Australia - NSW
Follow the trail of flower festivals across New South Wales and visit some of our loveliest private gardens. We travel from Sydney to the Southern Highlands for Tulip Time, then to Canberra for Floriade, on to Cowra to catch Cherry Blossom Time, and finally to Leura in the Blue Mountains for the Leura Gardens Festival.
Wednesday 24 September 2014
Sydney – Bowral (MT/D)

Meet your Tour Leader Sandra Ross at Central Station, Sydney. Settle into your seat as we depart by air-conditioned motor coach for a spring treat. Our first garden is the inspirational Glenmore House. Hidden in a beautiful valley just beyond Camden, this Georgian house has been beautifully and imaginatively restored, with gardens to match. Our host is the vivacious owner, Mickey Robertson, who will show us around her complex of kitchen gardens, perennial borders and roses, then serve us homemade cakes and morning tea in the loggia. Trust us when we say you won’t want to leave! It’s daisy time at Mt Annan Botanic Gardens; paddocks of paper daisies stretch as far as the eye can see so we’ll call in on our way through to the charming village of Robertson, which sits on the edge of the Illawarra Escarpment. There is time to explore and relax over lunch and then we will head off to Bowral and Gibraltar Hotel, a country club and spa. Relax and freshen up for our Welcome Dinner tonight in the hotel.
Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral


Thursday 25 September 2014
Bowral (B/MT)

We treat you to a morning at The Kaya, the home of Elaine and Les Musgrave in Wildes Meadow. Elaine is a renowned botanical artist. She’ll show us her studio, and Les will show us the beautiful garden. Morning tea will be served in the garden.
It’s Tulip Time in the Southern Highlands, so we’ll tiptoe through the tulips in Corbett Park, Bowral, then enjoy free time to check out the shops and have lunch.
Another fine garden this afternoon, historic Moidart in Burradoo. While the rose garden and the cherries grab the attention, it is the mature trees, in fresh new leaf that give a special sense of place.
Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral

Friday 26 September 2014
Bowral (B/AT)

Chinoserie in Mittagong is our first stop this morning. Meet Dominic Wong, a passionate plantsperson who has created one of the finest gardens in the highlands. His glorious long borders will be bursting with new spring growth. The kitchen potager is exquisite, as is the stream garden of water-loving plants.
We’ll stop for a coffee and shop at Sturt Gallery which showcases the best of Australian contemporary craft and design, then explore the village of Berrima for lunch.
Red Cow Farm is our highlight this afternoon. From the road the garden looks deceptively simple, yet behind the gate is one of the finest gardens in Australia, with a sophisticated structure and complex planting schemes. Meet the owners, our good friends Ali and Wayne. Afternoon tea will be served in the garden.
Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral


Saturday 27 September 2014
Bowral – Canberra (B/MT)

A pretty tulip garden on a hilltop of Canberra this morning, with spring blossom trees overhead. We’ll enjoy a morning tea in this special garden then take a scenic drive to familiarise ourselves with the sights of Canberra before stopping at another charming private garden.
Accommodation:Crowne Plaza, Canberra


Sunday 28 September 2014
Canberra (B/HT)

Wear your best walking shoes today as we head to Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Park to experience the national capital’s annual flagship event, Floriade. This is the largest floral festival in the Southern Hemisphere. The four-hectare site is filled with more than a million blooms in a variety of themed garden beds designed to fit within an overarching concept.
In the afternoon we’ll return to our hotel to freshen up for ‘High Tea’ at the Hyatt Hotel. The art deco Tea Lounge will be set with tables laden with petit fours, scones, macaroons, filo parcels, sandwiches and tiny glasses of white and dark chocolate panacotta. A perfect way to end the day!
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Canberra


Monday 29 September 2014
Canberra (B/AT)

Parliament House is our first stop this morning, where we’ll take a guided tour of its enchanting courtyards. These hidden spaces have been carefully designed and planted with a fine selection of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. You may have seen some of them forming the backdrop to television interviews – now see them up close.
We’ll stop in at The National Gallery Australia to explore some of the galleries and have some lunch, and then this afternoon we will see The Old Parliament House Gardens. These have been restored to their former glory, and enhanced with seating pavilions, pergolas and rose arbours.
Our final treat today is a guided tour of the National Aboretum, located at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin. This impressive site is home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. We’ll enjoy an afternoon tea here.
Accommodation: Crowne Plaza, Canberra

Tuesday 30 September 2014
Canberra – Orange (B/L)

It’s an enchanting drive this morning as we enter the Lachlan Valley on our way to Cowra. Lunch will be served in the restaurant of the wonderful Cowra Japanese Garden. World-renowned architect Ken Nakajima designed the garden in 1977 as a copy of the first Japanese landscape garden built by the first Tokugawa Shogun in the 16th century. The Shogun had the garden constructed from drawings he commanded of Japanese geography from every corner of Japan and thus the garden became a landscape of Japan in miniature, a concept repeated at Cowra.
We’ll follow our garden tour with a visit to the site of the former POW camp and the cemetery. From Cowra we’ll travel into Orange.
Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange


Wednesday 1 October 2014
Orange (B)

Learn all about bearded and non-bearded iris this morning at a specialty iris garden and nursery in Millthorpe. There is free time for lunch and exploring in this charming heritage town before we return to Orange for a visit to Cooks Park and a private garden. There’ll just be time to sneak in a wine tasting as the afternoon fades.
Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange


Thursday 2 October 2014
Orange – Katoomba (B/L)

To Katoomba today with a lunch stop in Oberon to visit Mayfield Garden. This large cool climate garden started modestly enough within a 5000-acre working farm, but has grown to become an amazing garden with a six-acre water garden at its heart. We’ll enjoy a lunch in the garden, then continue on to Katoomba and the heritage-listed refurbished manor, The Carrington.
Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 10

Friday 3 October 2014
Katoomba – Mt Wilson – Katoomba (B/L)

Today we will be seduced by the timeless beauty of Mt Wilson. You’ll fall in love with the majesty, grace and scale of the cool-climate gardens here.
First stop is Nooroo, built and first planted by William Hay in 1880 when Mt Wilson was a ‘hill town’ where the aristocracy could escape the heat of Sydney. Owned by the Valder family from 1917 to 1992, most of the structure comes from this period, including the famous collection of wisterias, maples and rhododendrons. Now it has been maintained and expanded by Anthony and Lorraine Barrett who have breathed new life into this famous garden.
After a picnic lunch we’ll visit another quintessential mountain garden,Merry Garth. This is the passion of Libby and Keith Raines, who have created the garden over 35 years. We love this tranquil place, with its ever-changing view south across the mountains and deep valleys of the Blue Mountains National Park. Enjoy rhododendrons, weeping maples, small alpines, hellebores, hostas and magnolias. There’s a small nursery with a huge collection of cold climate plants to purchase or just admire.
We’ll make an afternoon tea stop at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden at Mt Tomah. With sweeping vistas over the mountains and more than 40,000 native, exotic and rare plants, this garden is one of the jewels of NSW.
Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 11

Saturday 4 October 2014
Leura (B/D)

Today is opening day of the 50th Leura Garden Festival. What a celebration! We visit a selection of local gardens opening especially for this nine-day festival and make time to lunch in Leura and check out the shops and galleries. We’ll return to the hotel to relax before our Farewell Dinner tonight.
Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 12

Sunday 5 October 2014
Katoomba – Sydney (B)

We’ll make a lazy start to the morning as we prepare to return to Sydney.


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Twin Share per person $3995 pp
Single Supplement $1195

All prices in Australian dollars
Prices based on minimum 15 passengers
Price is based on departure

Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
Deluxe accommodation for 11 nights with breakfast daily
2 morning teas, 3 lunches, 2 afternoon teas, 1 high tea, 2 dinners
Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Glenmore House, Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, Chinoiserie, Red Cow Farm, Tulip Time Bowral, Corbett Park, Tulip Top, Parliament House Courtyard Gardens, National Arboretum, Japanese Garden Cowra, Mayfield Garden, Leura Gardens Festival
Fully escorted by Sandra Ross
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Previous Traveller Discount $100
Garden Clinic Member discount $50