Gardens of Tasmania

Gardens of Tasmania


Meander Valley, Bay of Fires and the Derwent and Huon Valleys
with Jennifer Stackhouse


28 October – 05 November 2018 (9 days)

Traverse the Island State with garden writer Jennifer Stackhouse to explore springtime gardens from the Meander Valley and Bay of Fires in the north to the Derwent and Huon Valleys in the south.
In the north, explore historic Culzean Gardens, Old Wesley Dale and the apple orchards of Wychwood. Visit Brickendon Estate and Highview country garden near Scottsdale. Explore the spectacular Bay of Fires National Park on a guided walking tour before heading south towards Hobart.

In the Huon and Derwent valleys get to know some of the private gardens and nurseries that make the island bloom, including Eggs and Bacon Cottage Garden and Prospect House Garden.
Complement your exploration of Tasmania by joining our four-day tour to the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival in the charming town of Evandale beforehand.




• Visit Culzean Gardens and Old Wesley Dale in the Meander Valley and Brickendon Estate near Longford, and explore the stunning Bay of Fires National Park
• Discover cottage gardens in the Huon Valley, and visit Crawleigh Wood Nursery, set within lush rainforest
• Gain access to private gardens near Scottsdale and in the Derwent Valley
• Before the tour, take the opportunity to enjoy four days of fine music at the Tasmanian Chamber Music Festival in Evandale

Note: At time of publication (April 2018), most but not all garden visits were confirmed. Private owners, in particular, are reluctant to commit more than two to three months prior to the visit. Therefore, while we undertake to operate the tour as published, there may be some changes to the itinerary.


Sunday 28 October 2018 / Arrive Launceston

Suggested arrival in Launceston in the early afternoon. Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your flights and other travel arrangements.

Make your way to the hotel and check in. Tour arrangements begin at 17:00 with an orientation tour, encompassing Launceston’s elegant City Park, historic Albert Hall and the thriving Tamar River waterfront.

Continue to Cataract Gorge Reserve for a welcome dinner and drinks with Jennifer and fellow travellers. (D)


Mon 29 Oct / Launceston (Meander Valley)

This morning, drive west of Launceston through the Meander Valley to Culzean Gardens in Westbury. Culzean features an Anglo-Indian-style house built in 1841 and a 1.2 hectare lake. During the late spring this colourful garden bursts with rhododendrons and azaleas.

Continue through the Meander Valley to the 1830s estate of Old Wesley Dale near Mole Creek. After lunch, explore this beautifully restored rural property with wonderful views of the Great Western Tiers.

Then visit Wychwood Garden & Nursery, a gorgeous one-hectare temperate garden whose features include sweeping borders full of perennials, old roses and ornamental grasses, a fruit and vegetable garden, a heritage apple orchard, water features and woodland areas.Return to Launceston in the late afternoon before an evening at leisure. (BL)


Tue 30 Oct / Launceston

Discover Tasmania’s World Heritage Brickendon Estate. Enjoy a morning tea and a guided tour of its special garden, with the added enjoyment of the beauty of 180-year-old trees from all parts of the world.

Enjoy lunch at the Jolly Farmer Inn, followed by a tour of its Georgian-style building dating back to 1826 and charming garden.

Continue to Evandale, a National Trust-classified Georgian village. Visit Leybourne private garden, and then enjoy some free time in the village before returning to Launceston. (BL)


Wed 31 Oct / Launceston – St Helens

Depart Launceston for a full day’s drive across the Northeast to St Helens. On the way, visit Anabel’s Garden in Scottsdale and Highview country garden. Enjoy a warm country welcome from the owners and lunch in a garden.

Arrive in St Helens in the late afternoon and check in to the hotel. Enjoy dinner in the hotel restaurant. (BLD)


Thu 01 Nov / St Helens

During a half-day guided walk, explore stunning Binalong Bay and the Bay of Fires, a coast of white sandy beaches dotted with giant granite boulders. Its landscape of coastal heathlands and woodlands co-mingles with 100 species of birds and wildlife.

The afternoon is at leisure, with the opportunity to embark on a one-hour return walk to St Helens Point where you will find the spectacular Peron Dunes and vast ocean beach overlooking scenic Georges Bay. Dinner tonight is at a local restaurant. (BD)


Fri 02 Nov / St Helens – Hobart

Enjoy a leisurely day’s drive along the picturesque East Coast down to Hobart. On the way, stop for a visit to the picturesque port town of Bicheno.Then, explore the Tasmanian Bushland Garden near Orford. This regional botanic garden is devoted to Tasmanian native plants, featuring some of the rare and threatened plants of this region. Continue to Hobart and check in to the hotel, before dinner in a local restaurant. (BD)


Sat 03 Nov / Hobart (Huon Valley)

After breakfast, enjoy some free time to explore the iconic Salamanca Market at your own pace. This weekly outdoor market takes place every Saturday and gathers over 300 stallholders from all over Tasmania including creative artisans and talented musicians.

After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Eggs and Bacon Bay Cottage Garden, located in a sheltered bend of the Huon River. Discover its flowering Tasmanian understory garden before continuing to Crawleighwood Nursery and Garden. Wander between rhododendrons, maple woodlands, Gondwanan rainforest species, rare and unusual plants. Enjoy afternoon tea on the property before returning to Hobart. (BL)


Sun 04 Nov / Hobart (Derwent Valley)

After breakfast, depart for Hamilton for a visit to Prospect House and Garden. Admire the elegant early-colonial architecture of the house and half a hectare of colourful gardens.

Continue to New Norfolk, located in the upper Derwent Valley, with lunch at leisure and free time in the town. Visit a private garden in Richmond before returning to Hobart in the late afternoon. (B)


Mon 05 Nov / Depart Hobart

In the morning, visit the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens. Begun in 1818, this is Australia’s second oldest botanic garden, this year celebrating its bicentenary. Explore the garden with a guided introductory walk followed by free time to continue at your own pace.

Enjoy a special farewell lunch with Jennifer and fellow travellers.

Tour arrangements conclude after lunch in central Hobart. Make your way to the airport for suggested flights departing from 18:00 onwards. (BL)


Tropical Garden Fair Darwin

Tropical Garden Fair, Darwin


The Tropical Garden Fair in Darwin will feature:

•   celebrity landscape designer from Bali, Made Wijaya, in action over both days working on his new design project for the Garden

•   a huge plant market of luscious tropical plants

•   expert garden advice

•   floral displays

•   gourmet food and drink

•   live music

•   garden workshops

•   a garden-themed dress-up parade for kids at 11am on Saturday 13 August

•   Tea Party with Tinkerbell 11am Sunday 14 August




George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens, 10am-4pm each day

Chelsea Fringe – the alternative garden festival

Chelsea Fringe


Chelsea Fringe begin on Saturday 20 May and runs until 4 June 2017, at a host of different venues and settings across England and Scotland plus events in various locations around the world.

Building on the success of the previous Chelsea Fringe festivals, it will feature a wonderful mixture of public spectacles, horticultural happenings and community celebrations.

The Fringe is all about harnessing and spreading some of the excitement and energy that fizzes around gardens and gardening. The idea is to give people the freedom and opportunity to express themselves through the medium of plants and gardens, to open up possibilities and to allow full participation.

Entirely independent of the RHS Chelsea Flower Show (though acting with its support), the Fringe explodes out of the showground geographically, demographically and conceptually. Its events encompass everything from grassroots community garden projects to avant-garde art installations. Our open-access principle means that just about anything goes – as long as it’s interesting and legal, and on the subject of gardens, flowers, veg-growing or landscape.

Leura Gardens Festival 2017

Leura Gardens Festival


Think Spring … Think Leura

The 2017 Leura Gardens Festival will be held from Saturday 30 September – Sunday 8 October inclusive.

Gardens are open from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm daily.

The 2017 Leura Gardens Festival will feature 11 beautiful spring gardens for the price of $25 per person to visit all gardens, or $8 per individual garden. There are two new gardens to the festival, four are returning after a break including visitor favourites The Braes and Ewanrigg, and also on show are many wonderful old favourites which draw visitors back year after year.

The full list of gardens will be available on our website

There is a Festival bus available from Leura Station from 9.30 am until the close of gardens. This follows a set route and stops at all gardens throughout the day. On the two weekends of the Festival (30 September-1-2 October and 7-8 October) which are the busiest times, two buses will be running to ensure our visitors can comfortably access all gardens. These buses will be evenly spread to minimise time delays. The cost of an all day bus ticket is $5 per person during the week days of the Festival and $10 per person during the weekends.

Gardens are open from 9.30 am – 4.30 pm daily.


London’s Open Garden Squares Weekend

London’s Open Garden Squares Weekend


London’s Parks and Gardens Trust, in association with the National Trust, present Open Garden Squares Weekend 2018.

The event, which originally created access to private squares in central London, now embraces a wide range of little known and hidden green spaces across the capital.

Around 200 gardens take part in Open Garden Squares Weekend each year. There is a real variety – from the traditional private squares to contemporary roof gardens, not to mention skips, prisons, museums, schools and allotments.

We have a mix of gardens that are private, those that are not normally open at weekends and some that are open, but are hidden gems that you might not know about. Gardens that are normally open provide activities ranging from puppet shows to walks and exhibitions by friends groups. They will usually have active, dedicated community groups passionate about their local area, their garden and community.

Gardens are selected for their historical significance, design interest, community significance, horticultural interest or environmental importance.

You can enjoy a wide range of activities, including guided walks and tours, cycle rides, music, refreshments, plants sales, garden fêtes, and family activities.

Profits from ticket sales are shared between participating sites and help to support the work of the London Parks & Gardens Trust. Gardens may raise money and/or awareness for their own causes.

In recent years we have been very grateful for support from the National Trust, Transport for London, Hamptons, Time OutHunting plc and the Metropolitan Public Gardens Association.

History, Gardens and Music under Sail in the Baltic

London Festival Opera – we are delighted to be joined by some members of the London Festival Opera on this cruise. One of the world’s leading private opera companies, the London Festival Opera has performed for Presidents, Prime Ministers and senior members of the British and European Royal Families. Engagements have included exclusive performances in the presence of the Royal Family at St James’s Palace, and for the British Prime Minster at Number 10 Downing Street.

Botanical Lecturer – Dr. Toby Musgrave has a passion for horticulture and is an authority on garden history, and shares his knowledge as an author of many garden history books. Historical Lecturer – Peter Warwick is a renowned historian and published author who will share his extensive historical knowledge during your cruise. Peter often lectures at the National Maritime Museum.

Day 1. Arrive St Petersburg and Embark Ship

Be met at the airport and transfer to the Sea Cloud II. Enjoy Welcome Drinks and dinner onboard the luxurious ship.

Twelve Nights: Sea Cloud II (D)

Day 2. St Petersburg Sightseeing

This morning we drive out to Peterhof Palace. A series of terraces bright with gilded animated fountains lead to the palace built by Peter the Great on the edge of the Gulf of Finland. Later, enjoy a cruise along St Petersburg’s canals, and see St Peter, Paul Fortress and the Embankment with wonderful architectural panoramas, bridges and palaces. (BLD)

Day 3. Helsinki, Finland

Spend a relaxing morning at sea cruising in the Gulf of Finland. Arrive in Helsinki during lunch. Very much the water city, we shall moor close to the city centre and explore Helsinki by foot. Visit the colourful Market Square, the President’s Palace, the impressive architecture of Senate Square including the Lutheran Cathedral of Finland and Uspenski Cathedral, the Russian Orthodox Church with its striking onion domes. Take advantage of the long northern evening light with a pre or post dinner walk. Sail in the late evening. (BLD)

Day 4. Tallinn, Estonia

This historic maritime city completed its city walls in the 16th-century and the Old Town within these walls is one of the best-preserved from the Middle Ages. Its numerous churches, guild halls and gabled merchants’ residences date mainly from the 15th-century. Tallinn is dominated by Toompea Castle, once a fortress, and now the seat of the Estonian parliament. It is set high on a steep hillside overlooking the city and the Baltic. Spend the afternoon at sea as we begin our crossing of the Baltic. This evening, enjoy a concert by the London Festival Opera. (BLD)

Day 5. Stockholm, Sweden

This morning we sail through the many islands of the Swedish Archipelago into Stockholm. This is a great sailing area and the islands are peppered with attractive summer homes. Spend the afternoon exploring this handsome city, known as the ‘city on the water’. It is built on 14 small islands among open bays and narrow channels. It is fitting, therefore, that Stockholm has the Vasa Ship, one of the outstanding archaeological discoveries of the 20th Century. Stockholm also has a magnificent ‘Old Town’, splendid Baroque and 19th-century buildings with distinctive green copper roofs and gleaming towers. Moor overnight in Stockholm and from our central mooring we will be able to enjoy the delights of this most sophisticated and lovely city. (BLD)

Day 6. Stockholm Garden Visits

Enjoy a free morning in Stockholm or visit The Linnaeus Garden, originally laid out in 1655 by Olof Rudbeck the elder, professor of medicine at Uppsala University. It is today arranged according to Linnaeus’ own plan from 1745. Approximately 1,300 species of plants are grown here today, all of which are known to have been cultivated by Linnaeus: the garden is a living complement to his writings and drawings. It is also possible to visit the Linnaeus Museum, situated within the gardens, which was Carl Linnaeus’s home for 35 years. We set sail at lunchtime, through the Stockholm archipelago and then in a southerly direction to the Swedish Island of Gotland. (BLD)

Day 7. Visby, Gotland

Today we visit this once important Hanseatic port. Best explored on foot, the beautifully preserved medieval town snuggles inside 13th-century walls, housing 44 watchtowers. In Viking times and several centuries after, the Swedish island of Gotland and especially the city of Visby, became a centre of trade in the Baltic Sea and is a World Heritage-listed site. Walk its streets from the Middle Ages and see its gardens ablaze with flowers, earning the city its nickname ‘the city of ruins and roses.’ Later, visit the Viking exhibits at the Fornsal Museum and wander the paths of the botanical gardens. Sail during lunch. This evening, enjoy a superb performance by the London Festival Opera. (BLD)

Day 8. Gdansk, Poland

We have the day to explore Gdansk, formerly known as Danzig, a leading member of the Hanseatic League. This great port has been sympathetically restored after extensive war damage and is again, one of Europe’s most splendid cities. Our visit includes the church of St Mary, an enormous Gothic hall church with crystal vaulting, Arthur’s Hall and the Knight’s Great Watermill. Gdansk is also famous as the city of ‘Solidarity’, where the dockers united to overthrow the Polish Communist regime. We visit the monument commemorating this struggle. (BLD)

Day 9. Bornholm, Denmark

We visit the beautiful Bornholm Island with its woodland and attractive rocky coastline dotted with fishing villages. We moor in Gudhjem and visit Nykirke, one of the 12th-century round churches on the island. Although of simple style, the church has a beautiful altarpiece, thought to have been made in a Lübeck workshop around 1510. This evening, enjoy an unforgettable performance by the London Festival Opera. (BLD)

Day 10. Copenhagen, Freedom Of Choice Touring

We have a full day in the charming Danish capital, which will include the Palace of Amailienborg exterior only. The four identical Rococo buildings have been the Royal Residence since 1784. Also see Christiansborg Castle, the Royal Theatre and Nyhavn. In the afternoon, explore independently or join the excursion to Helsingor to see the Kronborg Castle, one of Europe’s most important Renaissance castles and known the world over from Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Later, see St Olai’s Church and the carefully restored medieval merchants and ferrymen’s houses, or visit some exclusive private gardens with Toby Musgrave. Sail in the late evening. (BLD)

Day 11. At Sea

Enjoy the opportunity to spend a relaxing day at sea under sail as we cross to Norway. (BLD)

Day 12. Lillesand, Norway

Arrive into the southern coast of Norway. Lillesand is one of Norway’s best kept secrets, a charming summer resort. Small islands and skerries dot the coastline making the approach to the town by sea a memorable sight. On a morning ashore, we can soak up the unique atmosphere of a Norwegian summer resort in the old town with its enchanting white clapboard houses. (BLD)

Day 13. Disembark Ship and Depart Oslo, Norway

Welcome to the capital of Norway, Oslo. This morning disembark the ship and be transferred to the airport. (B)