The gardens of Gunyah Country estate were established by its original owners, Wilfred Hall and his wife, Millicent Potts in 1912 when the homestead was built. Millicent was daughter of Thomas Henry Potts, one of New Zealand most renowned botanists, ornithologists, entomologists and conservationists. He was an early explorer and settler in Canterbury. Mt Potts, famous for having been the set of ‘Lord of the Rings’, is named after him and is not far from Gunyah. With such a horticultural pedigree, it is not surprising that Millicent and her husband Wilfred had an interest in plants, both exotic and NZ native. The original house garden and orchard took up 2 acres.
After many years of neglect, the grounds have been restored and extended by the current owners. Nowadays set amongst 30 acres of land, Gunyah’s gardens take up 12 acres with expansive lawns, mature trees, NZ natives, exotics which includes original stunningly coloured and perfumed azaleas and rhododendrons from Thomas Potts’ days, the old and new orchard, a pond, avenues, a gazebo, a folly and more. There is also a kauri, one the southernmost in New Zealand. The remains of a native beech forest near the homestead are also gradually being restored.
The present owners share in Thomas Potts’ love of nature and conservation as they are developing a conservation area along the side of the Hororata river that is boundary to the property. It is a large project aimed at creating a natural reserve in the wetland and dry bank which also will serve as a feeding spot for native birds.
Gunyah enjoys splendid views of Mt Hutt, Mt Winterslow , Old Man’s Peak, the Harper Hills, Mt Misery, Mt Torlesse and even the Port Hills , from many vantage points around the garden. On an exceptionally clear day views can extend to Mt Somers, Four Peaks and beyond.
To enquire about a garden visit to Gunyah Country Estate whether for individuals or groups, please contact us directly.