Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens

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Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens

Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens

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


This New Zealand garden tour makes the most of New Plymouth while the rhododendrons are blooming. Meet private gardeners and wander magnificent Pukeiti and Tupare. Other highlights include Whanganui, Cross Hills garden in the Manawatu and the Chateau Tongariro. This small group tour focuses on showcasing the most beautiful gardens of the North Island.

Tour at a Glance


$2,990 per person, share twin

$400 single supplement

Tour Date:

13- 18 Oct, 2021 SOLD OUT

16- 21 Oct, 2021 SOLD OUT

19- 24 Oct, 2021

Fitness Level

Moderate walking with some uneven ground

Group Size Limited

maximum 18 travellers


• All meals
• Entrance fees
• All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
• Services of your knowledgeable guide.
• Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”.


• Domestic airfares
• Travel Insurance

Tour Itinerary

For full details please request a Free Information Pack (Form to the right)

Day 1Auckland - Piopio - New Plymouth: Taranaki here we come!

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 and Diana Montgomery’s Waiongana Gardens.

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

Day 2New Plymouth Gardens

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.

Day 3Taranaki farmhouse gardens - Hikurangi - Openlands

Travelling the picturesque country roads on the seaward slopes of Mt Taranaki we visit expansive farmhouse gardens.

Maureen Brophy’s Hikurangi plus Maria van der Poel and Elaine Sanderson’s gardens. At Openlands we lunch with Marie Mills in a garden that includes a church, museum and an aviary.

Day 4New Plymouth - Cairnhill Garden - Hawera gardens - Whanganui

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

We visit Jennifer and Ken Horner’s country garden, Puketarata set high on a hill with magnificent views then continue on to Whanganui. We tour the city’s landmarks and dine out this evening

Day 5Whanganui - Cross Hills Garden - Taihape - Chateau Tongariro

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 to the Central Plateau we skirt around the slopes of Mount Ruapehu to Whakapapa village and The Chateau Tongariro Hotel in Tongariro National Park.

Day 6 The Chateau Tongariro - Aramatai Gardens - Crosshills Garden - Auckland

If the weather is kind 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 Mouat’s lovely Aramatai gardens set around a lake. We continue north to Crosshills Farm, near Otorohanga where our private lunch is hosted by Debbie and Fraser Robertson.

After lunch we drive north through the Waikato to Auckland. .


Some great news… while we wait for international borders to re-open, there is no better time to see a bit of our own backyard and help our local communities get back to business. 

We’re excited to let you know that we have partnered with MoaTours, one of New Zealand’s leading and most trusted local tour operators since 1971. MoaTours offers a range of small group tours all over New Zealand that we think you’ll love — from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.  

A a family run business just like Tours Direct, MoaTours has great connections and unbeatable local knowledge of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. They also share common values so we know you will be well looked after and have a great experience.

“Enjoy Taranaki’s beauty ahead of the festival crowds when the gardens are fresh and the gardeners too! I especially like having the gardeners and the gardens completely to ourselves. On the first and last day of our travels we enjoy the warmth and hospitality of private farmhouse lunches.”

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