In 1976 it was just 11 acres of bare paddocks bisected by a river. But after two and a half decades of hard work, Efil Doog (Good Life backwards) Gardens is in its prime, abounding with what you'd expect to find in gardens: rhododendrons, exotic irises, bonsai, ponds and walkways. Some of the other inhabitants are less common though: trolls, 'grots' and a multitude of other sculptures.
Ernest Cosgrove - a sculptor himself - collects sculpture and art. He and his wife Shirley have also opened an art gallery on site which houses an impressive selection of early New Zealand original paintings by artists such as Frances Hodgkins, John Steele, James Nairn, Dorothy Kate Richmond, Claus Fristrom and Mina Arndt amongst others. Spectrum's Amelia Nurse visits the property north of Upper Hutt in the Akatarawa Valley for a mid-summer wander, with surprises around every corner.