Pukekura Park covers about 52ha (128 acres) and contains a diverse range of landscapes, including many plant collections, exotic specimen trees, formal gardens, lakes and walking trails through native bush.
The park includes the Fernery and Display Houses as well as the adjacent garden estate area of Brooklands, home to the acclaimed TSB Bowl of Brooklands and Brooklands Zoo.
The Kunming Garden in Brooklands was a gift from the Mayor of Kunming following the signing of a sister city agreement between New Plymouth District and Kunming, China in August 2003. Chinese craftsmen worked alongside local landscapers and builders on the garden, which includes traditional Chinese features such as a moon gate framing the intricate pavilion and garden, dragon motifs and hand-crafted wood carvings. The garden layout is of typical Yunnan design and symbolises friendship between both cities and was opened in 2005.
King Fern Gully
King Fern Gully is located beside the Sports Ground and Terraces on Fillis Street. It was named after the para or king fern, which is sometimes called a horseshoe fern because of the base of the frond is shaped like a horse's hoof. The plants were used by Maori as food. King ferns, with their shining 4m-high fronds, are now rare in the wild owing to the ravages of wild pigs.
Fernery and Display Houses
The Fernery and Display Houses are built into a hillside which aids temperature control, and are connected by iconic earth tunnels. The facility is recognised internationally by horticulturalists for its house design, propagation expertise and consistently high-quality plant displays. To learn more about the Fernery and Display Houses click on the link below.
Stainton Dell and Fred Parker Lawn
Named after New Zealand-born horticulturalist Mr John W Goodwin, Curator and Director of Pukekura Park 1949-1977.
Ancient Puriri Tree
Historic Giant Ginkgo Tree
It is located in the Maranui Gully near the List Street gardens, where the track takes a loop to a grove of king ferns.
Tea House Wisterias
Pukekura Park is famous for its large variety of native and introduced trees which in turn attract many species of resident and visiting birds. Some birds commonly seen include tui, kereru (New Zealand Wood pigeon), sparrows, starlings, blackbirds, thrush, wax eyes, ducks, and shags. For a few weeks a year a few visiting kaka (forest parrots) can be heard or seen. Bird surveys have reveiled up to 18 different species of birds can be seen in one hour.
Kereru (New Zealand Wood Pigeon)
Ducks and Ducklings. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Canadian Geese. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Pukekura Park has three species of introduced Australian frogs: Brown tree frog/ Whistling tree frog (Litoria ewingii), Southern Bell Frog (Litoria raniformis) and Green and Golden Bell frog (Litoria aurea).
All species of frogs call to attract mates at certain times of the year. Brown tree frog’s high pitched call can be heard during most calm nights. The other two species are only heard calling from the lakes and ponds during certain days in November and December.
Brown Tree Frog/Whistling Tree Frog. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Southern Bell Frog. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Green and Golden Bell Frog. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Pukekura Park is believed to have a variety of New Zealand skinks and geckos. Sightings are rare given there secretive lifestyles and for some nocturnal habits. One of the geckos that has been seen on more than one occasion is the Taranaki Gold-Stripe Gecko (Hoplodactylus chrysosireticus).
Gold-Stripe Gecko. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Gold-Stripe Gecko. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Pukekura Park does not have a large variety of fish living within its waterways. This is largely to do with several man-made structures preventing upstream migration of fish. Species known from surveys to live in the park include eels, banded kokopu, goldfish and perch. Large schools of goldfish can be seen on sunny days particulary in the large lakes and a few large eels still remain. The famous Pukekura Park Great Eel Hunt was stopped in 2001 to allow eel stocks to improve due to dwindling numbers.
Fernery Display House Goldfish.
Pukekura Park like other areas in New Zealand has a variety of introduced mammals. These are rarely encountered given their mostly nocturnal habits. Hedgehogs are one of the more likely to be encountered during an evening or early morning stroll.
Hegehog. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Hedgehog Footprints. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.
Invertebrates (creepy crawlies)
The park contains a large variety of small animals that can be heard or seen. From noisy cicadas to beautiful butterlies to glow insects (glow worms). Two of the more famous creepy crawlies are glow worms and freshwater crayfish, both have had student videos made about them.
Native Leaf Veined Slug. Photo credit: Nathan Hills.