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Timings : 8:00 AM – 8:00 PM

Time Required : 2-3 hours

Entry Fee : No entry fees.

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Government Gardens, Rotorua Overview

Overlooking the Rotorua Museum on the lake’s edge in North Island, New Zealand, are the beautiful Government Gardens (Paepaekumanu). This site was a gift to the British Crown by the local Ngati Whakaue tribe and stands today as a symbol of both the Maori and English culture. Today, the Museum, Blue Baths, Klamath Falls Rose Gardens, Te Runanga Tea Pavillion and Band Rotunda located in the gardens are the heritage tourist attractions to visit while in Rotorua, New Zealand.

Initially known as Paepaekumanu, the Government Gardens in North Island, New Zealand, is a public space nearby Lake Rotorua, rich in history and heritage. In earlier times, this area was under the Maori tribe’s control, where many battles were fought, making it a place of historical significance today. It was in the late 1800s that the Ngati Whakaue tribe gave the land where the present gardens sit as a gift to the Crown.
The geothermal areas in the Government Gardens, along with the Arawa Soldiers Memorial, are some of the major highlights of the gardens. A significant point to be noted here is that the Gardens have been categorised as a Historic Area and several of its buildings and structures as Heritage points.
The Museum remains closed at present because of restoration work carried out for earthquake strengthening and is due to reopen in 2021.

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Guided Garden Tour

The free guided garden tour by tour guide expertise of the Rotorua museum educates visitors about the rich Maori culture of New Zealand, the architecture, economy, living, and religious inclinations.
Tour Timings:
Slot 1 - 11:00 AM
Slot 2 - 2:00 PM
(additional time slots on Wednesday noons)

The Bath House

This Edwardian style bathhouse is one of the most photographed buildings by tourists from all across the world. Initially, the Bath House was used mainly for therapeutic and medicinal purposes where patients ailing from diseases like eczema, psoriasis, arthritis, gout or sciatica were treated in their herbal spas. The government of New Zealand took over the monopoly of the Bath in the year 1922 and turned into a historical site.

Places to Visit Around

  • Ball Busters Golf - It is a nine holed golf course, a driving trail and an 18 holed mini-putt. The place has a licensed bar and boasts of New Zealand’s first automatic American style baseball court. 
  • Bath House visit.
  • A curated list playground allows kids to indulge in outdoor recreational sport and is an ideal spot for afternoon picnics as well. It has a specific sheltered area for children of younger age groups and a climbing trail. 
  • Polynesian spa- It is a geothermal hot pool generated by two natural hot springs. You should visit the place to experience a first-class bathing experience in its acidic/alkaline mineral pool of a temperature of just the right amount of warm to relax.
  • Rotorua Bowling club ensconced between the historic Rotorua Museum, and the Blue Bath is excellent to try out your bowling skills.  
  • Rotorua Croquet lawn and the Petanque club right outside the museum, immaculately designed with its curated trails of tamed green bushes. It is a great place to click photographs with your loved ones.

Architecture of the Government Garden

Architectural Divisions
The Gardens entrance through the Prince's Arch and Gateway gives the visitors an excellent Elizabethan feel with the architecture surrounded amidst the Bowling Greens and the Croquet lawn. The present-day Rotorua Museum is housed in the original Bath House which was built in 1908. During the 1930s, the construction of the second bathhouse, Blue Baths took place. This bathhouse admitted both males and females together. Alongside the museum, there is a café where the visitors can relax and have a cup of coffee or tea.
Baths and Pools
Besides the town’s Museum and the Blue Baths, the Klamath Falls Rose Gardens are a sight to behold with flowers in bloom. The Te Runanga Tea Pavilion provides a place for visitors to relax. The Museum has collections from the Maori culture in terms of art, photographs and artefacts. The Taonga items here cover the historical and social periods of the Maori culture. The Blue Baths pools with freshly heated water are a treat for the visitors who wish to take a bath. These pools, however, remain unsupervised and hence, visitors below 14 years of age are not allowed here without an accompanying adult. 
Adjacent Greenery
The gardens also include several large trees from the early times, the most interesting of which are multi-trunked Japanese firs and an uncommon Californian weeping redwood tree. Also, adjacent to the Tea house is the Band Rotunda.

The Garden Backstory

With a history in battles and ornate bathhouses, the Government Gardens are a significant marker of New Zealand. This site was of great importance to the Maori tribe, and they gifted 50 acres of this land to the British Crown in the late 1800s “for the benefit of the people of the world". In 1908 the government built a massive and ornate Elizabethan style bathhouse to offer treatment to the visitors and in the 1930s another building in a Mediterranean style which turned the town into a tourist attraction. The Blue Bath were among the first baths to allow both males and females into the pool, and this stirred a controversy sometime later.

How To Reach Government Gardens

By Bus
Baybus service through Route 1 and 6 are available till Rotorua CBD. The Gardens are about a 4-minute walk from the CBD.
By Car
The best route to follow to the Gardens is through Pukuatua Street. The ones through Arawa Street and Pukuatua and Hinemaru Street are also viable options. 

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