If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that nothing beats the smell of fresh flowers and, luckily for us we live in one of the best countries in the world for all things flora and fauna. Fields upon fields of native wildflowers take over every part of our country and we’ve rounded up the best spots to hunt these suckers down.
So pop a hay fever tablet, hit the road, and start loading up that Insta story. Here are all the places to find New Zealand’s most beautiful wildflowers.
While Whangarei is best known for its gnarly waves and stretches of white sand, it’s also home to hundreds of wildflower species that decorate beach fronts and reserves in the Northland town. Take a walk through Laurie Hall Park to spot the bouquets of pink, purple, and orange flowers that cover the grounds. Species of daisies, periwinkles, Dutch clovers, forget-me-not’s and pink thistles are common in these areas.
The iconic orange and white Government House in Rotorua is a picturesque spot to find wildflowers. Sitting pretty since the 1800’s, the gardens are in a very history-rich area that you can actually take a tour of to find out everything about the flowers and the events that took place here. The acres of hedges and bushes of red hues and lush green grounds are really a sight worth seeing.
If you travel a little further south you’ll find yourself in Otago—and in particular the little town of Cromwell. Home to Lake Dunstan which provides water to the vineyards and orchards that grow large amounts of daises, daffodils, shrubs, and succulents in the hot, dry region. A dry climate like Cromwell’s makes it the perfect atmosphere for wildflowers all year round. In autumn, the town is covered in shades of berries and golds, while in summer and spring various yellows, pinks, and blues are in full bloom.
The little seaside town of Kaikoura is a popular area, particularly famous for all its wildlife and sea creatures. But, did you know Kaikoura is also teeming with beautiful wildflowers? The South Island town is especially abundant with lavender crops, playing home to the popular Lavendyl Lavender Farm where you can actually stay amongst the fragrant purple fields for a relaxing getaway.
Juuuust to the east of the South Island (about 800 kilometres offshore) sits the Chatham Islands. The cluster of islands are home to some of New Zealand’s most beautiful untouched flora and fauna, including bunches and bunches of wildflowers. From forget-me-nots to the native Rautini growing up to eight-metres tall, a trip to the secluded island is a nature-lover’s dream and the perfect place to get back to Aotearoa’s roots.
While seeing Mt Taranaki with its snow covered peak is one of the best things about driving through the ‘Naki, something wonderful happens to the mountain in summer—seas of wildflowers come out to colour the mountain top. The short but sweet season of no snow on the mountain (usually throughout summer but most lavish in January) is when wild daises, golden buttercups, and bright pink foxgloves bloom for hikers. The fields of colour are, well, worth the walk (and we don’t say that too often)!
Little known fact to the residents of Auckland, the Waikumete Cemetery is home to the largest collection of South African wildflowers outside of South Africa. Which, if you ask us, is pretty cool. The cemetery in Glen Eden blossoms with baby pink angel’s trumpets, bright orange tritonia crocatas, African corn lilies, and ox-eye daises brighten the fields. Take a wander through to see how many different species you can spot.
In the centre of the South Island sits the Mackenzie Region, flourishing in lupins from November through to February. The large purple flowers take over the region during summer and attract visitors from all over the country and beyond. Popping up along streams, lakes, and canals, lupins come up in bursts to complement the breathtaking glacier landscapes. The bright shades of purple against the icy blue background is one of NZ’s most capturing scenes and a not-to-miss tick off the ol’ New Zealand bucket list.
Head to the sea with one of Auckland's best beach walks to blow your mind.
Image credit: Kassey Downard