While in Manawatu, make time to stop and smell the roses. In terms of popularity, gardening is up there with rugby in this part of New Zealand.
Manawatu is a region of gardeners and there are many botanical masterpieces open to view throughout the year. At Cross Hills Gardens in Kimbolton, you can walk around a park-like landscape that includes one of the world's finest collections of rhododendrons and azaleas - there are over 2,000 varieties on display. Many other rare trees, shrubs and perennials have been planted to ensure there's something to see in every season. A garden on a grand scale can be found in the city of Palmerston North. The Victoria Esplanade Gardens were opened to mark Queen Victoria's 60th Jubilee. Features include a large duck pond, a cherry drive and an avenue of phoenix palms. The rose garden has over 5,500 varieties and incorporates the International Rose Trial Grounds. There are walkways and a miniature railway through native bush. The Gardens of Manawatu Brochure, along with an extensive database of private and public gardens open for viewing is available at i-site Palmerston North and Feilding and District Information Centre.