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Free Travel Newsletter : August 2015

Written by Steph Kendall

Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.

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Although there is fledgling technology enabling 'smellovision' via the Internet and smartphones, it simply wouldn't do justice to the wonderful experience of strolling through a beautiful New Zealand garden taking in the scents, smells and fragrant air of spring. We've picked out a selection of highly enjoyable sensory treats this month!

Read more about:


Taniwha Daffodils

Taniwha Daffodils

Location: State Highway 2, 10 minutes from Waipukurau
Date: 28 August – 27 September (7 days a week, daylight hours)

This is a beautiful way to celebrate the arrival of Spring! You are invited to pick, walk, ponder or picnic amongst the daffodils.

Enjoy the display of many hundreds of daffodil varieties, planted in a 20 acre park-like setting, amongst mature trees and ponds. Entry is free and daffodils are available for picking with proceeds going to Central Hawke's Bay Plunket. Pick 30 stems for $5 or chose a pre-picked bunch for $7.50 - $10.00 when available. Bunches are wrapped in cellophane with a ribbon. Cash is preferred although Eftpos is available (signal dependent). Buckets are provided for picking. Coffee shed open mornings, plus exhibiting sculptures from Darryl Grant and Glen Colechin.

View more information on the Taniwha Daffodils website.

Wine Cheese & Astronomy

Wine Cheese & Astronomy

Location: Stardome Observatory & Planetarium, 670 Manukau Rd, One Tree Hill Domain, Royal Oak, Auckland
Date: 1 Sep, 6 Oct, 3 Nov – 30 August (8.00pm – 10.30pm)

Visit the Stardome in a special extended 'Night Sky' show for ages 18+ that includes wine and cheese. Learn about the planets, stars and constellations visible in the night sky at the moment.

This is an adult's only evening as the ticket price includes two glasses of wine and cheese. Show includes courtyard telescope viewing (weather permitting).

View more information about the Stardome Observatory & Planetarium.

Scarecrow Saturday

Scarecrow Saturday

Location: On Green beside Hillyers Cafe Gerald St, Lincoln
Date: 5 September 10:00am – 1:00pm

Come join in the fun at this annual Lincoln event. Perfect opportunity to get creative as a family to produce a prize winning scarecrow creation. Some fantastic prizes to be won. Bring along your scarecrow between 9.30 - 10 am for registration. Winners announced at midday. New category this year includes Your on Site Creation - see how inventive you can be making a Scarecrow against the clock between 10 - 11.30am (with items supplied by the market). Judging begins at 11.30 am. There will be live music throughout the event to enjoy plus all the great selection of genuine locally grown fruit/veg/plants, award winning produce including preserves, cheeses, artisan baking, honey, hazelnuts.... and handcrafted gifts - perfect time to start getting your Xmas shopping in early!

Cherry Blossom Festival

Cherry Blossom Festival

Location: Miyazu Gardens, Atawhai Drive, Atawhai, Nelson
Date: 20 September 11:30am – 2:30pm

Come and enjoy a programme of music, food and entertainment under the cherry blossom trees to celebrate the Japanese culture and the 39-year anniversary of the Sister City connection between Nelson and Miyazu.

Orchid Show

Orchid Show

Location: Mt Albert War Memorial Hall, 773 New North Road, Auckland
Date: 26 and 27 September 10:00am

Orchids - fabulous blooms, fabulous colours, fantastic variety, and all on display in one area. Come and view them all at the New Zealand Orchid Society's annual Spring Show and floral art display. Plus, due to popular demand, we have added to the variety of plants available for purchase with the inclusion in the show of several commercial growers.

As always, orchid club members will be available to answer any questions you may have on just how easy many of these plants are to grow. Come along and enjoy the show, and if orchid growing takes your fancy, find out more by becoming a member of the New Zealand Orchid Society.

Go See... The Three Sisters & Elephant Rock, Taranaki

The Three Sisters & Elephant Rock, Taranaki

One of North Taranaki's best known landmarks are the three 25 metre towering rock formations on the beach known as the Three Sisters and the formation next to the sisters known as 'Elephant Rock'. As the name suggests, it does look amazingly like an elephant. Here you can get spectacular photos of the rock formations and the white cliffs of North Taranaki. Interestingly, there were four sisters at the turn of the century, but the sea has gradually eroded one away.

If you want to get up close and personal with the Three Sisters, turn off South Highway 3 down Clifton Road south of the Tongaporutu Bridge and park in the riverside reserve. At low tide you can walk alongside the river and round the point where you will find the Three Sisters and Elephant Rock. In nearby caves you can also view a rock drawing of a curious six-toed foot.

  • Where to go: Pilot Road, Tongaporutu, Taranaki
  • How to get there: Turn down Pilot Road (on the seaward side of State Highway 3) north of the Tongaporutu bridge (15 minutes drive from Mokau, 90 minute drive from Waitomo turn-off).
  • When to go: Low tide

View more about the Taranaki region.

10 Top Destinations for Spring Blossoms

10 Top Destinations for Spring Blossoms

Inspired by daffodils and cherry blossom, we have put together a top 10 list of spring blossom destinations for international and local travellers. These spots celebrate spring either in nurtured gardens (public and private) or precious little-known blossom-filled enclaves within the natural countryside. We've also included the premier spring flowers festivals in both islands.

    North Island Spring Blossoms

  1. Waikumete Cemetery, Glen Eden - On the Great North Rd in Glen Eden (Auckland), this cemetery has one of the best collections of wildflowers of South African origin in New Zealand (gates open at 7.30am).
  2. Government Gardens and Kuirau Park, Rotorua - Visit Rotorua's Government Gardens (originally known as Paepaekumana) and Kuirau Park for a fragrant walk amidst spring blooms such as pansies, polyanthus, primula, myosotis and antirrhinum. And whilst in the CBD, enjoy the thousands of tulips (around 40,000) that bring spring into the city.
  3. Rolands Wood, Kerikeri - This well-kept local secret is a little piece of English woodland only a few minutes' drive from the Kerikeri CBD, bequeathed to the community by Roland Sanson, who wanted to create a woodland with bluebells and daffodils under the trees, just as he'd seen on visits to England.
  4. Cornwall Park, Auckland - Renowned for its cherry blossoms with a beautiful display of flowers for a month in spring. The trees are just starting to blossom and are located near the main car park, off Pohutakawa Drive. Eden Park in Epsom (also in Auckland) is well worth a visit too for its blooming lovely irises, bluebells, rhododendrons, clivia and magnolias.
  5. Hamilton Gardens, Hamilton - A 2014 International Garden of the Year, Hamilton Gardens is not a botanical garden. Instead, its unique and internationally recognised concept has been compared to a museum. Visitors are guided to gardens such as the Italian Renaissance Garden, English Flower Garden, Chinese Scholars Garden, Japanese Garden of Contemplation, American Modernist Garden and Indian Char Bagh Garden.
  6. Woodbridge Gardens, Coatesville - 25 minutes from Auckland, these private gardens are open by appointment and can be booked for morning tea. Early spring flowering includes a bluebell wood, wisteria, clematis, daffodils, freesias and rhododendrons.
  7. Ayrlies Garden, Whitford - Located southeast of Auckland, Ayrlies is open throughout the year, during the week by appointment, to people aged over 12. It is one of New Zealand's best-known gardens, and has been described as the "quintessential New Zealand garden".
  8. 8. Cross Hills Garden, Kimbolton - Peak flowering at Cross Hills in Manawatu is during October and November – in early Spring (September), the early rhododendrons, camellias, cherries, magnolias and trilliums are in bloom followed by rhododendrons are in full bloom along with azaleas, tree peonies, kalmias, pieris, candelabra primulas and a whole host of perennials.
  9. South Island Spring Blossoms

  10. Christchurch Botanic Gardens & Hagley Park, Christchurch - Wander through the park and enjoy the many cherry blossoms lining Hagley Avenue.
  11. Ashburton Domain & Gardens, Ashburton - Abundant spring blossoms can be found in Ashburton, one hour drive from Christchurch; the kind of blossoms that can be seen in clusters of pink flowers hanging from tree branches in a well-maintained and free to enter garden.

Share Your Experience

If you've come across a little-known nook of spring flowers, why not let other NZTG readers know about it - send details of your adventure to the newsletter editor.

New Zealand Fast Facts

80% of New Zealand's trees, ferns and flowering plants are endemic (found only in New Zealand) and include the popular Mount Cook lily, images of which are used on many postcards, stamps and even aircraft. The Mount Cook lily is in fact a giant buttercup – the world's largest – it can grow over a metre tall.

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New Zealand Coach Tours

New Zealand Coach Tours

The largest range of escorted & small group tours

Boutique touring itineraries designed for you

Specialist NZ Tours

Boutique touring itineraries - designed for you

New Zealand self-drive tours

NZ Self-Drive Tours

Explore NZ on a custom self-drive package holiday

Bluebridge Ferry

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Cross Cook Strait and enjoy Kiwi hospitality.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance for independent travellers.