Australia and New Zealand are two island nations with close ties throughout the more than 200 years of their European settlement. Located in the Southern Hemisphere, they are separated by 2,000km of the Tasman Sea, and both were settled by mostly British migrants during the 19th and 20th centuries who brought with them their love of gardening.
There is such a huge range of public and private gardens to visit throughout Australia and New Zealand, you will find a garden to see for every climate, soil type, size and style.

Country guides within this region

"I love Australia and New Zealand as they both have such exquisite and unusual native flora and their gardeners share a love of quality design and a passion for plants."

- Catherine Stewart
creator/curator/editor GardenDrum

Garden Travel Guide to Australia and New Zealand


Australian garden style

Australia has a vast land mass (similar to the USA) which means there are many different types of gardens to see, from lush tropical to dry mediterranean, semi-arid to subtropical coastal, and even cool-temperate. Many of its native plants are grown as ornamental plants around the world, including kangaroo paws, callistemon, eucalypts and grevilleas, or edible plants such as the macadamia nut and finger lime.

Australia has a strong gardening tradition both from its British roots and also the many waves of migrants who have brought their own gardening styles, especially from Mediterranean Europe and Asia, creating an eclectic and multicultural mix of old and new influences. Garden shows include the internationally-respected Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, as well as other garden festivals in Perth, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Nambour, Darwin and Cairns.


New Zealand garden style

New Zealand is south-east of Australia in the southern Pacific Ocean and has two main islands.The North Island has active volcanoes and thermal areas, forests of giant trees and a vibrant indigenous Māori culture. The South Island has fiords, wet cool-temperate forests, glaciers, snow-covered mountains and arable plains in the east.

New Zealand has a very strong gardening culture which began with the Māori who grew both ornamental and productive plants and developed quite complex and aesthetic architectural and landscape designs. More recent garden styles reflect both a British heritage and also a love of New Zealand’s unique flora, such as flax, coprosma, cordyline and native ferns. New Zealand has many garden festivals in Auckland, Taranaki, Rotorua, Marlborough, Feilding, Akaroa and the Bay of Plenty.


Garden tours to Australia and New Zealand

If you’re coming from the northern hemisphere, you can visit Australian and New Zealand gardens during your winter and enjoy the southern hemisphere’s gardens with plenty of warmth and sunshine. Public gardens are open throughout the summer although many private gardens do not open during December and January.


Garden tours to Australia

A garden tour to Australia tends to concentrate on its natural wonders rather than its gardens, with the Great Barrier Reef, Uluru in Central Australia, the Daintree rainforest of northern Queensland and, of course, seeing its iconic and unusual marsupial mammals like kangaroos and koalas filling most of the itinerary. However there are many wonderful gardens to see! Garden tours to Australia often visit the south-east, including Melbourne, Tasmania and Sydney and will also pack in a good serving of convict history, native wildlife and local culture. Others start with the native plant parks and gardens of Western Australia before heading east to Melbourne and Sydney.

Iconic gardens in Australia include the Royal Botanic Gardens of Sydney, Melbourne and Hobart, the Australian Garden at Cranbourne, Perth’s Kings Park, Brisbane’s Roma Street Parklands and Botanic Gardens, and the private gardens of Cloudehill, Heronswood, Mayfield, and Hunter Valley Gardens.

If you’re looking for some ‘take-home’ lessons for your own gardens, use the Australian city and district locale guides to find climates and gardening styles that are similar to your own – for example, the climate of Perth and much southern Australian is very similar to west coast USA, Southern Europe and South Africa’s Cape Town. The humid Australian east coast has much in common with the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida.

There are limited international garden tours to Australia, but many great garden tours within Australia that you can book in advance to join once you arrive.


Garden tours to New Zealand

A garden tour to New Zealand usually cover both islands, so you get to see a wide range of climates and gardens. If you come from a temperate climate, such as the UK, you will find much in common with New Zealand’s garden style and plant choices. Iconic gardens to see in New Zealand include Auckland Botanic Gardens, Hamilton Gardens, Ayrlies, Te Kainga Marire, Gwavas Garden, Ohinetahi, Flaxmere, Trott’s Garden and Larnach Castle.

Garden tours usually include many natural wonders as well, such as a cruise on Milford Sound, bird watching, the lakes around Queenstown, volcanoes, and the thermal area of Rotorua, as well as indigenous Māori cultural experiences. You can also find garden cruises around New Zealand as many of the best-known gardens are near the coast. These are typically 8-9 days, although some originate in Australia, adding extra sailing days.


Fun facts about Australia and New Zealand

New Zealand was part of the colony of NSW until 1841.

The Tasman Sea which separates the two countries is referred to as ‘The Ditch’.

Australians and New Zealanders find each other’s accents endlessly amusing.

New Zealand and Australia have a friendly but intense sporting rivalry, particularly in rugby, netball and cricket.

Australia and New Zealand share a significant national holiday, ANZAC Day, which commemorates the Gallipoli landing in Turkey on 25 April 1915 when the two countries fought together in the First World War as the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.


Eden Unearthed: Sydney’s first ‘garden as gallery’ festival

Graham Forsyth

Eden Unearthed lives up to the best of contemporary art in the garden. The works, often beautiful, sometimes whimsical, and always enchanting and stimulating, engage with Eden Gardens’ rich resources of spaces, nooks, cliffs and ‘rooms’.

Darwin Botanic Gardens in spring

Arden Dearden

Tropical George Brown Botanic Gardens in Darwin sits close to the centre of this vibrant city in the ‘Top End’ of northern Australia. The town itself has wonderful gardens established since […]

Review: The Calyx reveals its Sweet Addiction at Sydney RBG

Catherine Stewart

The new Calyx and its chocolate-themed first exhibition in the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney is fun, educational and worthwhile for both chocoholics and plantaholics.

Autumn leaves and private gardens: AGHS garden tour April 2016

Anne Vale

As the coach left the Melbourne Arts Centre the clouds darkened and raindrops spattered on the windscreen, increasing to a deluge as we progressed towards north east Victoria. But we […]

Walking in Victoria’s High Country

James Beattie

One part of Australia that has some stunning walking and floral displays and that’s relatively safe in summer is known locally as the High Country, in the Alpine and Kosciuszko National Parks. Garden lovers are nature lovers and one of my favourite pastimes is packing my rucksack and saying goodbye to reality before taking off into the Australian bush on my own for a few days of walking.

Leura Harvest Festival, Blue Mountains, NSW

Louise McDaid

Scarecrows, chooks, chocolate cake and jam – they’re all part of the fun and festivities of the Leura Harvest Festival held on 1 May 2016 in the Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia. The festival ads said there would be outstanding produce, fine fare and innovative sustainability initiatives. It all boded well for an interesting and feast-filled time.

Tasmania’s Koonya Garlic Festival is a pungent delight

Angus Stewart

I recently had the pleasure of attending the third Koonya Garlic Festival, in Tasmania on a picturesque inlet of Norfolk Bay on the beautiful Tasman Peninsula.

Hidden Design Festival comes to Brisbane

Arno King

Hidden Design Festival Queensland showcases 6 stunning rarely-seen, professionally designed, constructed and maintained gardens in Brisbane on Saturday 5 March 2016, plus you can meet our top garden designers.

Review: Why I don’t like Mayfield Water Garden

Catherine Stewart

Mayfield, a huge, private, cool-climate garden near Oberon in the NSW Central Tablelands has been described as “marvellous” and its public Water Garden a “masterpiece” and “magical“. I first saw greater Mayfield in 2010 and wasn’t that keen but thought it just needed maturation time.

When your lawn is all at sea

Deryn Thorpe

Growing lawn in coastal gardens can be a struggle due to salty winds and sea spray, but consider the challenges of sustaining a healthy lawn on a ship in the […]

Wonder, delight & mystery: Australian Landscape Conference in review


The 2015 Australian Landscape Conference was memorable, with over 600 attendees following the input of landscape designers from overseas and Australia – all expert, energetic, upstanding deep thinkers.

Stunning designer gardens at Auckland Garden DesignFest 2015

Rose Thodey

If you have been thinking of visiting New Zealand, don’t miss this one-off opportunity to see the work of some of our top designers in private gardens that bring out the best of Auckland’s iconic landscape

Book Review: ‘Lessons from Great Gardeners’


‘Lessons from Great Gardeners’ is an inviting book, profiling 40 ‘gardening icons’ – gardeners and garden designers. You will respond to their creative ideas and their passion for gardens, and learn from them.

Which gardens make your heart sing?

Janna Schreier

When I first took an interest in garden design, it was all about the look. Some combination of colours, textures and forms would jump out at me from a page […]

Macquarie Island cabbage at Tasmanian Botanic Gardens

Jennifer Stackhouse

On an already chilly day I made my way into the still colder environment of the Subantarctic Plant House in the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens (RTBG) for a glimpse of the native vegetation of Macquarie Island.

Four favourite parks in Central West NSW

Stuart Read

Almost off the radar in terms of heritage listings at state or national level, yet uppermost in local communities’ minds and affections and emblems of regional pride as meeting places, […]

Boab trees of the Kimberley

Linda Green

The 4,000km drive from Perth to Darwin took us through Australia’s boab country, the Kimberley region, where each tree seems to have its life story etched into the distinctive swollen trunk.

Review: Garden DesignFest tours

Chantelle Leenstra

Melbourne’s Garden DesignFest has been Australia’s premier open garden style event since 2004, giving public access to creative, elegant, quirky and pampered private gardens

La Trobe’s Cottage garden wins award!

Sandi Pullman

The Friends of La Trobe’s Cottage are a band of dedicated volunteers and who entered for the second time into the Victorian Community History Awards in the category Historical Interpretation.

Garden oddities – floral clocks

Silas Clifford-Smith

One of the horticultural oddities of the last century is the floral clock. A curious landscape design practice of the 20th C., floral clocks have a history that dates back to the 18th century.

Public parks will save our wildflowers

Angus Stewart

Australian designers are evolving a distinctively Australian style for our public parks that can solve the dilemmas of wildflower predictability and tourism damage

The hunt for red wreath flowers…a WA treasure

Kath Bafile

The roads out from Geraldton in Western Australia are lit up in August with the dazzling wildflowers, drawing travellers from all over to a wildflower treasure hunt

Guilfoyle and his warm climate plants

Arno King

A few years ago, whilst researching Polyscias (commonly called Aralia) cultivars for a magazine article, I came across mention of their discovery and introduction by William Guilfoyle during his voyage […]

Garden travel to broaden your mind

Stephen Ryan

I am about to jump on a plane and head off to France to lead a tour of gardens and châteaux of Normandy and the Loire Valley and if you […]

Tasmanian garden shopping

Jennifer Stackhouse

We’ve long harboured a desire to live in a beautiful house and garden in Tasmania. It seemed like a dream – not something that would actually ever happen – but […]

Bronze medallists

Stephen Ryan

Coloured foliage can certainly make a statement but like anything in the garden that isn’t green it can be overdone. Too many gold leaves can be glaring in strong sun […]

Captain Cook’s ivy a worthy sailor

Matthew Popplewell

“Ambition leads me not only farther than any other man has been before me, but as far as I think it possible for man to go.” A quote by Captain […]

Green is the new black in Melbourne

Georgia Whyte

A few months ago I took one of my regular trips down to Melbourne to visit a close girlfriend who lives there. Over the three days I was there, I […]

That’s what gardeners do

Julie Thomson

You can always pick gardeners on holidays. They have these funny habits they indulge when they are away from their familiar terrain. I speak both of my own behaviour and […]

Lonely trees

Linda Green

Do you ever see a tree and think “Where did you come from, where are your parents, how did you get here?”? I occasionally ponder these questions when I see […]

The last place you’d look for passionfruit

Jennifer Stackhouse

My neighbour, artist Ros Goody, has the best crop of passionfruit ever this year, which is odd as her vine, possibly self-sown, grows under and around a jacaranda. It is […]

Auckland to Ayrlies – with cocktails

Helen Young

Having been lucky enough to lead more than a dozen garden tours to various parts of Europe, Japan and Australasia over the last 10 years, I’ve recently returned from a […]

Garden tour of Great Barrier Island, NZ

Rose Thodey

Last year I overdid it, positively gorged myself, on garden travel. But just after enjoying a wonderful weekend at the Melbourne Garden DesignFest in the middle of November, there was […]

New Zealand’s geothermal vegetation

Helen McKerral

During our recent holiday on New Zealand’s North Island, we saw ecosystems that were so different to South Australia’s landscapes that they seemed positively alien. The apparent darkness of a […]

Garden DesignFest is Design Feast

Catherine Stewart

I am smugly replete. What an amazing two full-on days of gardens. About 327 gardens all up I think, although maybe that was me feeling a little drunk on the […]

New Zealand native garden – Te Kainga Marire

Helen McKerral

One inner-city garden in New Plymouth, near Mt Taranaki on the west coast of New Zealand’s north isle, defies this English style. Te Kainga Marire is a native garden open to the public by appointment for a modest fee from September to April.

Western Australian wildflowers

Angus Stewart

The southwest corner of Western Australia is without doubt one of the world’s greatest spots for wildflowers, with visitors flocking from around the globe to see them. However, I’ve got […]

Pukeiti Gardens, New Zealand

Helen McKerral

The wonderful thing about being a gardener on vacation is that, no matter where you are in the world, you meet people who love plants. The climate may be different, […]

Celebrating the coconut

Amanda Mackinnon

Ask someone to think of a tropical island they’ll usually conjure up images of palm trees, white beaches and crystal clear waters. If you’ve been lucky enough to spend some […]

Wilpena Pound

James Beattie

Over three hundred kilometres north of Adelaide in South Australia looms a mountain range with breathtaking natural beauty on a grand scale. As I sit here penning this blog to […]

My pilgrimage to Uluru

Catherine Stewart

What is it about a rock in the middle of a desert landscape that can create such a siren call? For years I’ve thought “I just have to go there”. I […]

Bushwalk from Sullivan Rock to Mt Cooke

Linda Green

I recently went bushwalking in the Monadnock National Park, named for the huge granite rocks that have resisted erosion…

Basils – sacred and fragrant

Arno King

Over the weekend I purchased a Tulasi plant (Ocimum tenuifolium, prev O. sanctum) known as sacred, or holy basil. The plant is renowned as the most sacred of Indian plants…

Snowy Mountains wildflowers

Angus Stewart

The wildflowers of the Snowy Mountains are truly one of Australia's great botanical treasures. During mid-summer the high plains around Mt. Kosciuszko are lit up…

Garden ghosts on Norfolk Island

Adam Woodhams

After a couple of recent visits to Norfolk Island, a sublime place sitting like an emerald jewel in the glistening, turquoise South Pacific 1,200 or so kilometres east…

Tasmanian garden tour

Anne Latreille

Just back from a week looking at gardens in Tasmania, I am trying to decipher my scribbled notes. But maybe I don’t need the notes to tell you about it. […]

Garden Stay

Tabu Bed and Breakfast, Cairns

Tabu Bed and Breakfast

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - Queensland

Highlights: ‘Tabu’ is located in the foot hills of Cairn’s rainforest in northern Queensland. An exclusive pavilion-style room (1 only), opens...

Garden Stay

The Jungle Lodge, Mount Tomah NSW

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - NSW

Highlights: The Jungle Lodge is adjacent to the beautiful Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah in the World Heritage-listed Blue...

Garden Stay

Havelock House, Hawke's Bay

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: New Zealand - North Island

Highlights: Havelock House is a charming and stylish 4 star Bed and Breakfast, just 3 minutes from the attractive village of...

Garden Stay

Cedar Park Gardens, Rolleston, NZ

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: New Zealand - Canterbury, South Island

Highlights: Cedar Park Gardens is a delightful B&B, set in 1.5 acres of trees, perennials, shrubs and bulbs in a...

Garden Stay

Coucals Cottage, Queensland

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia- Queensland

Highlights: Ideally situated only a 30 minute drive from Brisbane, Coucals Cottage offers a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom self-contained home surrounded...

Garden Stay

Brickendon Colonial Farm Village Cottages

Brickendon Farm

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - Tasmania

Highlights: Brickendon Estate offers guests an extraordinary experience of staying on a World Heritage Site in an original convict built cottage...

Garden Stay

Bondi Beach Eco Garden, Sydney

Bondi Beach Eco Garden

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - NSW

Highlights: The Bondi Beach Eco Garden is nestled in the leafy quiet end of Hall Street, a short stroll from the...

Garden Stay

Southdown Cottages, Bowral

Southdown Cottages

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - NSW

Highlights: Southdown Cottages in and around Bowral in the beautiful NSW Southern Highlands offer 4 uniquely decorated self-contained cottages, accommodating 2-4...

Garden Stay

Redbrow Garden and Guesthouse, Murrumbateman

Redbrow Garden & Guesthouse

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - NSW

Highlights: Redbrow Garden be the place for you to relax, rejuvenate and unwind. Take an early morning bushwalk to hear the...

Garden Stay

The Boomerangs at Johanna

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - VIC

Highlights: Architecturally designed, The Boomerangs cottages blend with the natural surroundings. Birdlife is prolific and privacy is assured. There is nothing...

Garden Stay

Kamahi Cottage, Otorohanga

Kamahi Cottage

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: New Zealand - North Island

Highlights: Kamahi Cottage as a stress-free getaway for visitors and friends. If you're planning a honeymoon, special celebration or peaceful weekend...

Garden Stay

Chorleywood B&B, Burradoo

Chorleywood B&B Burradoo

When: Available on demand/by appointment

Countries: Australia - NSW

Highlights: Chorleywood B&B in Burradoo in the NSW Southern Highlands features 'Chorleywood', a spacious, detached, private cottage with its own entrance...