Escorted by C. Colston Burrell
New Zealand is a dramatic constellation of islands in the South Pacific, note for rugged beauty, fine wine, and a storied gardening tradition. Two large islands define the country, offering complex coastline fiords, glaciers, and sun-kissed beaches. Fertile green fields, deep lakes, active volcanoes and snow-capped peaks dominate the interior.
Featuring stops on both the North and South Islands, this tour provides a perfect blend of gardens, culture and cuisine. "Kiwis” are known for their sophisticated garden culture, and our itinerary includes a wide variety of both private and public gardens—each magnificent in its own way.
As New Zealand’s first gardeners, the Māori grew and bred many significant edible crops in large communal gardens, particularly kumara (a type of sweet potato), taro, yam and Pacific cabbage tree. The British introduced a new gardening tradition to the islands, which has prospered and diversified over the last 200 years. The North Island has a cool subtropical climate while the South Island is more temperate, so expect to see a diversity of plants and garden styles.
Traditional larger gardens and public gardens in the cooler-climate south tend to echo British and European styles with hedges, perennial and shrub borders, roses, ornamental conifers, lawn and deciduous trees. Large estate gardens have significant collections of rhododendrons, roses, iris and exotic conifers.
Many of New Zealand’s ornamental native plants have always been popular in gardens, such as pōhutukawa, kōwhai, cabbage tree, flax and tree ferns and there is a growing interest in using native plants in modern style and designer gardens. Several of New Zealand's native plants have become important ornamental plants around the world, especially flax, hebe, cordyline, carex, pittosporum and corokia.
In addition to gardens, we plan to visit many natural wonders, such as spectacular Milford Sound, bird watching and nesting sites, Queenstown lakes, the volcanic and thermal areas, as well as places to experience the indigenous Māori culture.