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In late September NSW’s spectacular gardens are at the peak of spring colour – botanic, public and secret private gardens are awash with tulips, azaleas and blossom trees. Our garden tour links all spring flower festivals in the state at that time; Tulip Time Southern Highlands, Floriade in Canberra, Cowra Cherry Blossom and the Leura Garden Festival.
There’s plenty of excitement and scenery along the way from the Southern Highlands, Canberra, Cowra, Orange and Milthorpe and back to Sydney via the beautiful Blue Mountains.
We do it in style with time to enjoy fine food and company of generous garden owners, enjoying morning and afternoon teas in gardens and heritage homes along the way.
Thursday 26 September 2019
Sydney – Bowral (L/D)

Meet your Tour Leader Sandra Ross at Sydney Central Coach Terminal.
Our first garden is a cracker; an inspiration hidden in a beautiful valley just beyond Camden. Mickey Robertson will host our visit of this complex of a kitchen garden, perennial borders, roses and good-looking out houses at historic Glenmore House; followed by lunch in The Loggia. You won’t want to leave. Head off to Bowral and check in to Gibraltar Hotel for 3 nights, a Country Club and Spa. Time to relax before our Welcome Dinner tonight in the hotel restaurant.

Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral

Friday 27 September 2019
Highland Gardens (B)

A treat this morning at The Kaya in Wildes Meadow, where horticultural know-how and exceptional garden design come together. Wander through their low water gravel garden, parterre and meadow garden. It’s stunning, nurtured by a born plantsman, Les Musgrave. Elaine is a fine botanical artist who will show us her studio of incredibly beautiful botanical art. Morning tea will be served in the garden.
It’s Tulip Time in the Southern Highlands, so we’ll tiptoe through Corbett Gardens, then enjoy free time to check out the shops in Bowral. A grand old garden this afternoon, Retford Park, established in 1887 in the English Landscape Style by Samuel Hordern. It was handed to the National Trust by the late James Fairfax with the garden in the caring hands of Rick Shepherd.

Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral

Saturday 28 September 2019
Red Cow Farm (B)

First stop this morning is Red Cow Farm in Sutton Forest. This impossibly beautiful garden is the result of its tender loving care by another consummate plantsman, Ali Mentesh. Ali will show us through the garden and explain its structure of garden rooms that make the design work so brilliantly. You’ll be enchanted and surprised by the Walled Garden, a sanctuary where solitude invites reflection, the exuberant cottage garden and the Monastery Garden. Discover a stunning collection of unusual perennials, old fashioned roses and clematis in the Abbess Garden. Wander through the beech walk, around the lake, through the bog garden, into the orchard and kitchen garden. Time now to relax with free time in Berrima. Afternoon visit to Harper’s Mansion, built by James and Mary Harper soon after 1834, when they bought land in Berrima township. James Harper was the only son of William Harper and Margaret Morgan, both convicts. Local rosarian and consultant, Heather Cant recommended the planting of historic old garden roses. There is now an expanding collection of heritage roses and camellias, fruit and vegetable garden, hazelnut and woodland Walks.

Accommodation: Gibraltar Hotel, Bowral

Sunday 29 September 2019
Bowral – Canberra (B)

Australia’s answer to Keukenhof is our destination this morning as we head into Canberra. With spring blossom overhead and tulips carpeting below, Tulip Top is a celebration of spring, opening for just a month each year. We’ll drive into Canberra and visit an exceptional Aussie garden in Red Hill. Next stop is The Hyatt Hotel for High Tea. Just a glimpse of the Tea Lounge with tables laden with petit fours, scones, macaroons, filo parcels, sandwiches and tiny glasses of white and dark chocolate pannacotta is sheer heaven! Check into the Crowne Plaza in the city centre for 3 nights.

Accommodation:Crowne Plaza, Canberra

Monday 30 September 2019
Floriade (B)

Walking shoes today as we head to Lake Burley Griffin and Commonwealth Park to Floriade. This celebration of spring is counted in flowers: tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, violas, pansies, wallflowers, all colour and fragrance. The four-hectare site is filled with over a million blooms in a variety of themed garden beds designed to fit within an overarching theme each year. The National Arboretum is next, a vision for the future. It’s home to 94 forests of rare, endangered and symbolic trees from Australia and around the world. More than 48,000 trees grow on this 250 hectare (618 acres) site, with species from over 100 countries represented. Located at the western end of Lake Burley Griffin, just six km from the centre of Canberra. This still new arboretum has panoramic views over Canberra, Lake Burley Griffin and beyond. Our guide will board our coach for a guided tour.

Accommodation:Crowne Plaza, Canberra

Tuesday 1 October 2019
Australian National Botanic Garden (B/L)

Start today at Old Parliament House. The Gardens were laid out in the emerging capital of Canberra in the late 1920s and early 1930s, a welcome refuge for parliamentarians, and a pleasant escape from daily debates and party meetings. Maintained for the private use of members and senators, the Gardens contributed to their enjoyment and general well-being over many decades.
The original quadrant layout was established by Robert Broinowski, secretary of the Joint House and Usher of the Black Rod. He sought and obtained permission to start a campaign in 1931 asking Australians to buy roses for the ‘Rex Hazlewood’ garden at a cost of one shilling and fourpence each. The gardens continued for nearly five decades until the opening of the new Parliament House in 1988. After that, these gardens were largely forgotten. In the late 1990s, the National Capital Authority began a major project to return the gardens to their former splendour, conserving the significant heritage value and improving amenities. Next is the Australian National Botanic Gardens with the largest living collection of native flora where we will have lunch. Next stop is the (new) Parliament House (subject to opening times) with a guided tour of its famous, and beautiful, courtyards. These hidden spaces have been carefully designed and planted with a fine selection of trees, shrubs and groundcovers. You have probably seen them on television interviews.

Accommodation:Crowne Plaza, Canberra

Wednesday 2 October 2019
Canberra – Orange (B/L/D)

It’s an enchanting drive this morning as we head for Cowra. Golden canola should be in full flower, fields of it decorating the Lachlan Valley. Lunch today in the Cowra Japanese Garden.
In 1977 world-renowned architect Ken Nakajima was commissioned to design the garden, a copy of the first Japanese landscape garden (strolling garden) built by the first Shogun Tokugawa in the 16th century A.D. The Shogun had the garden constructed from drawings he commanded of Japanese geography from every corner of Japan and thus the garden became a landscape of Japan in miniature. Ken Nakajima, the master of the visual art of Japanese landscape design, followed the principle aspects of Japanese landscape design meticulously and as a result, the Cowra Japanese garden is now a replica in miniature of the landscape of Japan.
The main features of the design incorporate the mountains of Japan, the waterfalls from the mountains that flow into the mountain lakes and from there the water flows into the rivers then the ocean, the hills from the mountains to the ocean are represented by trimmed hedges and the pine trees of Japan are represented throughout the perimeter of the landscape. It has become a visual representation of Japanese landscape design. Before we leave Cowra we’ll visit the site of the former POW camp and the cemetery.
Travel into Orange and check into the de Russie Boutique Hotel for 2 nights. Dinner included tonight.

Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

Thursday 3 October 2019
Millthorpe (B/L)

Learn all about iris this morning at a speciality iris garden in Millthorpe. Crabapples and cherries should be in full flower in this beautiful country garden. Lunch is included today in the heritage town of Millthorpe that has remained unchanged since the 1900s. The whole village is classified by the National Trust. Afternoon visit to Colleen Southwell, The Garden Curator. Underpinned by the “SLOW” philosophy upon which the Slow Food movement has been built, “Slow Gardening” encourages us to savour our gardens, engage our senses throughout the seasons and live in the here and now. There’s lots to learn in Colleen’s garden.

Accommodation: De Russie Suites, Orange

Friday 4 October 2019
Orange – Katoomba (B/L)

We are heading to Katoomba today with a lunch stop in Oberon to visit Mayfield Garden that nestles in a quiet valley in the Central Tablelands of NSW. This large cool climate garden started modestly within a 5000-acre working farm. It’s now huge with a new 6-acre water garden at its heart. We will enjoy our slow guided walk through this landmark garden. Lunch will be included in the cafe. Continue on to Katoomba, check in to the Carrington Hotel for 3 nights.

Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 10
Saturday 5 October 2019
Leura Garden Festival (B)

Today is the opening day of the Leura Garden Festival, we will visit a selection of private gardens opening especially for this nine-day festival.
Free time for lunch in Leura and a chance to visit more open gardens or check out the shops and galleries.

Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 11
Sunday 6 October 2019
Mt Wilson (B/L/D)

Today we will be seduced by the timeless beauty of Mt Wilson and we will fall in love with cool climate gardens here. They possess a majesty, grace and scale that is compelling. Rows of towering evergreens, neatly clipped hedges, clouds of cherry blossom and rhododendrons, crunchy gravel paths, lush lawns and expansive views. They really are rich garden wonderlands.
First stop is Nooroo Garden built and first planted by William Hay in 1880 when Mt Wilson was a ‘hill town’ where the aristocracy could escape the heat of Sydney. It was owned by the Valder family from 1917 to 1992 and most of the structure comes from this period including the famous collection of wisterias, maples and rhododendrons. In recent years it has been expanded by Anthony and Lorraine Barrett who have breathed new life into this famous garden. Lunch included today in another quintessential mountain garden, Windy Ridge, the superb cool-climate garden of Wai and Rodger Davidson.

Accommodation: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba

DAY 12
Monday 7 October 2019
Katoomba – Sydney (B)

Enjoy more Leura gardens this morning including Everglades, constructed in the 1930s by Danish-born landscape gardener Paul Sorensen, a good example of the inter-war period with a fine Art Deco home as its centre. Return back to Sydney Central mid-afternoon.


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Cancellations received 180-120 days prior to departure will incur loss of deposit.
Cancellations received between 119-60 days prior to departure will incur a 50% cancellation fee.
Cancellations received between 59-30 days prior to departure will incur a 75% cancellation fee plus any non-recoverable costs incurred.
Cancellations received within 30 days prior to departure will incur 100% cancellation fee.
Cancellations must be sent in writing.
Cancellation fee is based upon the total amounts paid including tours, airfares and all other travel arrangements.
Please refer to the Ross Garden Tours standard terms and conditions

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  • Air-conditioned motorcoach throughout tour
  • 4 star accommodation for 11 nights with breakfast daily
  • 6 lunches and 3 dinners
  • Entrance fees to all gardens and sightseeing including Glenmore House, Mt Annan Botanic Gardens, Retford Park, Canberra Floriade, The Kaya, Red Cow Farm, Tulip Time Bowral, Corbett Gardens, Harper’s Mansion, Tulip Top, National Arboretum, Australian National Botanic Gardens, Old Parliament House Gardens, Millthorpe Iris Garden, Japanese Garden Cowra, Cowra Cherry Blossom Festival, High tea at the Hyatt Hotel, The Garden Curator Orange, Mayfield Garden, Leura Gardens Festival, Nooroo Garden, Windy Ridge and Everglades.
  • Fully escorted by Sandra Ross

Twin Share per person $4,695 pp
Single Supplement $1,195

All prices in Australian dollars
Prices based on minimum 15 passengers
Price is based on departure


Early Bird discount $100 (Book and pay before 24 May 2019)
Previous Traveller Discount $50
Garden Clinic Member discount $50

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Portugal and the Madeira Flower Festival

Citrus scented streets, Art Nouveau buildings, mosaic pavements, blue/white ceramic tiles (azulejos) decorated walls, arcades, columns and water tanks, marble towns of the Alentejo; all go to make this spring journey through Portugal
and Madeira one to remember. Highlight is Madeira’s famous Flower Festival.

Japan at Cherry Blossom Time

Follow the cherry blossom trail as it blooms across Kyoto, Kanazawa, Nikko and Tokyo on a 14 day tour that takes you inside Japan’s great gardens. Experience a fascinating mix of ancient Zen serenity and modernity that makes Japan
such an exciting cultural destination.

Melbourne International Flower & Garden Show

Stimulate your senses with a dose of botanical inspiration admiring new trends, world-class show gardens and an exhibition hall full of cut flowers. It’s the southern hemisphere’s biggest garden festival. We’ll sample a few of
Melbourne’s flowery and operatic treats on a four-day break.

Gardens of Southern India and Kerala

Our fascination with India continues with this tour of the south, where huge trees provide shade and colour, palaces are luxurious and flowers are abundant. Walk in the footsteps of the Portugese, Dutch and British colonists. Sample
the mouth-watering taste of Kochi with tamarind, coconut and traditional spices. Cruise the palm-fringed watery wonderland of Kerala.

Gardens of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka celebrates 70 years of independence; it’s a cultural and historical hotspot with a written history of 2500 years. Ancient sites are declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Discover this ancient land with
friendly locals, incredible flavours, bustling cities, highland tea and spice plantations, tropical gardens and elephants!