Here’s how great the Wintergardens at the Auckland Domain look at the moment. Miss Four and I came here to circuit-break the enduring greyness of Winter. Huddled under a big umbrella we dashed from the car up to the two Victorian-style glasshouses. I made a decision on the fly about which one to visit first. It was cold, so we opted for the tropical garden first. I squinted my eyes and pretended I’d arrived in Bali as we opened the glasshouse door and felt the rush of warm humid air inside. We oohed and aaahed over the palm trees and the beautiful big lily ponds and then made a run for the temperate house opposite to see the clusters of spring bulbs in bloom. There is something about looking at all those beautiful flowers that seems to make people smile and be more tolerant with one another than usual. One couple offered to take our photo so we could both be in one for a change. And the caretaker didn’t tell us off when Miss Four walked out with a couple of flowers in hand. I hadn’t realised as I wandered about in front of her gazing at the blooms that she thought I had taken her to one of those ‘pick-your-own’ outfits. I’m sure the ever-changing displays are just as amazing in summer, but somehow visiting at the end of a long winter and seeing so much spring colour all clumped beautifully together in one room is magical. And it’s free.
Auckland Domain Wintergardens. Open 1 April – 31 Oct Mon-Sun 9am-4.30pm; 1 Nov – 31 March Mon-Sat 9-5.30pm, Sun 9am – 7.30pm.