One of the premiere public gardens in the Tauranga area, if not the premiere garden, is Te Puna Quarry Park – open all day, every day and free (though donations are requested and gratefully received by the band of volunteers that work so hard in the park).
It’s well worth a visit, several visits, and attracts plenty of overseas visitors. In fact, a couple from the US recently got married in the park.
It’s not a botanical garden, but there is plenty of botanical interest in the park, including one of the largest outdoor plantings of orchids in the southern hemisphere, and there are some very knowledgable plantspeople working in the various gardens.
Last year, Agave attenuatas all around Tauranga began to flower, presumably because they were all the same age, but this year all sorts of Agaves are coming into flower, probably spurred into action by our long, dry summer. There are two Agave americana variegatas in flower at the front of the bromeliad-succulent garden but there are another 5 or so at the back of the garden coming into flower.
The butterflies, bees and nectar-feeding birds love them so be sure to take a camera (although you’ll need a decent zoom).
The park is also home to artworks, primarily sculptures, and three more have recently been added to the collection – Star Turn by Bruce Winter, Synchronicity by Steve Molloy (both bought with funds generated by the annual QuarryFest) and Great Balls of Wire by John and Karin Hilhorst of Katikati (donated by park volunteers John and Gay Ireland).
To enjoy the full trail, pick up a yellow pamphlet from the covered sign board near the digger end of the car park.