The sleepy seaside village of Akaroa is full of unexpected surprises, and The Giant’s House on Rue Balguerie, is most definitely amongst the top of that list.
The Giant’s House, located just off the main road and up the hill a little bit, is truly a sight to behold. Built in 1881, the historic building is a beautiful ode to creativity and wonder, and of course, the elegance of the French that Akaroa prides itself on.
But before you explore the house itself, it’s hard to miss the world that local artist Josie Martin, has created in her own backyard. Her incredible labour of love and craftsmanship has truly taken over her terraced garden and turned it into another world that young and old from all over flock to see.
Although originally a traditional painter, Martin’s style evolved throughout her career and she began to move into more lively and colourful abstract work. After studying in the US, France, and Italy, and displaying exhibitions throughout New Zealand and the rest of the world, in 1993, Martin put down the paintbrush, and picked up some tiles.
The evolution of what is sometimes known as the ‘Secret Garden’ took place over a number of years. Each sculpture – a mosaic installation – reflects Martin’s surreal, flamboyant and eccentric view of the world, and of course demonstrates the enormous skill she has as an artist.
A short walk through Martin’s backyard will take you past angels and kings, ballerinas and wizards, a grand piano, and its receptive audience.
By turning her home into a work of art, Martin has earned herself recognition from the New Zealand Gardens Trust, who deem the place a ‘Garden of National Significance.’ Her garden has also featured in many prominent television shows and magazines, such as Maggie’s Garden Show, and New Zealand House and Garden.
The Giant’s House can be viewed throughout the year (although it makes a great springtime adventure). Or, if you’re enamoured with Martin’s work and are keen to explore her home, the house itself is set up as a Bed and Breakfast – every bit as beautiful and creative as the famous garden.
As of recent you can now stay at The Giants House in Akaroa to. It’s a unique, one of kind Akaroa property that promises to deliver a special experience.There are three wonderful rooms to choose from; the Rose room, the Double boat room and a twin room, all of which can be booked for a minimm one nights stay and include bed and breakfast.
At The Giant’s House you will be pampered
Summer (26 Dec – 30 April) the garden and gallery are open 12 – 5pm daily
Winter (1 May – 24 Dec) the garden and gallery are open 2 – 4pm daily
Cruiseship days the garden and gallery will be open 12:30pm – 4pm (Oct to Dec ).
The ‘Artisit Palate’ Cafe is open 26 Dec – 30 April.
- Garden visit : $20 per adult, $10 per child (2 – 15 years of age)
- Family Concession Prices:
- 2 Adults + 1 Child $45
- 2 Adults + 2 Children $50
- 2 Adults + 3 Children $55
- 2 Adults + 4 Children $60
- Students (with ID) $17
- Seniors (with NZ gold card ID) $17
- For group visits (10 or more) to see both the house, gallery and the garden: $22.50pp+ GST