Earthlore Garden


The Garden

A first and only for New Zealand If you’re looking for a fun and unique experience for the whole family, Earthlore offers a huge variety of activities for all ages. Our mission is to provide a conservation experience ‘to enhance peoples understanding of our local eco-system and the importance of our amazing array of native insect'.

You can enjoy our beautiful garden walks, personal tours and much more.

The Problem: The trend towards low maintenance gardening has resulted in more shrubs but less annuals and perennials. This is a disaster for nectar feeders, as annuals and perennials have a much longer flowering period, providing nectar and pollen over an extended season. This is but one contributing factor in the worldwide decline in the population of butterflies and bees. 

The Solution: Creating gardens with plenty of flowers is a simple first step in encouraging them back. At Earthlore we sell our own blends of wildflower seeds, one for butterflies and one for pollinators, though there are varieties in both mixes which will appeal equally to bees, butterflies and other pollinating insects. The next step is to consider the needs for their entire life-cycle.


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The Gardener

Earthlore insect park owners Janine and Gordon Thompson, of Owaka, are buzzing with enthusiasm about the venture, which has grown from a passion for creepy crawlies into a full-blown business in their home garden.

After many seasons, the insect theme park is attracting about 5000 visitors a year.

Gordon said it was not really planned, it has just evolved this way.

"When we started off we built a gypsy caravan and were going to do accommodation, but the weather in the Catlins was not very conducive to outside camping," Gordon said.

"So we thought, we're in a tourist area, what can we do?

"I came up with the character of Inspector Insector and it's all blossomed from there."


Garden Details

129 Hinahina Road, Owaka 9586
Only a few minutes from Owaka township on the road to Jack’s Bay
027 385 3182 03 415 8455
03-415 8455
Contact Person
Janine & Gordon Thompson
Open 7 days a week 10:00am to 4:00pm
Garden Size
Our 4 hectare site provides the setting for a variety of activities with an insect theme.
We now charge $10 per adult and $6-50 per child. Special rates for schools and group bookings.
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 on site.
You are welcome to pack a picnic and sit and enjoy the peace and beauty of Earthlore. There are picinc tables on site.
Picnic pack option.
Dogs Allowed
Children Allowed
School Visits:
We cater for school pupils of all ages including pre-school Here is in an example of some activity’s children can enjoy:

There are donkeys, Chinese geese and Stewart Island Merino sheep along with a Gypsy caravan to add ambience to a memorable picnic setting.​

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

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

There is a full sized Gypsy caravan on site with Gypsy clothes for dress ups and photo opportunities.
Plants/Other Sales
Plants and seeds for sale to increase diversity in your own garden and we now have a gift 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