Southern Gardens & Historic Homes

From $3,260 per person

Thursday 30 September – Wednesday 6 October 2021 (7 days)

If you’re looking for inspiration for your garden or home, or are simply interested in history and garden design, what better way to spark creativity than to explore the South Island on a trip encompassing Victorian Villas, local gardens, historic homes and lodges, sculptures parks and top vineyards. Join us on this special interests tour travelling from Blenheim down to Dunedin.

 

Day 1          Thursday 30 September 2021
HOME CITIES - BLENHEIM          (BD)
This morning we travel on board the coach to Auckland Domestic Airport for our domestic flight to Blenheim.  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.  On arrival we visit the sumptuous tasting room and cellar at Wither Hills Vineyards for a wine tasting and talk. Wither Hills produces award-winning Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. This afternoon we visit some local gardens including Upton Oaks and Hortensia House - The gardens at Upton Oaks have been developed over many years and have been created to harmonise and compliment the style of the 1911 Victorian Villa. Hortensia House has masses of colour co-ordinated flowers in hazy pastels, to blue and yellow plantings to match the trim on the Victorian style house. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel restaurant – a perfect opportunity to get to know your fellow travellers on board and your driver/guide.
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel, Blenheim – 2 nights

Day 2          Friday 01 October 2021
BLENHEIM GARDENS          (BL)
This morning we have a leisurely start to the day before we visit more local gardens. This morning we visit Bhudevi. Designed by Modern Architectural Partners of Christchurch, the home was completed in 2005 and has commanding views of the Richmond Range and Wither Hills. It is surrounded by gardens established since 2009. There is a native garden along the creek, a secluded rock and fern garden, and an elevated garden with views overlooking the vineyards across to the Richmond range. The native garden has many sheltered and open seating areas for enjoying the birdsong, the plants, and the outdoor sculptures.  Our next visit is to Marlborough Lodge. Designed by Thomas Turnbull and built in 1901 for the Sisters of Mercy, this historic Victorian Convent was originally located next to Saint Mary's Church in Blenheim. It provided nineteen bedrooms for the nuns, a library, music room, sewing room, office, and a beautiful chapel upstairs on the first floor but it now luxury accommodation. Native timbers were extensively used in the construction including Matai, Rimu and Kauri. One of the many splendid examples of Victorian craftsmanship is the substantial carved staircase, constructed entirely from Kauri.  Wander among the established trees with the head gardener, stroll through the gardens and explore the wide arrange of vegetables, fruit, berries, herbs & citrus.  Afterwards we enjoy a light lunch in the harvest restaurant.  This afternoon we visit Woodend Gardens & Vineyard; Enter through a formal gateway and along an extensive curved driveway lined with blue agapanthus that sets a stunning scene for the established gardens. The garden features many different zones all with unique elements and hidden sanctuaries. This evening is at leisure.

Day 3           Saturday 02 October 2021           
BLENHEIM – CHRISTCHURCH           (BD)
Depart Blenheim and visit Barewood Gardens.  Barewood has been developed within a framework of mature trees, which helps to create a tranquil oasis. A simple water feature greets visitors on arrival. The romantic century old homestead with wide verandahs dripping in white wisteria and old-fashioned roses flows seamlessly into lush herbaceous borders and sweeping lawns. Afterwards we 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. Here enjoy some time at leisure to purchase lunch – own cost. This afternoon we continue south where on our arrival we enjoy the sights of the ‘Garden City’. Highlights include the Christchurch Botanical Gardens. Dinner is included in the hotel restaurant.
Accommodation: Quality Hotel Elms, Christchurch - 2 nights

Day 4          Sunday 03 October 2021
AKAROA VISIT          (B)
After breakfast today you depart the hotel by coach to visit the beautiful unspoilt old French whaling depot of Akaroa on Banks Peninsula. On the way stop at the Frensham Gardens which has been planned with year round interest in mind. Much thought has gone into the placement of colour, the short and long distance views, and the filtering of light which is created by judicious pruning. There is also a serious plant collection which is always being added to. Departing the gardens travel on towards Akaroa making a stop at Little River Café for morning tea (at own expense). Akaroa was settled by the French in an early attempt to colonise New Zealand and still retains a good deal of French character in its street names, boutique shops and cafes. Explore the charming village with its cafes, art and craft shops and colonial style architecture. Lunch today is at own expense. This afternoon visit the Giant’s House with Artists Gardens. The Giant's House is an historic Akaroa house with original artworks, terraced gardens with sculptures and mosaics. After our visit we retrace our steps back to Christchurch. Tonight dinner is at your leisure.

Day 5          Monday 04 October 2021
CHRISTCHURCH – ASHBURTON          (BLD)
Departing Christchurch we make our way out to Governors Bay to Ohinetahi for a guided tour of the gardens and sculptures.   With gardens considered to be among the finest in New Zealand, Ohinetahi sits just 20 minutes over the Port Hills from Christchurch, in the delightful setting of Governor’s Bay.  Today, Ohinetahi is as well known for its displays of art, architectural works and sculptures as it is for its magnificent grounds. But the gardens have a special significance, dating back to 1865 when then-owner and keen botanist Thomas H Potts began planting them. 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, Ashburton

Day 6          Tuesday 05 October 2021
ASHBURTON – DUNEDIN          (B)
Departing Ashburton, we travel down the coast to Oamaru with its lovely white stone buildings, we stop here for some time to see Oamaru’s Victorian Precinct. On arrival to Dunedin, head out to the Otago Peninsula, firstly to visit Larnach Castle high on the hills above Otago Harbour.  Learn about the tragic and scandalous history of this superbly crafted building which was built in 1871 and see the unique collection of New Zealand antiques and furniture.  Enjoy a guided tour around the beautiful gardens and climb the tower for panoramic views over Otago Harbour, Dunedin City and Taiaroa Heads. 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: The Distinction Hotel, Dunedin

Day 7          Wednesday 06 October 2021      
DUNEDIN – HOME CITIES          (B)
This morning enjoy a sightseeing tour of Dunedin.  See the Historic Dunedin Railway Station, The University of Otago with its historic blue stone buildings on the banks of the Leith River.  Travel through the CBD along George and Princes Streets and through the Octagon which features the historic Town Hall, First Church of Otago and St Pauls Anglican Cathedral and a statue of the Scottish poet Robbie Burns.  We visit the Dunedin Botanical Gardens which is internationally renowned. We finish our Dunedin tour with a guided tour of Olveston, which is a fine example of an Edwardian home and the lifestyle of that era.  The tour allows an intimate glimpse of the lifestyle of a privileged family in the early 1900's, reflecting a lifestyle enjoyed by just a few, but now representing a most important piece in the mosaic of early New Zealand life as a whole.  Visitors are very conscious of the family throughout the home, enjoying and experiencing the many treasures that were an integral part of the family's day-to-day life.   Afterwards, you will be transferred to the Dunedin Airport for our flight back to Auckland.

Scenic Hotel Marlborough

Scenic Hotel Marlborough is a contemporary and stylish property located in the heart of sunny Marlborough.  The hotel is just minutes' walk from the centre of Blenheim, and puts some of New Zealand's finest food and wine virtually on your doorstep.  The Hotel facilities include a swimming pool, sauna, spa, ample parking, wireless Internet and quality, relaxed dining and socialising in the licensed Seymours Restaurant and Bar.

Quality Hotel Elms

The Quality Hotel Elms is situated in a quiet suburban area yet accessible to many of the attractions and activities the area has to offer, surrounded by award-winning gardens and is ideally situated midway between the airport and central city. All 97 guest rooms are well appointed and equipped with all the amenities a guest could need, offering luxurious accommodation in an ideal location for those wanting to explore the area.

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.

Tour Inclusions

  • Door to door home collection & drop off service available from select areas - further information available here
  • 6 nights accommodation with private en suite
  • Touring in modern air conditioned tour coach
  • Auckland to Blenheim and Dunedin to Auckland flight with Air New Zealand - other ports on application
  • 6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, and 3 dinners included
  • Wine tasting at Wither Hills Winery
  • Visit Upton Oaks
  • Visit Hotensia House
  • Visit Bhudevi House & Gardens
  • Visit Marlborough Lodge
  • Visit Woodend Gardens & Vineyards
  • Visit Barewood Gardens
  • Visit Frensham Gardens
  • Guided tour of Ohinetahi Gardens and Sculptures
  • Guided tour including lunch at Akaunui Historic House & Gardens
  • Visit Trott's Gardens
  • Guided tour around Larnach Castle & Gardens
  • Visit Glenfalloch Gardens
  • Guided tour of Olveston House
  • Roadside morning teas from coach where possible

Tour Payments Per Person ($NZD)

Club Member Guaranteed Share Twin Cost: $3,225.00
Non Member Share Twin Cost: $3,260.00
Single Supplement: $565.00
Non-refundable deposit due at time of booking $200.00

Full balance of tour payment due by Thursday 19 August 2021

Book and pay in full by Wednesday 2 June 2021 and receive a $100.00 discount per person!

 

Are door to door collections included on this tour? YES

Yes. Leisure Time Tours offers a free home collection and drop off service from selected Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and most Auckland City areas. Our complimentary collections are based on your individual post code, other home collection locations available at an additional cost. Alternatively you may wish to meet us at our Hamilton depot in which case you can park your car in our secure yard free of charge for the duration of your holiday. For all tours that have a flight component, we can also offer door to door collections from Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin city areas.

Please refer to our Home Collection flyer for further information about this service.

Is the Guaranteed twin Share Price available on this tour? YES

Yes. 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.

Please note that the guaranteed twin share pricing is not available to pre & post tour accommodation arrangements.

What fitness level is required for this tour? EASY LEVEL

To ensure that you select the right tour for you, we’ve developed a very clear set of fitness recommendations for our tours. These physical ratings clearly explain how much physical exertion is required to participate on each tour. 

Level 1 – Easy

  • Relaxed paced tour
  • Be able to participate in guided or unguided small walking tours at a relaxed pace.
  • Walk on mostly level ground
  • Tackle an occasional flight of stairs
  • Occasionally need to stand for up to 10 minutes
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided

Level 2 – Moderate

  • Be able to participate in walking tours with time to rest at least every 10 minutes
  • Stand for 15 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Tackle a flight of stairs or incline
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
  • Walk confidently on bush tracks

 Level 3 – Active

  • Participate in walking tours without having to rest for up to 20 minutes
  • Walk up an incline equal to a flight of stairs without stopping
  • Stand for 30 minutes without needing to sit down
  • Walk over uneven ground and walk through soft sand
  • Able to get on and off transportation unaided
Will there be a daily seat rotation on this tour? YES

Passengers rotate seats in the coach daily so that all passengers have the opportunity to enjoy forward and window seating. All passengers are expected to participate as a booking condition.

Can you assist with pre & post tour accommodation? YES

Yes we can. Should you wish to arrive earlier or stay longer we can book in some pre and post tour accommodation for you. Please ask at the time of booking if you require this.

Is this tour a guaranteed departure? NO

This tour will be guaranteed once there are 10 passengers booked on the tour.

Are roadside morning teas included on our tours? YES

Yes. A point of difference is that wherever possible we offer our passengers roadside refreshments served from the coach. This gives all passengers the chance to mix and mingle over a hot cuppa allowing us to share our experiences as we journey together.

Do I need travel insurance?

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

How much luggage can I bring?

Luggage is restricted to one suitcase and one small item of hand luggage per person. Baggage handling of one suitcase per person, at each hotel, is included in the trip price. Carry-on/hand luggage handling is the responsibility of each guest and all personal items must be taken off the coach by you each day of the trip.

What clothing should I pack?

When on tour, dress is generally relaxed and casual with an informal dress standard on most occasions. Casual wear is recommended for travelling with something a little more formal for evening dining. If taking part in outdoor activities, make sure you have a waterproof coat, comfortable footwear and dress in layers to help you adjust to any sudden changes in climate. Be prepared for New Zealand’s powerful sun, even on cold windy days, bringing a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen.

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.

Itineraries
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.

Large winery with vines in front at sunset
Akaroa harbour
Larnach Castle Dunedin Otago
Larnach Castle Dunedin Otago