Earthlore Wildlife Garden


The Garden

Set on 10 acres in the beautiful Catlins, our garden has been evolving since we moved here in 2007, started madly planting what was then mostly bare paddocks, and we've not stopped yet.

Our focus has always been on looking after wildlife, with insects in particular, and to raise awareness of how vital these little guys are to the planet. With this mission in mind, and with tongue firmly in cheek, we have developed Earthlore as not just a garden, but the setting for a variety of fun activities for children and adults alike, including Bug City garden - full of fun signage from a bug's perspective, the Food Forest - where you can also play a round of mini Frisbee Golf (like mini golf but less serious), the Great Orlando's Magical Flea Circus Puppet Show, the insect conservation habitat, our on-site & online shop selling earth friendly gifts, and friendly tui, bellbird, donkeys, sheep and geese to meet.

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The Gardener

While most of the planting decisions are made by Janine, who has a passion for gardening and a background in horticulture, it's Gordon who has the keen interest in bugs, and has even created an alter ego called Inspector Insector and written a book full of insect mysteries for children. It is also Gordon's quirky sense of humour and art background that can be seen in the colourful signage around the garden.


Garden Details

129 Hinahina Road, Owaka 9586
Only a few minutes from Owaka township on the road to Jack’s Bay
027 385 3182 or 03 415 8455
Contact Person
Janine & Gordon Thompson
Open 7 days a week 10:00am to 4:00pm
Garden Size
The garden is spread over 10 acres (4 hectares) of gently sloping land and is the setting for a variety of fun activities.
$10 per adult and $6-50 per child. Special rates for schools and group bookings.
Brochure Available?
Yes - Off street parking for approximately 15 cars.
Bus parking is available but we will need to be notified in advance.
Food Available
We have hot drinks available in bio-degradeable takeaway cups.
There are several seats around the garden including picnic tables.
You are welcome to pack a picnic and sit and enjoy the peace and beauty of Earthlore. There are picnic tables on site.
There are several places to buy food in Owaka which is only 5 minutes away by car.
Wheelchair Access
Wheel chair access to the garden is limited due to the sloping nature of the property and the many grass paths.
Dogs Allowed
Children Allowed
Encouraging children to engage with the natural world is a big part of what we do.

School Visits:
We cater for school pupils of all ages including pre-school

Our activities for children include:

Bug City - Inspector-Insector will lead a tour of Bug City - a ½ acre interactive garden built especially for insects with lots of rocks (with letterboxes) for children to lift up and look under and with different habitats to poke around in, and the Queen Bee of Bug City will be sitting on her throne.

We have a nine target Frisbee Golf course with frisbees made of sponge rubber.

There is a full sized traditional Gypsy caravan on site with costumes for dress ups and photo opportunities.
Meet the resident donkeys, sheep and geese.
Plants/Other Sales
We sell plants and wildflower seeds that will encourage wildlife to your own garden and a gift shop selling thoughtfully-sourced products, many of which we have designed ourselves.
Most of our products are also available through our online shop.
Guided Tours
We are an ideal choice for garden clubs and special interest groups. In addition to insect conservation, we provide inspiration and advice on gardening to attract wildlife, insects and birds. This includes personal tours through our Bug City gardens and Food Forest areas.
Other Facilities