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Things To Do

New Zealand GardensGlenfalloch Woodland Garden, Otago Peninsula

Unless you've stumbled across this part of our site by accident, there's a good chance you like gardens… and New Zealand has gardens to die for.

There are two reasons for this - the people and the temperate climate.

Every weekend more than a million New Zealanders take to their gardens (the total population is only 3.8 million!). Wherever there's a patch of land, be it a park or a traffic island, there will be someone lovingly tending it. Being an island, uninfluenced by any close land mass, temperatures only vary about ten degrees a year and generally there are long sunshine hours and no pollution.

Goverment Gardens, RotoruaThere are over 2000 species of flowering plants (75% of them are only found in New Zealand) from giant kauri trees to delicate orchids to the beautiful golden flower kowhais.

You may like to plan your visit around a major garden or floral event or, if you like, we can organise an itinerary that includes some spectacular gardens.

Practically all cities and towns have impressive parks and formal gardens to enjoy free of charge. In Christchurch, for example, more than a third of the city is devoted to parks and gardens. Entry fees to private gardens can cost between NZ$3 and NZ$10.

If you're travelling by car, call into the Visitor Information Centres (look for the green i sign) for guides on the best gardens to visit.

Return to topSeasons

(September, October, November)
Full flowering of most plants including fruit trees, shrubs and bulbs. Rhododendrons reach their peak in October.
(December, January, February)
Many plants flower through summer like the pohutukawa (the red-flowered New Zealand Christmas Tree), the Mount Cook lily and wild lupins. This is also harvest season for many fruits.
(March, April, May)
The golden season of changing colour, especially in the South island areas of Queenstown, Wanaka and Arrowtown.
(June, July, August)
Most native trees are evergreen so the flora's never bare and a number of flowers can still be found, including tropical varieties in glass houses.


Return to topGardens by Region

It would be near impossible to list the hundreds of gardens throughout the country, but we've selected a few to give you an idea of what to expect… If you would like more specific information (entry fees, addresses, opening times, phone numbers etc), just email us telling us which garden(s) you want more information about.

North Island:

Ayriles: an artistically planned, rambling ten acres of roses, azaleas, rhododendrons, bougainvillea, canna lilies, wisteria, cycads, palms and much more in a setting of waterfalls, ponds, pillars, archways and rockeries. Open all year.

Cottonwood: Overlooking the Tamaki Estuary, century old trees and sweeping lawns separate attractive colour-grouped beds of flowers. Many native trees and ferns as well as spring bulbs, azaleas, camellias and roses. Open all year.

Tranquil Glen: Within the 2.5 acre garden you'll find a lovely woodland area, camellias, bulbs, roses, cherry blossom and 27 different magnolias. Open September to May.


The Garden Art Gallery: A delightful small garden full of roses, climbers, delphiniums, lupins and many more cottage style plantings. Open all year.


Trelinnoe Park: A landscaped, woodland garden with expansive lawns, intimate walks and views to the countryside. Set on 25 acres there are many New Zealand natives plus maples, magnolias, dogwoods, rhododendrons and jacarandas. There's also a Tea House with great home cooking. Open all year.

New Plymouth area:

Pukeiti: A magnificent rhododendron park with the country's largest collection. There are many other plants including azaleas, magnolias, camellias, prunus and kalmias. You should allow a good half-day for this one. Open all year with longer hours in the warmer months.

Tupare: An English-style landscaped garden with flowering trees and a woodland area. Plants include maples, roses, azaleas and, of course, rhododendrons. Open September 1 to March 31.

Ngamamaku: A very special garden with lovely trees set on 3 acres. A natural bush stream has been well-planted with damp-loving plants and there are separate areas of roses, acers, magnolias and rhododendrons.

Palmerston North area:

Pukemarama: A lovely old, family garden since 1900, set on 8 acres. The homestead looks over formal gardens, a sunken garden, tennis courts and a croquet lawn. Plants include roses, lavender, perennials, annuals and a woodland dell. Open from end of October to end of December.

South Island:

Wilsons Mill Gardens: A 14 acre garden just north of the city landscaped over the original site of a flax mill. Lots of trees, softened by roses, clematis, rhododendrons and flowering cherries. Open October 1 to May 31.

Taunton Gardens: Over 1000 exotics in the 3 acre garden with beautiful views of the harbour. A stream meanders into two ponds, one large enough for an island planted with native cabbage trees. Open September to April.

Ohinetahi: A lovely old historic stone house with trees planted in 1860 nestled into the hillside overlooking Governors Bay. There are formal gardens, topiaried box hedging, a water garden, a white garden and a woodland valley. Open Mid-September to Mid December and from Mid January to end of February.

Mona Vale: an historic 12 acre Edwardian garden surrounding a lovely home built in 1900. There are roses, rhododendrons, azaleas, Lebanese cedar and weeping willows along the Avon River. Open all year.


Ethridge Gardens: An English-style garden with high brick walls dividing the different 'rooms' in the garden with vistas leading from one colour scheme to the next. Open September to May.

Lanarch Castle Gardens: New Zealand's only real castle with 12 acres of gardens. Wonderful old trees, spring bulbs, a rock garden, rhododendron dell and heather and azaleas outside the ballroom. Tours of the castle also available and it's open all year.

Glenfalloch Woodland Garden: A beautiful and superbly maintained old garden with a feast of flowers planted under original trees from 1872. Set in a coastal valley overlooking Otago Harbour and open all year from dawn to dusk.


Speights Gardens: A long 8 acre garden with dramatic surrounding mountains. Formal edged with lavender planted with 1000 old roses and informal areas with lots of colour. Open all year.


Jacaranda Park: You guessed it - jacarandas (they flower all summer) as well as many other species and magnificent views out over the Motueka River. Set on 5 acres and open all year round.

Marlborough Area:

Winterhome Garden: a garden with bold, straight, classic lines with brick walls and walkways. Magnificent views over the Pacific Ocean.

Barewood: An old 4 acre garden with flowers cascading all over the garden, 80 year old oaks and wisteria and roses adorning the house. Open October to April.

Return to topGarden Festivals

Wanganui In Bloom (December 7 to February 28)
A summer long festival where the buildings in the central city are adorned with hanging flower baskets and verandah boxes.
Hastings Blossom Festival (September)
A floral celebration of the arrival of spring.
Taranaki Rhododendron Festival (October/November)
Over a hundred private and public gardens are open along with art exhibitions and seminars.
Whangarei Garden Discovery (November)
A three day festival of garden tours and seminars.
Auckland - Ellerslie Flower Show, Manukau City (November)
Held in the Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens, this is the largest floral exhibition in the southern hemisphere.
Rotorua District Garden Festival (November)
More than fifty private town and country gardens open for this event.
Christchurch - Garden City Festival of Flowers (Feb 18 - 27)
A prestigious festival with many events and displays.
Arrowtown Autumn Festival (April - May)
A celebration of the town's gold mining history with a backdrop of brilliant autumn colour.
Alexandra Blossom Festival (September)
A host of activities to celebrate the arrival of spring.
Dunedin Rhododendron Festival (October)
A week long festival featuring seminars and tours of the city's private and public gardens.
Blenheim - Hunter's Garden Marlborough (November)
Tours through the Marlborough region and seminars by local and international experts.


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