Meet the farmers, wander their beautiful gardens and enjoy the charm of quaint gold rush towns on this small group garden tour of the Otago region. Art Deco elements, Ranfurly, Fleur’s famous café at Moeraki and Oamaru’s Victorian Fete are special highlights.
$3,890 per person, share twin
$600 single supplement
17 – 23 Nov, 2021
• Return airfares from Auckland (please ask us about flights from other airports – there could be a price adjustment).
• All meals
• Entrance fees
• All transport by comfortable, air conditioned coach (maximum of 18 travellers).
• Services of your knowledgeable guide.
• Quality accommodation chosen for a “sense of place”.
• Land Only price on application
• Travel Insurance
We fly into Queenstown and drive to Annabel and Bruce Russell’s home for a relaxed lunch in the Gibbston Valley where the first commercial vineyard was planted in the 1980s.
Later in the day we check into Hotel Novotel Queenstown Lakeside for two nights and dine in this evening. This afternoon is an ideal time to wander the Botanic Gardens adjacent to the hotel and the local shops.
We visit Stoneridge Estate garden near Lake Hayes and Penny and David Wallace’s garden then lunch at Provisions Cafe in Arrowtown. Stroll the main street and visit the historic Chinese goldminers’ settlement along the riverbank.
In the afternoon we wander in Mike Henry’s Chantecler, an eight acre garden of National Significance where themed gardens from France, Italy, England, Japan and New Zealand are featured as well as mass plantings of bulbs, rhododendrons, lavenders, azaleas, camellias and peonies. We dine in our hotel this evening.
We bid farewell to Queenstown and call into Clyde, once claimed to be the most populous town in New Zealand during the height of gold fever and then on to the historic settlement of Ophir for lunch at Pitches Store.
Out in the big skies of the Maniototo Plain we visit Rayleen McNally’s garden at Poolburn, a treasure trove surrounding an original stone homestead. We meet Bob L de Berry at his Cambrian Common Forest and call in for refreshments at the Vulcan Hotel, St Bathans, visit Naseby then continue to Ranfurly and Hawkdun Lodge.
Today we explore the Maniototo visiting farmhouse gardens. First, we call into Fay-Ann and Kelvin Thompson’s garden at Glen Eden Station then at John and Susie Elliott’s Lammermoor Station distillery there’s a garden tour and a tasting to enjoy.
We lunch with Jane Falconer in her garden of National Significance at Clachanburn Station at Patearoa and visit the Art Deco Gallery in Ranfurly on our return. We dine in at Hawkdun Lodge.
Leaving Ranfurly we drive to the coast and stop for brunch at the famous seafood restaurant, Fleur’s Place in Moeraki, a favourite of British television chef Rick SteIn.
We arrive in Oamaru where the Victorian Fete, each year with a different theme, is in full swing. The fete celebrates the town’s heritage amid streets of Oamaru Stone buildings, fine examples of 19th century architecture – live music, dance, street theatre and penny farthings and locals dressed in Victorian finery.
This morning we drive out of town to the Historic Places Trust Totara Estate for a step back in time. Totara is where lamb was first frozen and shipped to Britain in 1882. Hear the stories while you sit on hay bales as the billy tea brews to accompany your morning tea of scones, jam and cream.
We visit Jen Rendell’s painstakingly restored Brookfield House and Garden and lunch nearby at The Fort Enfield. On the way back to Oamaru we call into Sally and Phil Clelend’s beautiful Rocklands House and Garden. We dine out at the Star and Garter in the old precinct.
We visit Oamaru’s botanic gardens and have morning tea with Linda Wilson at Rockvale Gardens with its colourful plantings and pond with sculptures of Oamaru stone from the nearby quarry.
Heading north we call into Geraldine to check out the artisan shops and lunch with Boo and Hamish Woodhouse at Te Timata, their Canterbury farmhouse. We continue up the Canterbury Plains to Christchurch Airport. Our flight departs for Auckland in the early evening.
Some great news… while we wait for international borders to re-open, there is no better time to see a bit of our own backyard and help our local communities get back to business.
We’re excited to let you know that we have partnered with MoaTours, one of New Zealand’s leading and most trusted local tour operators since 1971. MoaTours offers a range of small group tours all over New Zealand that we think you’ll love — from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.
A a family run business just like Tours Direct, MoaTours has great connections and unbeatable local knowledge of New Zealand’s best kept secrets. They also share common values so we know you will be well looked after and have a great experience.
Peonies are blooming and our southern gardeners’ hospitality flows as we lunch with Annabel Russell and Jane Falconer in their gardens. I think spring is the best time to travel the wide open spaces of the Maniototo. Brunch at Fleur’s at Moeraki and the Fete are both memorable.