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Parks & Gardens

The 28-hectare (69-acre) Dunedin Botanic Gardens (tel. 03/477-4000; www.dunedin.govt.nz/facilities/botanic-garden) were the first to be established in New Zealand, in 1869. At the northern end of Castle Street, they feature the world-renowned Rhododendron Dell. Nestled into native bush with magnolia, cherry, and maples, the Dell features over 3,000 rhododendron plants and has spectacular masses of blooms from October to December. You can also see the comprehensive native-plant collection, an Edwardian conservatory garden, rock gardens, and rose gardens. The gardens are open daily from dawn to dusk, free of charge. A kiosk restaurant offers light snacks and morning and afternoon teas; a shop and information center are also on the grounds. All three are open daily from 10am to 4pm. Pick up the free gardens map from the visitor center.

For information on Dunedin’s famous October Rhododendron Festival, go to www.rhododunedin.co.nz.

A new addition to the Dunedin garden scene is the magnificent and somewhat unexpected Dunedin Chinese Garden, corner of Rattray and Cumberland streets, Dunedin (tel. 03/477-4000 or 03/477-3248; www.dunedinchinesegarden.com), which opened in 2008 and is said to be one of only three truly authentic Chinese gardens outside of China. The garden was created with authentic materials by Chinese craftsmen and artisans in Dunedin’s sister city, Shanghai. The garden was then dismantled, shipped to New Zealand, and reconstructed on the current site under the supervision of the Chinese craftsmen. It was the brainchild of the Dunedin Chinese Garden Trust, supported by the local Chinese community, many of whom have roots back to the Chinese gold miners of the 1860s Otago gold rush. The garden is open daily from 10am to 5pm, with an evening viewing from 7 to 9pm on Wednesdays. Admission is NZ$9 for adults; children 13 and under enter free. A 1-hour guided tour costs NZ$20 per person and is run daily at 2pm.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.