Fit For A Queen
Although I’ve lived in Southland and Invercargill now for just over eight years, I have not yet seen everything there is to see in Invercargill’s Queen’s Park. Queen’s Park is located in the middle of Invercargill, and it is big. How big? Try 81 hectares (200 acres)! No wonder I’ve not seen it all just yet.
From botanical gardens, playgrounds, walking trails to wildlife, history and a 4km fitness track, the park also has a golf-course, several café’s and off course Southland Museum. There truly is something for everyone.
As the season’s change there is always something spectacular to see; some new plantings, various colors of the trees, freshly blooming flowers. The Rose Gardens alone are beautiful and this is coming from someone who most certainly is not a rose-buff. But the perfume, the colors and the setting is just superb. I personally love the entrance, those beautiful Feldwick Gates open up to the wide path surrounded by stunning English Beech and Silver Birch trees. This ‘path’ is known as Coronation Avenue and stretches from the entrance right through the park, past the Band Rotunda (the central focal point of the park) and brings you out to Herbert Street on the other side.
In 1857 Queen’s Park was originally covered in Native forest, of which ‘Thomson’s Bush Reserve’ to the north of Queen’s Park is a remnant of. The first formal planting in Queen’s Park occurred in late 1870, and cattle were grazed on the land leased in 10 acre blocks. During the 1880’s it was home to the Southland Agricultural & Pastoral Association’s show grounds and it remained that for almost 30 years. Invercargill Cricket and Tennis Clubs were both based in Queen’s Park at this time. There was even a racecourse laid out in Queen’s Park!
To celebrate the Coronation of King George V in 1911, an avenue of trees was planted along, what else, Coronation Avenue. From there the park blossomed into what it is today. It is now a haven for Invercargill residents and visitors alike, it has no less than 25 separate distinctive gardens including native plantings and collections from all over the world – the list goes on. It’s no surprise that Queen’s Park is widely acclaimed throughout New Zealand. A must see in my opinion is the Tropical indoor display, it’s so green and lush (and nice and warm in winter!), as well as the Japanese Garden.
Off course no visit is complete without a visit to the Aviary which was opened in 1998. It houses many New Zealand, Australian and African birds.
I often go there to walk around and look to see what is new, it’s always changing and off course, we have to visit the duck ponds to feed the ducks (who, by the way, look pretty plump and healthy thanks to all the visitors). It’s spectacular no matter what the season, and it truly is ‘fit for a Queen’.