Opulent Journeys

Singapore Trees and Gardens

05 March - 11 March 2018

From (AUD)



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1300 219 885 (AU)

0800 456 219 (NZ)

Singapore has a rich botanical history and its old and current tree planting practices are of international interest. From tropical lowland rainforests, remnants still remain, to gardens with antecedents going back to Sir Stamford Raffles in 1819, Singapore has been a site of botanical research as well as development of new concepts for tree management. This trip will explore the history, right up to the present day. 
From the early 1960s under the leadership of Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew, the ‘greening of Singapore’ began a national program of green development that has made the city-state a model for public plantings and urban amenity. This trip will explore these developments with experts in the field of botany, ecology and tree management. 
All profits from this trip will go to the Friends of the National Arboretum Canberra, and the Tour Leaders will be operating pro bono.


Dates & Price

Tour Prices                                    


Per person, twin share                               $2,640
Single room supplement $930
Singapore’s climate can be stressful to the uninitiated so time will be spent at carefully managed visits to:
  • The recently World Heritage Listed, Singapore Botanic Gardens. We will arrange expert presentations on tree management and orchid breeding two of the key activities in this complex and interesting 159 year old garden. 
  • Gardens by the Bay, with technical input from the UK Eden Project, this $1 billion plus recent project is amazing by day and night. Garden ‘rooms’ featuring different cultural approaches plus two of the largest climate controlled spaces built gives a huge diversity of plants and gardening styles. 
  • HortPark is a one-stop gardening resource centre that brings together gardening-related, recreational, educational, research and retail activities under one big canopy in a park setting. This is a unique facility aimed at encouraging a gardening and plant culture for the public. 
  • Fort Canning heritage tree walk will cover the ancient history, a site of importance long before Raffles arrived, through WW II to its current collection of stunning and huge trees from the pan-tropics. This is the place to see the Singapore Heritage Tree Scheme on the ground. 
  • Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve, is Singapore’s first ASEAN Heritage Park, with a terrific walkway looking across the narrow waterway to Malaysia. Site of the Japanese invasion in WWII but now, a rehabilitated fishing kampong with abundant wildlife and plant diversity including a mangrove arboretum. 
  • The Dipterocarp Arboretum at Yishun Park with an interesting family of pan-tropical rainforest trees. A living gallery of trees for education and research, this Arboretum is part of the National Parks Board's (NParks) initiative to enhance biodiversity within urban areas. 
  • Plenty of free time to visit the many Museums and Galleries or shop in Orchard Road or cool-off in the pool!


About your tour leaders - Max Bourke AM and Margaret Bourke
Max Bourke AM and Margaret Bourke have extensive knowledge of garden history, arboreta and gardens around the world. They have spent much time in Singapore and other parts of Asia. They have both been involved in active friends’ roles in the National Arboretum Canberra, The Australian National Botanic Gardens and numerous other nature conservation projects for over 40 years.
In developing this trip Max and Margaret have had close discussions with the Director of the Botanic Gardens and Senior Staff of the National Parks Board of Singapore, some of these people will be making presentations during the visit and providing expert input.
What's Included


  • 6 nights’ twin-share accommodation
  • 6 breakfasts and 2 dinners
  • Air-conditioned coach throughout the tour
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing as outlined in the itinerary
  • Tipping to local guides and drivers
  • Porterage at hotels

Not included:

  • International flights 
  • Arrival/departure transfers
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Anything not mentioned above


To enquire or book this tour, please contact

Phone: 1300 219 885            Email: enquiries@opulentjourneys.com.au

Please Click Here to download the tour details.

To make a booking

Please complete, sign and return the booking form, with your deposit and a copy of your passport. As all of our tours are very unique and bespoke, we aim to provide a seamless individual service to you. Please contact us directly if you have questions.



As this trip will include walking over uneven surfaces it would not be suitable for those with mobility issues.  It is expected that each participant is capable of walking 1km+ effortlessly, can carry their own luggage, and is able to get on and off a bus without assistance.


Our tour commences from the hotel. We will take a gentle bus/ bum boat trip to Pulau Ubin from the Changi Jetty. This small island off the north coast of Singapore sets the scene for an understanding of where the modern state has come from in every sense. We will spend a few hours there to see old kampong life and some of the flora and fauna that once covered Singapore. We will then check in at our hotel, our home for the next six nights. Evening free to catch up on sleep or relax.
As there is much to see, not only outdoors but also in the plant labs. The visit to Singapore Botanic Gardens might be accompanied by the Director of Botanic Garden, Dr Nigel Taylor (If he is available). There will be time to visit the specialist gardens of palms, Heliconia, Zingeraceae as well as Children’s Gardens. Note we will return to see their internationally famous orchid work. Lunch at own expense in the Gardens, there is an excellent café/restaurant. Evening group dinner tonight.
(Meals: B, D)
This extraordinary project, now open 4 years is a complex of both outdoor and glasshouses on a massive scale. Advised by the Eden Project in the UK, it covers both tropical and temperate to cool climate specialist gardens. We will arrange, if available, a presentation by staff on this remarkable site brought to fruition by Dr Kiat Tan, former Director of Singapore Botanic Gardens and CEO of the National Parks Board.
(Meals: B)
An early start. Adjacent to the landing site of the Kranji invasion of Singapore in WWII, Malaysia is just across a narrow channel. The wildlife from birds, crocodiles and monitors is always evident but the pathways through mangroves and tropical forests on this former fish farming kampong introduce visitors to the lowland/wetlands of tropical SE Asia. Dr Adrian Loo, Director of the Terrestrial Biodiversity Centre of National Parks, has offered to accompany us on this visit. After we leave this site we would also call in at the nearby Kranji War Cemetery to see the beautifully managed memorials to the fallen of WWII, including many Australian memorials. These gardens are part of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission originally designed by the famous British Architect Sir Edward Lutyens and Landscape Designer Gertrude Jekyll. Kranji War Cemetery and the Singapore Memorial were designed by Colin St Clair Oakes, a Scottish architect who served as a British soldier in Burma during the war. Afternoon and evening free.
(Meals: B)
After breakfast we visit the Singapore Botanic Gardens for further exploration. We will have a presentation on the Singapore Cities’ Sustainability Index, a unique and important idea by Dr Lena Chan, Group Director of the National Biodiversity Centre, in which science and sustainability are considered together. We will also look at the extraordinary ‘orchid story’. Since 1928 the gardens has been developing orchid hybrids and this work kick-started a now nationally important industry. We will look at the process and separately, the product, one of the world’s great collections. Later we travel to Hort Park to visit this 9 hectare site which is a training and education facility for Singapore gardeners. It has a range of specialised gardens, sales facilities, and educational tours. It is in our view the model of ‘garden education’! Late afternoon, evening free.
(Meals: B)
A 1 hour walk around part of the Reservoir gives an impression of the island as it was in the time of Alfred Russel Wallace (Darwin’s famous ‘competitor’ and correspondent), complete with monkeys, possibly native pig sightings and native squirrels for a walk on areas later converted to rubber and gambier production. From MacRitchie we will drive to Yishun Park. This small, 6ha specialist arboretum of the pan tropical family Dipterocarpaceae conveys an idea of the ‘founding father’ Lee Kuan Yew to develop facilities throughout the island for the appreciation of nature. Even though surrounded by high rise it is a wonderful learning and outdoor facility, little known by tourists. Besides the huge members of the family Dipterocarpaceae (the main lowland trees of south-east Asia) there are great examples of various tropical fruit trees, such as durian, rambutan, jackfruit, star fruit, coconut and bread fruit trees. Farewell dinner tonight.
(Meals: B, D)


Early morning a short visit to the nearby Fort Canning Heritage Tree Trail and historic site, home of the ancient royalty of Singapore, WW II sites and great trees in the heart of the city. Our flight is in the late evening and so there is plenty of time to explore or shop before we make our own way to Changi airport. We will provide a great list of regional museums and galleries to visit, mostly in the downtown area.
(Meals: B)


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