New Zealand’s gardens are amongst the best anywhere on earth. Throw in a warm Kiwi welcome and Garden Marlborough, and we have the perfect excuse to visit this beautiful region of the south island.
Check-in at Sydney International Airport for your flight to Christchurch. Meet Sandra Ross, your Ross Tour Leader at the departure gate. Christchurch is known as New Zealand’s Garden City, a unique destination where thriving garden traditions merge with dynamic urban renewal. Check into your hotel, Rydges Latimer. Celebrate together tonight at our Welcome dinner.
Say Ka kite anō – (see you later) to Christchurch and travel north through Amberley, Waipara, Hurunui and Culverden visiting gardens which are a part of the Hurunui Garden Festival. Meet Penny Zino at Flaxmere, as she shows us her extraordinary country garden on the Canterbury Plain. Sweeping vistas and clever plant selection are the essence of this 50 year old garden. After our picnic lunch we will travel on to the lush oasis at Coldstream, a mature garden that sweeps around its farmhouse . Peonies, roses and camellias flower along with tulips and daffodils. Our destination today is the resort village of Hanmer Springs, now bypassed by tourist traffic. A dip in one of thermal pools might tempt you this evening. A buffet dinner is included in the hotel restaurant tonight.
More festival gardens today as we travel back to Christchurch, Check back into our hotel Rydges Latimer.
One of the world’s great train journeys today on board the TranzAlpine Express, across the fertile Canterbury Plains into the heart of the mighty Southern Alps. Travel across towering viaducts, through spectacular gorges and river valleys and into the lush forest of Arthurs Pass National Park. Leave the train at Arthurs Pass and reboard your coach. Cross Arthurs Pass and drive through the beech forest of Arthurs Pass National Park. Follow the Taramakau River to the coast, and then travel north to the small settlement of Punakaiki on the edge of the Paparoa National Park. Punakaiki is renowned for its wild, rugged coastline and the famous ‘Pancake Rocks’ and blowholes. These stratified limestone stacks are an extraordinary monument of nature. Check into Punakaiki Resort with dinner included.
Continue north this morning, up the west coast before we head inland, following the Buller River, with the spectacular scenery of the Buller Gorge. This is remote mountainous country as we discover the small towns of Inangahua, Murchison and finally arrive at our destination, Nelson City. Check in to Rutherford Hotel Nelson with dinner included tonight.
A day to cruise the shoreline of Abel Tasman National Park. Early departure this morning to Kaiteriteri, gateway to the Abel Tasman National Park. Board the Sea Shuttle catamaran for a cruise along the stunning shoreline of Abel Tasman National Park. Learn the history of the park and discover the famous Split Apple Rock fur seal colony. Golden beaches and crystal-clear waters make this a day to remember!
Retrace your journey back to Nelson by coach with the remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Garden visit if time allows.
A spectacular journey this morning as we drive from Nelson to Blenheim with a stop in Picton. Check in to our hotel in Blenheim for the next four nights. Remainder of the afternoon at leisure. Dinner included tonight at one of Blenheim’s finest restaurants.
Rapoura Springs Garden Marlborough is NZ’s premier garden event, dreamt up by gardeners for gardeners and showcasing Marlborough’s sensational gardens. On this first day of the festival we head to the Awatere Valley to see four fine gardens. First is Carolyn Ferraby’s Barewood, made in classic English style, elegant, generous, a connoisseur’s delight. Next is Rosa Davison’s Paripuma with stupendous vision using NZ natives with European style. Masterfull Winterhome is next, formal axes, vistas and vision over the Malborough coastine: spectacular! Breathtaking views of the Kaikoura Coast at lunch today at The Store. Last stop today is Ellerton with its hillside of lavender, charmingly Mediterranean. The evening is free.
Morning in Blenheim visiting private town gardens; inspirational small gardens with clever design ideas to share. Cross the Ōpaoa River this afternoon to visit three gardens along Spring Creek. Subterranean water supply and the best Marlborough soil have given rise to three fabulous gardens. Much loved Upton Oaks with abundant borders and intricate knot garden. Flower filled Woodend and Figtree with cleverly linked spaces, grand vistas and fig orchard. The evening is free.
Free time in Blenheim this morning for the famous Stihl Shop Garden Fête, alongside picturesque Pollard Park. Wine tasting later this afternoon at Wither Hills, one of Marlborough’s premier wineries, producing award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Learn why the Wairau Valley is exceptional for grape growing and winemaking, and how winemakers capture the distinct flavours of Marlborough. Dinner is included at the Speights Alehouse.
Our destination today is Christchurch and what a sensational drive. Fist stop is coffee at The Store Kekere on the Kaikoura Coast. Lunch stop in Chevoit then another spectacular drive across the fertile farmlands of the North Canterbury Plains and the Waipara wine district and on to Christchurch. Last stop is a Robyn Kirby’s jewel of a garden in Christchurch. Robyn’s passion for plants is obvious in this small flower-filled masterpiece. Check in to our hotel with the remainder of the evening free..
We are heading to the unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. Our first stop is Fisherman’s Bay Garden that sits on the coast, skillfully designed to fit into the rugged panoramic landscape of the Banks Peninsula coastline. Its a garden made of NZ natives with texture, foliage and lots of rugged charm. Free time to browse the cute shops in Akaroa and for lunch . Last stop is the Giant’s House, now part of Akaroa folklore, a fun garden of exuberant sculptures and mosaics. Return to Christchurch with our Farewell Dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Margaret Long’s Frensham Gardens is the last on our itinerary, some say its the best! Margaret’s superb skill with short and long vistas has made a strong structure . Her considerered use of flowering shrubs; roses, peonies, wisteria, clematis, and the filtering of light which is created by judicious pruning has made Frensham one of NZ finest gardens. Transfer to Christchurch International Airport to connect with your homeward flight.
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