New Zealand Garden Extravaganza

From $6050.00 per person

Saturday 31 October – Friday 13 November 2020 (14 Days)

Take in the stunning beauty of New Zealand with a garden tour of our best parks, gardens, and reserves. Spend time with gardeners passionate about their craft and learn about their garden design, motivations and plant choices as the introduce you to their private property. New Zealand has a treasure trove of beautiful gardens of national and regional significant – both public and private. This tour includes two well-known gardening events; the Taranaki Gardens Festival and the Garden Marlborough Festival. 


Day 1          Saturday 31 October 2020
Today we travel to New Plymouth travelling State Highway 3 via Te Kuiti, and the Awakino Gorge Road to Mokau. We stop here for you to purchase your lunch. Upon arrival in New Plymouth, we commence our garden visits with time at Pukekura Park. Located in the heart of New Plymouth City, this 52-hectare park has an amazing range of both native and exotic plants all displayed in a natural setting with many wonderful  views and vistas of the lakes and Mt Taranaki. A must see are the fernery and display houses.  Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Autolodge Motor Lodge New Plymouth – 3 nights

Day 2          Sunday 1 November 2020
Today we take in a city sights tour of New Plymouth featuring the gardens of this unique town. Our first garden visit for the day is the historical Tupare Gardens. Tūpare is a premier landscaped garden with a unique homestead, originally developed by Sir Russell Matthews and his family from 1932. Sculpted from a hillside overlooking the Waiwhakaiho River, the plantings and landscapes remain true to its heritage. As you walk the winding paths cut into the hillside, you’ll find stately trees, deciduous maples, copper beeches and dawn redwoods, as well as a stunning collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, and hydrangeas that were all carefully planted by Sir Russell. This afternoon visit Pukeiti Gardens, a 360-hectare rainforest property located between Mount Taranaki and the coast, just south of New Plymouth.  Established in 1951, Pukeiti is an internationally recognised garden and plant collection.  Renowned for rhododendrons, Pukeiti also features sub-tropical Vireyas, magnolia, pieris, prunus, styrax, camellia, deutzia, daphne and many more for all-year-round interest.  The garden also features thousands of bulbs and herbaceous plants along with plantings of natives. As we leave Pukeiti and head back to our hotel, time allowing, we can stop along the way at a local garden or two. On arriving back in New Plymouth we are free to explore the city. Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Day 3          Monday 2 November 2020
Today we visit a variety of private gardens that open exclusively during the festival. This will depend on the gardens that will be participating. They offer an intriguing mixture of both unique and stunning gardens, each with their own story to tell. Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Day 4          Tuesday 3 November 2020
Leaving New Plymouth after breakfast we will transfer today to Wellington, New Zealand’s capital city. En route we will visit the amazing structure that is the Te Rewa Rewa Bridge for a photo stop, before continuing to the outstanding Paloma Gardens at Wanganui, which has four distinct areas. The first contains foliage, bamboos, palms, alocasias, ferns and cycads. The second has many species of cyads, e.g. Dioons from Mexico, and species from Madagascar, the Solomon Islands and beyond. Also growing here are Pachypodiums (related to frangipani) with different species flowering most of the year, Euphorbias, and oddities like Welwitschia mirabilis and Dioscorea elephantipes, the climber with the way-out base. The third area is on the north-facing hillside and features succulents, cacti, palm forest and a giant African Lobelia tree. Finally, there is the Paloma Arboretum, with extensive tree plantings. Paloma is classified as a Garden of National Significance. We continue our journey south through the rural towns of Marton, Bulls and Foxton to the scenic Kapiti Coast road into Wellington City, New Zealand’s capital city.   Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel, Wellington – 2 nights

Day 5          Wednesday 4 November 2020
This morning we enjoy an informative sightseeing tour, New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. We begin with a visit to Otari/Wilton’s Bush, New Zealand’s only native botanic garden, devoted solely to the cultivation and preservation of indigenous plants. Predominant native trees include mahoe, tawa, kohekohe, rewarewa, hinau and northern rata. Other features at Otari include a fernery, a small alpine garden, rock garden with adjoining fish pool and a wild garden, all easily accessed by a network of paths and boardwalks. Next take a ride on the one hundred year-old cable car from the city centre up to the Botanic Gardens. The rest of the afternoon is free to explore the gardens and our capital city. Highly recommend is a visit to Te Papa, (Our Place) New Zealand’s national museum, which truly is not like any other national museum in the world. Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Day 6         Thursday 5 November 2020
This morning we board the Interislander Ferry and cross Cook Strait to Picton in the South Island. The last part of the cruise through the magnificent Marlborough Sounds is especially scenic. In Picton we board our coach and travel through to Blenheim, where forty years ago there was hardly a commercial grape grown in the Blenheim area.  Now the Marlborough district is the top wine producing area in New Zealand with its wines winning awards around the world.  Today visit the sumptuous tasting room and cellar at Wither Hills Vineyards. Wither Hills produces award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery is named after the imposing Wither Hills ranges, which form a dramatic backdrop to our vineyards which enjoy long sunlight hours, cool nights and are nourished by the waters of the Wairau River. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Chateau Marlborough, Blenheim – 2 nights

Day 7          Friday 6 November 2020
Today we visit the Rapaura Springs Garden Marlborough event. On this day tour, we’ll be taken to the paradise of Marlborough’s most unique and sensational gardens, travelling along the spectacular eastern seaboard and through the valleys and plains of the Marlborough country side and into Blenheim’s urban hideaways. It’s not only beauty, form and colour, but energy, passion, hard work and diversity that see gardens selected for our tour. We will have a volunteer courier that will host us throughout the day. These friendly and helpful people will pass on their knowledge of the region and give background information and history on the province as we travel between the glorious gardens that make up our tour of Marlborough. A light lunch will be included today. We will be introduced to the garden owners and they will share their wonderful gardens with us.  Dinner tonight is at leisure.

Day 8          Saturday 7 November 2020
Depart Blenheim and drive along a thin ledge of land pinned between the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged ranges to Kaikoura, where the mountains meet the sea then travel across the farmlands of the North Canterbury Plains.  Continue south where on our arrival we enjoy the sights of the ‘Garden City’ also known as “the most English city outside of England”.  Highlights include the Botanical Gardens, River Avon, the Canterbury Museum and Arts Centre, Bridge of Remembrance, and the Spanish Mission inspired New Regent Street. Learn about the effects of the 2011 Christchurch Earthquakes and how the city is rebuilding. Tonight we’ll enjoy a group dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch 

Day 9          Sunday 8 November 2020
After breakfast today we enjoy a guided tour of Christchurch Botanic Gardens, where land was first set aside in 1849.  The first oak tree was planted in 1863 to mark the marriage of Edward VII and development has continued over the years, including a native New Zealand garden, the Cockayne garden of native alpine plants, the renowned central Rose Garden, extensive herbaceous borders, a floral conservatory and a fernery.  More recent additions include an alpine house and a house for bromeliads and orchids. Departing Christchurch our next garden visit is to Akaunui Historic House and Gardens.  The Akaunui garden was originally designed by Alfred Buxton, established over 100 years ago.  During the last 15 years major developments have taken place and the garden now covers 6 hectares and includes magnificent old trees (both native and exotic) and a wide variety of recently planted species.  There is a pond, a creek and a bog garden, a woodland garden with a large collection of rhododendrons and associated plants; formal and less formal gardens, many roses and a productive vegetable garden.   The garden complements the imposing century old double storey brick homestead.  Today enjoy lunch at the Akaunui Homestead. On our return to Ashburton we visit Trott’s Gardens.  The woodland area was developed around a series of gently curving paths.  Later the water gardens were added and finally the English inspired formal gardens. The layout is such that the garden areas are integrated yet contain elements of surprise as visitors explore.  Dinner tonight is included at the hotel.
Accommodation: Hotel Ashburton

Day 10          Monday 9 November 2020
Departing Ashburton, we travel down the coast through Timaru and then Temuka, which is known for its pottery and Oamaru with its lovely white stone buildings.   Stop at Moeraki Boulders to see these unusual giant marble-like boulders on the beach before arriving into Dunedin, a city proud of its Scottish Heritage. On arrival, head out to the Otago Peninsula, firstly to visit the gardens surrounding Larnach Castle which present a more formal aspect with an expansive lawn and symmetrically planted conifers, and you could perhaps imagine yourself at a country house in Scotland. However, just beyond the wishing well lies a rainforest garden full of unfamiliar native species: ponga, kauri, totara, rimu and cabbage trees. Our next stop is the Glenfalloch Woodland Gardens, situated in a coastal valley overlooking the magnificent Otago Harbour.  Sheltered by a ring of pine and eucalypts, Glenfalloch features original European trees from 1872, with much underplanting. In the summer, native clematis climb the trees, with peonies and lilies flowering beneath. There is also a bush walk through ancient matai, where birdlife includes tui, bellbirds and native pigeons. We then travel back into Dunedin to settle in for the evening. Dinner tonight is at leisure.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Dunedin

Day 11         Tuesday 10 November 2020
Depart and travel through the southern suburbs of Dunedin and on to the fertile Taieri Plains where sheep and dairying are the primary industries.  Travel past unique Lake Waihola and then through undulating farmland crossing the fast flowing Clutha River at Balclutha.  We stop for a visit to Maple Glen – a 25 acre private garden, nursery, aviary, woodland and wetland set in the rolling green countryside of Southland. Maple Glen is home to a large population of native and exotic birds including hand reared parrots and waterfowl.  Continue west arriving in the country town of Gore on the banks of the Mataura River for a visit to the Gore Public Gardens. The present design is based on the historic layout and incorporates many mature trees such as the gigantic Wellingtonia and horizontal elms planted at that time.  Among the exotic trees and shrubs are a number of rare and unusual specimens including those in the extensive conifer borders. This afternoon arrive in Te Anau where the mountains of Fiordland National Park are easily seen in the distance. Dinner tonight is at leisure.
Accommodation: Distinction Luxmore Hotel, Te Anau

Day 12          Wednesday 11 November 2020
Depart Te Anau for a full day excursion travelling via Fiordland National Park to Milford Sound.  Fiordland National Park, part of the Southwest New Zealand World Heritage Area is one of the great wilderness areas of the Southern Hemisphere.  The scenery is spectacular with lofty mountains and deep valleys carved out by Ice Age glaciers.  There are clear rushing streams and leaping waterfalls set in magnificent native rainforest.  We depart Milford Sound Wharf and cruise down the fiord past Mitre Peak to the Tasman Sea enjoying the stunning scenery of cascading waterfalls, dense rainforest, steep cliff faces and marine life that inhabits these waters. We’ll enjoy a picnic lunch while onboard. Return to Te Anau travelling via the Cleddeau Gorge, Homer Tunnel and the lovely Eglinton Valley.  From Te Anau travel through the quaint settlements of Mossburn, Athol and Garston then travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu to Queenstown. Dinner tonight is at leisure.
Accommodation: Copthorne Hotel & Resort Lakefront, Queenstown – 2 nights

Day 13          Thursday 12 November 2020
This morning embark on a tour around Queenstown including a visit to Arrowtown – a quaint town with plenty of shops and historic remains from the Gold Rush days. The remainder of your day is at leisure.

Day 14          Friday 13 November 2020
Today you will be transferred from the hotel to Queenstown Airport for our flight to Auckland.

Autolodge Motor Inn New Plymouth

Located approximately 8kms from the airport and within easy walking distance to the coastal walkway, beaches and Pukekura Park.  On-site facilities include Juliana’s Restaurant and Bar, indoor heated pool and spa, guest laundry, and a pool table.  Guests also receive complimentary wireless broadband internet access in all rooms and public areas.

James Cook Grand Chancellor Hotel Wellington

The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor is located in the heart of Wellington's commercial and retail districts. With hotel facilities including a spa style boutique, in-house gym, two restaurants and bars and more. All 268 well-appointed guest rooms and suites offer guests luxury accommodation in the middle of the city centre and close to all the attractions the area has to offer.

Chateau Marlborough

Chateau Marlborough is a European style hotel, is befitting of the Marlborough Wine Region, and offers luxury boutique accommodation. The hotel overlooks Seymour Square Gardens, and is just a two minute easy walk from Blenheim's town centre. Offering 80 well-appointed Suites and Apartments, Chateau Marlborough provides guests with a high level of comfort along with modern amenities. Quench Cafe and Wine Bar boasts a delicious menu with something to suit everyone.

Distinction Christchurch

Distinction Christchurch is an urban escape, ideally positioned in the heart of the city only a few minutes' walk from the Avon River, Botanical Gardens, Cashel Mall and many more of the attractions of the area. With 179 guest rooms and suites over eleven storeys, Distinction Christchurch is elegant accommodation in the city centre.

Hotel Ashburton

Set amidst 4 hectares of landscaped gardens, Hotel Ashburton offers a seasonal outdoor pool and a restaurant. It is next to Ashburton Racecourse and a 5-minute drive from Ashburton Town Centre. The heated guest rooms are fitted electric blankets, a fridge and ironing equipment. Each room offers a flat-screen TV with cable channels and some have a bathtub in the en suite bathroom.

Distinction Dunedin

Distinction Dunedin Hotel is located in the heart of the city, formerly Chief Post Office built in 1937 this hotel combines the historic charm with modern amenities and finishings to create a unique stay for guests whilst being close to many of the attractions and activities the area has to offer. All 121 elegant guest suites and studios are spacious and modern with all of the facilities and furnishings a guest could need.

Distinction Luxmore

Distinction Luxmore Hotel, conveniently located in the town centre and close to many attractions and activities the area has to offer. With 180 guest rooms all offering comfortable and luxurious stays, complete with all the in-room amenities a guest could need and access to the hotel's wider facilities. 

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Lakefront

The Hotel blends superior facilities and comfort with friendly personal service. The property offers a relaxing atmosphere combined with stunning panoramic lake and mountain views, situated within a tranquil garden setting. With 240 guest rooms, including six suites and over 80 rooms that have views of Lake Wakatipu and the Remarkable mountain range. The hotel is within walking distance of Queenstown central shopping and entertainment area.

Tour Inclusions

  • Door to door home collection & drop off service available from select areas
  • Queenstown to Auckland airfare with Air New Zealand - other ports on application
  • 13 nights accommodation with private en suite
  • Touring in modern air conditioned tour coach
  • 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 5 dinners included
  • Entrance fees to gardens we visit in the Taranaki Garden Festival
  • Admission to Paloma Gardens Whanganui
  • Visit Otari/Wilton's Bush
  • Ride on the Wellington Cable Car
  • Interislander ferry from Wellington to Picton
  • Wine tasting at Wither Hills
  • Garden tour as part of Rapaura Garden Marlborough Festival
  • Guided tour of Christchurch Botanic Gardens
  • Guided tour of Akaunui House and Gardens
  • Visit Trott's Garden
  • View Moeraki Boulders
  • Visit Larnach Castle
  • Visit Glenfalloch Gardens
  • Visit Maple Glen
  • Visit Gore Public Gardens
  • Milford Sound Cruise

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Club Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost:$6,050.00
Non Member Share Twin Cost:$6,100.00
Single Supplement:$1,650.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking$200.00

Full balance of tour payment due by Friday 18 September 2020


Booking Terms & Conditions

Terms & Conditions….
(Applicable for New Zealand Tours from 01 May 2020 - 30 September 2021)

Acceptance of Terms and Conditions
If you book a Packaged Tour with us and pay your deposit, you are deemed to have accepted these terms.  If you booked your Packaged Tour with us through an agent, the agent is deemed to have accepted these terms on your behalf.  We may ask you to sign a copy of these terms when you join your Packaged Tour to provide a record of your acceptance of these terms and you agree to sign these terms on our request.

The itinerary for your Packaged Tour was correct at the time of printing, but it is subject to change without notice.  Your itinerary could change due to road or weather conditions, changes imposed by other tour operators or a range of other factors outside our control.  You agree that we have no liability to you for changes to your itinerary.

Price Amendments
Prices were correct at the time and date of printing, however Leisure Time Tours reserves the right to amend the price subject to any changes in price imposed by other tour operators and carriers included in the itinerary or major fluctuation in the exchange rates, or increases in government or other levies. The final tour cost will be guaranteed not to change once the full and final payment has been received. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature. Leisure Time Tours also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to low numbers and in this instance a full refund will be provided.

*Guaranteed Twin Share Prices
Our Guaranteed Twin Share price is available for those passengers willing to share with another single traveller of the same gender. If there isn’t another passenger of the same gender to share with we GUARANTEE our twin share price. Leisure Times Tours accepts no responsibility for the compatibility of passengers travelling under this arrangement. If someone is not compatible with the person they have been matched up with, all additional costs incurred to assist with changing their shared room type to two single rooms will be at the expense of both travellers and will be subject to availability. Acceptance of a guaranteed twin share room is subject to the individual’s medical condition being suitable for this type of arrangement.

Health and Fitness
Passengers should be in good health and able to walk moderate distances to fully participate and experience the sightseeing opportunities within the enclosed itinerary.  All passengers are required to acknowledge that they are of reasonable health and are considered to be fit to travel and are not travelling contrary to any medical advice.  By acknowledging their health and fitness to participate passengers are indemnifying us from all actions, claims and demands arising out of any lack of health and fitness.  We reserve the right to remove a passenger from a tour if their health or fitness interferes with any other passenger’s experiences or the day to day running of the tour.  In this instance our normal cancellation terms and conditions will apply.  You agree that we have no liability to you for any loss, damage, costs or other effects of health problems you may encounter on your Packaged Tour.

Health and Safety Information Including COVID-19
For the health and safety of all passengers on tour any illness (such as fever, coughing or difficulty breathing) will not be accepted onboard the coach unless they can provide us with a negative Covid19 test result received within the past 72 hours.  Should any passenger start to feel unwell on arrival or while on tour, they must immediately advise their tour manager and contact Healthline then visit a medical practitioner/medical centre/hospital.  To return to the tour the passenger must be deemed fit and well to participate fully on a coach tour, obtaining and providing us with a written medical clearance – not just a negative Covid19 test.  Any costs incurred will be at the passenger’s own expense.

Payments, Cancellations and Refunds
A non-refundable deposit per person is required at time of booking to confirm your seat. All balance payments must be received by Leisure Time Tours prior to the date specified as per itinerary or your booking confirmation. Payments are available to be made by Cash, Cheque, Direct Credit or EFTPOS only –  Credit Card payments are not available without an additional surcharge.  Leisure Time Tours reserves the right to amend or reschedule the tour due the result of circumstances outside the company’s control. Leisure Time Tours also reserves the right to cancel the tour due to insufficient numbers and in this  instance a substitute date will be offered or a full refund will be made available. Tour Price excludes drinks, telephone calls, travel insurance and items of a personal nature.

Travel Insurance
Leisure Time Tours strongly advises all passengers to purchase a travel insurance policy. An important part of planning the holiday is to purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy as it may prevent passengers from spending extra money in case of an emergency and will help passengers feel protected during the holiday. We are agents for Cover More Travel Insurance. Ask us for a no obligation insurance quote today.

Land Component Cancellation Policy
By making a booking with us and paying your deposit you agree to pay us the full price for your booking.  If you cancel your booking:

  • 31+ days prior to tour commencement, loss of non-refundable deposit
  • 15-30 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 60% of the holiday price (40% refund) plus any applicable supplier cancellation fees
  • 8-14 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 80% of the holiday price (20% refund) plus any applicable supplier cancellation fees
  • 0-7 days prior to tour commencement your cancellation charge will be 100% of the holiday price (no refund)

No refunds on any unused portions of any itinerary.  The exception is if a sightseeing service is cancelled by operator due to weather conditions/safety concerns etc and the operator authorises a refund.  Any such refunds will be processed through agent.

Please note that any applicable airline content does not apply to the above refunds – see your airline for their specific cancellation/refund policies.

COVID-19 Cancellation and Refund Policy
COVID-19 has created uncertainty for us all, therefore for cancellations directly related to COVID-19, we have negotiated special terms with our suppliers which would override ‘normal cancellation’ terms as outlined above;

If the New Zealand Government imposes travel restrictions that would impact our ability to deliver your travel package prior to commencing travel, passengers will receive a full credit, less any applicable airline cancellation fees.  If travel restrictions are imposed while on tour, we will seek credits on any unused portions of the itinerary from all suppliers.  Any applicable credits will first be applied to any additional costs that our company may have incurred on the passenger’s behalf e.g. if alternative accommodation or transportation to repatriate the passenger to their home city or nearest airport etc is required.  Any remaining refunds will be credited to the booking agent to enable them to pass onto their passenger.

If a passenger has been tested positive for COVID-19 directly prior to travel or while on holiday with us, then with supporting documentation provided to us (a positive COVID-19 test), we will seek credits on any unused portions of the itinerary from all suppliers.  Any applicable credits will first be applied to any additional costs that our company may have incurred on the passenger’s behalf e.g. if alternative accommodation or transportation to repatriate the passenger to their home city or nearest airport etc is required.  Any remaining refunds will be credited to the booking agent to enable them to pass onto their passenger.