Pukeiti Gardens are listed as one of Taranaki's top 20 visitor attractions. And, in all my trips to Taranaki, I had not been there. I didn't know what I was missing and will definitely return again. It's owned and maintained by the Regional Council and hosts one of the world's biggest and most diverse collection of rhododendrons. But its the backdrop of lush native rainforest that really sets them off. The property covers 360 hectres (890 acres), including 26 hectares (65 acres) of garden with a total of 21 km (13 miles) of walkways. Next time I visit it will be during the hours the mobility vehicle operates.
Most paths are wide enough to accommodate the mobility vehicle
There are a number of walks to choose from ranging from 35 minutes to two hours. My daughter and I did the Rhododendron Stroll with a little detour into the Valley of the Giants Walk.
I loved the little treehouses scattered around the grounds. They are part of the Kids Treehouse Trail which is a free self-guided activity through the gardens using a satchel which can be collected from outside the Cafe. The satchel holds cards which guide youngsters through the garden to each treehouse with hidden clues, facts and questions. I suspect a clue to this treehouse might have something to do with the giant weta sculpture clinging to its side.
Manicured lawns leading back to the visitors' centre and cafe, with the ranges of Mt Taranaki in the background.