Early Bird Pricing

Heritage and Gardens of Inland Canterbury 2019

17 -23 November 2019

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Double or Twin Share $2,180.00

No. of people

Single Accommodation $2,660.00

No. of people

Deposit to confirm booking $320.00

Early Bird Pricing Ends: 31 Jul 2019

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Spring is the time to join us on another great South Island adventure.

We discover grand homesteads that were once a part of extensive early Canterbury station holdings, through to modest colonial dwellings, and cute country churches.  From gorgeous country gardens bursting with spring colour, to sweeping arboretums with trees over 150 years old and a story of their own to tell.


Double or Twin Share   $2220.00

Single Accommodation $2700.00

Early Bird discount $40.00 * Applies to all bookings made before 31 July 2019 

Day 1

Sunday 17 November - Travelling to Blenheim

Sailing South

A leisurely start this morning as we are transferred to Wellington and meet at the ferry terminal for an afternoon sailing across Cook Strait to Picton (lunch at own expense enroute). Upon arrival we travel the short journey to our Blenheim accommodation, where dinner awaits us

Day 2

Monday 18 November - Blenheim to Methven

Coastal Panoramas

Departing Blenheim this morning, we make our way down the Coastal Pacific Highway, through the spectacular reshaped landscapes of this area. We will stop for a morning cuppa at Kaikoura, with lunch today a picnic at Cathedral Cliff Garden at Gore Bay on the North Canterbury Coast. After lunch we enjoy a wander of this two hectare garden “on the edge of the world”. The frost-free climate allows a wide variety of plants to flourish, and rhododendron enthusiasts will love the range of species, all perched on a cliff top looking out to the Pacific Ocean.

This afternoon we continue our travels south through the Canterbury countryside to our destination of Methven. Checking in to our hotel there will be time to relax and settle into our new surroundings before dining in tonight.

Day 3

Tuesday 19 November - Hororata Heritage

Our introduction to the homes and gardens of Inland Canterbury begins today in the Hororata area, a rural district located on the fertile terraces of the Rakaia River.

Our first visit this morning is the St Johns Churches (there are two) in the Hororata Village. The first St Johns was built in 1875, a small wooden church which still stands, although relocated across the road to make way for a grander stone church. This is a category two listed heritage building, though significantly damaged in the 2010 earthquakes. Our next visit is Fairview, a cob hut and a two-storey cottage built in the 1860’s and surrounded by charming gardens. Our lunch stop today is at Homebush Station. Homebush is a working farm that has been in continuous ownership by the Deans family since it was first taken up in 1850. A cluster of heritage farm buildings remain on the property and provide a link to the earliest European settlement of the Canterbury Plains. Learn about the story of the Deans family, from pioneering days through to the present, including the devastating effects of the 2010 Christchurch earthquake.

Day 4

Wednesday 20 November - A Wander around Windwhistle and Whitecliffs

This morning we visit Rockwood Station, another of the early Canterbury runs.

We learn the history of this property and enjoy a guided woodland walk to historic grave sites. Morning tea is served here before we move on to The Point Station, an historic farming property at Windwhistle. Over lunch with the owners, we will learn about the property, with a glimpse into the original homestead. After lunch we can take a stroll around the large country garden, cleverly landscaped and featuring a stunning rhododendron collection, along with heritage trees that were planted 150 years ago.

This afternoon we make our way to Whitecliffs, where we visit heritage listed Steventon Homestead. This was the New Zealand home of Lady Barker from 1865-1868, and is featured in two of her books “Station Life” and “Station Amusements”. Tucked into the hills and surrounded by mature trees, the house has retained many of its original features, and the owner will reveal its colourful history. Making our way back to our Methven hotel, we enjoy relaxed dining in house again this evening.

Day 5

Thursday 21 November - Mount Somers and Surrounds

This morning we visit Coniston Garden near Methven.

Coniston is a large country garden, with woodland area, formal gardens and a lake. There are many rare and mature trees, some planted in the 1870’s, as well as hundreds of rhododendrons and camellias that feature at this time of year. Also of interest is the Coniston Motor Garage – a collection of vintage and classic cars, and the Granary museum – a collection of farm machinery and memorabilia.

Lunch today is at Stronechrubie Country Restaurant, located at Mt Somers and featuring delicious cuisine from locally sourced produce.

This afternoon we visit Rangiatea Station at Mt Somers. Rangiatea is a perendale sheep stud, but the owners have created a beautiful garden around the homestead, and they have also crafted gorgeous jewelry from deposits of agate quarried on the property. A gallery displays an amazing collection of agate rock along with the jewelry range. Our final visit today is Surrey Hills Station where we enjoy a tour of this large garden, which features a magnificent rhododendron collection, along with lush perennial borders and sweeping lawns, overlooked by a magnificent Heathcote Helmore designed house. Returning to Methven we dine in once again.

Day 6

Friday 22 November - Travelling to St Arnaud

Old Fashioned Treasures at Oxford

This morning we make our way inland on the Scenic Inland Highway to Oxford, where we stop to visit Ribblesdale Garden, an enchanting garden full of surprises, as you move from one landscaped area to the next. A small plant nursery accompanies the garden, specialising in what the owner describes as “old fashioned treasures”. Devonshire teas will complete our visit and see us on our way to Hanmer Springs, our lunch stop today (own expense). This afternoon we continue our journey over the scenic beech forested landscapes of the Lewis Pass to the village of St Arnaud, where we enjoy our final night appreciating the peace and solitude of the Nelson Lakes area.

Day 7

Saturday 23 November - Home We Go

With a more leisurely start this morning, and a short sight-seeing tour of St Arnaud Village and lovely Lake Rotoiti, we travel the short distance down the Wairau Valley to Blenheim and on to Picton.

Lunch today is in Picton (own choice and expense) prior to departing on our afternoon sailing returning us to Wellington. Finally we bid our fellow travellers goodbye before being transferred to our home locations.

The cost of the tour includes

  • Accommodation
  • 2 course or buffet dinners
  • Breakfasts
  • Morning teas on most travelling days
  • All coach travel
  • Interislander Ferry transfers
  • Picnic Lunch Day 2
  • Entry to Cathedral Cliffs Garden
  • Visit St Johns Church(es) Hororata
  • Visit Fairview Cottage
  • Lunch and tour Homebush Station
  • Garden, homestead and heritage tour of Terrace Station
  • morning tea and heritage tour of Rockwood Station
  • Garden tour and lunch, Point Station
  • Heritage tour, Steventon Homestead
  • Garden, museum and morning tea at Coniston Garden
  • Lunch at Stronechrubie Country Restaurant
  • Entry to Rangiatea Garden
  • Entry to Surrey Hills Garden
  • Entry to Ribblesdale Garden with Devonshire Tea

Departure Detail

Thanks to you and your team for all of the help yesterday at Toast Martinborough. Very much appreciated! - Jasmine Novak