Auckland Domain Park and Wintergardens
Domain Park has so much to offer to both, locals and tourists, regardless of the time of the year. Whether you are a museum and history lover, botanical and animal lover, or prefer activities like walking, running or playing rugby, you will find fun in this massive park. There are few ways to enter the park, so don't get confused. There is one entrance from Grafton, another one from Parnell, as well as one from ASB Tennis area, through a Lower Domain drive.
Most popular tourist attraction in Domain Park is the Auckland War Memorial Museum - a real wonder of architecture. General admission is very reasonable: 25$ for international visitors, 10$ for children 6-14 years old, and a free entrance for the kids under 5 years. Museum has multiple galleries, exhibitions, as well as different events going on all the time. You can experience a volcanic eruption, learn about birds, plants, Maori culture, art and so much more. Plus, there is an area specially designed for kids to learn and play, as well as a nice cafe within the museum. Definitely, worth of visiting.
Next to the museum is a great rugby playground, carefully made for sport and rugby lovers and fans. You can either play or watch others play. If you are lucky enough, you might even see a small tournament going on. The walk paths leading away from the rugby field will take you straight to the centre of the park – the area where you can enjoy looking at a beautiful pond, with ducks and geese swimming around.
Foodies might like to have a taste of the superb High Tea, a freshly made scoop of ice cream or a hearty brunch in a Wintergarden Pavilion. Alternatively, there is a relaxing picnic area next to the pond, great for family time or a romantic date.
Speaking about the romance and all its magic, entering the most beautiful part of the park – Wintergardens - will not leave you indifferent, even if you are not thrilled with flowers or romance in general. It is a perfect area to relax, read a book, take hundreds of photos, enjoy powerful scents, and rest your eyes. There are two glasshouses in the garden. One is more filled with temperate plants to enjoy, and the opposite one exhibits tropical plants. The colour range is phenomenal. As soon as you think you took all possible photos you could, you get surprised with another colour shade or flower shape. In-between these glasshouses is an enclosed courtyard with fish pond, fountains and classic marble statues, a perfect place to read a book and go back in ancient time.
Alongside with the beautiful garden, Domain Park has another romantic gem; a great spot to void a city rush, and enjoy the native forest in the city. It is called "lover's walk." The track goes through hillside section of native forest. The green colour, a clear stream and tropical forest smell dominate the area. They camouflage all the noise coming from modern life and bring you calm and peace. There is nothing better to have in an urban area.
If you like colours, shapes, shades, native trees, and a mix of past and present, come and visit.
1. Park Opening hours: 24h for pedestrians
2. Museum Opening hours: open daily from 10 am – 5 pm
3. Wintergardens opening hours: Wintertime Monday to Sunday 9 am – 4.30 pm, and Summertime Monday – Saturday 9 am – 5.30 pm, free admission
4. Smoke-free and Alcohol-free
5. Dogs on leash
Photos by Maja Krstic.