Waipāhīhī Botanical Reserve

Perched on a hilltop overlooking the shimmering caldera of Lake Taupō, this sweeping reserve, with its network of trails through different plant collections, is a relaxing haven for visitors.

For spectacular floral displays, visit during spring when more than 2,000 rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas erupt in colourful blooms intermingled between the forest trees and native plantings. But even if you visit at other times of the year, there's still plenty to see among the themed collections: thriving harakeke/flax, floral gardens, rātā and kauri – attracting native birds fluttering through the forest canopy.

Bring a bite to eat to enjoy at the picnic tables dotted around the reserve while soaking up views of Mount Tauhara and Lake Taupō, with the volcanoes of Tongariro National Park on the horizon. Children can enjoy the open, grassed areas or look for painted Taupō Rocks nestled among the nooks of tree trunks - pocket a couple to relocate or add to the reserve's growing collection.

If you're short on time, hop in the car for a short, leisurely drive around the 35-hectare reserve on a 2-kilometre loop beneath native trees and lush ferns. The driving loop includes a section of the historic Taupō-Napier Coach Road, which carried travellers from Taupō to Napier and Rotorua from the late 1800s.

Distance: Walks range from 100 m to a few kilometres. Trail map available at the car park.
Grade: Easiest: Easy access short walks
Mix of well-graded dirt and gravel paths, and road.
Walking: From 15 - 90 min. 
Accessibility:  Walking only on the trails. Suitable for bikes, wheelchairs and buggies on the road loop.
Direction:  Various options 
Facilities: Toilet at the car park.
Getting there:  Corner of Hyde Avenue and Shepherd Road, Waipāhīhī. Check gate closure times on arrival.
Transport and guides: None required.
Dog access: Dogs are allowed on leads.
Latest trail updates: Waipāhīhī Botanical Gardens
+64 27 224 1946
Physical address:
Cnr Hyde Avenue &, Shepherd Road
Visit website