This sprawling garden, 23km south of New Plymouth, is home to thriving masses of rhododendrons and azaleas. The blooms are at their bloomin' best between September and November, but it's worth a visit any time. Take a garden walk (45 minutes to two hours), or propel the kids along the self-guided Treehouse Trail adventure. There's a cafe here, too.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby New Plymouth attractions

1. Hurworth Cottage

6.91 MILES

This 1856 cottage, 8km south of New Plymouth, was built by four-time NZ prime minister Harry Atkinson. The cottage is the sole survivor of a settlement…

3. Paritutu

10.07 MILES

At 156m, this craggy, steep-sided hill is almost as tall as New Plymouth's old power-station chimney down at the port (198m). Paritutu translates as …

4. Sugar Loaf Islands Marine Park

10.07 MILES

About 1km offshore, these rugged islets (Ngā Motu in Māori) are eroded volcanic remnants, offering refuge for 10,000 sea birds and a colony of NZ fur…

5. Tupare

10.44 MILES

Tupare is a Tudor-style house designed by the renowned architect James Chapman-Taylor. It's as pretty as a picture, but the highlight of this 7km trip…

6. Brooklands Zoo

10.65 MILES

A short drive uphill from the city centre in Brooklands Park is this farmy little zoo. Adorable cotton-top tamarins, wandering chooks and the walk-through…

7. Brooklands Park

10.69 MILES

Adjoining Pukekura Park, Brooklands Park is home to the Bowl of Brooklands, a world-class natural amphitheatre and sound-shell that hosts the annual WOMAD…

8. New Plymouth Observatory

10.83 MILES

Atop Marsland Hill (great views!) is this wee observatory, with one of the most powerful public-access telescopes in NZ.