Australia - New South Wales
Autumn Country Gardens of NSW – Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains with Julie Kinney
Amble through some of Australia’s most beautiful gardens, where English design finds a home in the Australian landscape, as Autumn’s brush paints the leaves gold and crimson.

Autumn Country Gardens of NSW – Southern Highlands and Blue Mountains with Julie Kinney


Amble through some of Australia’s most beautiful gardens, where English design finds a home in the Australian landscape, as Autumn’s brush paints the leaves gold and crimson.

In the Southern Highlands, visit grand, cool-climate gardens, including the unique Red Cow Farm (‘a garden for all seasons’) and explore a selection of private gardens in this delightful region famous for its flower shows and kaleidoscope of autumnal colour. After a day in the gardens of Crookwell, continue to the city of Orange for a peek at some of the picturesque gardens of the Central West. Then ascend to the Blue Mountains where the spectacular gardens of Mayfield, Mount Wilson and the Everglades display all the blazing glory of the Autumn season.



• Spend three nights at the Hydro-Majestic Hotel in the Blue Mountains, a beautiful Art Deco building originally used as a hydropathic health spa

• Discover the private gardens of the Southern Highlands, from Wildes Meadow to Bundanoon, Bowral, Mittagong and Berrima

• Explore the Everglades, designed by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen, and spend a day in the picturesque 19th century gardens of Mount Wilson

• Travel to Orange via Crookwell, and experience the hospitality of the best local gardeners, where each garden displays the personality of its owner

• Explore the 2.5 hectare Red Cow Farm, comprising some 20 different garden ‘rooms’ created around a simple 1820s cottage

• Wander through Mayfield Garden, a 64 hectare landscape garden set in the middle of a 2,000 hectare cattle farm




Meet Julie and fellow travellers at the Ibis Hotel Darling Harbour, 70 Murray Street, Pyrmont, Sydney at 10:00. (Pre-tour accommodation available at this hotel.)

Strike out for the Southern Highlands, travelling south along the coast on the Grand Pacific Drive. Turning inland, enjoy lunch in Robertson, formerly a major centre for cheese-making, and now known for its gardens.

Continue to Bowral, the largest town in the Southern Highlands, and once the summer retreat of the Sydney gentry. Enjoy a welcome dinner with Julie and fellow travellers. (LD)



After breakfast, visit Carisbrooke Garden in Bowral, which reflects memories of a country homestead garden and includes a woodland of unusual trees, a rose garden, a ‘borrowed view’ of the golf course beyond the croquet lawn, and a trio of summer houses. Travel to Coombewood Garden in Mittagong and wander through avenues of trees in brilliant autumn tones in this 3.2-hectare garden developed over the last 30 years.

Enjoy free time for lunch at the Sturt Café and explore the Sturt Gallery, established in 1941 by the former Headmistress of Frensham School and now a centre of excellence for craft and design education.

After lunch, continue to Greenbrier Park for a tour of their garden which fuses English design and Australian native eucalypts, followed by a special wine tasting. Return to Bowral for dinner. (BD)



In the morning, travel to Berrima for the ANZAC Day service held near the spreading branches of an oak tree planted in 1890 by then-Premier of NSW Sir Henry Parkes.

Continue to Milton Park for lunch and a visit to the private garden. Built in the beginning of the twentieth century by the Hordern family of retail and pastoral fame, the formal gardens at Milton Park were laid out by Mary Hordern in ‘The English School of Landscape’ and are considered amongst the finest in Australia. Australia’s oldest and largest Variegated Tulip tree, Weeping Beeches, Elms and oaks are a feature of this spectacular property.

In the afternoon, visit Harper’s Mansion, a historic Georgian-style homestead completed in 1834 for District Constable James Harper, and later used as a presbytery for the priests of St Francis Xavier. Its recently restored gardens replicate the original planting, replete with a wealth of early 19th century rose varieties.

After a visit to the private garden of Old Rose Cottage, return to Bowral for an evening at leisure. (BL)



After breakfast, depart for 5th Chapter Winery and Garden near Fitzroy Falls. Explore the Japanese and enclosed parterre gardens, flower beds, fountains and water features and taste their wine, evocative of the cool climate of the Southern Highlands. Visit the garden of Yarrawin in Burradoo, estate of the late philanthropist Paul Ramsay AO, where gracious English-style lawns stretch between plantings of eucalyptus.

Enjoy time in Bowral for lunch (own expense). After lunch, travel to Red Cow Farm near Sutton Forest, an abundant 2.5-hectare garden developed around a historic 1820s cottage. Red Cow Farm features 20 different garden ‘rooms’, including a monastery garden, an abbess’s garden, a cottage garden, a kitchen garden and other gardens themed around woodlands, beech trees, classic roses, lakes, bogs and orchards.

Return to Bowral for an evening at leisure. (B)



Check out from your hotel and travel to the town of Crookwell in the Southern Tablelands to explore a range of private gardens. Well known for its enthusiastic gardening culture, each garden in Crookwell displays the distinctive personality of its owner.

Following lunch at a local restaurant, visit another private garden in Crookwell, and then continue to Orange in the Central West.

Dinner at the hotel. (BLD)


Spend a day in a selection of private gardens in and around Orange. The region is famous for its orchards, producing apples, pears and stone fruits, and its climate of warm summers, cool winters and evenly-spread rainfall also allows gardeners in Orange to grow a range of different flora and create unique and beautiful gardens of their own.

Dinner at a local restaurant. (BLD)



landscape garden set within a 5,000-hectare working cattle farm. One of the world’s largest privately-owned cool climate gardens, Mayfield boasts a water garden, a cascade, a walled kitchen garden, an orchard, a maze, a rose garden, a croquet garden, an aviary and a set of ‘deluxe hen houses’.

After a day exploring this magnificent garden, check in to the Hydro Majestic Hotel in Medlow Bath. First established as a hydropathic health spa, this beautiful hotel was built in a charming and unique amalgam of architectural styles encompassing Federation style and Art Deco.

Dinner at the hotel. (BLD)



After breakfast, depart for a full-day tour to the gardens of Mount Wilson, which are lit up in a blaze of crimson and gold in the Autumn. Explore the estate of Bebeah, where neatly-clipped hedges of box and laurel frame elegant white gravel drives. Continue to Nooroo Garden, established in 1880 and home to a wealth of oaks, ash, beech, chestnut and maple trees. Wander through Merry Garth Garden, where native sassafras, coachwood, ferns and banksias meet beech trees, the orange-barked Chinese paperbark maple and the rare Rimu pine from New Zealand.

In the afternoon, visit Windyridge Garden, a landscape garden displaying a collection of sculptures amongst pin oaks, maples, copper beeches, ginkos and tupelos. (BL)



In the morning, travel to Foggy Dew Garden in Leura, a small private garden with a wisteria arbour, laburnum walk, pond and a large rockery. Continue to the Everglades, one of Australia’s foremost heritage gardens, designed by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen in the 1930s. Spanning 5.3 hectares, the Everglades combines traditional European-style terrace gardening with the distinctively Australian panorama of the Blue Mountains.

After lunch (own expense) and time to explore Leura, visit a private garden in Leura before returning to your hotel. In the evening, enjoy a special farewell dinner with Julie and fellow travellers. (BD)



Check out from the Hydro Majestic Hotel and descend from the Blue Mountains to Sydney. On the way, explore the 252-hectare Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mount Tomah, where the rich basaltic soil has nurtured Australia’s finest cool climate garden, featuring a wealth of native plants and Eurasian species such as oak and birch.

For those departing Sydney, tour arrangements conclude on arrival at Sydney airport at 15:00 for flights departing from 16:30 onwards.

For those remaining in Sydney, tour arrangements conclude on arrival in central Sydney at 16:00. (BL)

Note: At time of publication (April 2017), most but not all garden visits were confirmed. Private owners, in particular, are reluctant to commit more than 2 to 3 months prior to visit. Therefore, while we undertake to operate the tour as published, there may be some changes to the itinerary.


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Prices in $AUD

Per person, twin-share: AUD $5,650
Single supplement*: AUD $1,100
Deposit per person (at time of booking): AUD $250
Final payment due: 09 March 2018
*Single travellers may request to share. Please advise as time of booking.

Tour code: GD1801

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

Suggested airline: Qantas
Please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for current airfares and flight reservations.

Tour price includes:
• Accommodation in centrally located hotels with private facilities and breakfast daily (B)
• Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wines with dinners.
• Ibis Hotel Darling Harbour pick up – 70 Murray Street, Pyrmont, Sydney
• Airport transfer on departure
• Comprehensive garden visits and entrance fees as per itinerary
• Transportation throughout on comfortable air-conditioned coaches
• Gratuities for local guides and drivers
• Hotel porterage (one piece per person)

Tour prices does not include:
• Flights to/from Sydney (please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
• Items of a personal nature, including telephone, laundry, taxis, minibar, room service etc.
• Travel insurance (a condition of travel; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)

Your hotels
Bowral – Peppers Craigieburn**** (Morton Terrace rooms for singles and Elms Balcony for twin/double share)
Orange – Turners Vineyard****
Blue Mountains – Hydro Majestic Hotel**** (Heritage rooms for singles and Belgravia rooms for twin/Doubles)
NB: Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted.