Opulent Journeys

Glorious Gardens Tour: New Zealand’s South Island

22 November - 4 December 2022

From (AUD)


13 DAY

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1300 219 885 (AU)

0800 456 219 (NZ)

Tour Overview
Late spring and early summer in New Zealand’s South Island is pure joy for garden lovers!
Join garden writer and photographer Kim Woods Rabbidge on a journey through breathtaking countryside visiting world-renowned gardens.  En route you’ll visit galleries, heritage properties and vineyards, and dine in acclaimed restaurants. We join the owners in several of New Zealand’s most treasured private gardens for refreshments.  Learn about their dreams, trials and triumphs, and the unique regions in which they grow. We begin in picturesque Queenstown, travel across Central Otago to Dunedin the university city by Otago Harbour, head north through Canterbury pastures to recovering, colonial Christchurch, and finish our tour in marvellous Marlborough.


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 the breathtaking landscapes of New Zealand’s South Island
  • Dine in award-winning restaurants
  • 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                               $6,445
Single room supplement $1,630
Tour deposit $600

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

About your tour leader - Kim Woods Rabbidge
Kim Woods Rabbidge, behind the popular ‘Our Australian Gardens’ Instagram, is an award winning garden writer and photographer. Her articles and photographs appear in several garden books and publications including House & Garden, Gardening Australia, RM Williams Outback magazine and the Weekend Australian magazine. From 2005-2009 she was Qld Coordinator and National Newsletter editor for Open Gardens Australia and has since held executive positions on the Horticultural Media Association Australia. As well as leading garden tours both in Australia and overseas, she speaks at garden events on subjects such as garden edits and design elements. Kim and her husband have recently begun a new garden in the Northen Rivers of New South Wales.
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


Kia ora and welcome to New Zealand. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight at Queenstown’s famed Botswana Butchery.
(Meals: D)


We begin our tour in a spectacular 5-hectare, cold climate garden, Chantecler. Its elevated position allows glimpses of The Remarkables from several vantage points. Chantecler, with myriad themed areas, is beautiful in every season however there’s nothing quite like late spring to experience fresh new foliage and heady fragrance from an abundance of flowers. In the afternoon a scenic cruise to Walter Peak High Country Farm gives us a perspective of Queenstown over the water, and a taste of farming life in a unique place. Relax over afternoon tea freshly baked at the farm. 
(Meals: B, Afternoon Tea) 
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 stunning backdrop of the Remarkable Mountains. After lunch at Akarua Artisan we spend some time exploring Arrowtown before departing for Clyde. Arrive in Clyde, a perfectly preserved goldmining town, for dinner at Olivers and an overnight stay. 
(Meals: B, L, D)
We visit delightful Clachanburn Garden where we’ll enjoy lunch with owner, Jane Falconer who’ll share the story about developing this garden in one of the country’s driest places. Continue driving to Dunedin where we sample New Zealand history visiting one of their finest dwellings, Olveston. 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 all around the world. Dinner at The Press Club and overnight stay.  
(Meals: B, L, D)
This morning we 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 morning tea at nearby Glenfalloch Gardens and Café before heading north to our hotel in Oamaru. Spend your afternoon either resting or exploring Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct. This busy hub is 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. 
(Meals: B, Morning Tea)
In Ashburton we drop into Trotts Garden for lunch. This outstanding property was developed by a generous couple who helped establish a Charitable Trust to benefit the local community. Themed areas are interconnected; curved paths wend through woodland; water gardens reflect foliage and are home to myriad birds. This afternoon we visit the historic Ōhinetahi House and Garden set on 1.25 hectares.  Ōhinetahi is home to two galleries, sculpture and woodland trails, and a significant 19th century homestead. Initially developed in 1865 the property was updated extensively by the architect of Christchurch town Hall, Sir Miles Warren, his sister, and brother-in-law. Sir Miles gifted the property to the country.
(Meals: B, L)
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 setting. Enjoy morning tea in the charming farm shed. Our next stop in Akaroa, where we lunch, is the quirky Giants House created by Josie Martin. This fun-filled, fantasy garden includes mosaic steps and a sculptured wall, welded steel structures and sculptures. Then on our way back to Christchurch, as a complete contrast, we visit Frensham, at Tai Tapu. This serene country garden incorporates classic garden design with just a hint of whimsy. The perfect place to relax with a drink.  
(Meals: B, Morning Tea, L, Drinks)
Today we begin with a visit to Broadfield Landscape Garden – the extraordinary vision of one man. Natives and exotics are used formally and informally in these extensive, 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. Afternoon is at leisure. 
(Meals: B)
After breakfast we depart for Hanmer Springs but first we drop into Christchurch Botanic Gardens, an elegantly cultivated 21-hectare park with more than 10 different gardens framed by mature trees and expansive lawns. One of New Zealand’s Garden gems is Flaxmere developed by Penny Zino. 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. After lunch, we visit the clever, inspiring young garden, Loch Leven before checking into our hotel in Hanmer Springs. (You might like to bring swimmers for a hot springs dip.)  
(Meals: B, L, D)
This morning, we venture out for morning tea at Coldstream Garden with views to the mountains. A crystal clear stream spills into a large pond teaming with aquatic life beneath a canopy of mostly deciduous trees. In the little village of Culverden, we’ll drop into Three Bored Housewives, a co-op gifts and crafts shop and gallery.After free time for lunch at Beach House Kaikoura, our next stop is Winterhome, a stunning, four-hectare formal garden set on a hilltop overlooking the ocean. Developed 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. In the late afternoon we arrive at our hotel in Blenheim. 
(Meals: B, Morming Tea, Afternoon Tea)
We can’t visit Blenheim without dropping into the fascinating Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre. Some of New Zealand's most respected cinematic and special effects craftsmen have created this dramatic aviation theatre in which original and full-scale replica WW1 and WW2 aircraft, both static and flyable, are presented in all their glory. Back to the peace gardens bring. Hortensia House, created by passionate Frenchwoman Huguette, includes garden beds filled with a haze of blue and yellow to match the trim on her Victorian style house. Blue, carried through the garden, is a key colour used in the bridge and outdoor furniture. After lunch at Saint Claire Vineyard Kitchen, stroll across the forecourt to Eden Fine Art Gallery showcasing the very best in New Zealand art. Just in case you need to procure some special treats, we’ll call into a boutique chocolate factory, Makana Confections, to indulge in quality handmade chocolates. Settled high on an ancient dune overlooking a vineyard, Welton House Garden is celebrating its 150-year history with a contemporary twist. It’s a happy collaboration between the owner and her brother, a garden designer.  Cloud hedging mirrors nearby Richmond Ranges while generous wooden steps, platforms and pergolas anchor the garden to its site.   
(Meals: B, L)
After a lazy morning we head out to a couple of very special gardens. In dreamy Barewood we lunch with owners Carolyn and Joe who have lovingly created their large, semi-formal garden in the spectacular Awatere Valley, Marlborough. You’ll be under its spell the moment you arrive at this intimate setting. Our final garden is the unique Paripuma Garden overlooking Cloudy Bay. Within formal parameters, masses of New Zealand natives and perennials have been planted to provide habitat for wildlife – acknowledged recently with a national award for butterfly habitat. It’s in this magic spot where we’ll share a drink with Rosa, the owner. Farewell dinner tonight.  
(Meals: B, L, Drinks, D)
Our tour ends after breakfast. 
(Meals: B)

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