Natural Landscapes and Gardens of New Zealand

Status: open

11 Nov – 29 Nov 2014


Natural Landscapes and Gardens of New Zealand
Tour Highlights

Tour Highlights

Join Stephen Ryan on this diverse and fascinating exploration of New Zealand’s glorious natural landscapes and gardens. North Island

  • Encounter 1000 year old kauri trees in an untouched area of rainforest in the Waitakere National Park and walk through the glade of gnarled, centuries-old pohutukawa trees at Karekare Beach.
  • Meet landscape architect Trish Bartleet and view one of her residential projects outside Auckland.
  • Visit private gardens in the Auckland area including Liz Morrow’s 18-acre coastal garden Omaio, Mincher, Woodbridge and Ayrlies Gardens.
  • Travel to Waiheke Island and visit a private garden with landscape architect Ted Smyth.
  • Learn about iconic and exotic New Zealand trees with landscape architect and arborist Andrew Geddes.
  • Explore Mt Egmont National Park with an expert guide – a unique environment created by the volcano Taranaki.
  • Explore with its curator the internationally renowned rhododendron garden, Pukeiti, the intimate private garden of Guy and Jenny Oakley and Pukekura Park.

South Island

  • Explore the beautiful Malborough Region, famous for its traditional gardens and viticulture. Enjoy the hospitality of the garden owners at the MacFarlane’s magical Winterhome garden, Huguette Michel’s Hortensia and Carolyn Ferraby’s Barewood Gardens.
  • Relax with a glass of local wine and a tasting platter at the Allan Scott Winery, lunch at La Veranda restaurant, and take morning tea at Upton Oaks Garden.
  • Travel the rugged west coast and visit Fox Glacier and Mount Cook on the journey south through Westland National Park.
  • Spend 2 nights at the Lake Moeraki Wildnerness Lodge, in the heart of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area where local experts. will take you though the rainforest into the habitats of glow-worms, Morepork Owls, fur seals and Fiordland Crested Penguins.
  • Meet Philip Blakely and Paddy Baxter, two of New Zealand’s award-winning landscape architects who will show us some of their most recent work including the Routeburn Track, Millbrook Resort and Blanket Bay Lodge.
  • Travel through the Fiordland National Park encompassing mountain, lake, fiord and rainforest environments.
  • Conclude with a relaxing overnight cruise aboard the Milford Mariner and explore the full length of Milford Sound!
19 days in New Zealand

Overnight Auckland (4 nights) • New Plymouth (3 nights) • Blenheim (3 nights) • Greymouth (1 night) • Lake Moeraki (2 nights) • Queenstown (3 nights) • Milford Sound (1 night) • Queenstown (1 night).

Guest Lecturers/Landscape Architects

  • Trish Bartleet is one of the most original and confident landscape designers in Auckland. She has worked on various projects over the years in tandem with different architects, and has a reputation for creating edgy gardens that challenge convention. From her background working in art and fashion and from her interest in design, Trish became fascinated by how plants can be used to create combinations of patterns and textures that lead to a visual reaction. Her gardens display a New Zealand identity and she uses a lot of natives in her designs, highlighting their form and texture through an innovative use of materials and structural planting with distinctive contrasting combinations. Trish is also passionate about travel, which offers her a great source of inspiration. A favourite is the Chaumont Garden Festival in France’s Loire Valley, which is synonymous with showcasing groundbreaking trends.
  • Ted Smyth was originally a painter and graphic artist (exhibiting extensively in the sixties and mid-seventies). He gradually devoted his full time to the landscape profession. His first published landscape work was in the mid-sixties. His first 20 years were the design and construction of increasingly large structural and sculptural residential/commercial projects. The succeeding 20 years have been entirely design, documentation and observation. His background in personal construction of varying landscape projects has given him a wide knowledge of broader structural requirements of a given project with the ability and skill to apply exacting attention to detail. But it is his earlier absorption in the arts that reflects his unique capacity to express simplicity and clarity, a sense of place, and a continually developing personal design vocabulary. With the opportunities offered by the involvement in public spaces, the sense of content of his work has been extended to embrace a cultural and historical dimension. With his extensive use of site-specific context and elements he has become an acknowledged master and mentor within the profession.
  • Philip Blakely, an award-winning landscape architect and partner at Blakely Wallace Associates based in Arrowtown, 20 km from Queenstown. On winning two gold awards at the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects Resene Pride of Place Landscape Awards, Philip said of his team “One of our key strengths is to plan and design developments so that they relate to their site and context, yet are visually appealing and highly functional.”
  • Paddy Baxter established Baxter Design Group with Jeff Brown in 1998. He is now co-director with Brooke Mitchell. BDG is involved with many high profile projects throughout the region with an extensive portfolio covering urban and rural landscape master-planning, resort development, public streetscape and parks, rural subdivision, residential design and landscape assessment. Paddy Baxter has received several awards during the course of his career including major NZILA awards for the Queenstown Village Green, Millbrook Resort and a National Award for Blanket Bay Lodge.


Join Stephen Ryan, horticulturalist, author and broadcaster, on a tour of New Zealand’s extraordinary variety of public and private gardens and vast natural landscapes. Visit private gardens in the Auckland area including Liz Morrow’s 18-acre coastal garden Omaio, Mincher, Woodbridge and Ayrlies Gardens. In New Plymouth explore internationally renowned Pukeiti on the volcanic slopes of Mount Taranaki, considered New Zealand’s premier rhododendron garden. Enjoy the beautiful Marlborough Region, famous for its traditional gardens and viticulture. Here we enjoy the hospitality of the garden owners at the MacFadden’s magical Winterhome garden, Huguette Michel’s Hortensia and Carolyn Ferraby’s Barewood Gardens, and relax with a glass of local wine and a tasting platter at the Allan Scott Winery. These carefully crafted gardens contrast the awesome and spectacular wilderness of New Zealand’s pristine national parks. Encounter 1000 year old kauri trees in an untouched area of rainforest in the Waitakere National Park and walk through the glade of gnarled, centuries-old pohutukawa trees at Karekare Beach. Travel the rugged west coast and visit Fox Glacier and Mount Cook on the journey south through Westland National Park, then through the Fiordland National Park that encompasses mountain, lake, fiord and rainforest environments. Enhancing our program is the opportunity to meet with some of New Zealand’s leading landscape architects who will introduce us to their gardens and landscaping projects, including Philip Blakely and Paddy Baxter in Queenstown, Ted Smyth and Trish Bartleet in Auckland. A special feature of the tour is our 2-night stay at Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, in the heart of Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area where local experts will take you though the rainforest into the habitats of glow-worms, Morepork Owls, fur seals and Fiordland Crested Penguins. We conclude with a relaxing overnight cruise aboard the Milford Mariner that explores the full length of Milford Sound.



The following itinerary lists a range of site visits which we plan to visit. Many are accessible to the public, but some require special permission which may only be confirmed closer to the tour’s departure. The daily activities described in this itinerary may change or be rotated and/or modified in order to accommodate alterations in opening hours, flight schedules and confirmation of private visits. The tour price includes breakfast daily, lunches/picnics and evening meals indicated in the detailed itinerary where: B=breakfast, L=lunch/packed picnic and D=evening meal.

Auckland, North Island - 4 nights

Day 1: Tuesday 11 November, Arrive Auckland
  • Welcome Evening Meal

The tour begins in Auckland. Those travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flight will transfer by private coach to the Copthorne Hotel. Note: if you are not arriving on the ASA ‘designated’ flight you will be required to make your own way to the hotel, or you may wish to contact ASA to arrange a private transfer. In the evening we will enjoy a Welcome Dinner at a local restaurant. (Overnight Auckland) D

Day 2: Wednesday 12 November, Day excursion to the West Coast & Waitakere Ranges Regional Park
  • Arataki Visitor Information Centre, Waitakere Ranges NP
  • Hynds Garden, Piha, with landscape designer Trish Bartleet
  • Cascades Kauri Park
  • Early evening lecture: Iconic and exotic New Zealand trees by Andrew Geddes

This morning we depart by coach for the Arataki Visitor Information Centre, situated within Auckland’s largest regional park, Waitakere Ranges Regional Park. The Centre’s decks offer breathtaking panoramic views extending from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Inside, displays explain the history, flora and fauna of the region, accompanied by some beautifully carved Maori guardian posts.

We next journey to the wild and rugged West Coast. In Piha, landscape designer Trish Bartleet will show us one of her favourite gardens, Hynds Garden. Its contemporary design uses weathered steel and rocks to enhance the landscape and plantings that are predominantly native. The garden is not very large but is intensively planted and the spaces around the house are so designed to extend the illusion of broad boundaries. The house itself has been featured in numerous magazines, having won the New Zealand Institute of Architects Resene New Zealand Awards for Architecture in 2005. It enjoys a spectacular panoramic view over Piha Beach and the Tasman Sea.

After enjoying a ‘kiwi-style’ picnic lunch at Piha, we drive to Karekare to visit a magnificent rugged West Coast beach. You will have a chance to stroll through a glade of centuries-old, gnarled pohutukawa trees and along its unique black, iron, sands and enjoy the fresh ocean breeze. The sea here has marvellous surf, some of the most consistently grand breakers in the world; the sea is seldom calm. We travel back to Auckland through the Waitakere Ranges and the Cascades Kauri Park, where we pause for another walk through an area of untouched rainforest containing mature 1,000 year-old Kauri trees. Millions of years of physical isolation has led to the evolution of New Zealand’s unique flora and fauna; 70% of its native plants are found nowhere else in the world. Our local guide will explain the native species as we walk amongst the park’s famous Kauri trees and giant tree ferns, observing its distinctive native birds. This evening, landscape architect and arborist Andrew Geddes will give a talk on iconic and exotic New Zealand trees. (Overnight Auckland) BL

Day 3: Thursday 13 November, Auckland – Warkworth – Coatesville – Auckland
  • Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, Tekaku Peninsula
  • Omaio Garden, Warkworth
  • Woodbridge Gardens, Coatesville
  • Mincher Garden, Coatesville

Today we drive an hour north of Auckland to the Tekaku Peninsula, where we visit the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail, a 2km route through a remarkable landscape of towering trees and plants, and abundant bird-life, built to showcase up to 30 pieces of contemporary sculpture by established and emerging artists.

Nearby, we visit Omaio Garden, owned by Liz Morrow, the Executive Officer of the New Zealand Garden Trust. ‘Omaio’ is the Maori word for ‘place of peace, quiet and tranquility’. Much of the planting in this garden is native, but it also incorporates other features such as a vegetable garden and an orchard. Liz will introduce her garden and will host our lunch.

On our way back to Auckland we stop at Coatesville where we visit Woodbridge Gardens. These are owned by Christine and Tony Peek who in 1991 began to transform bare 8 acre farmland into a space of plants, trees and flowers. The garden, which incorporates both native and imported flora, as well as water features, is renowned for its glorious vistas and it spring plantings which should be at their finest at the time of our visit.

We also visit Mincher, a semi-formal garden established (1995) on the site of market gardens. A white horse chesnut-lined driveway leads to the garden and ponds surrounding a Neo-Georgian family home. Within a framework of mature trees backed by native bush, Angela Spooner has established herbaceous borders, a formal parterre and a shrubbery with topiarised acmenas. Her favourite species include roses, daylilies and three varieties of ilex or holly. They form hedging as well as stand-alone specimens. A silver birch copse is under-planted with bluebells and daffodils. These provide early spring colour, augmented by daffodils around the cottage garden and ornamental cherries in the spring garden. (Overnight Auckland) BL

Day 4: Friday 14 November, Auckland – Waiheke Island – Whitford – Auckland
  • Private Garden with Ted Smyth, Waiheke Island
  • Ayrlies, Whitford
  • Auckland Botanic Gardens

This morning we walk to Auckland ferry terminal to take the fifty minute cruise to Waiheke Island. Ted Smyth started his career as a graphic artist but became a landscape designer when he began to collaborate with a group of architect friends who shared the building in which he worked. Although not formerly trained as a landscape architect, he is revered in New Zealand for his powerful, highly innovative designs. Ted usually works with indigenous species and his gardens often have a striking architectural quality, as well as featuring sculpture by major New Zealand artists. We will visit one of his beautiful gardens on Waiheke Island, accompanied by Ted Smyth and his assistant, before taking the ferry back to the mainland.

This afternoon we visit one of New Zealand’s premier gardens, Ayrlies, located just outside Auckland in Whitford. Ayrlies covers nearly 5 hectares, with ponds, waterfalls, spacious lawns, mature trees, beyond which it offers constant glimpses of the sea. Traditional rose and shrubbery borders counterpoint tropical gullies, native outcrops, and arid gardens of succulents, all set amid stonewalls, summerhouses and many restful seating areas.

We return to the city to visit the Auckland Botanic Gardens. These gardens boast over 10,000 plants from around the world – a remarkable number for a garden that only opened to the public in 1982. Since then, the Auckland Botanic Gardens has been the recipient of numerous awards, particularly in the areas of conservation and education. After visiting this extensive garden we return to Auckland. (Overnight Auckland) B

New Plymouth, North Island - 2 nights

Day 5: Saturday 15 November, Auckland – Hamilton – New Plymouth
  • Hamilton Gardens
  • Evening lecture: The Geology of New Plymouth

We drive south today, descending from Auckland to the Waikato Plain and thence to Hamilton, a city of with beautiful and extensive Botanical Gardens. After exploring the Chinese Scholars Garden, the Japanese Garden of Contemplation, the Italian Renaissance Garden, the English Flower Garden and more, we continue south to New Plymouth. On arrival, we shall transfer to our waterfront hotel located at the centre of New Plymouth.

This evening we meet our local host, Ross Eden, who will present a lecture on the unique geology of New Plymouth, whose volcano, Mount Taranaki (Mount Egmont) has created a distinctive microclimate, and inspired a number of Maori legends. Ross has over 25 years of mountaineering experience and has a wealth of knowledge on the New Plymouth area, having established over 20 new rock routes on Mt Taranaki and written three guidebooks on climbing within the region. (Overnight New Plymouth) B

Day 6: Sunday 16 November, New Plymouth Area
  • Guided walk of Egmont National Park
  • Pukekura Park

We spend this morning in the company of Ross Eden who will lead us on a walk along the slopes of Mt Taranaki to observe a progression of plant species and learn about the distinctive vegetation of this stunning natural park. We first drive to the North Egmont Te Wai Whaikato Visitors Centre, located in a historic camp house that housed a local regiment during the 1860 Taranaki Land Wars before being relocated to its present site, 960 metres above sea level. From here we walk along the “Ngatoro Track” descending into a valley through goblin forest lichen and moss covered twisted trees, cross a stream and climb back up to the visitor centre. Along the track various mosses and ferns grow among turpentine, broom and tutu. We will also see orisia and tutukiwi (hooded orchids) that bloom in late spring.

Note: for those preferring a less strenuous walk, there is the option to follow one of the easier loop walks departing from the Visitor Centre and to enjoy some refreshments at the café while waiting for your fellow group members to return.

In the afternoon we shall visit one of New Zealand’s garden highlights, Pukekura Park, one of the country’s premier botanical gardens, once a treeless, swampy valley in 1876. The visionary Robert Clinton Hughes assured the passing of New Zealand’s Botanical Gardens Bill that enabled the park to be founded. In 1878 the main lake was formed, followed in 1884 by ‘Poets Bridge’, built from the winnings of a horse race. A bandstand (1888) and, to mark the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, a drinking fountain was unveiled (1897). The park was named ‘Pukekura’ in 1907, the name taken from the stream that runs through it. A fernery followed in 1928 and a waterfall in 1970. Pukekura Park’s Fernery and Display Houses offer stunning and inviting visual experiences all year round they are heated in winter, offering a sumptuous array of colour and texture. We shall visit the garden with the Park’s curator. (Overnight New Plymouth) B

Day 7: Monday 17 November, New Plymouth Area
  • Pukeiti
  • Oakley Garden, Manaia

The New Plymouth region is dominated both visually and ecologically by Mount Taranaki. The mountain is one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world, rising 2,518 metres out of the surrounding plain, a mere ten-minute drive from the coastline. Mount Egmont National Park, which embraces both Mt Taranaki and the older, heavily eroded sister volcanoes in the nearby Kaitake Range, also features lush temperate rainforests. Over 50 rivers and streams flow down from the mountain and the whole region has an utterly unique botany. It contains a wide variety of vegetation, from sub-tropical semi-coastal forest in the Kaitake ranges to sub-alpine herb fields at an altitude of 1800 metres on the main cone.

We shall explore the exceptional challenges and opportunities that this unique has to presented garden designers. The jewel in the region’s crown is Pukeiti, New Zealand’s premier rhododendron garden, where over 10,000 rhododendrons and azaleas bloom within the magnificent rainforest covering the lower slopes of Kaitake Range. The garden was established to regenerate an area that had once been logged; it was replanted with rimu and other podocarps. It is very large, with many tracks winding through the rainforest. Careful pest control has protected the garden, which now boasts a large number of native birds (eg tui, bellbird, pigeon, fantail, waxeye, cuckoo and whitehead). Mountain streams provide habitat for rare and endangered native fish. Special care has been taken to provide a colourful variety of flowerings throughout the year. In November the garden is alive with colour. Herbaceous plantings, alpines, primulas, hostas and thousands of bulbs dominate the garden until the giant Himalayan lilies flower in December. We shall lunch at Pukeiti’s Gatehouse Café.

After lunch we drive along the coast to Manaia, to the garden of Guy and Jenny Oakley. Jenny’s love of gardening, informed by a formal education in landscape design & horticulture, is expressed palpably in this large family garden. Although only 2km from the coast, this well established shelter provides a haven from the elements, with garden rooms linked by hedge-lined paths. Features include cottage style plantings, early flowering roses, a vegetable potager and stunning hanging baskets. (Overnight New Plymouth) BL

Blenheim, South Island - 3 nights

Day 8: Tuesday 18 November, New Plymouth – Wellington – Blenheim
  • Puke Ariki Museum, New Plymouth
  • Allan Scott Winery, Blenheim

This morning we shall make a short visit to the Puke Ariki museum with its fascinating exhibits displaying the natural history of this region, and how it has shaped the history and culture of the New Plymouth area. This ground-breaking knowledge centre combines a library, museum, research and visitor information centre. We shall next transfer to New Plymouth Airport to fly to Wellington and transfer to our flight to Blenheim on the South Island. From our base in Blenheim we shall explore the beautiful landscapes of the Marlborough region, at the northeast corner of New Zealand’s South Island. This region is blessed with the more hours of sunshine than any other in New Zealand, and as a result it is here that we find both magnificent gardens and a vast number of vineyards, for which the area is famous.

After disembarking, we shall drive to Allan Scott Winery for a wine tasting and refreshments, before proceeding to our hotel. (Overnight Blenheim) B

Day 9: Wednesday 19 November, Marlborough Region
  • Paripuma Garden
  • Winterhome Garden
  • Barewood Garden

Our first visit today is to Paripuma. Landscaper Rosa Davison once dreamt of creating a haven for wildlife on what was a barren and windswept seashore. Created from a bare sandy paddock in 1999, Paripuma is a unique collection of indigenous and some very rare plant species.Using thousands of Ngaios and other sturdy natives, shelter was created for more interesting and some near extinct species. The result sees intertwining walkways and hidden paths juxtaposed with traditional formal lines, blending a strong central vista into the natural lie of the land. We will also visit the Winterhome garden at Kekerengu. Positioned on a cliff with dramatic views over the Pacific Ocean, Winterhome is renowned for its powerful design combining the classic cross axes with plantings of trees, shrubs and perennials. The garden features a rose garden with formal box edging, an orchard and a canal garden. After lunch at Winterhome’s The Store café, considered one of the best eateries in the Malborough region, we will drive through the Awatere Valley to Barewood Garden. Owned by Joe and Carolyn Ferraby, this garden surrounds a rambling old homestead. Wisteria and old-fashioned roses frame its wide verandahs and mature trees surround its garden. Colourful mixed borders, a summer house, a formal potager, a pond with carefully tended water plants and sweeping lawns all combine to make this one of the premier gardens of the region. (Overnight Blenheim) BL

Day 10: Thursday 20 November, Marlborough Region
  • Upton Oaks Garden
  • Hortensia Garden
  • Lunch at ‘La Verandah’ Restaurant
  • Moritaki Garden

Today we continue to explore the Marlborough region. We start our day with a visit to Upton Oaks Garden, a beautiful romantic garden, created from a bare paddock, outside Blenheim. Upton’s showpiece is a knot garden in the style of the 17th century, where box hedges encase beds filled with colourful flowers. Hortensia Garden, the next stop on our program, is the creation of artist Huguette Michel, whose French origins are expressed in the Impressionist inspiration of this lovely garden.

We then break for lunch at ‘La Verandah’ Restaurant. This fine restaurant, located in a huge Victorian villa, is part of Huguette’s husband George Michel’s wine estate. Peter and Andrea Forrest’s Moritaki Garden, situated at the foot of Withers Hills, is the third beautiful garden on today’s program. Dedicated solely to New Zealand natives, it nevertheless was designed by a Japanese gardener to express the traditional Japanese design principles of a water garden, in which a waterfall, stream and pond express the place of water in nature. (Overnight Blenheim) BL

Greymouth, South Island - 1 night

Day 11: Friday 21 November, Blenheim – Punakaiki – Greymouth
  • Pancake Rocks, Punakaiki

Today we drive across the Marlborough Region to Greymouth on the west coast. This is one of the most sparsely populated areas of New Zealand. With the Tasman Sea to the west and the Southern Alps to the east, we will drive through a series of beautiful National Parks to the seaside town of Greymouth where we shall spend the night. We drive through the Mount Richmond Forest Park and the Nelson Lakes and Victoria National Parks to the west coast of the island.

We follow the ‘Coast Road’, one of the most spectacular coastal drives in the world. One of the scenic stops we make during the day will be at Punakaiki where the famous Pancake Rocks are located. These are limestone formations that began forming 30 million years ago, when lime-rich fragments of dead marine creatures were deposited on the seabed, then overlaid by weaker layers of soft mud and clay. The result is a fascinating rock formation that gives the appearance of vertical stacks of thin rocks. (Overnight Greymouth) BLD

Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge, South Island - 2 nights

Day 12: Saturday 22 November, Greymouth – Fox Glacier – Lake Moeraki
  • Fox Glacier Lookout
  • Evening rainforest walk, Lake Moeraki

As we continue our journey south we encounter classic west coast river- and forest scenery, rushing water, impressive bridges and tiny, picturesque towns. Hokitika was first settled in 1860 after the discovery of gold on the west coast. Composed of lovely old buildings, it still has the feel of a frontier town. The road south from Hokitika travels through farmland that constantly threatens to revert to wilderness; the beauty of the region’s rivers is raw and primeval. Continuing south we arrive at Fox Glacier.

Fed by four alpine glaciers, Fox Glacier was named after an early New Zealand Prime Minister, William Fox. At 13kms, Fox Glacier is the longest of the awe-inspiring New Zealand West Coast glaciers. At its head, soaring peaks of over 3,000m dominate the horizon. This mighty moving river of ice falls 2,600 metres, on its journey from the base of the Southern Alps to the West Coast. New Zealand’s West Coast glaciers are unique and probably the most accessible glaciers in the world, as they terminate amongst temperate rainforest just 250m above sea level. So special is this mountain environment, that it forms part of the South Westland World Heritage Area.

We continue south to Lake Moeraki (meaning “to sleep or dream by day” in Maori) in the South Westland, where we spend the night at the peaceful lakeside Wilderness Lodge. It is surrounded by untouched rainforest with stunning views of the snow-capped Southern Alps. Owned by teacher Anne Saunders and biologist Dr. Gerry McSweeney, the lodge was set up to help protect the rainforests and share this extraordinary natural setting with visitors.

This evening we will be treated to a fine meal of whitebait from the river, seafood from the coast, game from the forest and fresh seasonal produce, while enjoying the peaceful view from the lodge’s Riverside Restaurant. The owners will then accompany the group on a short easy after-dinner walk to discover the rainforest at night and see its glow-worms and Morepork owls, as well as the Southern Cross and Milky Way. (Overnight Lake Moeraki Wildnerness Lodge) BLD

Day 13: Sunday 23 November, Lake Moeraki
  • Guided walk – freshwater life of Lake Moeraki
  • Guided walk – rainforest jungle & Fiordland Crested Penguins on Robinson Crusoe Beach
  • Afternoon at leisure

For those who wish, today will begin before breakfast with a short excursion in which a nature guide will introduce to you the freshwater life of Lake Moeraki. You’ll see shrimps, snails, small fish and plankton that are the building blocks of life in the lake. A short walk through the rainforest and you’ll feed a colony of tame giant long finned eels.

After breakfast back at the lodge, there will be a guided walk through the rainforest jungle to the Tasman seacoast, where you’ll encounter Fiordland Crested Penguins on Robinson Crusoe beach. You will pass through a jungle-like temperate rainforest with forest bird life, vines, tree ferns and orchids. You’ll see giant kahikatea, rimu and silver beech. We reach Robinson Crusoe Beach and sit and watch from close up small numbers of Tawaki (Fiordland Crested Penguin) crossing to and from the sea to their rainforest breeding areas and chicks. Note: subject to numbers, there will be a less arduous alternative walk, which is moderately strenuous. After our morning walk we shall have a reviving lunch of soup of the day, fresh foccacia bread, salads and a selection of meats at the lodge. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. (Overnight Lake Moeraki Wildnerness Lodge) BLD

Queenstown, South Island - 3 nights

Day 14: Monday 24 November, Lake Moreaki – Wanaka – Arrowtown – Queenstown
  • Stuarts Garden, Wanaka
  • Arrowtown historic village with Landscape Architect Philip Blakely

This morning we depart Lake Moreaki for Queenstown. After a short drive along the coast, we arrive at a long one-lane bridge and cross over the Haast River into the settlement of Haast. Haast was once a construction camp for the Ministry of Works and it’s a town with a touch of the Wild West. We then leave the coast and drive past waterfalls and river scenery and climb up the Haast river valley to Haast Pass. The road snakes through the Aspiring National Park, and the vegetation becomes sparser as we travel inland.

We shall then skirt the beautiful Wanaka and Hawea lakes to the lakeside town of Wanaka, where we will stop for lunch. We shall also visit Stuarts Garden, developed around the swiftly flowing Bullock Creek which is host to a number of tame trout. The creek edge has been planted with hostas, Japanese and Siberian irises, ferns, peltiphyllum and rodgersias. Rhododendrons flourish in the habitat and are at their best in early November. The garden also boasts hellebores, primulas, meconopsis, fritillarias, paeonies and deciduous azaleas and ornamental flowering trees. Woodland walks leadup to a secluded area with a gazebo and a tunnel house with tomatoes in season, special alpines and other treasures planted in troughs outside. Behind a 100 year old cottage, is a potager backed by climbing roses and beside it a blue and white border of old fashioned flowers which complements the blue and white exterior. Another potager shaped like the sun’s rays, nestles in front. A rock garden leads down to a shade house which contains connoisseur plants. In the afternoon we skirt the Shotover River, Lake Dunstan and the Clutha River to Queenstown.

We will stop at historic Arrowtown, is a New Zealand gold rush town that faces the challenges of increased tourist visitation, development pressure and a desire to retain an historic character. Philip Blakely, a local Landscape Architect very dedicated to the well-being of Arrowtown, will help you explore this enchanting township this afternoon. Philip has worked in Arrowtown for many years and is well aware of these contrasting pressures. Through his own experiences and a presentation from the local National Trust over afternoon tea, Philip will reveal the philosophies that have directed recent works in the town and then lead a fascinating walking tour that not only highlights the excellent work that has been completed but also reveals something of the harsh conditions in which the gold-miners, especially those from China worked, by leading the group to the historic Chinese settlement at Arrowtown. (Overnight Queenstown) B

Day 15: Tuesday 25 November, Queenstown
  • Routeburn Track with Landscape Architect, Philip Blakely
  • Blanket Bay Lodge with Landscape Architect, Paddy Baxter

Today’s tour with Philip will assist you in understanding something of the location of Queenstown and help you to realise why this has become a place of pilgrimage for walkers, skiers and those who simply love the natural world.

Following a drive through breath-taking scenery when Philip will discuss the challenges facing land owners and managers in this area, including the invasion of the land by Gorse and Pines, you will visit the Information Centre at the commencement of the world renowned Routeburn Track. Paths here are well constructed and easy walking and participants won’t have to walk far to enjoy the beauty of the Nothofagus forest with its associated avifauna. Birds here are fearless and you may be surprised to find them pecking at your boots. While binoculars aren’t essential, by having a pair with you you will be rewarded by viewing a wealth of local birds, many of them uncommon elsewhere. A picnic lunch gives time to really appreciate and explore the scenery.

Returning along the Routeburn Road you will re-cross the delta of the Dart River and head back to Glenorchy. Here, we will be met by our second guest Landscape Architect, Paddy Baxter. Paddy is renowned in Queenstown for his dynamic approach to Landscape Design. He has worked on many of the most important sites in the queenstown area and revels in sharing his stories about his work with visitors. He is a most engaging host. Your first visit with Paddy will be to the exclusive hotel at Blanket Bay, booked out in its entirety by Bill Gates for Christmas 2012 and located on a prime position overlooking Lake Wakatipu. The hotel developer has recently begun a housing development in the surrounding hills and Paddy is involved as the Landscape Architect so exploration of recent garden work not only allows you to get a sense of New Zealand garden design at its best but also appreciate a new series of views. Back in Queenstown, Paddy will take us on a walking tour of his own works. The evening is at leisure. You might like to enjoy a visit to the Botanic Gardens directly behind your hotel before heading off for dinner (own expense). (Overnight Queenstown) BL

Day 16: Wednesday 26 November, Queenstown
  • Millbrook Resort, Hills Golf Course and lunch with Paddy Baxter
  • Matakauri Lodge and Remarkables Ski Area with Philip Blakely

Millbrook Resort, a few miles to the north-east of Queenstown is a beautifully planned golfing resort with which Paddy Baxter has been involved since its inception. His work here involves both broad scale and small scale, and while the contrast is significant, it proves Paddy’s ability as a designer. Gardens around individual homes are beautifully detailed and planted to compliment the cluster housing of the architecture. Golf courses abound in this country but the Hills Golf Course is special. Built as a private course with family homes through it, this course has been used for major championships and not only provides for golf but also accomodates a sculpture park. Note especially the roof garden on the club-house that makes it fit so effectively in the landscape.

The rural land between Queenstown and Arrowtown has been subject to considerable development pressure but clear planning guidelines have maintained its rural character. Paddy lives here and will explain the key issues to you on your way to lunch at his home. Views here are fabulous but so too the hospitality in a New Zealand family home. Your last two visits this afternoon are contrasts but remind us of significant aspects of the economy of southern New Zealand. The unique Matakauri Lodge with its contemporary New Zealand landscape design using predominantly native plants is situated on Lake Wakatipu, offering stunning views from every angle of the Remarkables mountain range. Accommodating skiing in New Zealand’s pristine mountain ranges has required considerable skill. Paddy has been involved in this as an ecologist, restoring the landscapes following the implementation of engineering works involved in water storage, sewerage treatment and construction works. Get ready to be chilled at the high altitudes in The Remarkables Ski Area but it is worth it to see a completely different aspect of a Landscape Architect’s work. (Overnight Queenstown) BL

Milford Sound, South Island - 1 night

Day 17: Thursday 27 November, Queenstown – Te Anau – Milford Sound
  • Milford Sound Cruise

This morning we journey along the edge of Lake Wakatipu, through Kingston and Mossburn, to Te Anau, the hub of New Zealand’s fiordland region and the entry point to the Fiordland National Park. Along the way, we shall pass trout fishing rivers and high country scenery, and the small towns of Mossburn and Lumsden.

From Te Anau we continue along the Eglington Valley to the Mirror Lakes, before following the “Avenue of the Disappearing Mountain”, past Cascade Creek and Lake Gunn to The Divide. We drive through the Hollyford Valley to the Homer Tunnel, a man-made tunnel cut out of the rock wall, to emerge into the Cleddau Valley, and on to Milford Sound. This road is one of New Zealand’s most extraordinary. The first part crosses relatively mild farmland, but then we’ll ease into beech forest near the entrance to the Fiordland National Park. The rough-hewn Homer Tunnel brings us into Milford Sound, an amazing twenty-two kilometre long fiord dominated by Mitre Peak (1,692 m).

Just after 4.00 pm we depart for our overnight cruise of Milford Sound on board The Milford Mariner, which offers accommodation in private cabins with en-suite bathrooms. On this luxury vessel, we shall cruise the full length of this spectacular fiord to the Tasman Sea before anchoring for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. As The Fiordland National Park was made a World Heritage Area by the United Nations in 1986, it will not be possible for us to step on land. You may, however, wish to go exploring with the ship’s nature guide in the tender craft and kayaks or simply relax on deck. (Overnight Cruise on Milford Mariner) BD

Queenstown, South Island - 1 night

Day 18: Friday 28 November, Milford Sound – Te Anau – Queenstown
  • Time at leisure in Queenstown
  • Farewell Evening meal at a local restaurant

We disembark this morning and return to Queenstown, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. You may wish to take the opportunity to visit the beautiful Queenstown Botanic Gardens. In the evening we gather for a farewell dinner at one of Queenstown’s fine local restaurant. (Overnight Queenstown) BD

Day 19: Saturday 29 November, Depart Queenstown

Our tour finishes in Queenstown. Those travelling on the ASA ‘designated’  flight will be transferred to Queenstown airport for their flight home to Australia. B



19 Days in New Zealand

A special feature of this tour is our overnight cruise on board the Milford Mariner at Milford Sound and our stay at the Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge set in the untouched rainforest and spectacular beaches of the South West New Zealand World Heritage Area. All hotels are rated 3 or 4-star and are conveniently situated in the city centre. Further information on hotels will be provided in the Tour Hotel List given to tour members prior to their departure.

  • Auckland (4 nights): 4-star Copthorne Hotel – located on the waterfront with views over Waitemata Harbour, and within easy walking distance of many shops, restaurants and bars. www.millenniumhotels.co.nz
  • New Plymouth (3 nights): The Waterfront Hotel – located on the waterfront with unrivalled views of the Tasman Sea, just a stroll away from the central business and shopping district. www.waterfront.co.nz
  • Blenheim (3 nights): Quality Hotel Marlborough, a boutique hotel located within an easy five minute walk from Blenheim’s town centre, in the heart of Marlborough’s supreme wine region, surrounded by the stunning Marlborough Sounds. www.choicehotels.co.nz
  • Greymouth (1 night): 3-star Kingsgate Hotel, a modern hotel located in the city centre.  www.millenniumhotels.co.nz
  • Lake Moeraki (2 nights): 4-star Lake Moeraki Wilderness Lodge – landscaped in a lakeside clearing surrounded by 1000 year old rainforest trees. The lodge offers secluded rooms with private facilities and the ‘Riverside Restaurant’ enjoys peaceful views of the nearby river. www.wildernesslodge.co.nz
  • Queenstown (3 nights): Novotel Gardens, located in the town centre, on the shores of Lake Wakatipu with stunning views across Queenstown Bay to Walter Peak. www.accorhotels.co.nz
  • Milford Sound (1 night): The Milford Mariner cruise ship, with a capacity of 60 passengers, we journey the length of the stunning Milford Sound fiord and anchor for the night in sheltered Harrison Cove. The ship offers twin-bedded cabins with en-suite bathrooms. www.realjourneys.co.nz/Main/MilfordMarinerOvernightCruises
  • Queenstown (1 night): Novotel Gardens, as above. www.accorhotels.co.nz

Note: Hotels are subject to change. In this instance a hotel of similar standard will be provided.

How to book

How to Book

Make a Reservation

Please complete the ASA RESERVATION FORM and send it to Australians Studying Abroad together with your deposit of $500.00 per person in cash or cheque (payable to Australians Studying Abroad). It is important that you read the Terms and Conditions at this stage, and that you sign the reservation form. If you are booking within 80 days of the tour full payment is required. Refund of deposit, less $385.00 service fee ($350.00 + $35.00 GST) per person, will be given when cancellation is made before Friday 18 July 2014. Your deposit is non-refundable after this date. For further cancellation conditions please refer to the section entitled ‘TERMS & CONDITIONS’.

Travel Insurance
  • It is a condition of travel that you are covered by some form of international travel insurance. Note, travel insurance may not cover costs incurred due to a pre-existing illness or other conditions. Your insurance can be arranged through ASA. All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program:
  • a copy of your travel insurance certificate
  • the emergency telephone no. of your insurance company
Passport Details

All participants must provide no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the program a photocopy of the front page of their current passport.

Single Supplement

Payment of the single supplement will ensure accommodation in a single room throughout the tour. The number of single rooms available is extremely limited. People wishing to take this supplement are therefore advised to book well in advance.

Practical Information

Practical Information

The number of flags  is a guide to the degree of difficulty of ASA tours relative to each other (not to those of other tour companies). It is neither absolute nor literal. One flag is given to the least taxing tours, six to the most. Flags are allocated, above all, according to the amount of walking and standing each tour involves. Nevertheless all ASA tours require that participants have a good degree of fitness enabling 2-3 hours walking or 1-1.5 hours standing still on any given site visit or excursion. Many sites are accessed by climbing slopes or steps and have uneven terrain.

This 19-day tour involves:
  • A moderate amount of walking mainly during outdoor site visits, often up and down hills (incl. steep inclines in Mt Egmont National Park) and/or flights of stairs, and uneven terrain along rainforest and lowland forest tracks and across streams and rivers (eg Lake Moeraki, Mt Egmont National Park). You therefore need to be a good walker and be prepared to walk into forested and uneven terrain and surfaces (incl. tracks, boardwalks, bridges and streams)
  • The daily schedule often involves an early-morning departure (between 8.00-8.30am and on some days at 7.00am), concluding in the late afternoon (between 5.30-6.30pm)
Other considerations:
  • 3 to 4-star hotels with six hotel changes and one overnight cruise at Milford Sound
  • Extensive coach travel and long driving distances, which on some days are in excess of 300km (eg. Auckland to New Plymouth on Day 5, Blenheim to Greymouth on Day 11, Greymouth to Lake Moeraki on Day 12; return drive Queenstown to Milford Sound on Days 17 & 18)
  • 1 internal flight from Wellington to Blenheim
  • Coach travelling is often on minor roads. There is also some travel along steep and winding mountain roads (on days we travel along the west coast of the South Island, Milford Sound, Queenstown, Mt Egmont National Park)

It is important to remember that ASA programs are group tours, and slow walkers affect everyone in the group. As the group must move at the speed of the slowest member, the amount of time spent at a site may be reduced if group members cannot maintain a moderate walking pace. ASA tours should not present any problem for active people who can manage day-to-day walking and stair-climbing. However, if you have any doubts about your ability to manage on a program, please ask your ASA travel consultant whether this is a suitable tour for you.

Please note: it is a condition of travel that all participants agree to accept ASA’s directions in relation to their suitability to participate in activities undertaken on the tour, and that ASA retains the sole discretion to direct a tour participant to refrain from a particular activity on part of the tour. For further information please refer to the Terms and Conditions section given below.

Practical Information

Prior to departure, tour members will receive practical notes which include information on visa requirements, health, photography, weather, clothing and what to pack, custom regulations, bank hours, currency regulations, electrical appliances and food. The Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade website has advice for travellers see: www.smartraveller.gov.au

Tour Price & Inclusions

Tour Price & Inclusions

AUD $8690.00 Land Content Only – Early-bird Special: book before 31 March 2014

AUD $8890.00 Land Content Only

AUD $1850.00 Single Supplement

For competitive Economy, Business or First Class airfares and/or group airfares please contact ASA for further information.

Tour Price (Land Content Only) includes:
  • Accommodation in twin-share rooms with private facilities in 3 and 4-star hotels, twin-share cabins on board the Milford Mariner (Milford Sound)
  • Domestic flight New Plymouth – Blenheim in economy class
  • Breakfast daily, lunches/picnics and evening meals indicated in the itinerary, where: B=breakfast, L=lunch/packed picnic & D=evening meal
  • Drinks at welcome and farewell meals.
  • Transportation by air-conditioned coach and cruise as outlined in the tour itinerary
  • Airport-hotel transfers if travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Porterage of one piece of luggage per person at hotels (not at airports)
  • Lecture and site-visit program
  • Tour notes
  • Entrance fees
  • Tips for the coach driver, local guides and restaurants for included meals.
Tour Price (Land Content Only) does not include:
  • Airfare: Australia-Auckland, Queenstown-Australia
  • Personal spending money
  • Airport-hotel transfers if not travelling on the ASA ‘designated’ flights
  • Luggage in excess of 20 kg (44 lbs)
  • Travel insurance.
Tour Map

Tour Map

Terms & Conditions

A deposit of $500.00 AUD per person is required to reserve a place on an ASA tour.

Confirmation of Your Booking

When we have received your reservation form together with the deposit or full payment for the tour, and assuming there is a place available on the tour, we will send you confirmation of your booking and relevant travel details. It is from th­­is moment that a firm contract exists between you and Australians Studying Abroad Pty Ltd (hereafter called ASA) on the basis of this itinerary, together with ASA’s general brochure, and any brochure or itinerary amendments communicated to you, these booking conditions and the travel details sent to you. If a place is not available we will return your payment. ASA does however reserve the right to refuse to accept a booking without necessarily giving a reason.

Cancellation Fees

If you decide to cancel your booking the following charges apply:

  • 18 July 2014 – 76 days prior $500.00 deposit – non refundable
  • 75-46 days prior 25% of total amount due
  • 45-31 days prior 50% of total amount due
  • 30-15 days prior 75% of total amount due
  • 14-0 days prior 100% of total amount due

**This amount may be credited to another ASA tour departing within 12 months of the original tour you booked. We regret, in this case early-bird discounts will not apply. We take the day on which you cancel as being that on which we receive written confirmation of cancellation.

Unused Portions of the Tour

We regret that refunds will not be given for any unused portions of the tour, such as meals, entry fees, accommodation, flights or transfers.

Will the Tour Price or Itinerary Change?

If the number of participants on a tour is significantly less than budgeted, or if there is a significant change in exchange rates ASA reserves the right to amend the advertised price. We shall, however, do all in our power to maintain the published price. If an ASA tour is forced to cancel you will get a full refund of all tour monies paid. Occasionally circumstances beyond the control of ASA make it necessary to change airline, hotel or to make amendments to daily itineraries. We will inform you of any changes in due course.

Travel Insurance

ASA requires all participants to obtain comprehensive travel insurance. A copy of your travel insurance certificate and the reverse charge emergency contact phone number must be received by ASA no later than 75 days prior to the commencement of the tour.

Final Payment

The balance of the tour price will be due 75 days prior to the tour commencement date.

Limitation of Liability

ASA is not a carrier, event or tourist attraction host, accommodation or dining service provider. All bookings made and tickets or coupons issued by ASA for transport, event, accommodation, dining and the like are issued as an agent for various service providers and are subject to the terms and conditions and limitations of liability imposed by each service provider. ASA is not responsible for their products or services. If a service provider does not deliver the product or service for which you have contracted, your remedy lies with the service provider, not ASA. ASA will not be liable for any claim (eg. sickness, injury, death, damage or loss) arising from any change, delay, detention, breakdown, cancellation, failure, accident, act, omission or negligence of any such service provider however caused (contingencies). You must take out adequate travel insurance against such contingencies. ASA’s liability in respect of any tour will be limited to the refund of amounts received from you less all non-refundable costs and charges and the costs of any substituted event or alternate services provided. The terms and conditions of the relevant service provider from time to time comprise the sole agreement between you and that service provider. ASA reserves the sole discretion to cancel any tour or to modify itineraries in any way it considers appropriate. Tour costs may be revised, subject to unexpected price increases or exchange rate fluctuations.

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