Whanganui Part 3: Bason Botanic Gardens, Kai Iwi, & Bushy Park

Another beautiful day in New Zealand and another great day to spend outside. I started in the morning with a visit to the Bason Botanic Gardens. I stopped at a dairy to pick up a sandwich for my lunch and headed out to the gardens, about seven miles from Whanganui.

The gardens are extensive and I spent a couple of hours walking around and enjoying the day. Daffodils are one of my favorite flowers and my trip to New Zealand in late winter meant I was lucky enough to see them bloom twice in one year. The Bason gardens featured extensive daffodil blooms along with scores of other early blooming plants and bushes. Hothouses held more exotic flowers but only the orchid house was open, another pitfall of offseason travel.

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Succulents at Bason Botanic Gardens

My next stop was Kai Iwi Beach, just a few miles down the road from the Bason Botanic Gardens. Kai Iwi is a dramatic black sand beach with towering cliffs and stern warnings about bits of the cliffs falling on unsuspecting tourists.

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Stunning Kai Iwi Beach

I’d love to come back in the summer but I also liked having the beach to myself. I wandered around for a bit, keeping an eye on the cliffs.

Next up was the Bushy Park Sanctuary. Bushy Park is a predator free bird sanctuary with many walking tracks throughout the forest that makes up most of the reserve. I paid my $10 entrance fee at an honor box near the start of the trails and began my walk. I don’t know much about birds, especially ones native to New Zealand, so I appreciated signs along the tracks with information about the flora and fauna in the sanctuary.

Highlights of Bushy Park include Ratanui, one of the largest rata trees in New Zealand and estimated to be between 500-1000 years old, and the hihi, a very rare bird reintroduced into the sanctuary in 2013. I’m nearly sure I saw a pair of hihis at a feeding station set up for them but the female was wary of me and kept flitting around so I couldn’t get a decent photo.

Another beautiful day in New Zealand and another beautiful day spent outside.

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