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New Zealand: Gardens and Landscapes

New Zealand: Gardens and Landscapes New Zealand: Gardens and Landscapes
£ 9780

The tour has been designed by Antonia Lloyd Owen, focussing on a selection of the glorious gardens New Zealand has to offer. Meet the garden owners and be inspired and informed by their garden creations, many influenced by the distinct and contrasting local flora and geology.

Our tour starts on the North Island in Auckland, the largest urban city in New Zealand which lies across an 11-kilometre-wide volcanic isthmus separating two harbours – the Waitemata and Manukau. From here we take a day trip to the beautiful, tranquil island of Waiheke with its stunning scenery, beautiful beaches and charming main town of Oneroa, full of art and crafts shops. We then visit Rotorua, located on the shores of Lake Rotorua in the Bay of Plenty region, known for its geothermal activity, geysers and hot mud pools and an important centre in Maori history and culture.

New Plymouth is our base from which to explore the open gardens of the Taranaki Flower Festival, an annual event which showcases the many fine gardens in an area of unusual geology and a distinctive microclimate created by Mount Egmont, also known as Mount Taranaki. Our last stop on North island is Wellington, the cosmopolitan capital, nestled between a harbour and forest clad hills with national treasures, galleries and museums and renowned Botanical Gardens dedicated solely to native plants and a haven for native birds.

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22 days from
per person
Single Supplement:
Tour Date:
29th October 2021 -
19th November 2021

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New Zealand: Gardens and Landscapes

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Detailed Itinerary
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Day 1-3 London - Auckland, North Island
London - Auckland, North Island

Days 1 – 2:

Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour) Emirates EK 4 departing London Heathrow at 20.40 hrs. Arrive Dubai at 06.35 hrs and connect to EK 448 departing at 08.05 hrs. Cross international date line thereby losing a day.

Day 3: 

Arrive Auckland at 08.50 hrs. Transfer to the Hilton Hotel where three nights are spent. The hotel is located three hundred metres out to sea at the end of the Princes Wharf, offering unparalleled views over the city’s inner harbour, yet only five minutes’ walk from the heart of the city.

Lunch under own arrangements. Depart by coach for sightseeing tour of Auckland including a visit to the National Museum with a Maori dancing display. Walk to dinner at the Harbourside Bar & Grill restaurant.

Day 4 Auckland - Waiheke
Auckland - Waiheke

Walk to the ferry terminal and take the ferry to Waiheke Island. Visit the private garden of the Sacred Blessing Sanctuary, located in Enclosure Bay on the northern side of Waiheke. It is a one-acre garden surrounded on two sides by McKenzie Reserve, a twelve-acre regenerating native reserve. The garden was established ten years ago, however over the last two years it has been extensively remodelled to include hard landscaping from rock that is unique to Waiheke and a collection of Paul Dibble bronze sculptures. Take a short walk at Onetangi, a 1.87-kilometre long, north-facing beach with beautiful old Pohutukawa trees on the foreshore.

Lunch at the Mudbrick Vineyard restaurant with wine tasting. Briefly explore the beach and seaside village at Oneroa including its art galleries and shops. Return by ferry to the mainland and the hotel. Dinner under own arrangements.

Day 5 Albany

Depart by coach for Matakana to visit the wonderful garden of Omaio (by kind arrangement with Mrs Liz Morrow). Perched on a cliff overlooking the sea, it has been created from native bush and lives up to its Maori name meaning ‘place of peace, quiet and tranquility’. While preserving the old native trees, including a 1000-year-old puriri tree, and allowing the regeneration of tree ferns, ground ferns and nikau palms, Liz Morrow has laid out the garden beds in flowing shapes that echo the coastal setting.

Lunch at the Glass House at Brick Bay including wine tasting. Drive to Albany and visit Mincher Garden or Woodbridge Garden. Mincher is a large rural garden set amongst the remnants of an old orchard with a Georgian styled home as a centrepiece. Features include a cottage garden leading to ‘kissing gates’ under trailing weeping willow, native walkways, expansive grassed areas, spring plantings of cherries, rhododendrons, camellias and acers, and a traditional walled kitchen garden. Woodbridge Garden, created by Christine and Tony Peek, began its life as bare farmland and over time, has developed into a beautifully designed space. It features hundreds of varieties of plants, trees and flowers including New Zealand natives. Return to the hotel and dinner under own arrangements.

Day 6 New Plymouth
New Plymouth

Depart by coach (with luggage) and drive to Rotorua via Hamilton. Visit Ayrlies Garden (by kind arrangement with Mrs Bev McConnell) widely acclaimed as the consummate New Zealand garden. It covers nearly 11 acres with ponds, waterfalls, lawns and mature trees while offering glimpses of the sea beyond. One lushly landscaped pond receives a tumbling cascade of water beneath a graceful Mamaku black ponga, one of the many species of tree ferns for which the country is famous. Bev McConnell (owner) will greet us and tell of her ideas to mix native with non-native plants, such as proteas with roses or maples with bromeliads.

Lunch at the Zealong Tea Estate. Visit the tea estate and enjoy a tasting. Continue to Rotorua and check in at the Novotel Rotorua Lakeside, located on the picturesque shores of Lake Rotorua and set in park surroundings, where one night is spent. Walk to dinner at the Terrance Kitchen.

Day 7 Rotorua

Depart by coach (with luggage) and drive to New Plymouth via Taupo, Taumarunui and Whangmomona. Guided tour of Te Puia which spans 70 hectares within the historic Te Whakarewarewa Geothermal Valley, on the edge of Rotorua. It is home to the world famous Pōhutu Geyser, mud pools, hot springs and silica formations. It is also possible to see the native Kiwi bird and the national schools of wood carving, weaving, stone and bone carving.

Picnic lunch. Check in at the Novotel New Plymouth Hobson, with a striking modern design, where two nights are spent. Dinner under own arrangements.

Day 8-10 Wellington

Day 8:

Visit the open gardens of the Taranaki Flower Festival.

Lunch under own arrangements. Continue with further garden visits. Dinner at The Salt on the Waterfront in the Millennium Hotel.

Day 9:

Depart by coach (with luggage). Visit the gardens of Greenhaugh near Palmeston North which surround a colonial homestead built in 1874. The two-hectare semi-formal gardens have been developed over the past forty years, the background of established trees a legacy of previous occupants. Old roses, perennials, self-seeding annuals and bulbs are restrained by box hedging closer to the house. Shell rock paths lead through the pergola to the more informal water and woodland gardens.

Picnic lunch. Visit the Matthews Garden near Waikanae created by Julian Matthews, one of New Zealand’s leading gardening writers and former editor of The Gardener magazine. This is a large garden of contrasting sun and shade areas with the emphasis on foliage plants. There are contrasting themes – an historic, sunken, brick edged pond in one area, while around the corner is a modern courtyard with exuberant subtropical style plantings. Continue to Wellington and check in at the Bolton Hotel where two nights are spent. The elegant apartment-style hotel is located in the hub of Wellington’s central business district, adjacent to Parliament Buildings and within walking distance from the city’s many sights. Walk to dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 10:

Drive to visit the exotic (and uniquely named) Otari-Wilton’s Bush, which was established in 1926 and is the only public botanic garden in New Zealand dedicated solely to native plants. The cultivated area of the garden is surrounded by a native bush reserve, and the collection includes an 800-year-old rimu tree, a species of podocarp.

Lunch under own arrangements. Afternoon free for optional visits to either the Te Papa Tongarewa – Museum of New Zealand, the country’s national museum with collections spanning five areas: Art, History, Pacific, Maori, and Natural Environment.

Or the Wellington Botanic Garden (guided tour) which was first established in 1868 and covers 25 hectares of land on the side of a hill near central Wellington. It harbours a fine collection of native and non-native flora, and in the case of the latter the Australian garden is especially worth a visit. There is also a cable car that runs to the top of the Botanic Garden and affords wonderful views of the city.

Return to the hotel and dinner under own arrangements.

Day 11-12 Kaikora, South Island
Kaikora, South Island

Depart by coach (with luggage) for the Interislander ferry terminal and take the ferry from the North Island across the Cook Straits to Picton, South Island. Continue by coach to lunch.

Lunch at the Wither Hills Vineyard restaurant with wine tasting. Visit Barewood Garden, which surrounds a 100-year-old farmhouse in the Awatere Valley. In laying out the garden, owner Caroline Ferraby honoured the dictum of Gertrude Jekyll, ‘Let the garden curtsey to the house.’ A combination of colourful mixed borders, a summer house, a formal potager, a pond and sweeping lawns makes Barewood one of the premier gardens of the region. Continue to Kaikora and check in at the Sudima Hotel, on the shore close to town with stunning views of both the mountains and sea, where two nights are spent. Dinner at The Pier Hotel.

Day 12:

Depart by coach to visit the picturesque seaside town of Kaikora.

Lunch under own arrangements. Return to the hotel and afternoon at leisure. Optional whale watching cruise at an additional cost. Dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 13-14 Christchurch

Day 13:

Depart by coach to visit Waihui gardens, established over 30 years with over 170 roses in a selection of vibrant colours, native areas and rhododendron and woodland areas. Inspired by the Australian landscape designer, Paul Bangay, owners Tom and Meg Macfarlane have incorporated hedges, balls, knot gardens and a unique ‘window’ hedge that peaks into a private garden. Continue to Penny and John Zino’s Flaxmere private garden with its arresting view of the Southern Alps: the main lawn sweeps away from the 1890 farmhouse (rebuilt in 1973) creating a vista to the peak of Mount Te Koa. The site’s severe conditions informed the garden’s development. Strategically placed eucalyptus trees and conifers shelter the plantings from the powerful winds that sweep down from the mountains, while the selected plants must endure very cold winters and dry summers. Those that thrive are hardy shrubs, native evergreens, rambling roses, shrub roses and mixed borders.

Lunch at Flaxmere. Continue to Christchurch. Check in at the George Hotel, a luxury boutique hotel in heart of the town overlooking picturesque Hagley Park and the River Avon, where two nights are spent. Dinner at the hotel’s restaurant, Pescatore.

Day 14:

Depart by coach to visit the gardens on the Banks Peninsular. Ohinetahi at Governor’s Bay has fine views down the length of Lyttelton Harbour and up to the surrounding hills. A garden was first made on this site in 1865 by T. H. Potts, New Zealand’s first botanist who planted a great variety of exotic trees and shrubs, many of which still stand on the perimeter of the garden. The garden has a strong frame, with the formal garden consisting of separate garden rooms of differing styles and characters arranged about two axes. There is a formal lawn, a rose garden enclosed in box hedges, traditional

double herbaceous borders, a square walled garden planted in colours of red and green, and a walk of pleached hornbeams on stilts. A potager garden is arranged about a large marble capital and a glasshouse and steps lead down to a woodland garden shaded by Pott’s original trees, densely planted with rhododendrons, camellias and a good variety of New Zealand native plants.

Lunch at the French Farm Restaurant in Akaroa. Visit Fisherman’s Bay Garden which is a haven in the rugged and dramatic landscape of the Banks Peninsula coastline. The structure and texture of New Zealand native plants combined with a diverse array of non-native plants are used to create a truly New Zealand ambience. Winding paths and a varied landscape have inspired a garden with many parts, including a traditional flower border, a herb garden, a farm garden, a fern garden, a shaded streamside valley and pond and a wild, exposed rock garden. Return to Christchurch. Dinner under own arrangements.

Day 15-16 Arthur's Pass
Arthur's Pass

Day 15:

Depart hotel (with luggage) for the railway station. Take the TransAlpine Train to Arthur’s Pass. Transfer by coach to the Wilderness Lodge where two nights are spent. The hotel is set on a 4000 acre working sheep farm and nature reserve in the heart of the Southern Alps and is surrounded by pastures and mountain scenery.

Lunch at the lodge’s Mount Rolleston Restaurant. Optional guided walk exploring and studying alpine vegetation. Dinner at the Mount Rolleston Restaurant with views of the snow-capped mountains.

Day 16:

Optional guided walk. The lodge offers two complimentary guided tours each day. These vary between forest, fern and orchid walks, Night Sky and the Southern Cross stars walks, ‘Moa Forest’ riverbed adventures and sheep farm discovery walks.

Lunch under own arrangements. Optional guided walk. Dinner at the Mount Rolleston Restaurant.

Day 17-19 Dunedin - Queenstown
Dunedin - Queenstown

Day 17:

Depart hotel (with luggage). Drive to Ashburton to visit Trott’s Garden, a 7-acre garden with unusual varieties of beautiful trees including maples, magnolias, dogwoods, and an array of white-stemmed silver birch. In addition to the woodland there is a bog garden, with the extravagant, prehistoric-looking giant rhubarb, and a long walk of abundant perennials carefully sheltered from the Canterbury winds. An arresting feature that Alan Trott has created is a sinuous red border composed primarily of plants that are red in foliage, stem or flower. Continue to Dunedin.

Picnic lunch. Check in at the Distinction Dunedin Hotel where two nights are spent. One of the city’s oldest heritage buildings, this iconic property is conveniently located in the rejuvenated and vibrant exchange area in the heart of Dunedin. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 18:

Depart the hotel for a guided visit of Dunedin Botanic Gardens. Its wide range of horticultural and botanical collections includes roses, herbaceous and perennial borders, a rock garden, native plants and four hectares of Rhododendron Dell. An important aspect of the gardens’ work is the cultivation of rare and endangered native plant species. Visit Lan Yuan Chinese Garden, an authentic example of a late Ming/early Ching Dynasty Scholar’s Garden celebrating the area’s Chinese heritage.

Lunch at a local restaurant. Depart by coach to visit Larnarch Castle on the Otago Peninsula. Afternoon tea at the castle. Return to the hotel and dinner under own arrangements.

Day 19:

Morning at leisure with the option to return to the Botanic Gardens. Depart the hotel (with luggage) for Queenstown.

Lunch under own arrangement at a restaurant en route. Check in at the Hotel St. Moritz where two nights are spent. The hotel is situated in the heart of Queenstown and with wonderful views overlooking Lake Wakatipu to The Remarkables mountain range. Dinner at the hotel.

Day 20-22 Milford Sound - Queenstown - Auckland
Milford Sound - Queenstown - Auckland

Day 20:

Depart by coach for Milford Sound. Take a cruise on Milford Sound.

Picnic lunch on board. Return to Queenstown by aeroplane (weather permitting). Transfer to the hotel. Late afternoon free for exploring Queenstown independently (time permitting). Dinner at Rata Restaurant.

Day 21:

Morning at leisure.

Lunch under own arrangements. Transfer to Queenstown airport. Suggested flights (not included in the cost of the tour Emirates EK 7572 departing Queenstown at 15.50 hrs arriving Auckland at 17.40 hrs. Connect to Emirates EK 449 departing at 21.15 hrs.

Day 22:

Arrive Dubai at 05.25 hrs and connect to EK 1 departing at 07. 45 hrs arriving London Heathrow at 11.40 hrs.

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