka visitor center on your way in or view it online and make your own way around the park – a popular option for many. There are a number of special interest ‘Trails’ which you can follow or just wander about and see where the day takes you.
- The Native Plant Identification Trail. Soak up some of our native rainforests and learn how to identify some of New Zealand’s native plants along the way.
- The Permanent Sculpture Trail. As you wander the green expanse of the Auckland Botanic Gardens you will notice there are a number of sculptures on display. Spread throughout the Gardens these sculptures are large-scale artworks completed by various New Zealand artists.
- The Puhinui Stream Forest Trail. Enjoy walking through the native forest and out to the neighboring Totara Park.
- The Sustainable Water Trail. Learn about ways to improve stormwater runoff systems and the health of your garden.
What You Need To Know Before You Go
- The Auckland Botanic Gardens are open daily from 8 am to 8 pm during the summer months and from 8 am to 6 pm across winter.
- Visitors are allowed to bring dogs into the park, provided they are on a leash.
- No bikes, scooters, skateboards, or similar items are permitted within the Gardens.
- Visitors are not allowed to help themselves with flowers or plant material.
- It is essential that visitors keep to the designated paths and lawn areas in order to reduce damage to planted areas.
- No vehicles are permitted within the Gardens.
- There are limited numbers of mobility scooters and wheelchairs available at the visitor center free of charge if required.
- The use of barbecues is not permitted on site.
- The onsite café is located in the Huakaiwaka visitor center and is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm.
The Auckland Botanic Gardens is situated at 102 Hill Road, Manurewa, Auckland. Its central location means it is easily accessible from the central city and Auckland International Airport by car or bus transportation.
From Auckland city, the Gardens are approximately 30 minutes drive by car or just over an hour by bus. If heading out from the Auckland Airport, the trip will only take around 15 minutes by rental car, but still an hour on the bus due to this being a busy route with several detours along the way. And of course, peak traffic levels can increase these traveling times considerably.
More Free Things To Do Near Auckland Airport
Loved visiting the Auckland Botanic Gardens and want to find more free activities in the area? Take a look below and make the most of your visit to the city of Auckland today.
One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill and its neighbor Cornwall Park is a great place for getting some fresh air and exercise. Within the grounds, you will find plenty of walking tracks, the prominent monument that sits atop its highest point, and even an Observatory. One Tree Hill is just 15 minutes drive from the Auckland Airport.
Manukau Heads Lighthouse
Perched on the tip of the Awhitu Peninsula to the south of Auckland (1 1/2 hours drive), the Manukau Heads Lighthouse is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily. Entry is free but a donation is appreciated. Climb right to the top of the lighthouse to take in the expansive oceanic views.
Ambury Regional Park
Just a short ten-minute drive from the Auckland Airport is the Ambury Regional Farm Park. On an actual working farm, visitors are able to view the various farm animals as they go about their daily life. See the cows during their daily milking sessions, calf and lamb feeding and keep a lookout for goats, pigs, chickens turkeys, and rabbits.
You are never far from the sea in Auckland and Mission Bay is the perfect place for a long walk on the beach or refreshing swim on a hot day. Enjoy the laid-back beach atmosphere and maybe even an ice cream… or two. Mission Bay is one of Auckland’s east coast beaches, from the city to the beach it is about a 20-minute drive, or from the Auckland Airport, it takes around an hour depending on traffic.
Spend the morning viewing the exhibitions at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where you’ll learn about the history of New Zealand as well as a large selection of Maori and Pacific Island artifacts and of course military history. Then find a spot among the beautifully tended lawns, walks, and gardens of the Domain to stop for a picnic lunch. Spend the rest of the day exploring at leisure. While entry to the museum is free for New Zealand residents, donations are invited.
A visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens is the perfect outing for the whole family and it’s free! Enjoying a holiday in Auckland doesn’t have to cost the earth, there are plenty of free and cheap things to do in and around the Auckland region.