Covid-19 delayed our Tikara Country Gardens post, in hindsight, we think for the better! Lord knows we could all do with some inspiration and colour right now and perhaps seeing more of New Zealand’s travel-treasures in our feeds will help inspire some domestic travel given international trips will be restricted for some time. We know it’s going to take time to recover and New Zealand tourism is working hard on kickstarting and reshaping the tourism industry. There’s no doubt with our borders now closed, interregional/domestic travel is going to significantly help New Zealand’s economy. Now is an important time for us to really view our country as it deserves, a world-class travel destination! There’s no better time to truly experience our country!
Isaac and I have taken advantage of a lot of special offers on accommodation and experiences throughout the Wairarapa, most of our weekends for the remaining of the year are booked with some type of family-activity (as Wairarapa’s go-to bloggers we will share as much of that right here on the blog with you). Travels don’t have to be extravagant to help local economies, one of our favourite things to do as a family is camp at DOC sites. DOC manages more than 200 campsites throughout New Zealand. They are places to wind-down, enjoy and explore the outdoors, from beautiful forest settings, scenic lakes to family-friendly beaches, all for a small fee. Another fun aspect of camping for us is purchasing all our food and any necessary supplies for our camp-out local to the DOC sites. When travellers like us buy local, more of that money stays in the community, local farmers, craftsmen, antique dealers, and other product providers with items made locally and sold on a small scale ALL win.
Both Isaac and I are messaged often on how we find the wonderful Wairarapa destinations we travel to, for those that don’t know, my husband is actually a local. He spent most of his upbringing adventuring this playground we now call home and he has always wanted to return to the Wairarapa to raise his family. A lot of our family-travel in the Wai is tracing Isaac’s fondest moments of his youth. There’s also a lot of hidden gems we find here by chance, jumping in the car, venturing out and discovering secret pathways to storybook locations like Tikara Country Gardens (pictured, we will get to that in a moment).
Additionally, as the Wairarapa’s resident bloggers we are also incredibly lucky to be ‘in-the-know’ about upcoming events in our region and we get great satisfaction sharing that knowledge on our social platforms and connecting with YOU! Lastly, our biggest secret to finding unique and offbeat places is actually the most obvious, user-generated information ie: following hashtags, geotags etc on Instagram, #wairarapa is our favourite.
Along with following our Instagram @theleostyle, here are some of our favourite Wairarapa accounts to follow that will keep you up-to-date with everything happening in our region!
Finally on to a very special find, Tikara Country Gardens, all the heart eyes! You’ll know I have a ‘thing’ for getting lost in gardens. We visited here at the end of summer, even in one of the dryest seasons Carterton District has ever experienced these gardens still provided such visual-glee. Tikara Country Gardens is a two-hectare property situated on the east-hills behind Carterton with stunning views of the Tararua ranges and Ruamahunga River. A labour of love for owner Mary who personally greeted us on arrival with a very warm welcome before letting us free to roam the grounds.
Amongst the different communities of colourful blooms, you’ll find a native bush area with a boardwalk, I loved watching the boys pretend this was their special fort. By far the star attraction was the wooden staircase mass planted with a vibrant sea of carpet roses, a memorial to Mary’s late mother.
Take a picnic like we did or arrange a morning or afternoon tea. Find a spot under their iconic red maple trees or perch yourself next to the striking 90-meter bund which is covered with arctotis daisy.
Visit: Open by prior appointment from 10AM – 4PM
Where: 113 Ahiaruhe Rd, Carterton
Contact: Mary – 021 223 6405
Helpful Information: Morning and Afternoon Tea are available by prior appointment (groups 4+)
See you, love you, BYE!