Awaken your senses with an impressive array of gardens. The Taranaki Garden Spectacular showcases a dynamic display of private & public gardens and we plan to visit as many as we can over the four days, including the world-renowned Pukeiti.
Day 1 – Saturday 31 October 2020 – HOME CITIES – NEW PLYMOUTH (D)
Today we travel to New Plymouth travelling State Highway 3 via Te Kuiti, and the Awakino Gorge Road to Mokau. We stop here for you to purchase your lunch. Upon arrival in New Plymouth, we commence our garden visits with time at Pukekura Park. Located in the heart of New Plymouth City, this 52-hectare park has an amazing range of both native and exotic plants all displayed in a natural setting with many wonderful views and vistas of the lakes and Mt Taranaki. Must-Sees are the fernery and display houses. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Autolodge Motor Lodge New Plymouth – 3 nights
Day 2 – Sunday 01 November 2020 – ‘TARANAKI GARDEN SPECTACULAR’ (B)
Today we take in a city sights tour of New Plymouth featuring the gardens of this unique town. Our first garden visit for the day is the historical Tupare Gardens. Tūpare is a premier landscaped garden with a unique homestead, originally developed by Sir Russell Matthews and his family from 1932. Sculpted from a hillside overlooking the Waiwhakaiho River, the plantings and landscapes remain true to its heritage. As you walk the winding paths cut into the hillside, you’ll find stately trees, deciduous maples, copper beeches and dawn redwoods, as well as a stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and hydrangeas that were all carefully planted by Sir Russell. This afternoon visit Pukeiti Gardens, a 360-hectare rainforest property located between Mount Taranaki and the coast, just south of New Plymouth. Established in 1951, Pukeiti is an internationally recognised garden and plant collection. Renowned for rhododendrons, Pukeiti also features sub-tropical Vireyas, magnolia, pieris, prunus, styrax, camellia, deutzia, daphne and many more for all-year-round interest. The garden also features thousands of bulbs and herbaceous plants along with plantings of natives. As we leave Pukeiti and head back to our hotel, time allowing, we can stop along the way at a local garden or two. On arriving back in New Plymouth we are free to explore the city. Dinner tonight is at leisure.
Day 3 – Monday 02 November 2020 – NEW PLYMOUTH GARDENS (B)
Today we visit a variety of private gardens that open exclusively during the festival. This will depend on the gardens that will be participating. They offer an intriguing mixture of both unique and stunning gardens, each with their own story to tell. Dinner tonight is at leisure.
Day 4 – Tuesday 03 November 2020 – NEW PLYMOUTH – WELLINGTON (BD)
Leaving New Plymouth after breakfast we will transfer today to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. En route we will visit the amazing structure that is the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge for a photo stop, before continuing to the outstanding Paloma Gardens at Wanganui, which has four distinct areas. The first contains foliage, bamboos, palms, alocasias, ferns and cycads. The second has many species of cyads, e.g. Dioons from Mexico, and species from Madagascar, the Solomon Islands and beyond. Also growing here are Pachypodiums (related to frangipani) with different species flowering most of the year, Euphorbias, and oddities like Welwitschia mirabilis and Dioscorea elephantipes, the climber with the way-out base. The third area is on the north-facing hillside and features succulents, cacti, palm forest and a giant African Lobelia tree. Finally, there is the Paloma Arboretum, with extensive tree plantings. Paloma is classified as a Garden of National Significance. We continue our journey south through the rural towns of Marton, Bulls and Foxton to the scenic Kapiti Coast road into Wellington City, New Zealand’s capital city. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, Wellington – 2 nights
Day 5 – Wednesday 04 November 2020 – WELLINGTON TO HOME CITIES (B)
This morning we enjoy an informative sightseeing tour, New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. We begin with a visit to Otari/Wilton’s Bush, New Zealand’s only native botanic garden, devoted solely to the cultivation and preservation of indigenous plants. Predominant native trees include mahoe, tawa, kohekohe, rewarewa, hinau and northern rata. Other features at Otari include a fernery, a small alpine garden, rock garden with adjoining fish pool and a wild garden, all easily accessed by a network of paths and boardwalks. This afternoon we depart Wellington and fly back to our home cities.