Nestled on the banks of the Waikato River, Huka Lodge lies within a location of great natural beauty. This has been further enhanced by 17-acres of park-like grounds and extensive, manicured gardens. The New Zealand Gardens Trust has deemed the property to have a Garden of National Significance since 2011.
These superb gardens feature both native New Zealand trees and shrubs, also to be found beyond the grounds within the greater landscape, as well as planting that would typically be encountered in an English garden. Huka Lodge has many fine specimen trees of some age and considerable size – in particular the Californian Redwood trees that date back to the original plantings in the 1920s. Due to the location being well above sea level with crisp, cold winters Japanese maples, rhododendrons, hostas, hellebores, dogwoods, magnolias and azaleas thrive. The New Zealand climate is generous in terms of both sunshine hours and rainfall, at just the right time of the season to generously endow both lush and strong growth.
The gardens have always been a source of pride to Huka Lodge however since 1984 they have undergone a massive development programme. Interior Designer Virginia Fisher and Landscape Designer Suzanne Turley have worked closely to transform the gardens into their present much admired form. One of their biggest projects has been the creation of a magnificent water garden near the main Lodge. Here the river courses through massive river boulders, in the form of miniature waterfalls, while drifts of moisture loving plant such as gunnera, bog primulas and hostas thrive.
Spring is always a glorious time in the gardens at Huka Lodge with so many flowering trees and shrubs, with many perfumed plantings such as Daphne contributing to the magical effect. The garden is a haven for many bird species and their song, as well as presence, is readily enjoyed within the property.
The two exclusive cottages – the four-suite Owner’s Cottage and the two-suite Alan Pye Cottage both have some special garden features unique to each site. The Owner’s Cottage has an exquisite rock garden filled with all sorts of treasures near the outdoor fireplace. The Alan Pye Cottage has a Gertrude Jekyl-inspired garden in keeping with the Arts and Crafts influence prevalent in the design of this cottage.
Guests can self-tour the gardens using an illustrated plant catalogue, prepared by the Head Gardener, Elaine Tocker, to identify the unfamiliar and the gardening staff are only too happy to answer any questions. Guided tours to other gardens of special interest within the area can also be organised for guests on request.
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