New Zealand - North Island and South Island
Enjoy two weeks seeing many of New Zealand's most famous gardens, like Pepped Warbeck, Woodend, Barewood, Paripuma, Hortensia House, Upton Oaks, Winterhome, Flaxmere, Winchmore, and Larnach Castle. New Zealand is one of Fiona’s favourite destinations and she just can’t wait to revisit and show off her specially chosen properties in the glorious spring tour.

Private Gardens of New Zealand – Wellington to Queenstown with Fiona Ogilvie


One of Fiona’s favourite destinations is New Zealand and she just can’t wait to revisit and show off her specially chosen properties in the glorious Spring.

Over two weeks, meet an eclectic mix of artisans and farmers. Visit historic buildings and explore carefully selected private gardens in Wellington and the South Island regions of Marlborough, Canterbury, the Otago Coast and Queenstown. Visit over 20 magnificent and varied gardens, meet their owners and enjoy their warm Kiwi hospitality. Some of the gardens date back to the 19th century and feature superbly restored historic homes of national significance, with stunning scenery as their backdrop.



• Visit gardens of NZ Garden of International and National Significance status
• Sail across the Cook Strait on the Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton
• Traverse the Island and enjoy stunning scenery at every turn
• Discover the beautiful cities and towns of the South Island including Queenstown and Dunedin
• Enjoy farmhouse lunches, country hospitality and local wines



Thu 10 November 2016 / Arrive Wellington
Arrive Wellington and check-in to your hotel.

Begin with an orientation tour of the vibrant city of Wellington, nestled around the harbour and surrounded by natural scenery. See the famous Beehive and Parliament Buildings, Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Lady Norwood Rose Gardens. Enjoy breathtaking views from the summit of Mount Victoria.

Drive out of Wellington into the picturesque Ohariu Valley to Pepped Warbeck garden, a NZ Garden of Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT). The garden consists of a majestic entrance and long curving drive, planted with Marlborough daisies and many different native trees and shrubs. Extensive lawns sweep down to the re-modelled bog garden which features five adjoining ponds planted with primulas, bog irises, hostas and gunnera.

Following a welcome lunch with Fiona and fellow garden lovers, return to Wellington and visit the Te Papa Tongawera Museum, a fascinating centre dedicated to art, history and Maori culture. (BLD)

Today enjoy the scenic crossing on the Interislander ferry between Wellington and Picton. After sailing out of the picturesque harbour of Wellington, cross Cook Strait before entering the magnificent Marlborough Sounds. The three hour journey between Wellington and Picton is considered one of the most spectacular cruises in the world.

Arrive in Picton and continue to Woodend Garden and Vineyard for lunch and wine tasting. Stroll under the pergola adorned with ten Alberic Barbier roses, through to stunning water features, encountering delightful garden sculptures along the way. (BLD)

Today explore the Marlborough area and its gardens. Begin with Bankhouse Garden, one of the highlights of the Wairau Valley. Meander through the lower level into a shaded gully that hosts rhododendrons and bog plants. Continue towards the house and onto the upper level garden terraces where you find rambling roses and a variety of drought resistant plants.

Continue to Barewood garden for lunch. Recognised as a NZ Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT), Barewood garden is designed to complement the 100 year old homestead, and features formal allees of hawthorn and malus, plantings of unusual trees and shrubs and a classic potager featuring espaliered fruit.

Journey to Paripuma Garden, with its unique collection of indigenous and rare plant species that have created a haven for wildlife on what was once a bare sandy paddock. (BL)

Today further explore the Marlborough area’s wines and gardens.

Begin with a visit to Hortensia House, the private homestead and garden of Georges and Huguette Michel. The Monet-inspired garden is informal in design and is loosely themed on blue and yellow, capturing an essence of serenity and reflecting the colours of the house. Huguette’s favourite shade of hydrangea is blue and these, along with lavenders, forget-me-not’s, love-in-a-mists and others provide the blue tones throughout the garden. Yellow is provided by varieties of roses, pansies, daisies, aquilegias and gazanias.

Follow with a visit to Upton Oaks, the English-inspired garden of Dave and Sue Monahan developed around a restored 1911 Victorian villa. Brick walls, ponds, perennial borders, and a 17th century style ‘knot garden’ are divided into sections by colour and a rustic kitchen garden. Upton Oaks is also recognised as a NZ Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT).

Continue to Allan Scott Wines, the family owned winery established by Allan and Catherine Scott. Enjoy a wine tasting followed by lunch which is served in the European-style courtyard with its exceptional gardens and vistas to the vineyards beyond.

Afternoon is free to further explore Blenheim. (BL)

After breakfast depart Blenheim and travel south on the State Highway 1 to Kaikoura. Stop at Richard and Sue Macfarlane’s beautifully designed garden Winterhome, offering magnificent views of the ocean. Recognised as a NZ Garden of National Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust (NZGT), the garden features bold, classic French lines, and is famous for its arbours, pools, woodlands and avenues.

After lunch at ‘The Store’ continue to Kaikoura. (BL)

Today depart Kaikoura and travel south to Ashburton, stopping at Flaxmere garden for lunch.

Flaxmere is a garden for all seasons, and has been sculpted from very simple beginnings since 1966. This is a large country garden based on the principles of strong design, which is completely in tune with the river bed country it is part of. Immense use of water, creating a series of five ponds, gives a sense of enormous peace and ensures wonderful bird life. This is a garden that includes most aspects: formal, informal, woodland, natives, roses, rhododendrons and water.

In the afternoon continue to Rakaia gardens. The garden is six acres and wide lawn paths link each area with rhododendrons, camellias, thousands of annuals, perennials, roses and a huge area dedicated to NZ natives surrounding Ted’s pond. (BLD)

Today journey into the foothills of the Southern Alps, to the small town of Mt Somers.
Begin with a visit to Surrey Hills Station to explore Sara Grigg’s magnificent garden and historic homestead.

Visit Frances and Don Stanton’s 1878 Schoolhouse garden. Enjoy country hospitality, lunch and time to wander their charming cottage garden.

Continue to Rangiatea sheep and cattle farm, owned by Sara and Blair Gallagher. Explore the picturesque gardens, agate gemstones (mined on the property), gallery and jewellery shop. (BL)

Begin with a visit to Winchmore Gardens, a four acre country garden set among 12 acres of original 140 year old homestead trees. The sheltered, peaceful garden with varied quality plantings is bordered with extensive buxus hedging.

Following lunch in Ashburton (own expense) continue to Akaunui Historic House and garden, originally designed by Alfred Buxton and established over 100 years ago. The garden now covers 14 acres and includes magnificent old trees. There is a pond, a creek and a bog garden, as well a woodland garden with a large collection of rhododendrons and associated plants. Akaunui also features formal and less formal gardens, many roses and a productive vegetable garden.

Conclude the day with a visit to Longbeach Estate Farm, first established in 1864 with trees planted as shelterbelts against the Nor’West winds. Gradually the garden has bloomed inside the shelter, prospering over the years as each generation of the Grigg family has continued planting and maintenance. Enjoy dinner at the Longbeach Cookshop, a historic building which is part of the farm. (BD)

Depart Ashburton after breakfast for a leisurely drive to Dunedin (approx. 300 km).

Stop at Timaru for a visit to the Aigantighe Art Gallery and garden. The Edwardian house gallery displays artworks in a unique and beautiful setting. The original staircase, fireplaces, and stained glass windows are features of timeless elegance. Stroll through the adjoining park-like grounds containing a wide variety of permanent sculptures set amongst established trees and gardens.

Continue to the historic town of Oamaru with its historic limestone buildings. Following lunch (own expense) travel to the suburb of Weston, to visit Rockvale Stone and Garden. The garden features trees, shrubs and flowers, water features, garden sculptures, grassed walkways and beautiful creamy Oamaru stone, in both its natural state and finely finished form.

Prior to arriving in Dunedin, stop in Moeraki renowned for its intriguing Moeraki Boulders strewn along the beach. (BD)

Begin with an orientation tour of Dunedin followed by a visit to the NZ Garden of National Significance Glenfalloch Woodland, situated in peaceful relaxing surroundings with panoramic harbour views. Stroll among the rhododendrons, azaleas, magnolias, fuchsias and a profusion of various flower species which integrate with native ferns, exotic imports and indigenous trees, showcasing 120 years of conservation and expansion of New Zealand botanical heritage.

The afternoon is dedicated to a guided tour of Larnach Castle and gardens, rated by the New Zealand Gardens Trust as a NZ Garden of International Significance. A unique collection of specialised gardens, Larnach Castle features the Patterned Garden, the Lost Rock Garden, the Serpentine Walk, the Rain Forest, the South Seas Garden, the Alice Lawn, and the Laburnym Arch and Green Room. The gardens are Margaret Barker’s personal creation over 40 years – not only is she a restorer of historic buildings, she is also a passionate gardener. (BL)

This morning travel to Clachanburn Station Patearoa, situated on the Maniototo plain in Central Otago. The garden is 4.5 acres in size and has been developed around a stream and the original plantings of 1930 which included poplars, willows, birches and a large Acer negundo. There are two large ponds with the lower pond featuring an arching natural stone bridge and boat shed. Enjoy lunch with Jane Falconer in her beautiful garden, a NZ Garden of National Significance.

Continue to Queenstown, via the Art Deco town of Ranfurly with its beautiful buildings restored to their former glory. (BL)

Today visit two outstanding gardens. The first is Blair Garden, situated a short drive from the beautiful turn-of-the-century Gold Rush settlement of Arrowtown. Blair Garden is recognised as a NZ Garden of National Significance. This imaginative and innovative country garden began 34 years ago and reflects the passion and vision of its owner, Janet Blair.

Continue to the Chantecler Garden, an evergreen garden established in 2006 which now covers circa 12 acres. The garden is beautiful in all seasons but spring is undeniably an excellent time to visit Chantecler with its blaze of colour featuring camellias, magnolias, kalmia, wisteria and ornamental cherry trees. It is designed to represent different countries and regions around the world. Chantecler is also recognised as a NZ Garden of Significance.

Tonight join Fiona and fellow garden lovers for a farewell dinner. (BD)

Tour arrangements conclude after breakfast.

If you would like to extend your stay in Queenstown, please talk to one of our dedicated travel team for options and prices. (B)

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Per person, twin-share AUD 5,950
Single supplement* AUD 1,400
Deposit per person AUD 500
Final payment due 12 SEP 2016
*Single travellers may request to share. Please advise at time of booking.

Tour Code GD1605

Fitness level Moderate
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions.

Please contact Renaissance Tours for current airfares and flight reservations

Australian Passport holders do not require a visa for New Zealand

Tour price includes:

• Accommodation in centrally located hotels with private facilities and daily breakfast (B)
• Meals as per itinerary (L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
• Comfortable air-conditioned coach transport throughout
• Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
• Gratuities for local guides and drivers
• Hotel porterage (where service is offered - one piece per person)

Tour price does not include:

• Flights to/from New Zealand
• Transfers on arrival or departure
• Drinks with meals, except Farewell dinner
• Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
• Travel insurance (recommended)

Your hotels:

Wellington – Novotel ****
Blenheim – Chateau Marlborough ****
Kaikoura – The White Morph****
Ashburton – Hotel Ashburton***+
Dunedin – Kingsgate Hotel***+
Queenstown – Crowne Plaza - Lakeview *****
NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted