Mona Vale

Stroll around idyllic riverside gardens filled with roses, irises and other plantings and take a break on the lush green lawns at this public park.

View beautiful flowers and shrubs, indigenous ferns and traditional European trees at Mona Vale gardens. Relax by the Avon River or sniff your favourite hybrid rose from several rare varieties.

Explore the 5.5 hectares (13.5 acres) of land that surround the Mona Vale homestead. Although the charming exterior of the 19th-century building is extremely beautiful, it serves mainly as a backdrop to the idyllic haven of the adjoining gardens.

Stroll down the sloping lawns toward the river that twists and turns through the grounds. Sit in the shade of towering oak trees and watch as ducks swim on the gentle Avon River with kayakers or punting boats slowly gliding by.

Stretch your legs as you wander the gardens to find rhododendrons, camellias and magnolias spread about in perfectly trimmed flowerbeds. Head to the fernery where many of the spiked plants that New Zealand is famous for are displayed attractively in one place. Tucked behind plants and on top of plinths are marble sculptures and angelic statues.

Continue on to the rose garden, one of the highlights of Mona Vale. Established in 1994, the garden has been home to a great selection of modern hybrid and traditional roses ever since. The iris garden and annual flowers provide additional colour and scents.

Look for the splendid Bath House, a large greenhouse with an assortment of tropical plants. Small fountains provide a background sound of gently trickling water, giving the impression of a genuine rainforest.

The grounds provide several spaces ideal for outdoor weddings or other gatherings. Take photos near the lily pond and at the picturesque bridge over Mill Stream.

Mona Vale is in the suburb of Fendalton, a 10-minute drive west of central Christchurch. The house has been undergoing restoration projects following damage caused by the 2010 earthquake. The gardens remain open all week and entry is free. Check the website to find out if the Bath House will be open during your visit.