Offering surprises around every corner, Ngatea Water Gardens in New Zealand exceeded our expectations on every level. While the landscape is beyond lovely and the birds and fish plentiful, it is both the owner’s sense of humour and the massive “Can Museum” that caught us off guard.
Ngatea Water Gardens
The five-acre water gardens are the design and creation of owners Roger and Emma Blake, but the humour is all Roger. The grounds are lovely, and their gardening expertise shines through the attention to every detail. The paved walking path makes the facility accessible to everyone.
Visitor Tip: Be sure to get a bag of fish/bird food on your way into the gardens. Feeding the ducks, geese, and fish really added to our fun.
Ngatea Water Gardens’ Sense of Humor
The sign on the door reads: “Warning: Joke Zone, Sense of humour required beyond this point. You have entered a property with high concentrations of jokes and humorous scenes. We are not responsible for any health problems arising from excessive laughter while viewing this amazing attraction.”
The humour is everywhere, but subtle. If one ignored all the signage around the gardens (most of it is jokes) and just looked at the beauty, I imagine one could get through the water gardens without a laugh. But you sure would miss out. My sense of humour matches Roger’s and so I read everything and took time to explore every nook and cranny.
For instance, one might walk past this outhouse and just find it an odd decor, without looking a bit closer at the feet.
A few of my other favourite funny spots:
Arthur’s Canny Museum
And then we opened a door and found Arthur’s Canny Museum . . .
With over 11,000 cans on display, this is one massively impressive room. When Arthur Blake began collecting cans in 1989 I doubt he ever thought it would become the only collection of beverage cans on display to the public in New Zealand. This “Can Museum” is like nothing I have seen. There are plenty of labels I recognize, intermixed with antique beer cans and other rare items. This is much more than a beer can collection.
Practical Information on Ngatea Water Gardens
- In the Maori language, the “g” is silent in the combination of ‘Ng’, therefore, the town name is pronounced “Na-tee-a.” Click here to hear it pronounced.
- Ngatea Water Gardens is on Darlington Street, just off State Highway 2 (SH2) and across the street from the Ngatea gem factory.
- The drive from Coromandel, Hamilton, Tauranga or Auckland to Ngatea is only about one hour.
- Ngatea is often just a service stop for travellers. Don’t make this mistake, you will be missing out on a real gem. We visited Ngatea as part of an Auckland to Wellington road trip.
- The Ngatea gardens are open Sunday to Thursday from 10 am to 4 pm (summer) and only on Sunday in the winter (May to September). They also open by appointment. Check their official webpage for details.
- If you are looking for Ngatea accommodation, may we suggest staying in nearby Paeroa. Just 20 minutes away, in Paeroa, you will find the antiquing capital of New Zealand as well as home to our unofficial national drink, L&P (which stands for Lemon and Paeroa and is now owned by Coca-Cola).
- And while in Paeroa, don’t miss the giant L&P bottle:
Have you been to Ngatea Water Gardens? Will you stop at the water gardens next time you are driving on SH2 to see the nature, the humour, or the cans?
Disclaimer: We were guests of Ngatea Water Garden. However, the opinions expressed here are strictly my own.