This is the year of the garden — gardens have soothed our minds, nourished our bodies and have been a therapeutic activity while we take our minds off other matters. Join us as we embark on a short tour beginning in New Plymouth, the main city in the beautiful Taranaki region.
With 3 full days exploring a selection of glorious gardens during the 35th annual Taranaki Garden Festival, followed by 2-nights in Martinborough, Wairarapa – a region of spectacular coastlines and wide valleys, concluding with a final night in our capital city, Wellington – this tour is a great little break away. Space is limited, so please contact us now to secure your place.
- 4-nights New Plymouth – including 3 full days of garden festival touring
- 2-nights Martinborough – including a visit to Kahikatea Gardens, free time in Greytown and wine tastings
- 1-night Wellington – including Farewell Dinner
SUNDAY 30 OCTOBER ARRIVE NEW PLYMOUTH (D)
Meet the group today in New Plymouth. Tonight, we enjoy a welcome dinner together at a local restaurant.
Our accommodation during our stay in New Plymouth is the Millennium Waterfront Hotel.
MONDAY 31 OCTOBER NEW PLYMOUTH (GARDEN TOURING) (B,L)
After breakfast, we will be collected from our hotel and will begin our day of garden touring. During the course of the day, we will see Pukekura Park. Established in 1876, Pukekura Park is Taranaki’s premier botanical garden. Much treasured by locals and adored by visitors, the 52 hectares of exquisiteness is located right in the CBD of New Plymouth. We visit Pukemiro, a 4.5-ha farm and retreat teeming with vegetables and fruit trees. This largely self-sustainable property, named after the ancient pā site on its boundary, utilises crop rotation, seed preservation, companion planting and mulching.
Next up is Tikorangi – The Jury Garden. We view the unique sub-tropical Rimu Walk, the detailed woodland of the Avenue Gardens, the sunken garden and rockery both dating back to the 1950s. And finally, Waiongana Gardens – a 4-ha garden bound by the Waiongana River which has many varied spaces. A Sunken Garden, Rose Garden, Redwoods, Native River Walk, log walls and a developing produce area to name but a few. The mostly flat terrain has enabled a large variety of easy walking avenues and vista viewpoints. This garden is well known for the herbaceous peonies that usually flower during the festival.
This afternoon, we return to our hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
TUESDAY 01 NOVEMBER NEW PLYMOUTH (GARDEN TOURING) (B,L,D)
Another busy day today. We start with Te Kainga Marire – the only private native garden sanctuary in New Zealand to be rated as a Garden of International Significance. Te Kainga Marire’s (translated ‘peaceful encampment’) point of difference lies in the natural plant associations that evoke a feeling of the real New Zealand. Then it is on to Nikau Grove where hundreds of nikau palms set the South Pacific theme. Native plantings and lush exotics create splashes of colour through this sizable suburban garden. Established pukatea trees with huge buttress roots form a native rainforest canopy along a natural creek. Sculptures, boardwalks, ponds, a large waterfall and a weta motel also feature. Next up is Black Gates. Set on 1.9-ha with a sustainable self-sufficient vegetable garden, fruit trees, microgreen glasshouse and livestock paddocks, this garden in progress will delight those who are inspired by the urban farming life.
Our final stop for the day is Pukeiti. Over seven decades Pukeiti has built up one of the world’s biggest and most diverse collections of rhododendrons and other exotics, their rich colours bursting into life against a backdrop of lush native rainforest. The 360-ha property also boasts an absorbing range of free family-orientated activities, walking tracks for all fitness levels, a modern visitor centre, a popular café and various accommodation options.
We return to our hotel where there is time to rest & relax, prior to our dinner this evening at the hotel.
WEDNESDAY 02 NOVEMBER NEW PLYMOUTH (GARDEN TOURING) (B,D)
Our final day touring gardens in the Taranaki area. We start with Gravetye, a formal garden that celebrates the simplicity of mass green planting. Wander along the perennial border, pass the sunken vegetable garden, the reflection pool, the pleached limes & the laburnum arch, which all radiate out from the house. Next up is Puketarata – this country garden folds around a hilltop site with spectacular views. Herbaceous plantings, lawn tennis court, vegetable garden and parterre are enhanced by the landscape. Natives blend with exotic varieties to give seasonal variety. The Puketarata Pā and kainga Keteonatea, were both significant to the area. The gully has a QEII covenant, with natives, exotics and walking tracks.
Around lunchtime, we head to Stratford Mountain where we have lunch and explore Goblin Forest, otherwise known as the Kamahi Walk. This forest looks like something from a fantasy movie. It is primarily kamahi trees which began life perched on the trunks of other trees. Their trunks and branches have grown through and around the existing trees, creating the distinctive gnarled, twisted forest. Hanging mosses, liverworts and ferns have added to the strange effect.
Returning to the hotel this afternoon, we enjoy dinner together at another local restaurant.
THURSDAY 03 NOVEMBER NEW PLYMOUTH – MARTINBOROUGH (B,D)
A bit of a drive today as we depart New Plymouth and make our way south. We stop in Whanganui en route where there is time to see and explore the beaches and find something for lunch. Continuing on, we arrive in Martinborough mid/late-afternoon where there is time to check in and refresh prior to dinner at the hotel.
The Wairarapa region combines the peace and tranquility of the countryside with life’s greatest luxuries: good food and wine. Once a quiet rural village, the township of Martinborough is now a flourishing boutique wine centre with sprawling vineyards as far as the eye can see. During our stay, we will be accommodated at Peppers Parehura Hotel – located on the outskirts of town. A stunning resort surrounded by extensive gardens and rolling green hills.
FRIDAY 04 NOVEMBER MARTINBOROUGH – GREYTOWN (B,D)
A relaxing day today as we make the short drive to Greytown where we visit the Kahikatea Gardens. By November the garden is a riot of colour with the roses making an appearance. On our guided tour, we begin with a walk through a grove of ancient New Zealand native trees. Our guide will point out interesting features like the 900-year-old Kahikatea tree. There are many flowering shrubs and trees in the garden, climbing roses drape over old post and rail fences and old machinery feature as pieces of art. The old cowshed and stables are filled with interesting “treasures” which trace the early farming years and in paddocks adjacent to the garden there are special areas set aside for visitors to interact with the animals, if they wish.
After our visit, we have time to explore Greytown. This country village oozes metropolitan style – there is a sophisticated mix of independent boutiques, galleries, antique stores and restored Victorian wooden buildings line the Main Street. On our way back to Martinborough this afternoon, we stop at a couple of vineyards where we enjoy some wine tastings. Dinner is at the hotel again this evening.
SATURDAY 05 NOVEMBER MARTINBOROUGH – WELLINGTON (B,D)
A leisurely start to the day, as it’s only a short drive on to Wellington. We take time to visit Ranui Lavender Farm and explore their essential oils shop before heading out to Palliser Bay and Lake Ferry. We will enjoy lunch at the Lake Ferry Hotel, famous for its Fish and Chips (own expense) before we head over the hill early in the afternoon. Our hotel in Wellington for our overnight stay is the DoubleTree by Hilton, conveniently located on Lambton Quay. We enjoy one final dinner together this evening at a local restaurant.
SUNDAY 06 NOVEMBER WELLINGTON – HOME (B)
Time to say our farewells as we return to the airport this morning for our flights home.