This New Zealand garden tour makes the most of New Plymouth during full rhododendron bloom. Meet private gardeners, wander magnificent Pukeiti and visit the exhibits in the unique Tawhiti Museum. Other highlights include visits to Hawera, Whanganui, Cross Hills garden and the Chateau Tongariro. This small group tour focuses on showcasing the most beautiful gardens of the North Island.

5 Day / 4 Night tour departing Auckland, visiting the best Rhododendron Gardens in the central North Island with stays in New Plymouth, Whanganui and Tongariro National Park

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Tour Price

It's a Moa!
$2190 pp twin
$2590 pp single

Tour Map

Day 1: Auckland - Piopio - New Plymouth

Waterfront Walkway New Plymouth - Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens Tour

We depart Auckland and travel south through the lush farmlands of the Waikato. We drive to Te Kuiti  and stop for lunch at the Fat Pigeon in Piopio. Continuing through the limestone country of the Awakino Gorge we drive out to the Tasman coast.

Enjoy a special hosted lunch at Rachel and Denzil Anselmi's Carmel farm before we visit Ann Walker and Vince Naus' riverside garden which features traditional, formal and modern plantings surrounding their 100 year old villa. Your New Plymouth hotel is on the seafront just across from Len Lye’s Wind Wand kinetic sculpture and the waterfront boardwalk. We dine in at Salt the hotel's restaurant.

What you'll love today
  • Travel the scenic Awakino Gorge to the Tasman coast
  • Visit the riverside garden of Ann Walker and Vince Naus

Day 2: New Plymouth Gardens

Pukeiti Gardens - Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens Tour

We meet Judi Gopperth at sweet Hirst Cottage, built in 1862, where the garden features a green  and white theme and Valda Poletti at renowned Te Kainga Marire, a native garden of Global Significance. We visit Tupare Garden then lunch at Monica's Eatery and visit the adjacent Len Lye Centre.

At Pukeiti wander the enchanted landscape of one of the world’s greatest collections of rhododendrons planted in lush rainforest on the lower slopes of Mt Taranaki. Buggy transport is available for anyone who needs it here.

What you'll love today
  • Pukeiti is a 360-hectare rainforest located between Mount Taranaki and the scenic west coast 
  • The outstanding Len Lye Centre

Day 3: New Plymouth - Cairnhill Garden - Hawera gardens - Whanganui

Tawhiti Museum - Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens Tour

We visit Pukekura Park in the city then drive to the start of the Forgotten World Highway to Cairnhill Garden to meet June and Colin Lees and stroll in their large rhododendron and vibernum garden. We continue to Hawera to visit Jenny and John Pease's Gravetye Garden, a formal garden with sweeping lawns, hedges and topiary.

We explore Nigel Ogle's unique creation Tawhiti Museum and visit Jennifer and Ken Horner's large country garden, Puketarata set high on a hill with magnificent views before driving to Whanganui. We tour the city landmarks and heritage buildings before checking into our hotel.

What you'll love today
  • We explore and lunch at unique Tawhiti museum in Hawera 
  • Cairnhill Garden, Pukekura Park and Puketarata, iconic Taranaki gardens

Day 4: Whanganui - Cross Hills Garden - Taihape - Ruapehu

Cross Hills Garden - Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens Tour

We drive over to Kimbolton in the Manawatu region to discover another gem on our New Zealand garden tour. The Wilson family's Cross Hills garden boasts 7 hectares of park like grounds with a renowned collection of over 2000 rhododendrons. Further colour is added by azaleas tree paeonies, candelabra primulas and perennials.

Continuing north we stop for lunch at Taihape then head into the dramatic landscape of the Central Plateau and around the slopes of Mount Ruapehu to Ohakune and on to Whakapapa village and The Chateau Tongariro Hotel in Tongariro National Park. We dine this evening in this classic, landmark hotel.

What you'll love today
  • Cross Hills Garden rhododendron and azalea collection at the Wilson's farm 
  • At the Chateau Tongariro enjoy the stunning views, four-star service and ambience of this classic hotel

Day 5: The Chateau Tongariro - Aramatai Gardens - Auckland

Crosshills Garden Otorohanga - Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens Tour

Awake for a leisurely breakfast at The Chateau. If the weather allows, we take a drive up the mountain road to the Top of the Bruce for a close up view of Mt Ruapehu and panoramic views of the region. Then we’re bound for Taumarunui and Aramatai gardens then on to Kio Kio in the King Country to visit Crosshills north of Otorohanga where our private lunch is hosted by Debbie Robertson.
After lunch at Crosshills we drive back north through the Waikato farmlands and reach Auckland in the late afternoon. Thank you for choosing your New Zealand garden tour with MoaTrek.

What you'll love today
  • We drive up to the Top of the Bruce for views of Mount Ruapehu and the Central Plateau
  • In Kio Kio we lunch with Debbie Robertson at her Crosshills garden

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