New Zealand | Gardens of New Zealand with Pacific Horticulture

New Zealand | Gardens of New Zealand with Pacific Horticulture

About this trip

With its rich volcanic soil and temperate climate, New Zealand boasts a botanic diversity that’s matched by the Kiwis’ passion for gardening. Join Pacific Horticulture and discover a bower of beauty as you travel from the sub-tropical north to the sub-alpine south island, visiting several acclaimed gardens, many deemed nationally or internationally “significant” by the New Zealand Gardens Trust. In a land of superlatives, the collections at Ohinetahi, Ayrlies, and Hamilton Gardens stand out, but so do the national parks, wineries, and Maori cultural sites you’ll celebrate in “the Land of the Long White Cloud.”

Highlights:

  • Delve into “The Story of Gardens” through five award-winning collections at Hamilton Gardens.
  • Discover New Zealand’s “Garden City” and its 150-year-old crown jewel, Christchurch Botanical Gardens.
  • Revel in the mirror-like beauty of Milford Sound in Fiordlands National Park on an overnight cruise.
  • Walk among the treetops and the undergrowth along the Natural Trail and Canopy Walkway at Otari-Wilton Bush Native Botanic Garden.
  • Explore Maori culture in the geothermal wonderland of Rotorua.

Meet your Pacific Horticulture Escort

Richard Hayden

Richard Hayden lives in New York City and works for Friends of the High Line, where he is the Director of Horticulture. He previously worked at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where he was the Special Assistant to the President and Project Liaison engaged in the reimagining of the La Brea Tar Pits Museum and 11-acre landscape. He served as the Garden Director for the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden, a 2.5-acre public garden in Palo Alto, California from 2017 to 2019. He began his career in public horticulture as the Head Gardener for the Nature Gardens at the Natural History Museum of LAC after enjoying  a 25-year career as a Los Angeles-based landscape designer. He is strong proponent and communicator of resilient, organic garden practices including soil health, wildlife habitat, climate appropriate plants, and water conservation. He has a BA in Theatre and Film from the University of Michigan and a certificate in Horticulture and Garden Design from UCLA. Richard is also an ISA-certified arborist.

Depart US

Oct 21, 2023

Today begins your journey as you depart from your home city - destination - Auckland, New Zealand!

En route

Oct 22, 2023

Crossing the International Time Zone.

Auckland

Oct 23, 2023

Upon arrival at the Auckland International Airport, after clearing customs and collecting your luggage, you will be taken to your hotel by a local representative. Early check-in has been arranged for your comfort. You will have the day to relax and then join your fellow travelers this evening for a welcome dinner and program orientation at the hotel.

Dinner included
Overnight at Movenpick Hotel Auckland

Auckland

Oct 24, 2023

Start your day by traveling west of the city to visit the stunning Totara Waters Garden - a 2-acre subtropical garden set on the upper Waitemata Harbor. Development began in 1999 by Peter and Jocelyn Coyle, who oversaw extensive plantings of rare and unusual species. You will then visit Beverley McConnell's 12-acre country garden known as Ayrlies, one of the most celebrated gardens in New Zealand. Maple woodlands complement large ponds connected by a tumbling stream and edged in hostas and irises. There are collections of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and masses of old roses, as well as vines that twine through trees and over pergolas. Wandering paths lead to some surprises, and garden seats take advantage of delightful vistas with distant glimpses of the sea. This evening, enjoy dinner at the orbit restaurant overlooking Auckland.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Movenpick Hotel Auckland

Rotorua

Oct 25, 2023

After breakfast and checking out of your hotel, you will travel through the rich Waikato countryside to Hamilton Gardens. The unique theme of Hamilton Gardens is 'The Story of Gardens," which is explored through a series of five garden collections. Enjoy viewing the roses, as well as Camellia spp., Clivia spp., Xeronema spp., Niphidium spp., and Darmera spp., to name just a few. Hamilton Gardens was awarded the prestigious 'International Garden Tourism Award' at the International Garden Tourism Network (IGTN) conference in France in October 2014. From Hamilton, continue to Rotorua, the "Geothermal Capital of New Zealand." In the afternoon, relax at Polynesian Spa and enjoy everything from a massage to a soak in the natural mineral waters. Later tonight, have dinner on your own in Rotorua.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Pullman Rotorua Hotel

Rotorua

Oct 26, 2023

This morning, visit the National Kiwi Hatchery to learn about New Zealand's renowned Kiwi conservation program while touring the hatchery, which has successfully hatched over 2,100 Kiwi chicks. After a guided experience, explore the interactive Kiwi burrow where it is possible to see the life cycle of a Kiwi from egg to burrow. Have lunch on your own before visiting the Redwoods Treewalk experience; suspended high above the forest floor, encounter 245-feet-tall redwoods while taking eco-walks across suspension bridges and platforms intricately designed to honor and accentuate the stunning natural environment. Early in the evening, start your Maori cultural evening with a traditional Maori welcome followed by a wonderful performance where you will learn about the Maori stories of long ago and take part in the ceremony. After, enjoy dinner cooked in an earth oven; a unique and tasty experience. Finally, enter the geothermal valley on a Waka, a Maori watercraft, and discover one of New Zealand's most magnificent geothermal wonderlands featuring dramatic geysers, bubbling mud, and beautiful native bush. Then, return to the hotel.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Pullman Rotorua Hotel

New Plymouth

Oct 27, 2023

This morning, venture across the rich Waikato farmland to Taranaki and its largest city, New Plymouth. The area is dominated by the perfect cone of Mount Taranaki, with New Plymouth being the largest city in the region and known for its wonderful gardens. After arrival and check-in at your hotel, enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Millennium Hotel New Plymouth Waterfront

New Plymouth

Oct 28, 2023

Today, take in a city tour of New Plymouth, featuring the gardens and beaches of this unique town. Enjoy visits to the following gardens: Pukekura Park with its many displays, the historical Tupare Grounds and Gardens, and the world renowned Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust, where you will see rhododendron and bush gardens, grass walks, mountain streams, and glass houses. Lunch will be in the garden café, where you will meet up with local volunteers who work with the trust. Once you return to your hotel, you will have the remainder of the late afternoon and evening at leisure.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Millennium Hotel New Plymouth Waterfront

Wellington

Oct 29, 2023

This morning, you will depart New Plymouth and travel to Wellington, New Zealand's capital city. En route, visit the amazing structure known as the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge for a photo stop, before continuing south to Wellington. Also en route, visit Otari-Wilton Bush Native Botanic Garden. This unique plant sanctuary of forest reserve and botanic garden covers over 100 hectares and contains many threatened species. Some of Wellington's oldest trees are here, including an 800-year-old rimu, Dacrydium cupressinum. Walk along the magical treetop Canopy Walkway, 59 feet above the forest floor, or get down in the undergrowth on the Nature Trail. Later, you will be treated to the twilight tour of Zealandia, a fully fenced urban eco sanctuary where 18 species of native wildlife have been introduced back into the area - six of which were absent from the mainland for over 100 years. Join your guide at the Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary as it transforms from daylight to twilight during this special escorted walk. An experienced guide will lead your group into the sanctuary after closing time so you can witness the sights and sounds of the valley at dusk. See birds returning to the sanctuary to settle into their nests, the sight of the evening sky and the changing sounds of birds from day to night. Look for endemic species such as weta, glow worms, tuatara, and more.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Novotel Wellington

Blenheim

Oct 30, 2023

Today, you will take the Interislander Ferry from the North to the South Island. Travel over the Cook Strait and into Marlborough Sounds to Picton Gateway to the South Island. Lunch today is at Allan Scott Winery in the heart of Marlborough Wine country, where you will have a taste of the wines before enjoying a lunch of local produce. You will then be given a guided tour of the vineyard to see the gardens before arriving at your boutique hotel for two nights.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Blenheim

Oct 31, 2023

This morning, visit Barewood, a classic potager garden where interesting color combinations using unusual herbaceous plants and shrubs can be seen in the different areas throughout the garden. You will see Malus spp., Wisteria spp., Clematis spp., Viburnum spp., Philiadelphus spp., Deutzia spp., Sambuscus spp., as well as Rosa and Iris spp. After visiting the garden, you will visit Grove Mill, a carbon zero winery whose philosophy is to produce premium wine with minimal environmental impact. It also houses an art gallery exhibiting leading New Zealand artists and sculptors. Enjoy a night at leisure to explore Blenheim on your own.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Christchurch

Nov 1, 2023

After breakfast, depart for Christchurch. Upon arrival, visit Mona Vale Estate, a 5.5-hectare garden with landscaped lawns gently rolling down to the Avon River. From there, visit the Christchurch Botanical Gardens, a showcase of exotic and indigenous plants established in 1863. Six specialist houses contain collections of tropical and temperate plants, cool greenhouse flowering plants, cacti, succulents, ferns and alpine plants. There are a variety of gardens which include the rose, rock, water, azalea, woodland, and fragrant gardens. After checking into the hotel, return to the gardens for dinner at the famous Curators Restaurant.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Christchurch

Nov 2, 2023

This morning, travel out to Governor's Bay to one of New Zealand's most celebrated and internationally known gardens, Ohinetahi. The coastal setting and mountainous backdrop attracted architect Sir Miles Warren, who designed the garden along with some family members. Ohinetahi shows clearly how architecture in the form of imaginative garden structures and well-chosen plants can enhance a beautiful natural environment. From there, you will travel to French Farm Winery, situated on the banks of the Waimangu stream. Established by artist Nancy Tichborne, the garden contains dramatic herbaceous borders forming a natural colorful amphitheater full of tulips, Iris spp., daylilies, and Dahlia spp., depending on the season. Your last stop on the peninsula is Fisherman's Bay Garden. Fisherman's Bay Garden provides an opportunity to visit an idyllic garden of native and exotic plants while enjoying outstanding views of the Pacific coastline and the sounds of native birds, seals, and penguins in the bay below.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Distinction Christchurch Hotel

Tekapo

Nov 3, 2023

After checking out of your hotel this morning, you will begin your journey from Christchurch to Tekapo, which takes you through the McKenzie country, to beautiful Lake Tekapo. Enroute you stop at the market town of Geraldine where you can taste some of the beautiful pickles and chutneys made by local producers Barkers. There is also time to try some locally produced cheese. First stop in Tekapo is the beautiful Church of the Good Shepherd sitting on the shores of Lake Tekapo. This historic church has beautiful views over the lake and surrounding regions. Check-in at hotel; tonight there is an option to take a trip to the top of Mt John for an amazing Star Gazing option.

Breakfast- included
Overnight at Peppers Bluewater Resort

Queenstown

Nov 4, 2023

Say goodbye to beautiful Lake Tekapo and say hello to Lake Pukaki, where you will enjoy fantastic views of Aoraki Mount Cook (weather permitting), and then move on to Cromwell, situated on the banks of Lake Dunstan. The original town of Cromwell was flooded to create the Clyde Dam hydroelectric plant. Some of the historic buildings were moved to the new town and can now be visited. The whole area is known for its fabulous fruit and wine. Today, you will visit two wineries and have lunch at one of them. This afternoon, continue your travels to Queenstown and take a tour of historical Arrowtown before arriving at your centrally located hotel. Tonight, you are free to explore the town for dinner on your own.

Breakfast-Lunch- included
Overnight at Scenic Suites Queenstown

Queenstown

Nov 5, 2023

With the Remarkables towering around Queenstown, clear blue skies, and the gorgeous Lake Wakatipu at your doorstep, it's no wonder this town is the most loved holiday destination on the South Island. Schedule activities of your choosing for today. Queenstown is dubbed the "Adventure Capital of the World" because of the variety of exciting, unique activities available in the region. This afternoon, take the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak, followed by a buffet dinner with amazing views of this gorgeous natural area.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Scenic Suites Queenstown

Milford Sound

Nov 6, 2023

Another magical day awaits you as you travel into Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound. You will stop at Lake Te Anau before traveling through the Homer Tunnel, an engineering feat of its time. Your home tonight is the Milford Mariner, and after settling in, you will cruise the length of Milford Sound, marveling at the towering cliffs, the beech trees hanging to the side of the cliffs, and the amazing wildlife. You will settle into Harrison's Cove, where there is time to take the tender craft to explore the coastline for penguins and nesting birds. Enjoy a delicious dinner, followed by a lecture from the nature guide, where you will learn more about the local flora and fauna.

Breakfast-Dinner included
Overnight at Milford Mariner

Queenstown

Nov 7, 2023

Enjoy a wonderful morning exploring another arm of Milford Sound, then drive back to Queenstown. Following check-in this afternoon, you will have free time to explore the city on own before gathering this evening for a celebratory Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant.

Breakfast-Lunch-Dinner included
Overnight at Scenic Suites Queenstown

Depart NZ/Arrive US

Nov 8, 2023

Depending upon your air schedule, you will have free time until your transfer to the Queenstown airport for your flight(s) home, arriving Nov.8th, as you will cross the international time zone. Please note check-out time is 10:00 am.

Breakfast- included