Discover the beautiful country gardens of the Waikato, Hawkes Bay, Northern Wairarapa and Manawatu. Stay in Masterton and Feilding, both winners of town beauty contests, and enjoy the fun of the fair at Cross Hills Gardens.
What Tracy loves about this tour:
We’re following a garden trail along country lanes to discover special historic homes and hidden gems. There’s lots of natural beauty to enjoy – relaxing over a garden lunch with our hosts or wandering the paths at the Cross Hills Gardens Country Fair.
7 Day / 6 Night Tour departing Auckland, Taupo, Masterton, Feilding & Tongariro National Park with a visit to the Cross Hills Gardens Country Fair
We visit renowned Hamilton Gardens including the recent addition, the Mansfield garden. We lunch with Jeanette and Stephen Williams at Moondance Manor in Tamahere and enjoy their expansive garden.
Near Wairakei we call into Linda Peat and Tim Birdsall’s Tullamore Garden where miniature Galloway cattle graze. We stay at the Millennium Hotel & Resort, Manuels on Taupo’s lakeside and dine in tonight.
From Taupo we drive through Hawkes Bay to lunch with Phyllida and Stuart Gibson at Gwavas Homestand and stroll in their garden in Tirokino, first established by the family 120 years ago. In Eketahuna we visit Warren and Robyn Walker’s Braemore Farm Garden where the rhododendrons are in bloom.
We arrive in Masterton and stay at the Copthorne Hotel & Resort, Solway Park, our home for two nights, and dine in this evening.
Day 3: Brancepeth & Te Parae Homesteads, Wainuioru
Masterton is the home of the Golden Shears championship so naturally our first stop this morning is the town's Wool Museum.
We join Edward Beetham for morning tea and a guided tour through his family’s Brancepeth homestead built in the 1850s. We lunch nearby with Angela Williams at Te Parae homestead built in 1905. Te Parae shares family history with Brancepeth and thoroughbred horse breeding is a family tradition. We return to Masterton in the mid afternoon and dine at Solway Park this evening.
We meet Judith Callaghan for morning tea at Dursley garden designed by Alfred Buxton in 1916. From Woodville we climb over the Saddle Road to Te Apiti wind farm where we stop to view the turbines stretching along the ridge.
We lunch in the Giraffe House at Lynne Atkin’s Greenhaugh Gardens, a six star garden of national distinction, where wonderful, lush plantings surround the homestead built in 1874. We stay two nights at South Street West Motel and dine out this evening.
What you'll love today
Cross the Saddle Road and see the Manawatu wind farm
Stroll in Greenhaugh Gardens and lunch in the Giraffe House
We check out the Friday market in Feilding's town square and a local farmer guides us through the historic sale yards where the livestock auction is underway.
At Kairanga we lunch with Kathryn Wells in the Alfred Buxton designed garden, Lansdale, featuring ponds and a grotto and still tended by the original owner's family. We tour to Palmerston North's public gardens then return to Feilding and dine out this evening.
Day 6: Feilding - Cross Hills Gardens Country Fair - Chateau Tongariro
We visit Heritage Park Rhododendron Garden which is maintained by volunteers. At Cross Hills Gardens’ Country Fair 180 stalls showcase unique and New Zealand–made products displayed in Rodney and Faith Wilson’s magnificent 7ha garden of 2000 rhododendrons and azaleas.
In the afternoon we drive the scenic Ruahine Road to Mangaweka and on to Ohakune to stay at The Chateau Tongariro Hotel where we dine in this evening.
What you'll love today
All the fun of the Cross Hills Gardens' Country Fair
Enjoy your last night in style at the Chateau Tongariro