Lignite Pit Cafe and Secret Garden...

Lignite Pit Cafe and Secret Garden


26 Rankers Reviews

0 Face-to-Face

13 Invercargill

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ducks in foreground
walking the mine
aerial view
entrance in
covered garden


A secret garden hidden from view of the passing traffic. So call in and sit back and enjoy the views over the pond watching the wildlife.

Lignite Pit Secret Garden and Cafe was once a historic mine situated 22 kms southeast of Invercargill on the southern Scenic Route to the Catlins. The mine has been transformed into a 16 acre nature, wildlife sanctuary also revealing the formation of Southlands lignite.
The gardens contain native and exotic species of plants, as well as a few aviaries dotted around to complement the wild birds in the area.
So call and and see the new Owners, (Sept 2014), Maree and Barry, also with the help of Charlie and Eunice, and enjoy a coffee and some home baking from the cafe while you sit overlooking the pond.
We can only accept self-contained vehicles.


Feature Value Info


South IslandSouthlandInvercargill


  • Basic Camping

Operating Season And Hours

Open for travellers all year round.

Cafe and Garden
Open August to May
Wednesday to Sunday and public holidays 11am to 6pm ish
Closed Christmas day
All other times by appointment


Showing 8 reviews of 26.

Lou's avatar


Ranking: 8/10

Lovely helpful hostess.
Utilities clean and kitchen/laundry well appointed.
Signage off the main road could've en
Garden and grounds amazing.

Reviewed 7 months ago

Thomsen Family's avatar

Thomsen Family

Ranking: 8/10

Fantastic campsite!! Not many facilities, just basic and no shower. But what a wonderful place - check out at 1Pm - so we stayed and enjoyed the garden and lake ❤️ Nice little shop and cafe - if not camping then just stop by for coffee and a walk in the garden - BIG recommendation from us and our kids - they explored the garden for over 1 hour and wondered at the Black swans that occupied the Lake

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

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Cindy's avatar


Ranking: 9/10

We paid $10 pp for non powered which included the walk around the gardens which were very beautiful. Owner was nice. There was fresh water a tidy toilet, little kitchenette with power points, microwave, kettle, fridge, hot water zip and 2 sinks.There was only 1 other van there so i asked if they minded us playing our music and singing a few songs on the guitar, they were algud.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Demi Thompson's avatar

Demi Thompson


Ranking: 7/10

Enjoyed our stay here! Spaces are limited but it's a quiet area. We were the only ones theres when we arrived till another vehicle came. The price includes access to the gardens which are pretty cool, and much bigger than I first thought! Very very basic toilet and kitchen facilities. A washing machine is available, along with a clothesline. The grounds are well maintained. Good place for a cheap stay.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

Fred's avatar


Ranking: 4/10

Einzig die Grünfläche und der See sind schön.
Ansonsten ziemlich heruntergekommen.
Wir waren die Einzigen, die dort waren.
Leider war die powered site auf der Kiesfläche (neben einer großen Possumfalle).
Wir haben uns dann umgestellt, da weiter unten eine frisch gemähte Wiese am See war. Kein Strom und
leider auch Null www und wifi.
Die Sanitäranlage dort bestand aus einer Blechhütte mit Klo und die Küche war ein Gartengeräteschuppen.
Die Gewächshäuser auf dem Gelände hatten auch schon bessere Zeiten erlebt und so aah es rundherum überall aus.
Hier müsste mal grundlegend Kultur gemacht werden.
Für den, der das mag okay.
Wir hätten uns im Nachhinein lieber an die Straße gestellt anstatt dafür 30NZD abzudrücken.
Vll. hilft die Kohle ja dem wirklich freundlichen Betreiber, etwas zu optimieren. Wünschenswert wäre es.

Reviewed almost 3 years ago

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L + J 's avatar

L + J

Ranking: 10/10

What a gem! $5pp for unpowered. Gorgeous gardens to explore. Toilet (no shower) and kitchen are basic and clean. Cafe smelled wonderful at check in but we didn't have a chance to try. Owners were friendly and welcoming!

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Peter Edmead's avatar

Peter Edmead

Ranking: 10/10

Lovely campsite. $5 per person for unpowered site. Tiny kitchen and minimum facilities. All clean. - Remember that this is a very inexpensive stopover and is very good value. Lovely walk around the lake with the fantails. Very amusing chickens and ducks interact with you. Friendly and helpful owners. Recommended.

Reviewed over 3 years ago

Greg Laws's avatar

Greg Laws

Ranking: 9/10

Great spot. Found it by chance. Perfect flat gravel area for campers. Small grassed area for tenters. Ducks, chickens, nature walk, cafe, playground and bird aviaries. Owners were amazing and welcoming.
At the price it's the perfect self contained stop over. We are seasoned tenters so didn't mind any lack of glamping. Toilets provide both hot and cold running water and there is a provision for drinkable rain water. A simple shelter provided for all weather cooking.
Pro's : Price, Secluded, relaxed farm stay. Did I mention price ? ... Gardens, cafe, polite relaxed owners. Price.
Con's : Slight traffic noise. No camp kitchen or showers. No lighting. Lack of road signage.
Conclusion : Simple, relaxed farm stay. Clean and inviting. It might not be what everyone is looking for, but at the asking price how could you ask for more. A great option for those looking for a safer, cleaner option from a freedom camp.

Reviewed over 4 years ago