Spectacular By Nature

Welcome to the Aotea Great Barrier Island Garden Tour Adventure

In 2024, the Totara, Kauri, Rewa and Nikau Garden Tours will be on Saturday 30th of November.

Bookings open 1st May 2024.

This is a unique opportunity to view a variety of residential gardens on the Island. The guided tours will enable you to visit charming cottage gardens, to see spectacular coastal panoramas and experience the hidden native flora and birdlife. The ticket includes tour transportation, a scrumptious Morning Tea and a charming Devonshire Afternoon Tea.

The Garden Tour is a major fundraiser for the Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust, enabling it to purchase equipment for use on the Island. The event involves many 100's of hours of community volunteer time and energy and the participant feedback has been outstanding. It has become a very popular event, national and international celebrities who have participated in the past tours, quote that it is 'a must-do event' for every keen adventurous gardener.

A previous special guest Russell Fransham comments,

"Thank you so much for persuading me to come over for the garden tour. I had the most wonderful weekend on the Barrier.. my first time on the island.

The gardens I saw were such a treat, all different and all very personal expressions of their creators’ lives. The passion, creativity and commitment were so inspiring. Its very clear that Great Barrier people know they are part of something very special. I came away feeling so welcomed into island life and so many of the people I met felt like old friends by the time I flew home.

I'm still on a high and I’ll be back for more."

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Garden Tour Adventures

Each tour is crafted so you will experience a range of gardens, facets of lifestyle on remote Aotea Great Barrier, and realise how the gardeners interact with nature and the maritime climate.

The Tours are graded into different levels of fitness and capability to ensure your overall enjoyment. We welcome back those of you who have participated in previous tours and know you will be delighted with a new tour choice. The Health Trust has a database of which tours you have been on in the past. Please contact Robyn by email.

On Saturday, 30th of November 2024 the tour options will be:

Totara Tour

For the really adventurous and fit only, requires the ability to clamber into and out of boats, or up and down steep stairs. Not a garden tour in the traditional sense but includes residences and bush in the western and southern end of the island. Strong walking shoes are advised (tramping boots and walking pole optional).

Cost: $115 per person

Kauri Tour

Northern Aotea Great Barrier, reserved as a special treat for returning Garden Tour participants. Again for the really adventurous and fit only.

Cost: $115 per person

Rewa Tour

Moderate fitness level, requires the ability to walk up hills/multiple stairs with ease. The gardens are similar in variety and geographical situation to the Nikau Tour.

Cost: $95 per person

Nikau Tour

Good basic fitness, requires walking some distances but on relatively flat terrain. Six wonderful gardens ranging from those with extensive vistas to tranquil quiet spaces. Geographically involves central and southern Aotea Great Barrier.

Cost: $95 per person


You are invited to bring your own lunch. Refreshments will be available.

But for those of you who wish to – you can order one of our famous 'Paper Bag Lunches' for $15.00. It consists of a salad sandwich, a large delicious home baked slice, and a piece of fruit. Your pre-ordered paid lunch can be collected when you register on the morning of the Tours.

Locally made products

Great Barrier Island is renowned for its small cottage artisans. At some of the gardens there will be items for sale. Should you wish to purchase, we recommend that you bring cash to do so.

More Information

  • To get the most out of the Tours you will need a good level of fitness. Unfortunately those with moderate health disabilities will find the tours too strenuous.
  • It is recommended that you bring sturdy walking shoes as access to some of the properties is on uneven terrain.
  • If wet it is suggested that you bring waterproof footwear and a raincoat.
  • If hot remember sunscreen, a hat, or an umbrella.
  • Please be at the Health Centre (adjacent to the Claris Airport) for registration well before closure at 9:00am.
  • On the day we need you to bring your tickets with you; to confirm your booking, and to be in the lucky prize draws.
  • The Tours will return back to the Health Centre at around 4:30pm. We advise you not to make flight bookings dependant on this estimation.
  • If transport to the Island is cancelled due to the weather on Friday, the people affected will be refunded. If you are already on the Island, we will endeavour to continue with the tours but if the tours need to be cancelled you will be refunded.
  • Please note: tickets are non-refundable – please contact Robyn by email for advice. If you are able to on-sell your ticket please also contact Robyn to update our records.
  • Please remember that while we will take all care to keep you safe and healthy, your participation in the Garden Tour is at your own risk.

If you have any other queries, please contact Robyn by email.

Weekend Itinerary

But wait, there's more!

Dark Sky Experience

Did you know that Aotea Great Barrier is a Dark Sky Sanctuary? It is a fantastic place for star gazing. While you are on Aotea Great Barrier, perhaps take the opportunity to explore the stunning skies of our Dark Sky Sanctuary with the Good Heavens team. Deb and Hilde have discounted their Look Up and Get Lost Group Experience especially for Garden Tour participants and in addition, they will donate $20 of every tour booked to the Health Trust. You can expect a magical night-time journey of 1.5-2 hours.

While you lean back under a warm blanket in a comfy moon chair, your local guide will show you around constellations, stars and deep sky objects. Listen to ancient myths and fascinating stories that have helped our ancestors to make sense of the night sky. Look through a telescope, deep into space and wonder at the magnificence of this nocturnal environment. You can expect scenic beach side locations for a personalised experience where questions are welcomed.

You can book via their Look Up and Get Lost – Group Stargazing Experience page using promocode GARDENTOUR24 The promocode is valid for the weekend before and after the Garden Tour, too.

Friday Feast

We are excited to announce that on the Friday night to mark the opening of the Spectacular by Nature Garden Tour Adventure Weekend there will be a special welcome dinner.

Would you like to join us? You will be able to listen to a wonderful speaker and enjoy fabulous food with a complimentary glass of bubbles!

Tickets must be pre-purchased when booking at $70pp. Unfortunately there are limited spaces available. All proceeds again go to the Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust Equipment Fund.


The 'Spectacular by Nature' Garden Tour Adventure meets at the Health Centre in Claris before 9:00am.

For those without transport, a bus transfer service - Tryphena to and from the Health Centre - is available for $10pp each way. Please contact Sue by email or phone at (09) 4290 474 with details of your accommodation to arrange pick-up points.

Events on Great Barrier Island - Optional Extras

The Community Heritage and Art Village will be open throughout the weekend. The Museum is very popular and a 'must see'.

The annual Stonewall Village ROSE SHOW, on Sunday the 1st of December (10am Market Day, 11am Judging) in Tryphena, is lots of fun and a chance to share an island community event.


Getting to and from Great Barrier Island

Please book transportation very early to avoid disappointment.

Logo for Barrier Air, Great Barrier Islands airline

Call free on 0800 900 600 or click here to go the their website.

Find Out More
Logo of Sealink, a Hauraki Gulf transport company.

Call free on 0800 732 546 or click here to go the their website.

Find Out More

Getting around Great Barrier Island

If you wish to hire a car for the weekend please click below.

Logo of Aotea Car Rentals

Call free on 0800 426 832 or click here to go the their website.

Find Out More


To assist with your accommodation needs


Terms and Conditions

  • Please remember that while we will take all care to keep you safe and healthy, your participation in the Tours are at your own risk. The Great Barrier Island Community Health Trust cannot be held responsible.
  • All tickets are non-refundable please contact us to discuss options should you be unable to attend. But should the Tours need to be postponed by us you will receive a full refund.
  • If transport to the Island is cancelled due to weather on Friday, the people affected will be refunded. If you are already on the Island, we will endeavour to continue with the tours but if the tours need to be cancelled you will be refunded.
  • Privacy: We respect your privacy. 'Spectacular by Nature' Garden Tours do not distribute ticket holders contact information. We do however collect and retain personal information provided by you to process your bookings and for future marketing.Please note: as per Privacy Act 2020 you do have the right to request access to your information. Please feel free to contact us.
  • COVID -19 Guest Responsibility: Everyone will play a part to ensure any associated risks remain very low. We ask all our ticket holders to ensure they are fit to travel and free from COVID symptoms. Next that they follow all our requests and instructions to ensure the event remains as safe as possible for all to enjoy.

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