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Nature & Wildlife

Pukekura Gardens attractions, things to do

  • 3 minutes

New Plymouth, Taranaki

Places to visit in New Plymouth

New Plymouth’s Pukekura Park is unmissable. Pukekura Park botanical garden is a New Plymouth’s city gem. Easily accessible pencil Pukekura on your Taranaki bucket list. Explore Pukekura Park’s historical corners or spend time with family in one of the three children’s playgrounds. Romance is on the cards with a quiet row on the lake or leisurely stroll the flat even paths through diverse plant collections.

Pukekura Park Festival of Lights installation, Taranaki, New Zealand
Pukekura Park Festival of Light installation, Taranaki


  • A roll call of mature exotic and native plant collections
  • Lush indoors fernery, great for rainy days
  • A place for romantic moments with a waterfall and fountain lit by coloured lights and a lake practice rowing together
  • Victorian relics and reminders of the park’s history from Brookland’s historic fireplace and Queen Victoria Jubilee drinking fountain
  • Modern childrens playground fitted out with flying foxes, plenty to jump on and climb over
  • Roses galore and glorious rhododendron collections (it is Taranaki after all)
  • A tea house / cafe overlooking a lake with ducks (suitable duck food available from the tea house)
  • A petitie zoo, Brooklands nestled within its depths
  • Home of the TSB Festival of Lights (summer) and Brookland outdoor arena

Ducks only feed our feathered friends food that they might find naturally. Wild bird seed is available in many shops and supermarkets and is much healthier than bread and other processed foods. Frozen peas are another source of nutritious food for ducks and geese.


Pukekura Park was established in 1876 and now stretches out over 52 hectares. For garden lovers remember to check out 10 Taranaki Gardens & Parks worth a detour, travel guide: Best Bits.


An outstanding garden, lights, sound and glittering sparkles brightening up the summer evening. The festival is an outstanding imaginative use of a public space for light installations in Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Here’s a handy link to get you excited, click here for details TSB Festival of Lights. To find out more free things to do check out, Taranaki things to do for free – Best Bits.

Romance, familiy time, Festival of Lights, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Festival of Light, Pukekura Park
@Brooklands Zoo
@Brooklands Zoo


There is plenty for kids to do in Pukekura Park, New Plymouth with three playgrounds, a historic waterwheel to explore. The lake’s water quality is questionable as the lake is home to numerous wildlife species. Nestled within the park is Brooklands Zoo.

The waterwheel is located near the Gilbert Street entrance and beside the children’s playground, the waterwheel was originally recovered from the Omata Co-operative Dairy Factory and installed as a centennial project in 1976. It was replaced with a replica in 2005.


The Bowl of Brooklands is located in a natural amphitheatre positioned at the edge of a lake. The venue hosts well known WOMAD three day music festival, part of the Festival of Lights season and various concerts.


Pukekura Park is managed by local government with free entry 24/7.

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth, New Zealand
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

Allow several hours to explore the park with the option of lunch in a cafe overlooking the ornamental lake.


Pukekura Park is a prominent destination within New Plymouth city centre. The main entrance is on Fillis Street and there is more free car parking at the entrances on Rogan Street, Victoria Road and Brooklands Park Drive.

A popular selfie location is the waterfall located between the Hatchery Lawn and the Main Lake. It represents the Waiwahakiho River in its passage from its origins on Mount Taranaki. The waterfall bursts into coloured lights at night.

Another nighttime feature is Queen Elizabeth II Fountain. Located in Fountain Lake, the 228-jet fountain with its 15-metre high floodlit plumes was installed in 1955 to commemorate the visit of Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh. It may be operated by a nearby push button.

The gates to the main entrance of Pukekura Park and car park off Fillis Street are open during the below hours.

  • Summer: 6am-8.30pm (or at the conclusion of any park bookings)
  • Winter: 6am-6pm (or at the conclusion of any park bookings)

The Fernery and Display Houses are open daily from 8.30am-4pm except Christmas day.

The Tea House on the Lake is open from 9am – 4pm (hours may differ on Public Holidays – follow this link to facebook for more information)

Pukekura Park is hopelessly romantic, it’s a classic rowing a boat on a picturesque lake. Forget about whether it is damp outside. Get into the spirit of romance and hire the fibreglass boats (via the Tea House). Hire fees are per 30 minute sessions. For more ideas about finding places for couples check out Taranaki romantic places, things to do for couples – Best Bits.

Tea House in Pukekura Park during Festival of lights in Pukekura Park, decorative teapots, New Zealand
Tea House in Pukekura Park during Festival of lights in Pukekura Park

Pukekura Park Tea House on the Lake and Kiosk

The teahouse offers cabinet food and a blackboard menu.

  • Opening hours: 9am-4pm
  • Contact: Tea House on the Lake
  • Phone: 06-758 7205
  • Email:


Guided tours are available through Friends of Pukekura Park. Join Friends of Pukekura Park Buggy Tour. The Friends of Pukekura Park offer a 45 minute highlights of Pukekura Park tour in a seven seater buggy with an emphasis on the park’s history. Tours run between 10.30am and 3pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, weather permitting. Other days are also available by arrangement. Fees apply. To book or for more information: Contact 021 213 3242 or 06 758 6417.

Self-guided walks, check travel pack section for Pukekura Park map.

Pukekura Park, New Plymouth. Taranaki New Zealand
Pukekura Park, New Plymouth

Yes, dogs are allowed in Pukekura Park on a leash in designated areas. No dogs near children’s playgrounds, the Fernery & Horticultural Hot Houses or Brooklands Zoo. During festivals and concerts no dogs are allowed. Barrett Domain: Dogs must be on lead around Barrett Lagoon due to wildlife.

Pukekura Park has wide flat firm paths suitable for mobile impaired access. Accessible routes are well signposted.



Car parks: There are eight mobility car parks in and surrounding Pukekura Park:

  • Two in front of Bellringer Pavillion (accessed via Fillis Street).
  • Two in front of the Curator’s Office (accessed via Fillis Street).
  • Two at Brooklands Zoo (accessed via Brooklands Park Drive).
  • One at the Rogan Street entrance.
  • One behind the Tea House (accessed via Fillis Street).

Mobility scooters: Electric mobility scooters are available to use free of charge.

Bookings are essential and can be made by calling NPDC on 06-759 6060 or emailing The service is run by Taranaki Disabilities Centre Trust. You must show staff that you can drive a scooter and sign a declaration to say you’re competent. You will also need a personal ID such as a Gold Card.


Travel pack information


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

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