Monday October 30, 2017
This afternoon we board Celebrity Solstice for our garden cruise to New Zealand. Meet Deryn on deck to enjoy spectacular views as we cruise Sydney Harbour and out through Sydney Heads.
Tuesday October 31, 2017
The morning will be free to explore the ship. In the afternoon, join Deryn Thorpe for a game of Garden Trivial Pursuit. We will divide the group into teams to compete in answering garden questions. This is a great way to meet your fellow group members and there will be prizes for the winners. We will enjoy a drinks party this evening to formally meet Deryn Thorpe and other tour members.
Wednesday November 1, 2017
This morning we arrive in Melbourne and travel by our private coach to the Dandenong Ranges to visit two exceptional gardens. We first visit Cloudehill, where a maze of stone walls and jewel-like garden rooms are set within woodlands of historic cool climate trees. After lunch in Olinda, we travel to the home garden of Phillip Johnson. Phillip’s spectacular design for Fleming’s Nurseries won Best Garden in Show at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2013. His gorgeous home garden has a sustainable billabong that doubles as a chemical-free swimming pool. Beautifully positioned walkways meander through the garden, featuring many indigenous plants.
Thursday November 2, 2017
We have a free day at sea today to enjoy the many facilities and activities aboard the ship. In the afternoon, Deryn Thorpe will give a talk on her career in horticulture and the media, and answer any questions you might have.
Friday November 3, 2017
Today you are free to enjoy some of the many activities available aboard Celebrity Solstice. Why not enjoy a spa or massage in the Wellness Centre, take a relaxing swim, an exercise class at the gym or play quoits or lawn bowls on the grass area.
Saturday November 4, 2017
Fiordland National Park, NZ
Nothing can prepare you for the majesty of Milford Sound, star of Fiordland National Park. New vistas mesmerise at each turn, towering Mitre Peak, rising 1692 metres above the sound, plunging waterfalls, bottlenose and dusky dolphins, fur seals and Fiordland crested penguins are among the wonders in this place of outstanding natural beauty. Sometimes called 'The Sound of Silence', there is a cloistered serenity within Doubtful Sound that contrasts with Milford Sound. At 40 kilometres long and eight across at its widest point, Dusky Sound is one of the largest and most complex fiords in the area. Dusky Sound was discovered and named by Captain Cook in 1773, who originally called it Dusky Bay, because of its sombre aspect.
Sunday November 5, 2017
Arriving at Port Chambers this morning, we’ll be met by our private coach to travel to the city of Dunedin. Originally founded by Scottish settlers and known as the Edinburgh of the South, it features beautifullypreserved buildings overlooking parklands. We will visit the Glenfalloch Woodland Garden, situated in a fertile coastal valley above the harbour. Originally developed by Philip Brady in 1917, it has a collection of superb European trees from 1872, under planted with azaleas and rhododendrons. Fuchsias and native ferns grow luxuriantly beside Russell Creek. Returning to Dunedin, we visit the historic, Jacobeanstyle Olveston House, containing a treasure trove of art and antiques, set in four hectares of garden.
Monday November 6, 2017
Today we call in to the pretty village of Akaroa. Originally founded by the French, it’s a delightful town still retaining the French ambience We visit Coombe Farm, a working eight hundred and fifty sheep farm in the Takamatua valley. The garden is in a beautiful setting surrounded by hills strewn with native trees and bush, abundant bird life, creeks and a waterfall. At Potter’s Croft, we explore 1.2 hectares of gorgeous private country garden next to a gently flowing stream. There are roses everywhere, mixed with lush lawns, trees, wisteria and scented white Azores jasmine.
Tuesday November 7, 2017
Arriving in Wellington, the nation’s capital, we enjoy a private sightseeing tour of the main city sights, including the Houses of Parliament, known locally as the Beehive. At Mount Victoria, there are breath-taking, 360-degree views of the city, and we also visit the Wellington Botanic Garden, famous for its rose garden and begonia house. In the afternoon we travel to Masterton, where we experience a very different garden, Assisi. It is in a stunning location on the side of a hill, with wonderful views over the Wairarapa landscape from the architect-designed house. The dynamic owners made a decision to concentrate on natives to suit the climate, and have planted hundreds of grasses, flaxes, renga lilies and cabbage trees.
Wednesday November 8, 2017
A day free to explore the ship. Why not have a swim or a massage. In the afternoon we will have Garden Trivial Pursuit led by Deryn Thorpe with questions based on the gardens we have explored over the past nine days. We will divide the group into teams with prizes for the winners.
Thursday November 9, 2017
We dock in Tauranga and travel to Rotorua to visit two gardens today. The 12 hectare Tikiteret garden, developed since 1987, incorporates a natural stream, established trees and bog plants including hostas, iris and primulas. Bridges cross the stream, which is lined with a collection of Japanese maples and cherry trees, while azaleas and rhododendrons cover the slopes beyond. We travel on to visit Miller’s garden, a private, well-established garden with many interesting features.
Friday November 10, 2017
Bay of Islands
Our final stop is the spectacular Bay of Islands, one of the most historic areas in New Zealand and comprising of 150 scenic islands. We will have a sightseeing tour to Waitangi, including the Treaty House where the treaty between settlers and Maoris was signed in 1840. In the Treaty Grounds, as well as stands of historic native trees, there is a small semiformal garden planted to suit the period. Don’t miss seeing one of the world’s largest carved war canoes. We will enjoy a drinks party before dinner to say goodbye to our superb ship and cruise.
Saturday November 11, 2017
This morning we arrive in Auckland, the largest city and commercial centre of New Zealand. After disembarking we enjoy a morning sight-seeing tour of the city, which takes in the main sights of Auckland, including the Harbour Bridge, spanning the beautiful Waitemata Harbour and the quaint and stylish shopping area of Parnell. At Ayrlies Garden, created from 1964 by Beverley and Malcolm McConnell, gardening is an art form. Covering 4.5 hectares, it is one of New Zealand’s finest and bestknown gardens, incorporating three large ponds, cascading waterfalls, a rose garden, rockery, meadow garden and the stimulating “lurid border”. There’s also an adjoining 14ha wetlands reserve. This is a superb garden which is considered to be the best garden in New Zealand. We will then be transferred to our hotel.
Sunday November 12, 2017
This morning we are transferred to the airport for flights back to Australia