- New Zealand
- A personal tour to New Zealand visiting the best of the South Island’s gardens ranging from grand and historic gardens to special private gardens not normally open to the public. Includes spectacular scenery, castles and wineries, artisans and galleries and delicious regional food and wine.
Join Lynne Walker, on a personal tour to New Zealand to visit her favourite gardens. Visiting the best of the South Island’s gardens ranging from grand and historic gardens to special private gardens not normally open to the public, Lynne will introduce you to her fabulous selection of private and well-known gardens and some passionate gardeners as well. See spectacular and dramatic scenery, castles and wineries, visit artisans and galleries and, along the way, enjoy delicious regional food and wine.
The grandeur and history of some of NZ’s oldest gardens, including gardens of national and international significance
The garden city of Christchurch and the historic French settlement of Akaroa
Gardens and wineries in the Marlborough region
Overnight stays in unique accommodation
Luxuriant woodland gardens tucked under the Southern Alps
The dramatic scenery of Mackenzie Country and Mount Cook
Lunch at Riverstone Kitchen and Fleurs Place – two of the best restaurants in NZ
Special access to private gardens
The heritage university city of Dunedin, Larnach Castle and a flourishing South Sea Island garden
The turquoise lakes of Wanaka and Queenstown
Day 1 Depart Australia Sat 15 Nov
Meet your Tour Leader, Lynne Walker at Sydney International Airport and depart for Christchurch, gateway to the South Island. Arrive mid-afternoon with time to freshen up before a Welcome Dinner and overview of the program. This is a city in the process of rebuilding itself and we will be staying beside one of its most enduring and unchanged features – the gently winding Avon River lined with grassy banks of poplars and weeping willows.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: In-flight & D
Day 2 Christchurch Sun 16 Nov
After breakfast depart on an orientation tour of Christchurch, known as ‘The Garden City’. We take a guided tour of the world-class Botanic Gardens taking in the flora, fauna and history of the gardens, as well as a trip on the Christchurch Gondola to lunch with spectacular views of the city, mountains, lake and harbour. After lunch visit a private garden of international significance on the shores of Lyttleton Harbour.
Overnight: Chateau on the Park Meals: BL
Day 3 Christchurch – Akaroa Mon 17 Nov
Today we leave Christchurch for the Banks Peninsula and the charming early French settlement of Akaroa. En route we’ll visit three very memorable and very different gardens. Lunch at a spectacular English-style country garden stylishly designed by its owner, one New Zealand’s foremost plantswomen. Later we’ll visit a spectacular historic garden for a private guided tour of the gardens which date back 118 years and provide an insight into why and how Victorians grew certain kinds of plants. Afterwards continue to the charming and historic village of Akaroa.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL
Day 4 Akaroa Tues 18 Nov
After breakfast in a waterfront café we’ll spend the day visiting three private gardens all in the same street in Akaroa. Our first garden is a private garden with large lawns, rose garden, pathways, arbours and pond nestled amongst mature native and English trees. The second garden, in contrast, is a historic Akaroa house surrounded by an exuberant and quirky sculpture mosaic garden and gallery, certain to make you smile. Our third garden is a luxuriant cottage garden featuring old roses and lavenders surrounding a picturesque cottage originally built in the 1850’s. Return to the harbour for an optional dolphin cruise – highly recommended – and dinner on the waterfront.
Overnight: Akaroa Village Inn Meals: BL
Day 5 Akaroa – Hanmer Springs Wed 19 Nov
Our first garden today is an idyllic garden with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, where native plants are combined with a diverse array of non-native plants to create a truly New Zealand ambience. Then we travel north west into a stunning alpine garden in the foothills of the Southern Alps with sculptures and a clever use of water. Lunch will be provided by our charming hostess. We then travel north to the historic spa centre of Hanmer Springs to stay at the magnificent Heritage Hotel
Overnight: Heritage Hotel, Hanmer Springs Meals: BLD
Day 6 Hanmer Springs – Renwick Thu 20 Nov
Morning free to relax and enjoy Hanmer Springs (great shopping with fine NZ products). Leave after lunch for the drive north to Renwick near Blenheim in the wine region of Marlborough. The journey takes us via Springs Junction and Murchison with an afternoon tea stop at Lake Rotoiti. Dinner after booking in at our hotel in the heart of the vineyards. Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BD
Day 7 Renwick Fri 21 Nov
The three gardens today are all very different and are located in the Renwick Valley, home of some of NZ’s most famous wineries. The first garden is Hortensia, a specialist garden where masses of colour co-ordinated flowers in hazy pastels of blue and yellow are planted along the banks of a spectacular stream. Close by is another romantic garden, this time much more formal with an exquisite 17th century-style knot garden with box hedged colour-themed beds as well as a productive vegetable garden with espaliered fruit trees on brick walls and a small olive grove. Lunch at one of Marlborough’s top outdoor vineyard restaurants and later visit another remarkable garden informally created on several levels and planted with great skill and ingenuity by its owner.
Overnight: Marlborough Vintners Hotel, Renwick Meals: BL
Day 8 Renwick – Kaikoura Sat 22 Nov
Another day visiting gorgeous gardens as we travel south to Kaikoura – one inland and one coastal. “For plant connoisseurs this is a garden made in heaven overflowing with unusual and special plants. Here you will find the very best of herbaceous perennials and shrubs”. So says NZ Garden Writer Judith Petheram, of our first garden today. After time for lunch at the spectacular seaside café, The Store at Kekerungu, visit a remarkable coastal garden that’s been planned on classical French lines. Features include a high brick wall enclosing a canal garden leading to a formal box-edged rose garden. All this along with magnificent coastal views. Continue on to Kaikoura.
Overnight: Anchor Inn, Kaikoura Meals: B
Day 9 Kaikoura – Windwhistle Sun 23 Nov
Today is a day of roses and history commencing with a visit to a hillside garden paradise with the largest collection of old roses in New Zealand, owned by one of NZ’s foremost rose authorities. Then visit the property of one of the most famous Canterbury families; a garden renowned for its trees and rhododendrons as well as its many historic outbuildings which give an insight into the lives of early settlers in the 19th century. After lunch travel to one of the South Island’s oldest homes and gardens formerly the home of one of New Zealand’s significant democratic reformers and still in his family. The garden has magnificent ancient trees and the extensive woodland underneath has mass planting of bulbs, perennials and herbaceous plants.
Overnight: Terrace Downs Resort, Windwhistle Meals: BLD
Day 10 Windwhistle – Ashburton Mon 24 Nov
Leaving Windwhistle travel to the base of the Southern Alps, to a beautiful garden featuring a haha, rhododendrons, dogwoods, lush perennial borders, sweeping lawns and an exceptional tree and shrub collection. Stop for lunch at another outstanding country farm garden en route and at Ashburton visit one of the most renowned gardens in New Zealand, planned from the start unlike most gardens.
Overnight: Mainstay Hotel, Ashburton Meals: BLD
Day 11 Ashburton – Mount Cook Tue 25 Nov
Today, before heading westwards to Mount Cook visit two of the more significant historic stations in coastal South Canterbury. The first one has been in the same family for generations and celebrates its 150th anniversary this year. Original farm buildings and an old wooden church are complemented by seven hectares of sweeping lawns, old trees, woodland planting, boxed borders adding colour and interest and a small hand-dug lake. Continue to another historic house and garden nearby for lunch and a stroll. Afterwards travel through Mackenzie Country to Mount Cook with a stop at the Church of Good Shepherd on the shores of Lake Tekapo. Built as a memorial to the pioneers of the Mackenzie Country, the Church of the Good Shepherd is an enduring landmark amongst the natural beauty of the lake and mountains.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: BLD
Day 12 Aoraki Mount Cook Wed 26 Nov
Today is a completely garden-free day to relax. Outdoor activities include a Glacier Explorers Boat Tour to the Tasman Glacier – highly recommended – or gentle walks around the resort. Worth a visit is the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre; a fascinating museum and display of the great mountaineer and humanitarian.
Overnight: The Hermitage, Mt Cook Meals: B
Day 13 Mount Cook – Oamaru Thu 27 Nov
Leaving Mount Cook we head east to Oamaru visiting a specialist alpine garden en route. Stop for a special lunch at Riverstone Kitchen where the slogan is ‘buy local, think seasonal and eat well’ and afterwards inspect the extensive kitchen gardens tended by the chef’s energetic mother Dot. Continue to Oamaru, former home of author Janet Frame. Architecturally rich, Omaru’s heritage can be seen in many public buildings in the town centre. Oamaru is also home to a wonderful collection of artisans, including master trug maker Bill Blair, located in the Victorian precinct adjacent to the harbour.
Overnight: Hotel Byrdone, Oamaru Meals: BLD
Day 14 Oamaru – Dunedin Fri 28 Nov
Today we head south to Dunedin visiting a hilltop garden with spectacular plantings overlooking the Waianakarua river valley. After a lunch stop at famous Fleur’s Place, a rustic portside café continue to Dunedin where a late afternoon Monarch Harbour Cruise is planned to see the best of the Otago Peninsula’s wildlife – albatross, penguins and ocean birds. Later check in to Larnach Castle, our home for the night. Larnach Castle has a garden of international significance and the owner, a dedicated plantswoman, and longtime member of the Dendrology Society has created a haven for garden types from all over the world, including a spectacular South Seas garden. Dinner in the castle.
Overnight: Larnach Castle Meals: BLD
Day 15 Dunedin Sat 29 Nov
After a scenic tour of Dunedin, tour historic Olveston, a grand Jacobean-style home that showcases the exquisite skills of 19th century craftsmen and displays the priceless treasures and artifacts collected by the Theomin family. Later visit the stunning Dunedin Botanic Gardens which have just celebrated their 150th anniversary. Lunch will be available at the distinctive kiosk restaurant.
Overnight: Mercure Dunedin Meals: BL
Day 16 Dunedin – Wanaka Sun 30 Nov
Depart and visit a large country garden with hundreds of heritage roses on the outskirts of Dunedin. Afterwards travel west through the dramatic Lord of The Rings type landscape to the lakeside township of Wanaka with a lunch stop along the way. Evening free for dinner
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL
Day 17 Wanaka – Tarras – Wanaka Mon 1 Dec
Visit the small farming settlement of Tarras and see some delightful family- owned private gardens including a large cottage garden plus a stunning modern garden high on a hillside and finally lunch in the lovely garden of a high country station which has been owned by the same family for over 100 years. Return to Wanaka free time before dinner in a restaurant by Lake Wanaka.
Overnight: Edgewater Resort Meals: BL
Day 18 Wanaka – Queenstown Tue 2 Dec
Depart for Queenstown and travel via two stunning high country farm gardens on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Lunch stop at the rustic Cardrona Pub, one of the oldest hotels in the country, then continue on to Queenstown with its magnificent backdrop of the snow-capped Southern Alps. Free afternoon to relax, shop or take a trip on the historic steamship – TSS Earnslaw, affectionately known as the ‘Lady of the Lake’.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD
Day 19 Queenstown Wed 3 Dec
Our last day includes a visit to a lavender farm and a stroll through Arrowtown’s old 1860s gold-mining village for lunch. Conclude the tour with a visit to an extraordinary and imaginative private garden where much thought has gone into ensuring seasonal colour reflects the surrounding mountainous landscape. Farewell Dinner this evening.
Overnight: Novotel, Queenstown Meals: BD
Day 20 Queenstown – Sydney Thurs 4 Dec
Depart Queenstown for the return flight to Australia.
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Tour Costs: (Per Person)
Ex Sydney, Australia
Twin share/double room AUD 7,995
Single Supplement Add AUD 2,285
Prices include airline taxes
Upgrades to business class air travel can be arranged at an additional cost
Bookings and Deposits
To confirm your place on this program please complete the booking form and send with your deposit to Quadrant Australia.
Prices quoted in Australian dollars with AUD $1.00 = NZ $ 1.07