After chores and laundry we thought it would be nice to bimble down to the gardens. First we watched the birds on the lakeside beach. Someone had tipped a huge pile of bread. Over to our left a rather lovely gateway. Like the rest of New Zealand, the Queenstown community was unprepared for the heavy human losses suffered in World War One. Fundraising for a memorial to remember the district’s servicemen began in March 1920. Two suggestions were made as to what form the memorial should take. The first was a playground where children could ‘develop healthily’ and remember the sacrifices made to enable them to play happily. The other suggestion was an archway to be placed at the lower entrance to the Queenstown Gardens, by Lake Wakapitu. The memorial was opened on ANZAC Day in 1922. The waterfront was thought to be a prominent location. It would remind both locals and tourists of the sacrifices made by the Queenstown community, nicely framed by an avenue of birch trees.
The memorial is unusual and certainly a first for us, on one side are the names of those who died while in service - the other side carries the names of all who served. This was included even though many returned service people objected as ‘we have all received our welcome homes, these boys have not’.
How it looked then, the WWII plaque to the right of the gateway and floral tributes on ANZAC Day.
Posing by a waterwheel, of course he got his trigger finger out.
We went over the little stream, looked left and right.
We looked at the map, walked past a silver fern and watched the paraglider come down.
We walk to the end, take in the view, climb some steps, find a little patch and daddah – a rhododendron called Bumblebee, would love to have seen him in full flower.
On this higher level we could see the rose gardens were just being mulched and in the distance, tennis courts, surely with the best backdrop ever.
This big memorial was to Scott and his team.
We read the words and found them moving........so close.
Other memorials for mountaineers.
A new sign for us, one of the ‘holes’, we stopped and watched frisbee golf for a while.
The Queenstown Gardens has been a much loved place of recreation and relaxation for locals and visitors alike. Originally a patch of treeless scrubland, this twelve hectare peninsula was designated Crown Land in 1866 and placed under the control of Queenstown Borough Council. The Queenstown Gardens of today would barely be recognisable to the environmentally conscious settlers who founded them but the natural beauty, unique trees, sporting amenities and history of the park remains a proud legacy. Perhaps, somewhat amazing, is the fact that this garden – out of hundreds of things to do in the city, came sixth out of thirty six attractions on Tripadvisor.
The band rotunda near the Park Street entrance was originally established in 1891 but rebuilt in 1999 by the Queenstown Lions Club.
Bear bimbled over for a closer look, I still cannot believe these are ornamental cabbages. Nice colours but I can’t believe I’m seeing a parsley frontage.
Delicate in their own way.
The Queenstown Gardens are closely connected with the origins and development of the town. The peninsula was declared a public reserve in 1867, shortly after the formation of the Borough Council in 1866. In the winter of 1867. the Mayor, Mr. J.W. Robertson and the nurseryman, Mr. McConnochie, planted the first two trees, oaks, near this park entrance. This one is still growing strong, such a pity about the choice of colour for the plaque. Many more trees were subsequently planted with the distinct European influence of the first settlers.
The Park Street entrance to the gardens. We have enjoyed our time here but new horizons call on the morrow.
Time to walk back to Mable, she’s in the higher group on the left. We watch TSS Earnslaw off on her last journey of the day.
ALL IN ALL VERY THOUGHT PROVOKING