Mona Vale is a delightful place to relax in peaceful surroundings. Enjoy a garden of mature trees, sloping lawns and herbaceous borders. The sheltered setting also showcases a number of impressive buildings of regional historic significance.
Visitors are asked to refrain from smoking or vaping in Council-owned playgrounds and parks, in line with the Council's Smokefree and Vapefree Public Places Policy.
40 Mona Vale Avenue, Fendalton, or off Fendalton Road. There is free onsite parking via the Mona Vale Avenue entrance.
The 29 Airport–City via Fendalton stops just a two-minute walk from the entrance. Visit the Metro Christchurch(external link) website for more information on bus routes and timetables as they are subject to change.
The Northern Line and Uni-Cycle cycleways also take you to Mona Vale – just turn onto Mona Vale Ave from Matai Street East. See our Christchurch cycle map(external link) for details.
Groups can be dropped off at the Fendalton Road entrance, wander along beside the river through the gardens, then be picked up by their bus on Mona Vale Avenue or vice versa.
There is coach parking outside the grounds off Mona Vale Avenue.
The Friends of the Botanic Gardens offers seasonal and on request guided walks. Check our events to see when the next tour is.
|November to February||7am to 9pm|
|March||7am to 8pm|
|April||7am to 6.30pm|
|May to August||7am to 5.30pm|
|September||7am to 6pm|
|October||7am to 7pm|
Ring Armourguard 0800 007 009 to release locked in vehicles at owner's expense.
Mona Vale's cafe, located inside the main homestead, is open for coffee and cake throughout the year.
|Summer hours (daylight savings)||Wednesday to Sunday, 9am to 3pm|
|Winter hours||Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 3pm|
For groups of 12 or more, the cafe can open outside of these hours. Please contact 03 341 7450 for more information or to book.
Find out more about dining at Mona Vale(external link).
Mona Vale features rose and iris gardens, woodland plantings along the river and colour-themed borders. More recently, magnolias, many Ericaceae, herbaceous perennials and beds of annuals have been added.
In the 1940s, the main rose beds were replaced by the lily pond.
Mona Vale's current rose garden was established in 1994 in conjunction with the International Roseworld Convention.
The popular garden features both modern hybrids and heritage roses.
The iris garden, near the bathhouse, has been a feature of Mona Vale since the 1970s.
The extensive collection of flowering irises and associated plants has been amassed since this time through donations by iris enthusiasts and acquisitions from offshore.
Down from the Fendalton Road entrance the driveway alongside the Avon River has a sweeping margin of annual bedding displays.
The beds are routinely changed twice a year, in November in anticipation of summer and again in April for spring flowering.
Historic Place Category 1 listed building with Heritage New Zealand(external link)(external link).
Originally called Karewa, prominent architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison designed the homestead in 1899 for the manager of the Belfast Freezing Works, Frederick Waymouth and his wife Alice.
With its half-timbered upper floor, leadlight windows and steeply pitched roof, the building is a style we know today as Old English Revival. The interior is reflective of this with dark stained timber panelling and a large collection of fireplaces. When the Waymouths lived here, the interior was decorated in the fashionable Arts and Crafts style. This celebrated natural motifs such as leaves and berries along with more handcrafted elements like honeycomb door knobs.
In 1905 the property was purchased by wealthy heiress Annie Townend who renamed the homestead Mona Vale after her mother's birth place in Tasmania. Townend made a number of additions including two gatehouses, a bathhouse and a fernery, as well as developing the grounds further. Mona Vale passed to public hands in 1969 when then owners, Church of the Latter Day Saints, planned to demolish and subdivide the aging property. Huge public outcry led local councils to purchase the property and restore it. Fast forward to today, the Mona Vale homestead is a popular wedding and events venue(external link)(external link) managed by Continental Catering.
Historic Place Category 2 listed building with Heritage New Zealand(external link)(external link).
Built by Annie Townend, the gatehouse, in all its Gothic finery, is a fine expression of both Townend's financial resources and her desire to control access to her property. The Gothic-inspired gatehouse was a similar style to her father's North Canterbury station Glenmark (built 1881 by Samuel Farr) and is a highly decorative and detailed building. Steep-pitched gables, decorative barge boards, quoining, a Marseilles tiled roof, pointed arched windows and finials grace the exterior lending the building Gothic Revival elements.
After the 2010–11 earthquakes the gatehouse, like the other buildings on the property, was badly damaged and underwent extensive repairs and restoration. A large amount of deconstruction and reconstruction took place during this time, the exterior brickwork taken down to first-floor level before being strengthened with concrete columns and a reinforced concrete beam. The ground floor has been re-levelled and a palisade wall now prevents lateral spread. The tile roof was stripped and roof plane strengthened before the Marseille tiles were reinstated along with the finials.
At the beginning of 2018, the gatehouse was utilised to house three visiting animators for an artists-in-residence programme that is set to last 12 months.
The lodge at the Mona Vale Avenue entrance was probably built in 1898, before the main homestead, by the same architect Joseph Clarkson Maddison.
The building sat in an entranceway once used by service and tradesmen and was used by Annie Townend to house her coachman between 1909 and 1911. Subsequent Mona Vale owners used the Lodge as accommodation for their gardeners. The Lodge has more recently been used as staff offices for gardeners of Mona Vale.
The building style is that of a late Victorian bay villa with echoes of the old English domestic revival style of the main homestead. Marseille roof tiles, Jacobean chimneys, lead light windows and a half-timbered effect are shared as motifs of the main building.
The bathhouse at Mona Vale was added by Annie Townend between 1905 and 1914 and was built to resemble the conservatory at her father's Glenmark station. The bathhouse was visually linked to the fernery and now-gone conservatory and glasshouse, by the use of filigree ridge cresting. It differs from similar Victorian conservatories and glasshouses as it is built from finely crafted timber and glazing bars instead of steel.
A swimming pool was in the centre of the bathhouse with built-in pot planters surrounding it. Since the building has passed into public hands, it has been used to house pot plants, the cast iron Falconer Fountain from the renowned Coalbrookdale Foundry (now in the Lily Pond) and was a souvenir shop for a time.
Originally built for the New Zealand International Exhibition in 1907, the fernery and its contents were sold to then owner of Mona Vale, Annie Townend, the richest woman in the South Island at the time.
Townend used the glass roof and plants from the exhibition fernery and built the brick wall structure you see today. The interior was redesigned around a raised pool with a paua and brick centrepiece and the beds raised to look more like a rock garden. Over the years it fell into a state of disrepair until it was essentially rebuilt by the Christchurch City Council and the Mona Vale Fernery Restoration Group in the late 1990s. A collection of native and exotic ferns were donated by Landcare Research, the private collection of the late Arthur Ericson, and the Christchurch City Council. A fern sculpture, 'Spirits from within', by Jocelynne Bacci was also added.
Damaged in the Christchurch Earthquakes, the Fernery was repaired and strengthened, reopening in 2016.