Join us and visit one of New Zealand's iconic garden festivals on our 5-day tour to the Taranaki Garden Festival...
We also offer a shorter 4-day tour to the New Plymouth Festival of Lights from the 25th to the 28th January 2022, see our other listing in the Events section for more details.
This world-renowned event showcases stunning public and private gardens of New Plymouth and the region. We will visit some fantastic gardens as part of the Taranaki Garden Festival (previously the Rhododendron Festival). This is not just a tour for those with ‘green fingers’ as we have a great program planned to see many of the other local highlights as well. Enjoy some great scenery as we travel across the country, including an overnight stop at the famous Chateau Tongariro hotel.
5 days on tour
4 nights quality accommodation
3 nights in New Plymouth
1 night at the Chateau Tongariro
Door to door service (Tauranga area)
Quality air-conditioned vehicle
Full commentary by your guide
4 dinners and 2 lunches
Breakfasts each day
Visit Pukekura Park Gardens
Visit Pukeiti Gardens
Visit Tupare Gardens
Visits to private homesteads & gardens
Visit the Tawhiti Museum
You will see:
Stunning scenery throughout
Amazing gardens and scenery
The Tongariro National Park
The Whangamomona Hotel
The Forgotten Highway
Taranaki and The King Country
Day 1 - Today we hit the road and head west, through the Waikato and King Country regions as we head to Taranaki. Our first stop will be a welcoming ‘cuppa’ on the way - before continuing to Te Kuiti for our scheduled lunch stop. Chance here for you to also visit the Colin Meads Museum and see his statue, this legendary All Black is the favourite son of this small King Country town. Further on, we hit the rugged west coast near Mokau, to begin a splendid drive down to New Plymouth, where we will be based for the next 3 nights. Tonight, we enjoy dinner at our city central 4-star hotel, at their number 1 rated (by TripAdvisor) restaurant.
Day 2 - The Taranaki Garden Festival was established in 1987 and the region is home to some of New Zealand’s most spectacular public and private gardens. Our trip is all about exploring many of the gardens and homesteads in the area and today we aim to visit the 3 main public gardens of Pukekura Park, Pukeiti and Tupare and a few others.
Pukekura Park spans 52 hectares in the heart of New Plymouth and is a nationally significant park with a large exotic specimen tree collection, inter-planted within an area of luxuriant native bush. Highlights are the native orchid and fern collections housed in a partially sunken conservatory. With many special display gardens, all with the stunning backdrop and views of Mount Taranaki, this is a must-see destination.
Pukeiti hosts one of the world’s biggest collections of rhododendrons, as well as 360 hectares of exotic and native species, so all interests will be catered for here. Pukeiti's flowering season starts in July when the first of the giants awake; large-leaf rhododendrons flowering amongst the rainforest canopy - one of the finest collections anywhere. Camellias and large magnolias follow and by October the garden is alive with colour from flower and foliage with complementary herbaceous plantings - alpines, primulas, hostas and bulb varieties all on display. This is also our lunch venue today.
Tupare is arts and crafts inspired property with secluded gardens and elegant borders. A real delight is wandering the winding paths cut out of the hillside leading to surprising vistas and intimate garden rooms. In addition to the beautiful hard landscaping, stately plantings of trees create shelter and a very magical atmosphere.
This evening we enjoy another lovely dinner in New Plymouth, and look forward to another day of exploring more gardens tomorrow.
Day 3 - Today we are off early to explore the southern part of Taranaki where there are wonderful private homesteads and sprawling gardens to explore. We will select the pick of the best to showcase a range of garden styles in the Hawera & Stratford areas, making the most of our time to include as many venues as we can.
Another highlight today will be our visit to the truly unique Tawhiti Museum near Hawera. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning and is widely acclaimed as the best private museum in the country. The museum uses life-size exhibits and scale models to present our heritage in a series of super realistic and engaging displays. If the Tawhiti Bush Railway is operating then we can take a ride on this 2'6" gauge railway that gives a dramatic presentation of the logging railways that once operated in Taranaki.
After more garden visits during the afternoon, we will head back to New Plymouth for our final night in Taranaki. Perhaps take one last stroll through the charming Pukekura Park before we enjoy another wonderful dinner at our hotel restaurant.
Day 4 - Today we make our way inland along the ‘Forgotten Highway’ to the Tongariro National Park. We stop to see the famous Stratford clock chime at 10 am before visiting another outstanding garden. We continue along SH43 and visit a kiwi icon - the Whangamomona Hotel for lunch (included) and an opportunity to hear from the locals why they declared themselves a republic.
Continuing north through this remote area to Taumarunui, we head towards the volcanic peaks of the central plateau and the Tongariro National Park. This is New Zealand’s oldest national park, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Area, with stunning scenery and the skyline dominated by the 3 volcanoes of Tongariro, Ngauruhoe and Ruapehu.
Our resting place tonight is the Chateau Tongariro (also known as the Grand Chateau). This elegant hotel has the warm charm of 1930’s hospitality, and we will enjoy a lovely dinner here. A special place to relax before we head home tomorrow.
Day 5 - After our last breakfast together in the hotel's elegant dining room, it is time to head home, but not before (weather permitting) we take a drive up the Bruce Road to the Whakapapa ski field to enjoy sweeping vistas as far as Mt Taranaki.
Departing the mountain, we continue north around Lake Taupo and on through Rotorua and towards home, taking time on the journey for lunch and a few other stops along the way. The Hinterland team will have you home mid-afternoon, having enjoyed a wonderful trip to see some amazing gardens.
All Hinterland multi-day tours can be taken by clients from any region of New Zealand or Australia. Please contact us for details. Additional charges may apply.
Not just one garden but a tour to see many gardens.
Hinterland Tours, 117 Newton Street. Mount Maunganui.