Spring Gardens of Victoria
In the springtime, joyous blossoms bedeck the charming towns of rural Victoria and the gardens of Daylesford and Mount Macedon.
In Mount Macedon, visit a selection of private gardens, including Bolobek, regarded by many as one of the finest private gardens in Australia, a Mediterranean garden inspired by the Greek islands, and gracious 19th century established gardens.
Gain special access to the private gardens of Daylesford, visiting the iconic Stonefields, the creation of Australia’s most famous landscape designer, Paul Bangay, and the home garden of Simon Griffiths, principal photographer of Bangay’s designs. Along the way, enjoy the wholesome country cuisine, quaint traditional antique shops and specialist nurseries for which rural Victoria is renowned.
Note: At time of publication (February 2018) most but not all garden visits were confirmed. Private owners, in particular, are reluctant to commit more than 2 to 3 months prior to visit. Therefore, while we undertake to operate the tour as published, there may be some changes to the itinerary.
Meet Julie and fellow travellers at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at the Russell Court entrance at 10:00am. (Russell Court is an extension of Russell Street at the rear of Federations Square.) Renaissance Tours or your travel agent can assist you with your travel arrangements.
Depart Melbourne for The Cottage at Bolobek, considered one of the finest private gardens of Australia. Once the home of Lady Joan Law-Smith, the walled rose garden, ornamental lake, woodland and crab-apple walk are some of the delights hidden within Bolobek’s garden spaces. Enjoy an introduction and tour of the garden, followed by lunch with a selection of produce from Bolobek’s veggie patch.
Next, travel to Tugurium, the home garden of Stephen Ryan, former host of ABC’s Gardening Australia. An acre of woodland plantings, the garden features a collection of rare and unusual plants, along with ‘Cluckingham Palace’ – a residence for the ducks and chickens. In the afternoon, check in to your hotel, and later enjoy a special welcome dinner.
Start today with a visit to Ard Choille Heritage Gardens. Its exotic trees and shrubs encapsulate the atmosphere of a 19th century garden, with its notable inclusion of a rare 19th century metal shade house.
Following a tour of the gardens, enjoy lunch in the Gardens of Tieve Tara. With a fern glade, rose arbour, and two lakes complemented by a Monet-styled bridge, the garden foliage and flowers present a vibrant display of spring colours.
After lunch, depart for the private gardens of Dreamthorpe, with its romantic surroundings of elegant oak trees, wisteria and a secluded lake. Arrive back at your hotel for a late afternoon wine tasting in the on-site cellar. Later, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant in Lancefield, a village in the Macedon Ranges where pastoral heritage charm blends with a lively arts scene.
After breakfast, travel to the formal gardens of Sunnymeade, the 2017 winner of a Melbourne Cup Australian gardens competition. Explore its unique garden rooms, which includes a Persian-styled garden and Gothic-style building, and find a collection of rare and unusual perennials in Sunnymeade’s small nursery.
Continue to Swettenham Stud at Nagambie, located on the Goulburn River, for a tour of the gardens and the surrounding buildings.
Spend a morning at the local Lancefield farmers’ market, discovering local produce, plants and crafts.
Next, have a picnic at Hanging Rock, made famous as the setting of the 1975 film, with a walk around the unusual rock formations, created by years of erosion on this extinct volcano.
In the afternoon head to Chapman Hill Olives for a visit of the working olive grove and gardens.
Check out from your hotel for an exploration of The Garden of St Erth, where over 3,000 plant varieties with a focus on drought tolerant flowers are showcased, along with the garden’s Diggers Club nursery. Travel to Lavandula Swiss Italian Farm for lunch and a tour of the historic 1850s stone farmhouse.
Later, visit Newlyn Antiques, with its vast collection of pottery, glassware, jewellery and furniture spread across three 19th century buildings. Nestled between, amongst landscaped grounds, is Newlyn’s cottage nursery specialising in Heritage varieties of irises, apples and pears.
This morning, depart for The Garden of Lixouri and Hedgehogs garden, with a photo stop en route at the Malmsbury viaduct. Rarely open to the public, Lixouri’s Mediterranean-style garden combines an established olive grove with soft flowering natives. Next door, the private garden of Hedgehogs features rambling roses, soft garden paths and cottage plantings.
After lunch, explore the township of Castlemaine at leisure, with its historic ‘Gold Rush’ streetscape, before returning to Hepburn Springs.
Begin today with a morning at leisure in the town of Daylesford, known for its historic streetscapes, art studios, cosy cafés and boutique stores.
Then head to Lambley Nursery, where a featured range of frost-hardy plants are world renowned for their sustainability and dry climate aptitude. Return to your hotel, stopping en route for a visit to Overwrought Garden Art store, for a wander through their garden filled with local art and metalwork designs. Arrive in the late afternoon in time for optional spa treatments (additional cost). Dinner at a local hotel.
Today, visit the private garden Meadowbank, owned by photographer Simon Griffiths, known for his images in cooking and gardening books by Maggie Beer and Paul Bangay. Travel to Rosebery Hill for a tour of the gardens, which include a quirky topiary, an avenue of poplar trees, rare plants and a century-old Cork Oak.
Explore the Kyneton Botanic Gardens at leisure and then visit the private garden of Scotsman’s Hill, an acre of winding garden sitting atop an old bluestone quarry with views across the countryside.
Travel this morning to Stonefields for a tour of this garden led by its creator and famed landscape designer Paul Bangay.
Explore the gardens at The Convent Gallery in Daylesford, with its unique art pieces hidden amongst the greenery. Then, wander through the Wombat Hill Botanic Garden at leisure, established in the 1860s atop Daylesford’s extinct volcano, with views across the Macedon Ranges countryside.
In the evening, celebrate the conclusion of the tour with a farewell dinner with Julie and fellow travellers.
Check out from the hotel and return to Melbourne.
Tour arrangements conclude either upon arrival at Melbourne airport at 11:00 for flights departing from 13:00 onwards, or in Melbourne city at midday.
*Single travellers may request to share.
Please advise at time of booking.
Final payment due
07 September 2018
Please see booking conditions for fitness level definitions
Please contact Renaissance Tours for current airfares and flight reservations
Tour price includes
- Accommodation in superior hotels with private facilities and breakfast daily (B)
- Meals as per itinerary (L = Lunch, D = Dinner), including wines with dinners.
- Comfortable air-conditioned coach transport throughout
- Comprehensive sightseeing, including local guides and entrance fees as per itinerary
- Airport transfer on departure in Melbourne
- Gratuities for local guides and drivers
- Hotel porterage
Tour price does not include
- Flights to/from Melbourne
- Airport transfer on arrival in Melbourne
- Items of a personal nature (e.g. telephone, laundry, mini-bar, taxis etc.)
- Travel insurance (recommended; please contact Renaissance Tours or your travel agent for assistance)
Lancefield – Grange Cleveland Winery ****
Hepburn Springs – Grange Bellinzona ****
NB. Hotels of a similar standard may be substituted