Facebook

02 June 2014

Going For A Walk: Auckland Botanic Gardens {Or The Monkey Giggled, As Only Monkeys Can}

Do you have a list of places you wouldn't mind going to one day if the opportunity presented itself, but otherwise you don't make too much of an effort to get there? The Auckland Botanic Gardens has always been on that list for me. Someplace that I wanted to see, but because I don't have a car, it had seemed like too much of a bother to get there on the bus, so I never did. But finally the opportunity arose. We still had our rental car from our road trip down south and didn't have to return it until later that day so transportation wouldn't be an issue. Plus William and Kate were in town on their royal tour so it seemed like a really good idea to get out of town and avoid the mobs of people waving their flags and trying to get a good view of what cute outfit Kate had on that day. So what better plan than heading off to the Botanic Gardens and getting some Ethiopian for lunch. Sure, William and Kate got to race on the America's Cup boats, but I think our day was much better.


When we first started walking around, we saw this lady. She kind of reminded of us of Gustav Viegland's sculptures in Frogner Park in Oslo, Norway. It was pretty cool, so despite the overcast conditions, I was looking forward to exploring the rest of the gardens. 
Unfortunately, excitement quickly turned to disappointment and boredom. We probably came to visit the gardens at the wrong time of the year and there has been a drought so perhaps things weren't at their best. For some reason I had expected something different than large expanses of grass punctuated by some plantings. Having seen some other really great botanical gardens around the world, like the one in Singapore (must do if you're ever there!), I really needed to recalibrate my expectations. So, I started to think of the place as a park where kids and dogs can run around and play, that just happens to have some plants. That helped a little.
Things started to pick up when we saw a boat. So this is where old boats go to die - the Auckland Botanic Gardens.

And then this was really neat. It looks like the top of a pineapple to me. When you look closely, you see that it is made out of shovels.

Despite the shovel sculpture, I was still a bit bored and it kept threatening to rain so I suggested to Scott that we call it a day on the gardens and head over to the Ethiopian restaurant. He said no - we had driven all the way there and we should at least see a bit more. So we walked on and then we came across this neat archway with a garden growing on top. It intrigued us so we went in and am I ever glad we did because we discovered the Potter Children's Garden. It turns out the Prince of Wales opened up the garden in 2005, so we still had a touch of royal for our day.

It is such an interesting place, even if you aren't a kid. There is fun stuff everywhere - like this cute little frog. I asked Scott to take a picture of it. He didn't want to, but he did anyway. He thinks I should be the kind of camera assistant who just holds the bag and helps change the lenses. I think my role as camera assistant is to tell him what to take pictures of.

The kids love this display because every couple of minutes a spray of water comes down to keep the plants moist. I liked it too.

They have a desert section in the gardens so that you can see how plants adapt to those types of conditions. And of course, kids get to learn about death too. Some animals don't always make it in the desert, like this little critter here.

This kereu (native wood pigeon) likes to yell at people when they're walking around. Okay, yes, it isn't a real bird so maybe that yelling I heard was just in my head? I think it was trying to tell us to leave its giant egg alone. They have this cracked open egg that you can climb into and pretend to be hatching out of. There is a picture of me doing just that, but, let's face it, I'm not very photogenic and if you add a not very photogenic person to a giant egg, the resulting picture is something that is best not shared with the rest of the world.

I liked this monkey better. He doesn't yell at you, he says, "Welcome to my jungle. Come right in." And then he giggles as only a monkey can.

The "Mythological Maze of Maui" is the best part of the garden. It tells the story of how Maui turned into a kereru to find his parents. Littles and biggies can explore the maze (although only littles can fit into the secret tunnel) and look at these fantastic sculptures.

Here is one of them close up. Notice the traditional moko (tattoo) on the woman's chin.

And the final picture from our visit - proof that the moa is sill alive. Those folks that tell you the moa is extinct are just pulling your leg. But they're aren't many left. Join the "Moa Preservation Society" and together we can help bring the rest back from the dead. Scott and I are the founding members. For some reason, it hasn't really caught on yet. But with your help, that could all change. Annual membership is only $25 a year. A bargain. 


Walk took place on Friday, 11 April 2014

Linked up with Bonnie, Kaelene, Sammy & Van for Travel Tuesday.

15 comments:

  1. LOL - I have never been to the Auckland Botanic Gardens, although the rest of my family have been. The day you went I was in Auckland, one of the many trying to see William and Kate.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you got a glimpse of her - I imagine the crowds were a bit crazy!

      Delete
  2. Super cool - love that shovel sculpture. It is so uniform, it pleases the perfectionist in me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is the perfect sculpture for a perfectionist! And it is practical - if you need a shovel, break one off.

      Delete
  3. This looks like such a fun garden! All the statues are great. I love art like that!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The children's garden was really amazing. I wish there had been places like that when I was growing up.

      Delete
  4. There are so many places I have read about that we have visited and a lot are just not what I imagined or like you we were there at the wrong time. On the other hand there are so many places we have visited we just did not know about and they were amazing. That is one of the things I love about this liveaboard life. You never know what is just around the corner.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Completely agree. You have to be open to the possibilities and sometimes not plan so much - that's when you come across places you normally would never see. Being a vagabond definitely has its advantages!

      Delete
  5. Glad you stayed on and got to see the last part of the garden that you ended up enjoying the most. Even if you were a bit bored at times, glad you explored and found some interesting things here! BTW, is that old boat supposed to be a decoration?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I stuck it out too. It was worth it in the end! Yes, the boat is supposed to be some sort of decoration - it was in the middle of a garden bed.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful! I had no idea Auckland looked like that, with cacti? Glad you got a chance to visit :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a pretty neat place in Auckland - glad I had a chance to visit too!

      Delete
  7. I used to have that kind of camera assistant relationship with Mick, too. :) Only I was more polite.... 'Please will you take a photo of this, oh camera expert'. Easy peasy digitals came along and we did role reversal. :) Love the lady with the beard and the cute monkey. Many thanks for the company and the smiles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a fun children's garden. Glad to have given you smiles. We can all use many smiles on a daily basis :-)

      Delete
  8. So disappointed not to see the egg photo :-(
    I like the shovels.
    The Glasgow Gallivanter

    ReplyDelete

We'd LOVE to hear from you! If we're out on the water cruising, our internet access will be limited and it may take a while before we're able to respond to your comments and pay a return visit to your blog, but please know that we will once we can get connected.