Kaipara Coast Sculpture Gardens

I’ve been flat out at work lately so getting time off in the weekend has become a bit of a rarity so today’s trip out to the Kaipara Sculpture Gardens with the kids felt like even more of a treat than it normally would.

I’ve driven past the entrance a couple of times and been gobsmacked by Gibbs Farm a little further down the road.  But I really didn’t know what to expect with the Kaipara Sculpture Gardens.

When we first drove in we weren’t even sure if we had got the right spot because it looked just like a Garden Centre.  We wandered in and found that this Garden Centre was so much more than it looked like on the outside!!

First up, we fed the hungry kids at The Allotment Cafe.  Amazingly friendly service, low prices and amazing food.  We loved it!  The kids in particular were really sold on this cafe (and they are a hard crowd to impress).  Our eldest even wrote in the visitor book that the toasties were great – much better than Mummy can make.  Thanks!  😉  I must admit the caramel slice was hands down the best I have ever tasted and the coffee was awesome too!

After we had all eaten we paid our $25 family fare for entry into the sculpture garden.  As we were lead to an old door in the wall I have to be honest that I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

Whatever it was it certainly wasn’t what was on the other side – this was much, much better than what I could have possibly imagined.

We wound our way through easily walked paths, coming first to a giant chess and Connect Four game.  We played (like really played) here for ages.

Then we set off to explore the rest of the gardens.  It was such an easy walk with the kids genuinely involved at every turn of the paths.

I adored the ladders (not the right name for them I am sure but you get the picture) and I really hope they were OK to be climbed on (sorry if we got that wrong).

The dandelions….

Unexpected things hanging in the trees….

The chandelier (I am a massive fan of chandeliers!) suspended over the table outside…

And pretty much everything else!  It was just all so interesting and different.  Throughout the walk you glimpsed little peaks of the Kaipara Harbour as you wandered through beautifully maintained grounds.

At the end we arrived at Adventure Time – a really awesome park without the trappings of a normal park.  Complete with a giant Jenga game, chimes to bang on and bars to swing on the girls loved this (and James managed to fall off the wobbly bridge).

It was a quick walk back from the park to play a bit of petanque.

We spent almost 3 hours there and it was awesome.  I loved every minute of it (well, except for the bit where the kids had a fight but they wouldn’t be kids if they didn’t do that!).  There were awesome things to look at and we really played with the kids and had fun doing it.  And best of all, it wasn’t super expensive!  I really want to come back in Spring to see all the flowers in blossom too!

Afterwards…

On the way back we stopped in a Shelley Beach (about 35 minutes away).  A really rugged beach with a shark warning and seas wild enough to scare the bravest of kids as they head out on the wharf.  We held on tight to them too – it’s not a piece of water you want to take a dip in but was an awesome stop.  Scary enough to be cool with a great park to play at after.

For a bite to eat before you head back to the city we can thoroughly recommend The Fireplace in Kumeu.  Warm, friendly and yummy food.

You will find Kaipara Sculpture Gardens about an hour out of Auckland – it’s an awesome spot to explore and a great drive so get amongst it!  More details on their site here.