In 1872 a 98,000 acre estate was purchased from the Crown by The Piako Swamp Company for the sum of 2/6 (25 cents) an acre.
The agreement included a commitment to drain and clear the swamp, fence and build roads throughout the area. The landscape was covered in Manuka and rushes, although some areas were too wet to grow even these.
The eight hectares (15 acre) you see today of the Woodlands estate, was planted over 135 years ago and is surrounded by extensive reclaimed agricultural land.
The lovely Homestead which has been restored to its former glory, was originally built as a Manager's residence between 1872 - 1875. It is largely made of Kauri and still features some of the original weatherboards and iron on the roof.
The Homestead was surrounded by a 'village' of farm buildings, large two storied stables, woolshed, single men's quarters, bakery, blacksmith's shop, waterwheel, joinery shop, butchery, two storied implement shed and extensive stockyards for sheep and cattle.
These buildings were removed in 1928 when Don & Irene Riddell took up residence at Woodlands.
The gardens around the homestead contain four notable trees - one is regarded as New Zealand's largest Eucalyptus, another a Liriodendron which is believed to be the finest in the Waikato, and an American Ash and Juniperus chinensis, are considered to be of National interest.
The garden houses the country's most significant collection of old camellias, many of which were brought from Britain in the 1870's.
Woodlands is registered with the New Zealand Gardens Trust and is rated by NZGT as a Garden of National Significance for its beauty and historic significance.