I have written about interesting New Zealand gardens in earlier blogs but here are a couple more I have come across in my research. I think they are worth   another blog.


In April 1864, the little village of Ohaupo, a short distance from Hamilton was built as a military post during the Waikato war. It was occupied by Bohemian militiamen who moved there from their settlement at Pūhoi north of Auckland. Some of their descendants still live there.

Local resident Barry Cox has put Ohaupo on the tourist map with his beautifully designed 3 acre garden. Barry has always been interested in churches and passionate about trees so he combined these two interests to construct his own living Church – the first in the world.

Tree Church (treechurch.co.nz)

In 2007 using a ‘tree scoop’ mounted on a truck, Barry began relocating trees to form his garden. To create his green church, he delicately trained trees across an iron frame until they began to grow together to shape the gabled form of the church. The trees continued to grow over the years and the church is now almost completely formed, although the iron frame remains, waiting for the tree structure to be sturdy enough to stand on its own. The roof canopy of this unique Tree Church is created with Cut Leaf Alder (Alnus Imperialis). The walls are created with Leptospernum (Copper Sheen) Camelia Black Tie, Acer Globosum and Thuja Pyramidalis.  Elsewhere in the garden, a selection of Oaks, Maples, Alders, Ginkgos, Beech, Poplars, Taxodium, and Nyssa grow. Barry originally planned to keep it a private garden but when word got around about the unique church and beautiful medieval style labyrinth, he was encouraged to open it to the public which he did in 2015. It has become a popular location for weddings and other special functions. Comments on TripAdvisor all mention the tranquillity of the garden and the uniqueness of the truly organic church.

The Tree Church is a living, breathing structure lovingly designed and built to be a place of interest and contemplation. It is the centrepiece of a uniquely different garden to add to the number of other unusual gardens dotted around New Zealand.


Resembling a garden straight from a little girl’s fairytale book, the spectacularly colourful and quirky garden at Little Paradise Lodge on the shores of Lake Wakatipu, is another noteworthy New Zealand garden. I will let Lonely Planet author, Brett Atkinson describe what he found when he visited the property.

“Rambling and rustic doesn’t begin to describe this unique spot perched by Lake Wakatipu. Outside there’s a natural swimming pool and various bird life roaming about to keep you company. Wonderfully eclectic, this slice of arty paradise is the singular vision of a quirky and slightly eccentric Swiss guy who built it all by himself from the handmade wooden furniture to the uniquely tiled bathrooms.  Each rustic room features wooden floors, quirky artwork and handmade furniture. Outside the fun continues with beautiful gardens that border on being overgrown. There are well-crafted walkways along a nearby hillside. There’s a monument displaying the distance to various countries of the world; just to reinforce that, yep, you are in the deep south of New Zealand’s South Island. Cool eh?”

The Little Paradise Lodge is dotted with interesting murals featuring animals and flowers. The garden is not only filled with a couple of water features and colourful plants everywhere but there are also a number of eccentric art works dotted around the place some featuring figures dancing. The unrefined appearance of the figures only adds to their appeal.


There is also a large spider’s web made from rope covered in sand. The figure of a man and eagle fighting a giant moa bird is one of the larger garden artworks. Garden seats are made from wood and stone. There is a bird’s nest filled with large eggs made from white stones and a gate in the shape of a large butterfly. Live ducks both large and small wander around the place to add to the garden’s rustic charm. This really is another memorable Kiwi garden to wander around and admire.

Please leave a comment if you found this blog informative.

Ceidrik Heward


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