Opulent Journeys

Glorious Autumn Gardens Tour: South Island New Zealand

18 - 30 April 2022

From (AUD)


13 DAY

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1300 219 885 (AU)

0800 456 219 (NZ)

Tour Overview

Autumn is a magic time to be visiting New Zealand’s South Island! Escorted by garden writer and photographer, Kim Woods Rabbidge, we visit world-renowned gardens and drive through breathtaking landscapes. Add galleries, heritage properties, vineyards and excellent restaurants and you have a trip with wide appeal. In the countryside, we’ll enjoy meals and refreshments in the private domains of our hosts.  Travel in comfort by coach from the north of the South Island, along the east coast then across to picturesque Queenstown.


Tour Highlights

  • Meet the owners in some of the country’s most exceptional gardens.
  • Experience heritage and avant-garde architecture, art, and the work of local artisans.
  • Enjoy outstanding autumnal landscapes.
  • Dine in award-winning restaurants and relax over meals and refreshments in gorgeous gardens.
  • Stay in 4-5 star accommodation where available.
  • Travel in comfort by coach with a knowledgeable local driver


Dates & Prices

Tour Prices                                    


Per person, twin share                               $5,895
Single room supplement $1,450
Tour deposit $600

 *Tour price is Land Only, starts in Blenheim and finishes in Queenstown.

About your tour leader - Kim Woods Rabbidge
Kim Woods Rabbidge, behind the popular ‘Our Australian Gardens’ Instagram and blog ouraustraliangardens.com, is an award winning garden writer and photographer, and researcher and scriptwriter for OAG’s DVDs. Her articles and photographs appear in several garden books, and national publications including Gardening Australia, House & Garden, and RM Williams Outback magazine. From 2005-2009 Kim was Qld Coordinator and National Newsletter editor for Open Gardens Australia. Kim is the President of the Horticultural Media Association Queensland.
What's Included

Tour Inclusions: 

  • 12 night’s twin share accommodation at well-appointed hotels 
  • Private chartered coach with driver from Day 2 to Day 12
  • Tea, wine tasting, and meals as stated in the itinerary
  • Included entrance for gardens and visits as stated in the itinerary
Not Included: 
  • International flights 
  • Arrival & departure airport transfer 
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses and 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.



In order to get the most from your travels and keep up with the group, a reasonable level of fitness is required.

  • You will need to be able to walk for a few hours at a gentle pace
  • Use combined shower/bath facilities (it is impossible to guarantee walk-in shower facilities)
  • Undertake walking tours of 1-2 hours duration, including using stairs, walking over cobblestones and other uneven surfaces
  • Stand for long periods in museums and other sites
  • Embark / disembark coaches, trains and other methods of transportation without assistance
  • Handle your own luggage


COVID-19 cancellation policy

All participants are required to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

The following special cancellation and refund conditions applies to this tour.

  • If you book on this tour and then find that you are unable to travel due to Government imposed COVID-19 travel restrictions, we will provide a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Opulent Journeys for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close to the tour start date you become ineligible to travel, but you must inform us within 24 hours of becoming personally unable to travel in order to obtain a full refund.
  • If the tour cannot proceed due to Government imposed Covid-19 travel restrictions, the tour will be cancelled, and all participants will receive a 100% cash refund of all monies paid to Opulent Journeys for this tour. This refund will be given irrespective of how close the cancellation occurs to the start date of the tour.



Kia ora and welcome to New Zealand. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at hotel’s Quench Restaurant & Bar.
(Meals: D)
Start our day with morning tea at the unique Paripuma Garden overlooking Cloudy Bay, Marlborough. This is a large, formally designed garden with an emphasis on habitat for wildlife using NZ natives. A recently planted perennial garden won a National Award as an outstanding habitat for butterflies.We’ll then visit the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Some of New Zealand's most respected cinematic and special effects craftsmen have created a dramatic aviation theatre in which original and full-scale replica WW1 and WW2 aircraft, both static and flyable, are presented in all their glory. After lunch at Saint Claire Vineyard Kitchen, stroll across the forecourt to Eden Fine Art Gallery showcasing the very best in New Zealand art. Before returning to our hotel, we’ll drop by a boutique chocolate factory, Makana Confections, to indulge in quality handmade chocolates and perhaps precure some treats for special gifts.
(Meals: B, Morning Tea, L) 
Today we depart Blenheim for Hanmer Springs. First, stop at Barewood Garden for morning tea with Carolyn and Joe Ferraby who have lovingly created their large, semi-formal country garden across one and a half hectares in the spectacular Awatere Valley, Marlborough. This unique garden, in an intimate setting, will draw you under its spell the moment you arrive.Our next stop is Winterhome, a stunning, four-hectare formal garden set on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. Developed nearly four decades ago by Richard and Sue Macfarlane, the garden is now being nurtured and refreshed by the next generation.  You’ll notice a strong emphasis on design with intersecting axes, extensive hedging, and a variety of flora species. In the late afternoon we arrive at Hanmer Springs, a favourite sanctuary for both New Zealanders and visitors, nestled in one of the country’s most beautiful settings. 
(Meals: B, Morning Tea, L)
After breakfast, we set off for a short Heritage Forest Walk through stands of mighty trees in one of New Zealand’s oldest exotic forests. European larch, Corsican pine, European alder, Norway spruce and Ponderosa pine were planted in the early 1900s.  Either now, or in the late afternoon, you can spend a couple of hours relaxing at Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa in one of 22 outdoor thermal pools, or treat yourself to a range of spa therapies. We venture out for lunch at Coldstream Garden with views to the mountains. A crystal clear stream spills into a large pond teaming with aquatic life; oaks, silver birches, late season roses and early camellias illuminate the garden in autumn. 
(Meals: B, L)
Today we depart Hanmer Springs for Christchurch. En route, we have morning tea in the inspiring young garden, Loch Leven then, in Culverden village, drop into Three Bored Housewives, a co-op gifts and crafts shop and gallery. One of the country’s most outstanding gardens is Penny Zino’s Flaxmere Garden. We join this creative woman for lunch and explore the many facets of her garden including water meadows, a series of ponds and a sunken native garden beneath mature trees in the unique sub-alpine area. Heading south we’ll drop in for some wine tasting and see the beautiful gardens at Pegasus Bay Winery, owned and perated by the Donaldson family since the early 1970s. Arrive in Christchurch for overnight stay.  
(Meals: B, Morning Tea, L)
Today we experience Christchurch, beginning with a visit to Broadfield Landscape Garden - one man’s extraordinary vision. Natives and exotics are used formally and informally in these extensive and surprising gardens. Back into the city for a guided tour at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetū - the largest art institution in the South Island and home to one of New Zealand's most important public art collections. We’ll stop at Christchurch Botanic Gardens, an elegantly cultivated 21-hectare park with more than 10 different gardens framed by mature trees and expansive lawns. Afternoon is at leisure.
(Meals: B)
After breakfast, we depart Christchurch and head south through spectacular scenery. Our destination, at the end of a long winding road, past cattle grazing on rolling hills, is Fisherman’s Bay Garden with breath-taking ocean views. Clever planting combinations complement the spectacular clifftop position. Enjoy early lunch in the charming farm shed. Our next stop, in Akaroa, is the quirky Giants House created by Josie Martin. Surprises everywhere include mosaic steps and sculptural wall, welded steel, and sculptures amidst colourful gardens. On our way back to Christchurch we visit the superb, country garden, Frensham, at Tai Tapu with both classic and whimsical elements. The perfect place to relax and take afternoon tea.  
(Meals: B, L, Afternoon Tea)
We leave Christchurch for our first stop: Ōhinetahi House and Garden, set on 1.25 hectares. This historic property was initially developed in 1865 with significant updates by the architect of Christchurch town Hall, Sir Miles Warren, his sister and brother-in-law. Ōhinetahi is home to two galleries, sculpture and woodland trails, and a significant 19th century homestead. Sir Miles gifted the property to the country. Off to Trotts Garden for lunch. This outstanding property was developed by a generous couple who later helped establish a Charitable Trust to benefit the local Ashburton community. Themed areas seamlessly interconnect: curved paths wend through woodland; water gardens reflect foliage and are home to myriad birdlife. On our way south we’ll drive through Timaru Botanic Gardens, one of the country’s oldest. A border containing the native plants of the Canterbury region is of special note. Arrive in Oamaru for an overnight stay. 
(Meals: B, L)
Spend your morning exploring Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct, a busy hub filled with shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants, museums, a brewery, and steam train. The Oamaru Harbour with its Steampunk playground and the restored precinct buildings are tenanted by traditional and contemporary businesses. Art lovers will enjoy galleries such as Donna Demente’s extraordinary Grainstore Gallery, Oamaru’s Forrester Gallery on Thames Street and Steampunk HQ’s gallery which pushes the boundaries of our imaginations. Around noon we’ll depart Oamaru for Dunedin to visit New Zealand’s only castle – Larnach Castle that offers an insight into Victorian lifestyle of the wealthy. Begun in 1871 by William Larnach, merchant banker and politician, Larnach Castle showcases master craftsmanship and New Zealand antiques. We’ll take afternoon tea at nearby Glenfalloch Gardens and Café for before heading to our hotel. Dunedin for dinner at The Press Club and overnight stay. 
(Meals: B, Aftenoon Tea, D)
This morning we visit one of New Zealand’s finest dwellings, Olveston Historic Home. Designed by acclaimed English architect Sir Ernest George, the 35-room mansion, built between 1904-6, was fitted with modern features such as a lift, an electric generator for lighting and full central heating. Its artworks, antiques, furniture and artefacts came from around the world. We then drive west through the countryside and the stark beauty of the Maniototo to visit the lovely Clachanburn Garden. We’ll enjoy lunch with the owner, Jane Falconer, who’ll share the story about developing a stunning garden in one of the driest places of New Zealand. Arrive in Clyde for dinner at Olivers and an overnight stay. 
(Meals: B, L, D)
There is no better way to immerse yourself in beautiful scenery and explore your surroundings than on foot. This morning, we take a leisurely stroll with designer Kate Campbell to see the chic gardens and high-end residential architecture of Millbrook golf resort with the beautiful backdrop of the Remarkable mountains. More meandering this afternoon in Arrowtown when the Director of Lakes District Museum and Gallery leads us through the charming historic precinct with spectacular autumn trees. The museum displays portray pre-European Maori, European settlement and the exciting goldrush era of the mid 1800s, and the attached gallery reflects local culture. Enjoy our dinner at White & Wong restaurant. 
(Meals: B, D)
For our last day we visit spectacular Chantecler, a mature 5-hectare cold climate garden. Its elevated position allows glimpses of The Remarkables from several vantage points. Mike and Maureen Henry intended using the property for retirement however the garden has become a life passion. We’re lucky to be visiting in autumn when deciduous trees are at their peak and late season gardens are gorgeous. Tonight, enjoy our farewell dinner at Botswana Butchery. 
(Meals: B, D)
Our tour ends after breakfast. 
(Meals: B)

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