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A garden is a lovesome thing

Absolutely! The poet's right. Gardens grow more than plants. They grow good feelings. They're a space for the soul. And the Oamaru Gardens have been making space for the soul since they opened in 1876.

The Lonely Planet Guide calls them "gorgeous public gardens". What it doesn't say is that they're also Significant - with a capital S. The New Zealand Gardens Trust rates them Gardens of Regional Significance - and you won't find many of those on your travels!

But you will find plenty to savour as you stroll about. Significance, serenity, statues, luscious scents, take your pick - but not the flowers. The gardeners would like to keep them! While you keep enjoying the Garden's other unique features. Like the great marble Craig Fountain near the main entrance and the splendid 1926 bronze ‘Wonderland' statue, set in its own glade and a definite must-see for Peter Pan fans.

There's also an intimate Chinese Garden, the restored 19thC begonia Display House, children's play areas and an aviary with more twitters than a teenage cellphone. Tranquil trails, plants and peacocks, ponds and pigeons, budgies, begonias, statues, shrubs, ferns and fountains, swings, roundabouts and the magical Mirror Lake created by gardener James Kidd 140 years ago; all significant parts of a officially Significant space. It would be a Significant mistake not to see it.

OAMARU PUBLIC GARDENS: Entrances off Severn Street (S.H.1) and Chelmer Street
WEBSITE: www.waitaki.govt.nz/WaitakiDistrict/Public+Gardens.htm
More info from the Oamaru i-SITE, Cnr Thames Highway and Itchen Street