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Pukeiti Gardens attractions and things to do nearby

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Find out where lovers of rhododendrons, azalea bushes and camellias trek to in New Zealand. Pukeiti is an extensive park and home to rare botanical species. While crowds throng to the main leafy avenue during the spring flowering season people are readily absorbed in the avenues of mature plantings.

Uncover a garden of international significance. Pukeiti is a must-go destination for lovers of the outdoors as, in no way is the park a cultivated manicured space. It is a loose maze of carefully nurtured plants set in bush like settings. The gardens are complemented by the nearby Egmont National Park.



  • The predator-free adjoining Egmont National Park rainforest and Pukeiti Gardens provide an excellent food source for the thriving birdlife.
  • Kids will enjoy the waterwheel, sculptures, swing bridge, treehouses and snippets of interesting facts displayed on information panels throughout the garden. There is a kids treehouse trail, activity bags available for families with kids aged 4 – 12.
  • The Rainforest Centre and the Lodge are available to book for functions and the Studio and Pīwakawaka Family Hut are available for those looking for accommodation


  • RHODODENDRON LOVERS — VISIT A HIDDEN GEM IN STRATFORD, TARANAKI … McCullough Rhododendron Dell. The dell, named for rhododendron enthusiast and former parks and reserves committee chairman Ted McCullough, contains one of Taranaki’s best rhododendron collections outside Pukeiti Garden. A definite spring highlight and Taranaki Garden Festival must go. Find out more things to do and What’s so great about Stratford.
  • Explore walks and trails in the Egmont National Park with the Goblin walk an unmissable highlight
The Glockenspiel clock tower in Stratford, a town in the Taranaki Region, New Zealand
The Glockenspiel clock tower in Stratford, a town in the Taranaki

Pukeiti is a 360 hectare rainforest park at the base of Mount Taranaki, internationally renowned for its outstanding rhododendron collection.  Pukeiti is a great place to be all year round, with Vireya rhododendrons and other rare and unusual plants a key feature.

From early August mountain large leaf cool climate rhododendrons flower with the camellias, magnolias and majority of rhododendrons in full bloom during October.

Pukeiti Gardens, Taranaki are managed by local government with free entry 24/7.


  • Rhododendron Stroll is a relatively flat easy grassed avenue less than 1 km in length
  • Valley of the Giants walk is a must-go walk for rhododendron lovers of rare and exotic mountain varieties
  • Mobility challenges can arrange with the Rainforest Centre access to the mobility vehicle. The mobility vehicle service is available between 1 October and 31 March at 11am on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Allow up to 2 hours minimum to stroll the classic Rhododendron Walk, Valley of the Giants walk and loop back on the Puke Te Whiti Trail. You have an opportunity to extend your time at Pukeiti with a climb to the summit at an altitude of 490 metres.

Pukeiti Gardens is well signposted with average length of time taken for each walk. Download the map from the Travel Pack Section below.


The summit of Mount Pukeiti (490m). You can also access the summit from Carrington Road. A car park is located at the trailhead. Return via the same track or continue with the Pukeiti Summit Loop Track. The Pukeiti Summit Loop track is for experienced trampers.

Length: 4.8 km

Elevation: 209 metres

Return on same track

When you cross the swing bridge over the Puketewhiti Stream you are entering a regenerating rainforest.  The area was logged in the 1920’s. Rimu trees were felled and hauled by a winch so they could be loaded onto a bush tramline.

The next part of the walk follows this line until veering to the right on the Pukeiti Summit Track. This is a reasonable climb to the lookout at the top of the 490m hill. Check out Pukeiti Gardens Day Walks in the Travel Pack Section.

The name Pukeiti means ‘little hill’ but an earlier Maori name, Piro ngiha, which means ,burning stink, hints to its volcanic origin.

Yes, the Rainforest Eatery provides lunch options, snacks and drinks. The cafe offers sweeping views of the gardens. With extensive seating outdoors, inquisitive native birds are known to flit among cafe patrons. To avoid disappointment check Pukeiti website to ensure the cafe is open around your intended visit.

Pukeiti Gardens are open from 9.00 am to 4.00 pm daily, every day.

Yes, you can stay overnight in the Pukeiti Gardens, Taranaki in the Pīwakawaka Family Hut. The family hut sleeps 12 and offers an accessible mountain-hut style experience for families, taking approximately one hour to walk to.

Bookings are essential. Learn more here.


Pukeiti Fitness Trails

Take your training up a notch with the Pukeiti Fitness Trails. The trails consist of:

  • 14 exercise stations to challenge your strength, agility and endurance.
  • A 950m running trail through the beautiful Pukeiti rainforest – a perfect combination with the exercise stations.

Find the Fitness Trails on the Petterson Walk, 270m from the Main Lawn.


The waterwheel is a great place for a photo yet behind the scene is a functional water supply pumping station for the Pukiti water tanks.



Best Bits travel guide is published by Owned and managed by PacificJane Ltd.

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