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The turquoise-and-yellow Peacock Fountain just inside the main gate on Rolleston Avenue is a handy marker that can’t be missed. This is the best point of entry to the lush 23 hectares (57 acres) of deservedly world-renowned gardens. Even if you’ve never considered yourself the slightest bit green-thumbed, there’s something magical about this place. Sweeping lawns, fragrant rose gardens, and some of the oldest exotic trees in New Zealand provide spectacular displays year-round. The Avon River and its huge duck population add interest. The kids can run loose, feed the ducks, and frolic in the playground. Don’t miss the lush tropical greenhouse, or the heavenly scented rose gardens adjacent to it. I also love the little alpine garden area and the two ponds that border the rhododendron and azalea gardens.