Garden Lover's Delight
Duration: 3 1/4 hours
Tour Code: PIC-007
Delight in the botanical bounty of two outstanding private gardens in nearby Blenheim, followed by a stop at a boutique shop that produces handmade chocolates.
Depart from the pier by coach and enjoy a leisurely drive south into the fertile farmland of Wairau Plains, the largest grape-growing area in New Zealand. The rich soil and nurturing climate have also encouraged the growth of fantastic gardens, as you'll soon discover at Upton Oaks in the regional capital of Blenheim.
Designed to harmonize with the property's 1911 Victorian villa, the English-inspired garden was laid out in the late 1980s around a mature walnut tree. The garden now features several separate areas contained within a formal framework of hedges and walls. It's tremendously relaxing to meander along the rose walk, past the painstakingly espaliered fruit trees against the brick walls, and into the 17th century-style knot garden.
Next, you'll visit Hortensia House and its rather free-form flower garden. Many of the flowerbeds are color-coordinated to match the trim on the Victorian-style home. Others are dedicated to bold native species. There's even a Monet-inspired bridge over a stream that sets a tone of serenity and reflection.
The icing on the cake, so to speak, is offered at Makana Confections, one of New Zealand's leading producers of handmade chocolates and other sweet temptations. Here, you'll find classic truffles, macadamia bark, wine gelées and plenty of sugar-free treats. After sampling some of these indulgences, you'll drive back to the pier.
Please note: This tour includes approximately 2 hours of easy to moderate walking/standing. The tour is available to wheelchair guests who have a collapsible wheelchair, are able to make their own way on and off the coach and have an able-bodied companion to assist them. Those with mobility concerns are cautioned to carefully evaluate their personal level of stamina and ability. Weather appropriate clothing; sun cap; sunglasses; and flat, comfortable walking shoes are recommended. The sequence of the tour may vary.