Ten days exploring the beautiful New England High Country, visiting Armidale, Walcha, Uralla, Tenterfield, Tamworth. See heritage towns, award winning country gardens, meet local gardeners and experience classic country hospitality.
Meet up with your Ross Tour Leader at Central Station, Coach Terminal, Sydney for the drive to Armidale following Bucketts Way through the picturesque Barrington Coast hinterland. Lunch stop in Stroud. Continue to Armidale along the historic Thunderbolts Ways with a stop at Carson’s Lookout for the panorama. Late afternoon arrive in Armidale and check into our Hotel Powerhouse Armidale. This pretty regional city is our base to explore the New England High Country. Dinner is included tonight.
Armidale is at the centre of New England and with it’s dyamic university culture, rich history and dedicated gardeners. Meet Aussie plant expert Maria Hitchcock for a walk through her Aussie Native garden, with her tips for growing bushfood. Lunch in Uralla before our visit to Saumarez Homestead (National Trust) with its suite of gardens. Edwardian garden, picking garden, cottage garden and orchard contributed food and flowers to the homestead. A new Heritage Rose Garden, has been established on the site of the old orchard. Its nucleus is the rose collection donated by Miss Catherine MacLean, a long time Armidale resident and dedicated rosarian. 600 roses represent each of the major rose groups, mostly bred before 1930. Adjacent to the formal garden, are rose beds recognising the contribution of important rose breeders both nationally and internationally.
Discover Armidale this morning ; some fascinating historical insights and a local perspectives. Finish our tour at the New England Regional Art Museum (NERAM). Built in 1983 specifically to exhibit the Howard Hinton Collection, an iconic collection of Australian Art, the NERAM hosts changing exhibitions with works from its own collections, travelling exhibitions and works from leading regional artists. Lunch included then time to visit the gallery. Final stop today is a new and exciting garden on the outskirts of Armidale.
We’ll sing along to Peter Allen’s Tenterfield Saddler as we make our way across verdant ‘high country’ to Tenterfield. First stop is Robyn Jackson’s Kooralbyn for morning tea. Robyn has been gardening this two acres for three decades and has a treasured collection of peonies and aquilegias and lovely spring blossom trees. Historic Ollera Station, settled in 1838 and still in family hands with its own church, cemetery, general store, blacksmith shop and restored slab huts. Lunch at Ollera’s sister property, Cabarfeidh. Continue onto Tenterfield and settle into our hotel, The Henry Parkes Tenterfield. Time to stroll around this iconic country town. Dinner is included tonight.
Stroll the streets of this historic town this morning, stopping in to meet Mandy Reid at her gorgeous White Cottage Flower Farm. Shopping here is tempting! Lunch is included in town . Afternoon visit to Carolyn Robinson’s famous private garden Eagles Bluff. After planting her first garden Glenrock, which we see tomorrow, Carolyn and her husband moved further out of town. On this rural property, you see Carolyn’s talent for merging the contrived garden with surrounding landscape, and in her hands, the result is a design triumph. Afternoon drinks here with Carolyn overlooking broad sweeping beds of perennials with stone terraceas that connect and enhance the views across to Bluffs River Nature Reserve. Travel back in to Tenterfield.
Glenrock Gardens is our first stop this morning, to meet current owner Annie Jones. Designed by Carolyn Robinson, Glenrock Gardens is an award-winning country garden designed in the English style with dry stone rock walls throughout surrounded and interspersed with bushland. A succession of lakes divide the parkland, the northern prairie borders and woodland gardens with the terraces, croquet lawns, spring borders and double borders. Free time this afternoon in Tenterfield (make sure you visit the Tenterfield Saddler!). Dinner tonight in the Banquet Hall of the Sir Henry Parkes School of Arts and a ‘re-enactment’ of Sir Henry Parkes’ famous 1889 speech, known as the Tenterfield Oration.
Leave Tenterfield and head south to the Australian Standing Stones at Glen Innes, a tribute to the Celtic heritage of the early European settlers. Next stop is Guyra, and a garden of beautiful trees and peonies. .Lunch stop in historic Uralla, a treasure trove of heritage listed buildings: 50 of historical significance, several date from the 1860s when ‘gentleman bushranger’ Captain Thunderbolt ruled the local highways. We’ll stroll around the town, learning its history with time to browse the shops and galleries. Travel onto Tamworth. Check in to our hotel for the next two nights, with dinner included tonight.
Morning visit to Walcha, on the eastern slopes of the Great Dividing Range, the oldest settlement in New England, with a rich history and thriving arts community showcased by an impressive outdoor sculpture display. Free time to explore historic buildings and galleries. Afternoon visit to a new, expansive country garden in Nowendoch, lush with growth from recent rain. Return to Tamworth.
Two private gardens in Tamworth are opening for us this morning. Meet members of the Tamworth Garden Club at lunch in one of the garden. Our destination today is Pokolbin in the Hunter Valley. Check in to our hotel at Hunter Valley Gardens. Farewell Dinner tonight.
Morning visit to Hunter Valley Gardens, built by Bill and Imelda Roche. Comforatable walking paths lead through the 10 individually themed gardens which showcase the artistry of gardens around the world and use both native and exotic varieties of plants. Free time for lunch in the shopping village then travel back to Sydney.
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