20% at time of Booking, balance 30 days prior to tour date
Come and explore a range of stunning gardens throughout the New Plymouth region, from the rambling & traditional to the innovative & contemporary. Offering an exclusive peek into some of New Plymouths top private gardens as well as internationally recognized Public Gardens, the festival organizers aim to give visitors a diverse range of high-quality gardens that are among the best in the country.
You will enjoy strolling through large park-like country gardens, geometric and intimate inner-city gardens, sub-tropical and rainforest gardens.
Add to this outing a visit to the fabulous Nigel Ogles Tawhiti Museum in Hawera.
Zealandier Tours will take you to some special gardens including the heritage property of Sir Russell and Lady Mathews – Tupare. This property is owned and managed by the local council, and they are offering tours of the house throughout the festival.
Another favorite for Rhododendrons is Pukeiti & Pukekura Park located on 52 hectares with views of the lakes and Mt Taranaki is by far the most visited of all places in New Plymouth.
We have a very full itinerary of places to visit – there is something and somewhere of interest for everybody in this tour.
Depart Tauranga for New Plymouth
First stop is at the Hamilton Gardens to check out the Rhododendron Lawn with its huge collection along with other acid loving and complementary shrubs such as Pieris, Azalea, Skimmia, and Leucothoe. This part of the garden also features a variety of small deciduous trees – various Alnus, with their special bark, Cornus, Magnolia, Acer and a variety of perennials that associate well with these shrubs and trees, thriving in the dappled shade.
However, there are a huge array of garden collections to view – the paradise collection, productive collection, fantasy collection, cultivar collection and landscape collection. These gardens are continual work in progress.
In the 1960s, Hamilton Gardens was a bleak rubbish dump covered in weeds with seagulls circling above. No one could have imagined that such a barren mess would one become an award-winning public garden and the Waikato’s most popular visitor attraction. Today Hamilton Gardens has an internationally unique concept that tells the ‘story of gardens.’
After your wandering around the garden, you can have time for early lunch before we continue with our day.
Crossing the river then continuing towards Waitomo then Te Kuiti before heading toward Piopio. You get to see some of our finest farmland as we travel this route.
We will make a comfort stop in Piopio’s famous berry orchard where we will treat you to a fabulous fresh fruit ice cream.
From here we follow the Awakino river and gorge until we meet the Tasman Sea at Mokau. You are welcome to stop and stretch your legs here before the last leg of our travel day to New Plymouth. Mokau is renowned for its whitebait, and you will see white baiter stands all along the river as we travel this region.
Next, we climb up over Mount Messenger and then down the hill past Urenui, Motunui & Waitara before arriving in New Plymouth in the late afternoon.
After booking into our hotel, you can enjoy a glass of wine & watch the sun go down as we join up for a casual dining dinner experience inhouse.
Accommodation – The Devon Hotel (D)
After a good night’s sleep, you can enjoy a fabulous buffet breakfast in house at your leisure before commencing our day of exploring numerous gardens.
Our daily agenda is as follows
9am A guided tour of Pukekura Park – Garden # 17 – Often described as the jewel in New Plymouth’s crown. Located in the heart of the city. Created back in 1876, 52ha of park with a 5-star rating from NZ Gardens Trust. A visit to New Plymouth is not complete until you take some time in the park.
10.30 Hirst Cottage – featured in NZ House & Garden 2020 – Garden #16. An inner-city minimalistic garden themed green & white with a touch of red.
12pm Tūpare – is an Arts & Crafts inspired property established in 1932 by the Matthews family. A guided tour of the historic house is on offer along withopportunity to wander around the beautiful manicured rambling garden – Garden #15
1.30 Lunch is booked for you at The Nice Garden – #18 an urban hidden oasis surrounded with lush palm trees and tropical foliage. Where better to enjoy a light lunch with a glass of wine 😊
3pm Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Garden # 19 – a quirky garden, with structured plantings, a native bush walk complemented by garden art.
4pm Te Henui Cemetery – Garden # 14 – a cemetery is not on everybody’s agenda to want to visit but this one is a real gem. The city’s oldest cemetery has 5 Star Trip Advisor ratings of places to visit – so it must have something special on offer. 6ha of graves all planted with masses of flowers and tended to by volunteers.
Today you will have been exposed to some amazing gardens and properties all which have something different to offer. You don’t have to be a fantastic gardener to enjoy the beauty which you will be immersed into today.
The locals have worked tirelessly to provide you with their very best and open their homes to host you. It is a real privilege to partake of this event.
You will be tired by now so it’s time to head back to the hotel for a well-earned rest before dinner. Or maybe sit by the pool and enjoy the rest of the late afternoon sunshine or maybe have a soak in the spa or take a stroll along the beachfront boardwalk.
Tonight, we shall dine in house again.
Overnight The Devon Hotel (B, L, D)
Breakfast buffet is served in house again this morning. Today we begin our journey around the coast a little way before we venture off inland to visit Pukeiti, another garden of international significance.
9.15 Garden # 25 – Over seven decades Pukeiti has built up one of the world’s biggest and most distinct collections of Rhododendrons. This garden is a must see for everyone.
11am Garden # 27 The van der Poel – a large spacious garden with expansive lawns formal plantings and internationally renowned sculptures.
We will continue to drive down the Surf Highway to Opunake which is the centre for the local dairy industry and a popular tourist spot. The beach is composed of volcanic black sand and the surf is great. You will enjoy the quaint small-town charm & street art here.
12.30pm We will arrive at Tawhiti Museum. Take a little time to have yourself some lunch at Mr Badgers café before wandering into the Traders & Whalers part of the museum. The Tawhiti Museum is a truly unique enterprise. The creation of artist Nigel Ogle, its attention to detail is simply stunning.
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. We felt taking the time to peruse this museum while we were in the area is most prudent. Trust you will enjoy it.
3.30pm Garden #41 Te Popo Gardens – An African Animal Expedition. These gardens are a 13ha parkland of native trees. Exotic trees of every colour and the woodland features a zoo of life-size animal sculptures. Another very interesting garden to visit & end the day of adventures.
It’s now time to drive back to the hotel.
6.30pm Dinner again will be served in the hotel’s Marble Restaurant.
Overnight The Devon Hotel (B, L, D)
Sadly, it’s time to depart our hotel. Before leaving the area, we will make a stop at the Rewa Rewa Bridge. The steel arch structure, intended to represent a whale skeleton or a braking wave is a spectacular shape, and its setting with the mountain in view make it a popular landmark for walkers & cyclists.
Another must visit place, is The Christmas Village. The Village has 7 beautifully decorated rooms each with their own unique theme. Santa of course has his own room, and the lovely nativities, statues and white items share another space. You will find the woodland creatures nestled amongst the flowers and trees. The nutcrackers stood their ground but after much discussion finally agreed to share a room with the elves, moose, and reindeer. Beautiful decor for your home is complimented by the Christmas necessities for your kitchen. There is also a large Marquee full of beautiful Christmas items! I am sure you will find something of interest here.
We have one final garden to visit as we drive away from the region. Garden # 2 – Waiongana Gardens (Waitara)- this garden bound by the Waiongana River has many varied spaces, including a sunken garden, rose gardens, Redwood trees, natives along the river walk but the garden is well known for its peonies. The garden has featured in NZ House & Garden magazine.
This is your final garden to visit – we will start our return homeward now -making a stop at Mokau for lunch – where you may be able to indulge yourself with whitebait for lunch (if available).
During our drive home we will make a comfort stop at Otorohanga before arriving back home in Tauranga.
You will be returned home to your door feeling invigorated and excited to become creative in your own garden and enthusiastic about Christmas with so many new ideas from the Christmas Village.