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!
$2490 pp twin
$2890 pp single

Tour Map

Day 1: Auckland - Piopio - New Plymouth

Walking on the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge New Plymouth

We travel through the Waikato farmlands and stop for lunch with Rachel and Denzil Anselmi at Carmel Farm in Piopio. Continuing through the limestone country of the Awakino Gorge we drive out to the Tasman coast. Reaching New Plymouth we visit John Wilmshurst & Diana Montgomery's Waiongana Gardens.

Your home for two nights, The Waterfront Hotel,  is just across from Len Lye’s Wind Wand kinetic sculpture and the waterfront boardwalk. We dine in at the hotel's Salt restaurant.

What you'll love today
  • Travel the scenic Awakino Gorge to the Tasman coast
  • John Wilmshurst & Diana Montgomery's Waiongana Gardens

Day 2: New Plymouth Gardens

Touring Pukeiti Gardens in Taranaki by electric buggy

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 House and its beautiful 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 growing in lush rainforest on the slopes of Mt Taranaki. Buggy transport is available to take you around the pathways. We dine back in your hotel.

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

Views of Mt Taranaki in spring with cherry blossoms

We visit Pukekura Park 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. In Hawera we visit Jenny and John Pease's Gravetye 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 before checking into our hotel, The Quality Inn Collegiate.

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

Visitors to Cross Hills Garden in the Manawatu enjoying Rhododendrons in flower

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 and azaleas. Further colour is added by tree paeonies, candelabra primulas and perennials.

Continuing north we 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 - Crosshills - Auckland

Group walking in Aramatai Gardens, King Country

If the weather allows, we 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 Jill and Leo Mouat's Aramatai gardens then on to Crosshills Farm, north of Otorohanga where our private lunch is hosted by Debbie Robertson.
After lunch we drive north through the Waikato to Auckland. Thank you for choosing your New Zealand garden tour with MoaTours.

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

The friendly team at MoaTours would love to chat

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