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Sunday, 12 February 2017

Government Gardens, Rotorua

A lovely contrast to Hells Gate

The day after I went to Hells Gate, I went along the road beside Lake Rotorua and came across the Government Gardens. I've since done some research, the land the gardens were built on was gifted to the crown in the late 1800s for 'the benefit of the people of the world" by the local Maori. It was a scrub covered geothermal area and it was then cleared and formal gardens established.



This beautiful building, is the rather ornate bath house that was built by the New Zealand government in 1908 as it recognised the value of the area for tourists who came to 'take the waters'. It was later converted to a museum and it still is operating as the Rotorua museum but is currently closed for earthquake assessment.


The gardener's cottage.


All good, Victorian and Edwardian parks and gardens had an ornate rotunda or bandstand.



This Mediterranean style building is called the Blue Baths and was built in 1933 as swimming baths. Controversially at the time it didn't have separate areas for men and women, generations of locals learn how to swim here in the warm (thermal) water. It was closed in the early 1980s and has since been restored.


Rachel Pool, the water from here was piped into the baths. It was named after Madame Rachel a notorious cosmetician who promised youthful complexions because of the softening effect of the silica in the water on skin. The water is still reticulated in the modern Polynesian spa which is nearby.


The tea pavilion and the croquet lawn between the tea pavilion and old bath house.


The prince's arch, I drove through the arch into the gardens and loved the Victorian era style of the arch. Further research told me that the arch was built for the visit of the then Duke and Duchess of York (the future King George V and Queen Mary) in 1901, and the shape is that of a crown. That information made me like the arch even more!

It was raining quite persistently during the time I was in the garden so there was a good deal of juggling an umbrella and a camera to take pictures!

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