These beautiful and tranquil gardens are set directly on the edge of the inner Tauranga harbour. With water-lilly ponds, mature trees from around the world, flower gardens and natural wetlands the gardens are a delight all year round. And with many varieties of birds wandering free and in aviaries scattered throughout the gardens, this special corner of New Zealand is truely unique. The gardens are a great family day out and popular with parents looking for things to do with kids in Tauranga.
The Bird Gardens are on the outskirts of katikati and were created in 1976 when local visionary Chris Parker set to work landscaping a little over ten acres of land running down to the harbours edge.
With his English background, botanical knowledge and the sites natural attributes of fresh water springs, ponds and wetlands he transformed this once bare land into a beautiful and special garden.
Sealed paths meander through spectacular golden Swamp Cypress, water trickles its way to the sea through an elaborate series of ponds.
Most of the original plantings remain to this day and year round colour is provided by the giant camellias and magnolias brightening the winter hues, azaleas and lilies form the spring and summer palettes with shades of green, red, yellow and orange from the trees. Several native birds are on display, if you visit over winter you may be lucky enough to see Kotuku Ngutu Papa or Royal Spoonbill swooping over the ponds , certainly to hear the distinctive croak of white faced herons as they glide between treetops. and late winter dozens of Tuis in the flowering cherries.
For Bird enthusiasts the gardens are an oasis. Set on the edge of the harbour with a purpose built man made fresh water lake and with natural saline wetlands visitors can get up close and experience a fantastic area of the bird sanctuary.
The wetlands area are home to a number of Kawaupaka (little shags) and ocassionally Kotuku-ngutupapa (Royal Spoonbill), white faced herons nest in the magnolias, paradise shelducks, black swans and Papango(black teal) grace the ponds.
In the more formal areas of the gardens visitors can see Kereru (Wood Pigeon), Kakariki ( NZ Parakeet).
The gardens have approximately 1.5kms of paths. These are tar sealed on slopes or in possible damp areas and are wheel chair friendly. The paths are 1.4 metres wide so our Golf carts can negotiate them. The garden and aviary tour is a 45 - 60 minute walk The paths have directional arrows which lead to and from the lawn below the cafe. There are also secondary paths for the more adventurous. These for example lead down from the wedding lawn into the dell. The Moa and wetland walks which are a real highlight.