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10 Must-See Parks & Gardens in Taranaki

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Discover the gardens and parks of Taranaki.

Taranaki might be more renowned for its reserves, conservation areas and the Egmont National Park surrounding the iconic volcanic cone of Mt Taranaki, but there are pockets of parks and gardens peppered across the region bursting with colour to give you an alternative outdoors experience in Taranaki. Passionate locals utilising the free-draining volcanic soil, reliable rainfall and temperate climate has resulted in spectacular parks and gardens in Taranaki. Check out some of the highlights in this list of parks and gardens in Taranaki!

While you’re here, you might also be interested in 8 Wonderful Walks in New Plymouth, Taranaki and 10 Taranaki Must-Dos.

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1. Pukeiti

Whatever the season, there’s something spectacular to see at the Pukeiti Gardens. Rated five stars by the New Zealand Gardens Trust, Pukeiti comes alive in winter with large-leaf rhododendrons along The Valley of the Giants Walk, closely followed by the bloom of the camellias and magnolias. By springs, take a walk down the colourful Rhododendron Stroll, or wander around the herbaceous and bulb plantings. Finally, summer brings the show of the Himalayan flowers. The park also has a cafe open from October to January. Complimentary tea and coffee are available outside of the cafe season.

Location: 2290 Carrington Road, New Plymouth
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2. Pukekura Park

While in New Plymouth city, don’t miss this 52ha park covering a variety of gardens and landscapes. The park is world-renowned for hosting the free Festival of Lights (mid-December to late-January), but outside of the season, there’s still plenty to see along the short walking trails. See water features, a duck lake, a fernery ad display house, a children’s playground, sports grounds, a cafe, Japanese gardens, a 2,000-year-old puriri tree and much more! This park is a must-do when in New Plymouth.

Location: 10 Fillis Street, New Plymouth
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3. Tupare

Overlooking the Waiwhakaiho River, Tupare is a beautifully-landscaped gardens, homestead and gardener’s cottage on the hillsides of Hurworth. Visit the homestead October-March for a free guided tour at 11am Friday-Monday,  explore the Gardener’s Cottage constructed from recycled material, and wander the manicured gardens awash with majestic trees and plantings.

Location: 487 Mangorei Road, Hurworth
denisbin on Flickr

4. King Edward Park (Stratford)

The first of our “King Edward” parks on this list, the Kings Edward Park in Stratford is within easy walking distance of the town. The park has a variety of features, such as the grand Malone Gates at the park’s main entrance, the McCullough Rhododendron Dell and native bush with walking trails following the Patea River.

Location: Corner of Fenton and Portia Streets, Stratford
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5. Hollard Gardens

What was once blended in with the surrounding landscape of dairy farms has been transformed into a beautiful garden by a local family. Hollard Gardens is the result of a lifetime’s work by Bernie and Rosie Hollard, now open to the public to meander around the narrow paths discovering rhododendrons, camellias, vegetables, herbs, lawns and swamp gardens. Make use of the free barbecue and gazebo.

Location: 1686 Upper Manaia Road, Kaponga
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6. Naumai Park

A pleasant walking and picnic spot in Hawera, Naumai Park is a native forest plantation and a transformed former dump site. Surrounding three small lakes, Naumai Park has a small kauri grove planted in 1927, a waterfall feature, and a Maori-style summerhouse decorated with a mural.

Location: Gladstone Street, Hawera
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7. King Edward Park (Hawera)

Wandering the polished lawns, rose garden, wedding garden and picnic area of this attraction park in the centre of Hawera. Model boating enthusiasts can make use of the man-made boating lake or history buffs can admire the statue of a farmer pioneer Albert Arthur Fantham and a 170-year-old naval cannon. Kids will love the pirate ship and tree fort-themed playground.

Location: High Street, Hawera
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8. Windsor Park

A small but no-less pleasant park in Stratford, Windsor Park is named after the Shakespeare play, The Merry Wives. A grassed areas slope toward the Patea River surrounded in native trees like miro. There is also a picnic bench and a stone riverbank beach.

Location: Cloten Road, Stratford
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9. Prospero Place

This town centre park of Stratford showcases the pride of the town: its connections to Shakespeare. Located on Broadway, the centre of the display is New Zealand’s only glockenspiel clock tower, which performs a reenactment of Romeo and Juliet four times a day. You’ll also notice a bust of William Shakespeare overlooking Prospero Place. The town square has raised garden beds and edged lawns, as well as a cafe, information centre and the Percy Thomson Art Gallery. Find out more about this gallery and more in the region with our 10 Best Galleries & Museums in Taranaki.

Location: Broadway, Stratford
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10. Matekai Park

In the small town of Oakura along Surf Highway 45 is the lush yet quaint Matekai Park. The native busk-like setting is a great place for a short stroll and to watch birds in the large wetland area, which has been identified as an area of national importance by The Department of Conservation. The loop track incorporated a number of native trees, such as puriri, karaka, titoki, pukatea, rewarewa and more.

Location: 19 McKellar Street, Oakrua
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