Over the years travelling has taught me a few important lessons; I will always pack more than I end up needing, the journey is usually just as remarkable as the destination, and never, ever pass up the chance to spend a few hours in a local botanical garden.
Pukekura Park in New Plymouth, on the west coast of the Taranaki region of New Zealand’s northern island, is a lush jungle of foliage and water. I visited on a quiet Saturday morning in April, and enjoyed wandering the paths as they looped around lakes, past a waterfall, and across the beautiful red Poet’s Bridge, which dates back to 1884.
In some sections of the park, it is easy to forget that one is actually in a bustling small city; the size of the trees and depth of the fern-filled groves were captivating and invited leisurely exploration.
Emerging from a trail through one of these dense forests, a large lily-covered pond is revealed where bright blue Australasian swamphens foraged across the lily pads.
Displayed on the water is a sculpture titled ‘Aotearoa’ by Michael Smithers; Aotearoa is the Maori name for New Zealand, meaning “land of the long white cloud”. A few days after visiting the gardens, while driving south to Wellington from New Plymouth, I saw the namesake beautiful rolling white line of clouds stretch across the landscape.
View more photos from my Pukekura Park, New Zealand experience in my archives, with selected images available for prints and licensing.