During our trip to New Zealand’s Taranaki Region, we made a stop at the Pukekura Park. The beautiful Botanical Gardens span across 128 acres of land smack in the middle of New Plymouth. With free admission and beautiful scenery, it makes a perfect place for a walk and picnic.
One of the park highlights is the red Japanese inspired bridge that stands out in front of a picturesque backdrop of native trees and bush. Known as, The Poet’s Bridge, crosses the Fountain Lake and the water provides a mirror image of the scenery.
We were lucky enough to capture it on a clear day without too many other park visitors.
The Tea House, Band Rotunda, and marble fountain can be seen from the bridge center. The fountain was built in honor of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. I read that you can rent row boats for the lake but we did not see anyone doing this during our visit.
We continued along the path to the Tea House and purchased an ice cream. The view from the Tea House had a bit of a surprise. You can make out Mount Taranaki in the backdrop behind the bridge. Some days are clearer but we could definitely spot the tip of Mount Taranaki on this day.
Next to the Tea House was a beautiful band rotunda built-in 1887 and known as one of the oldest in New Zealand.
As you continue along the footpath, you will approach a man-made cascading waterfall.
What more could a kid want than a large stretch of fresh green grass to do handstands and play tag (or tip as my kids call it).
My girls outside and running around on the grass makes me happy! Who needs an iPad on a day like this?
The Brooklands Zoo was a fun surprise during our visit! The zoo is included inside the Pukekura Park and offers free admission to all visitors. It features a diverse range of animals, reptiles and birds. My favorites were the meerkats, small-pawed otters and cotton-top tamarin. The bird walkabout had some of the most colorful birds I have seen. The last area we came across had a selection of farm animals such as lamas, kunekune and guinea pigs, chickens and more to admire.
Finally, we enjoyed a rest in the shade while the girls ran off energy on the playground. They had plenty of equipment to entertain the kids for a while.
The girls love to pose with cut-outs.
Especially when they can stick their head through cut-out and become a frog.
This was a really fun afternoon following our trip out to Mt. Egmont National Park!