A welcome contrast to the North Island’s steam plumes, sulfuric mud pools, and rugged geothermal craters, Waipahihi Botanical Gardens are a vibrant and fragrant refuge overlooking Lake Taupo. Wander the 86 acres (35 hectares) of native and foreign flowers and trees, or picnic while enjoying views of the lake and Tongariro National Park.
The Waipahihi Botanical Gardens are an understated gem, located at the top of Taupo’s southern suburb of Waipahihi. Steadfastly maintained by a team of volunteers, this immaculate garden is known for its collection of rhododendrons, camellias, and azaleas, which flower in a burst of purples, pinks, and whites every spring. You can also explore the impressive alpine garden or just stroll around the paved walkway, picking out native plants and birds.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Waipahihi Botanical Gardens are perfect for nature lovers and plant enthusiasts.
- Take advantage of the abundance of lawns and picnic tables, and lunch overlooking the remarkable central New Zealand countryside.
- The gardens are a perfect vantage point from which to watch the Taupo sunset.
- Waipahihi Botanical Gardens are accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.
How to Get There
The gardens are located just off the waterfront Lake Terrace, a short walk from any of Taupo’s lakeside hotels. If you’re staying farther away, catch the Taupo Connector from outside Breakers on Tongariro Street, then ride the bus to Hyde Avenue; the gardens are a short walk north from the bus stop.
When to Get There
Waipahihi Botanical Gardens are open year-round but the most colorful plants flower in the spring, typically between October and November. Visit in the late afternoon if you want to catch the sunset from the gardens, which are open daily until dusk.
Giving Back to the Gardens
Want to show special appreciation to the Waipahihi Botanical Gardens? The volunteers who maintain the gardens meet at lunchtime on Thursdays during the winter months. They always welcome new people to help them look after the plants and keep the gardens looking beautiful. So if you want to get your hands dirty and help build up this spectacular garden, all you have to do is turn up.