Auckland Domain, the city’s oldest and largest park has been developed in and around the extinct Pukekawa volcano. It comprises 75 ha of formal gardens, a fernery, green houses, duck ponds, large open spaces, bush walks and statuary. It is also the site of the Auckland War Memorial Museum, several sporting facilities and the Auckland City Hospital.
The formal garden was started in the 1860s as part of a project to propagate exotic tree species, birds and trout. The duck ponds made their debut as the first pipe-borne water supply to Auckland until a large reservoir was constructed in the garden in 1953 that still provides water to Auckland’s CBD. The winter garden was opened in the early 20th century. It features two glass houses, one with temperate and the other with tropical plants, a fernery and a formal courtyard with a pond. It is now a protected heritage site. The many exotic species of trees planted in the late 19th century are now large mature specimens, and in combination with New Zealand varieties, are part of a beautiful landscape park. A garden for the blind with raised beds of aromatic, herbaceous and sensory plants was set up in 1970. Another interesting and aromatic part of the garden is the magnolia gardens.
As the tuff rings created by volcanic activity several millennia ago form a natural amphitheater, 10 ha has been developed as sporting facilities to include 10 fields for the rugby league and soccer during winter and 19 cricket wickets for summer and a cricket pitch. The Domain’s many donated art works include the band rotunda gifted in 1912, several sculptures and the art deco entrance gate donated in the 1920s and 30s and many other public art works thereafter. The main attraction in the park is the Auckland War Memorial and Museum, and the Cenotaph that comprises a suitably impressive neo-Greek-style museum building put up in 1929 that was expanded in the 1960s and renovated in 2000. Among the major events hosted by the Domain is the first ever rugby league test match played between New Zealand and England in 1910, the Auckland Exhibition in 1913, some of New Zealand’s major national open-air events and annual city events like Christmas in the Park that draws over 200,000 people, and Symphony under the Stars among others.
With two dozen properties spread over the country at many iconic locations, the Millennium & Copthorne Hotels NZ is one of the country’s most prominent and largest hotel operators. These New Zealand hotels are synonymous with comfortable accommodation and a wide spectrum of services provided to business and leisure travellers over several years. The brand’s Kingsgate Hotel is one of prominent Greymouth hotels offering not only a perfect location but several amenities and facilities to holiday makers and business clients.
Angela Fernando is an impassioned travel writer who composes pieces under the pen name Sumaira Narayan. She loves writing about new and exciting places around the world and hopes to visit them all someday.