a horticulturist, designer, writer and broadcaster. His recent book, ‘Down-to-Earth Garden Design’ characterizes Phil’s approach to gardening; easy, straightforward and never complicated. Phil is a seasoned traveller too, having travelled extensively across Europe and Asia in search of great sites, great food, great people and of course great gardens. Following short stints in architecture and business and a few years fronting a Sydney rock ‘n’ roll band, he finally succumbed to his true horticultural calling in his late 20’s. In the past 25 years, Phil has contributed to many of Australia’s leading gardening magazines, has written three books for ABC Books and worked as a TV p resenter on channel nine’s Garden Gurus. He is also the host of ABC Radio’s Good Gardening program. Phil is looking forward to meeting you.VIEW ITINERARY
DAY 1 Tuesday 23 May, 2023 Departure
Our holiday begins with our flight to London.
DAY 2 Wednesday 24 May, 2023 London
On arrival we visit the famous Kew Gardens, London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the world’s most diverse collection of living plants and a scientific research centre of international renown. Set on 300 acres, we will discover incredible glasshouses including the iconic Palm House with its exotic rainforest, the Princess of Wales Conservatory that features ten of the world’s climatic zones, and the Waterlily House with its amazing, giant lily pads. We will check into our hotel and the rest of the day will be free for independent activity.
DAY 3 Thursday 25 May, 2023 London
The highlight of our time in London will be an escorted visit to the famous Chelsea Flower Show. Chelsea is the leading event in the English horticultural calendar and boasts amazing displays of the world’s most beautiful flowers and plants. You will see fabulous show gardens specially created by top designers from across the UK and around the world. Phil will ensure that you get the most from this wonderful show. We return to our hotel early afternoon, with an optional drop off at Harrods for those who would like to have time to shop. In the evening we will enjoy a welcome dinner.
DAY 4 Friday 26 May, 2023 London
This morning we will visit Hampton Court Palace and Garden. The Palace offers a fascinating insight into the activities of British monarchs from Henry VIII onwards. The garden is most famous for its Great Vine, planted in 1768, which still produces hundreds of bunches of Black Hamburg grapes each year. The Pond Gardens offer a magnificent display of bedding plants. The newly restored Privy Garden of William III is a spectacular example of baroque design, with parterres, cut work, clipped yews and spring and summer displays of 17th-century plants. We continue with a visit to Raworth’s Garden, a private garden in West London. This is a true collectors’ garden, with perennial borders, a knot garden, bog garden, conservatory and views to a private park. We also enjoy a lovely afternoon tea. In the evening, Phil will meet those wishing to dine with the group.
DAY 5 Saturday 27 May, 2023 London
Today we visit the Royal Horticultural Society Garden, Wisley, one of the world’s great gardens. Wisley Estate was given to the RHS in trust by Sir Thomas Hanbury in 1903. Packed with horticultural inspiration, the garden will capture the imagination with richly planted borders, luscious rose gardens and extraordinary glasshouses which recreate tropical, moist temperate and dry temperate habitats. A centre for horticultural excellence, trials of flowers, vegetables and fruit continue to be some of the principal features of the garden. Several Chelsea Flower Show prize winning gardens are displayed in the grounds. Our visit will be an interesting look at the history of gardening in Britain. The afternoon will be free to explore London. Why not book a show?
DAY 6 Sunday 28 May, 2023 Siena, Tuscany, Italy
Today we fly to Rome. On arrival we travel north to the region of Tuscany for our three night stay in the medieval town of Siena. Famous for its cuisine, art, museums and medieval cityscape, the historic centre has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. On the journey, we visit the magnificent gardens of Villa Lante near Viterbo. This is a classic Renaissance garden in which murmuring water, flashing fountains, shade and sunlight alternate under vast plane trees. The garden has perfect symmetry, organised on four levels along a main axis and emphasied by fountains.
DAY 7 Monday 29 May, 2023 Siena
This morning we visit Villa Cetinale, built in the 15th century by the Chigi family, bankers and money lenders for Popes and English kings. Additions to the original house and garden were carried out by Carlo Fontana, who was a pupil of Bernini. In the gardens are wonderful statues and the Romitorio, a hermitage where monks lived until near the end of the 19th century. Lord Lambton bought Vila Cetinale from the Chigi family in 1977 and since then the gardens have been immaculately restored and enriched. After our garden visit, a local guide will introduce us to the major sights of Siena, including the Piazza del Campo with its splendid civic tower and the enormous, partially completed Duomo. The biennial Palio horse race festival is held here. Siena is also home to the oldest bank in the world and a spectacular town hall.
DAY 8 Tuesday 30 May, 2023 Siena
We travel to visit La Foce, established by the author Iris Origo and her husband Marquis Antonio Origo, on the site of an Osteria. They contacted English architect, Cecil Pinsent in 1927 to help them design their garden. Pinsent planted cypresses and hollies like a frame surrounding the garden. Inside the frame there is an Italian Renaissance garden, a fountain garden, an orangery and an upper flower garden inspired by the planting style of famous English designer, Gertrude Jekyll. We travel to Bagno Vignoni, a small Orcia River valley village, which has long been a favorite among painters and travelers seeking solitude in a beautiful location with time to explore. There, we visit Le Terme, a small family-owned 15th century hotel built by Rossellino as a summerhouse for Pope Pius II, who enjoyed the advantage of the nearby hot mineral springs. For the remainder of the afternoon, we will enjoy free time in Siena.
DAY 9 Wednesday 31 May, 2023 Florence, Tuscany, Italy
We drive through the gorgeous Tuscan countryside to Florence this morning. On arrival we enjoy a walking tour of the historical center of Florence. During our walking tour we will explore Piazza del Duomo, with the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, one of the largest cathedrals in the Christian world. Together with Brunelleschi’s wonderful dome, we see the Campanile and the Baptistry. We also wander through the Piazza della Signoria, which contains the Loggia della Signoria, the Palazzo Vecchio and nearby, the Ponte Vecchio over the Arno River. The remainder of the day is free to explore Florence.
DAY 10 Thursday 1 June, 2023 Florence
This morning we visit Villa Le Balze, an early masterpiece of English architect Cecil Pinsent who designed a Renaissance-style villa set in just over one hectare of garden. The garden was created in 1914 on a very steep site overlooking spectacular views of Florence. To the sides of the house are enclosed formal garden rooms. The lemon garden next to the house has four box-edged lawn enclosures surrounding a circular pool. The formal gardens give way to a Bosco and olive groves. We continue our travel to explore Villa Gamberaia, set in classic olive-grove country. Restored to its 16th century splendour, the garden is small but idyllic. The main terrace is laid out with parterres de broderie and the water gardens are reminiscent of Persian reflecting pools.
DAY 11 Friday 2 June, 2023 Florence
This morning is free to explore Florence. In the afternoon, we visit Villa della Petraia, a Medici property. Bought in 1544 by Cosimo de’Medici, he gave it to his fifth son Ferdinando. On the upper terraces, simple square compartments were lined with dwarf fruit trees, highly prized in Renaissance gardens. In 1864, Florence was adopted as the temporary capital of Italy. Petraia became the royal residence of Emanuele 11 of Savoy, and the garden was changed to suit his taste. Curving flower beds in 19th century style were designed to surround the fountain.
DAY 12 Saturday 3 June, 2023 Como, Italian Lakes
We travel by coach north to Pistoia, an area with numerous wholesale plant nurseries, which specialise in large trees and topiaries. Many of the very advanced specimen trees that feature at the Chelsea Flower show are sourced from these nurseries. Our guided tour of the Vannucci Piante nursery, which exports plants to 48 countries around the world, is a fascinating insight into the business side of horticulture, and some of the specimens will amaze you. We continue our journey to Como situated on gorgeous Lake Como. In the evening Phil will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby.
DAY 13 Sunday 4 June, 2023 Como
A scenic trip along the west shore of Lake Como brings us to the picturesque village of Tremezzo and Villa Carlotta. This elegant 18th century villa has its own landing place on Lake Como and beautiful views over the lake. It was given as a wedding present to Carlotta, Duchess of Saxe-Meiningen, who, with her husband, created the landscaped gardens and began the botanical collection. Around the house, an 18th century formal layout has lemon arbours on the terraces, flower beds, and tall camellia hedges that reflect the architecture. This afternoon, we visit Villa Balbianello, one of the jewels of the lake, located on a small promontory and accessed by boat. Steep steps lead from the landing to an avenue of candelabra-pruned plane trees and the loggia, garlanded with creeping fig. The villa perches high above Lake Como and is filled with an astounding personal collection of furniture and artefacts.
DAY 14 Monday 5 June, 2023 Como
This morning we drive to Stresa, a gorgeous town on the shore of Lake Maggiore. We stop on the foreshore to board our private boat across to Isola Bella, the most spectacular of the Borromean Islands. The magnificent villa is surrounded by one of the most dramatic 17th century gardens in Italy, with 10 terraces rising like a ship’s prow in the reflecting waters of the lake. Masses of roses and perfumed plants set among superb statues and fountains make this a garden to remember. We visit the nearby island Isola Madre, so very different with its lush sub-tropical planting of ornamental trees and shrubs in a parkland style of the early 19th century. Phil will meet those wishing to dine with the group.
DAY 15 Tuesday 6 June, 2023 Como
On boarding our ferry we sail to Bellagio. We will have time to explore the town of Bellagio, nominated as one of the most beautiful villages in the world. Phil will guide us on a visit to the gardens of Villa Melzi. The semi-classical villa stands on the shores of the lake, among gardens studded with an eclectic mix of sculptures, from Egyptian to Roman. We return by ferry to Como. The afternoon will be free for individual exploration.
DAY 16 Wednesday 7 June, 2023 Venice
We depart Como to travel to Verona, the setting for the play Romeo and Juliet, where we stop for lunch at leisure before visiting Giardini di Giusto; one of finest examples of an Italian garden. It was created in the 1400s, with the layout commissioned in 1570 by Gostino Giusti. The garden includes parterres, a hedge maze and many statues. According to legend, if lovers find themselves in the “little labyrinth” they are destined to eternal love! We continue to the Veneto area, before transferring to our hotel in Venice by motor launch. Venice, the capital of northern Italy’s Veneto region, is built on more than 100 small islands in a lagoon in the Adriatic Sea. It has no roads, just canals – including the Grand Canal thoroughfare – lined with Renaissance and Gothic palaces
DAY 17 Thursday 8 June, 2023 Venice
This morning’s guided sightseeing tour of Venice will introduce you to this fabled city. We visit the iconic Piazza San Marco and its grand cathedral; see the Grand Canal, the Doges Palace and the Bridge of Sighs. We will wind our way through the narrow alleyways to the market square of the Rialto and learn about Venice’s history and culture. The rest of the day will be free for independent exploration - perhaps experience a gondola ride or get a bird’s eye view of Venice from one of the belltowers, or just wander the entrancing maze of streets and canals, window-shopping and people-watching. Phil will meet those wishing to dine with the group in the lobby this evening or you may like to take in a concert.
DAY 18 Friday 9 June, 2023 Venice
A day spent exploring some of the beautiful hidden gardens of Venice. We meet our guides, members of the Venice Garden Club, who will provide entry to some very special and beautiful private gardens. The rest of the day is at leisure. Among the many options, there are galleries and museums, a ferry trip to the islands of Murano and Burano, and of course, the countless enticing shops. This evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner to say goodbye to other tour members.
DAY 19 Saturday 10 June, 2023 Departure
Today we transfer to Venice Airport for our return flight to Australia.
DAY 20 Sunday 11 June, 2023 Arrive Australia
The group arrives in Australia and tour arrangements conclude.
|TWIN FARE PER PERSON||SINGLE FARE||PLUS TAXES|
You can stay longer in Europe for minimal cost. Please contact 1800 630 343 for more information.
International touring can involve a considerable amount of walking and stair climbing in the places visited and it is important that all tour participants have a level of physical fitness that allows them to take part in this activity without the need of assistance from others.
Tour Operator: Travelrite International Pty Ltd, License number 30858 (ABN 64 005 817 078) is the tour operator.
Tour Costs: The tour costs are based on airfare, general transport, accommodation costs and foreign exchange rate at 23 March, 2022. Travelrite reserves the right to alter the costs if any of these factors change, giving any passenger that has booked the right to withdraw with a full refund of monies paid or modify arrangements. No alterations to price will be made within 60 days of departure from Australia.
Deposit and Payments: A deposit of $900 per passenger is required at the time of booking. Full payment will be required 62 days before departure of the Garden Tour. A 1.5% administration fee will be charged on payment by credit card.
Air Taxes From Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane as listed in the itinerary. Please contact us for air taxes from different cities. Air taxes are as at 23 March, 2022. If they change due to government and airline charges and currency variations, Travelrite International reserves the right to charge additional amounts.
Cancellation Conditions: * Cancellation conditions don’t apply for clients with future cruise/tour credits. Cruise/tour credits are non-refundable. Cancellations within 62 days of departure will result in the loss of all monies paid. Cancellation outside 62 days from departure will result in a cancellation fee of $900 per person.
Travel insurance is recommended to cover the costs of cancellation fees due to illness, death in family, etc.
All passengers qualify for the 20kg (44lb) free baggage allowance. Due to coach restrictions, tour members can only bring one large suitcase.
Minimum Tour Numbers and Conditions:
The tour has been priced on the basis of a minimum number of passengers having booked 60 days prior to departure. Travelrite reserves the right to cancel the tour, giving a full refund of all monies paid or offer arrangements to proceed with the tour at a modified cost. Travelrite reserves the right to change advertised entrances if necessary for the smooth operation of the tour.
The tour is based on arrangements that do not allow for any refunds in respect to sightseeing, accommodation, meals, airfare or other services not utilized after the tour has commenced.
Children under 5 years of age are ineligible on coach & cruise tours. Children under 18 years of age must be accompanied by an adult. Passengers with disabilities are welcome on Travelrite & Cruise Offers tours provided they are accompanied by a companion capable of providing all necessary assistance, and do not require special assistance from Travelrite & Cruise Offers personnel. Travelrite and Cruise Offers reserves the right to refuse to carry anyone if it is felt the individual cannot cope with the requirements of coach & cruise tour travel and who may require services and facilities that Travelrite & Cruise Offers cannot guarantee will be available. You agree to not hold the Travelrite & Cruise Offers responsible for any decision made by any of them or any service provider to refuse to carry you, provide any facilities or accommodation to you or to provide any service to you.
All passengers will require a valid passport. Visas for countries visited are not required for Australian passport holders. If you hold another passport please check with Travelrite.
Responsibilities: Travelrite International Pty Ltd is the tour organiser. Travelrite International Pty Ltd, it’s agents, officers, affiliates, and/or suppliers of services pursuant to or in connection with these fly/stay holidays shall act only as agents in making arrangements for hotels, transportation including transportation by ship, restaurants, or any other service and do not assume any liability whatsoever for any injury, damage, death, loss, accident or delay to person or property due to an act of negligence or a default of any hotel, carrier restaurant company or person rendering any services included in fly/ cruises, or by act of God. Further no responsibilities are accepted for any damage or delay due to sickness, pilferage, labour disputes, machinery breakdown, quarantine, government restraints, weather, terrorism or other causes beyond their control. No responsibility is accepted for any additional expense, omission, delays, re-routing or acts of any government authority. Baggage is at owners risk throughout the fly/cruise/stay holiday. The passage contract between the carriers concerned when issued shall constitute the sole contract between the carriers and the purchasers of these fly/stay holidays and/or the passengers. The right is reserved to withdraw any fly/stay holiday and/or make such changes in the fly/stay holidays as may be found desirable or necessary for the convenience of the parties and the proper carrying out of the fly/stay holiday. This contract shall be construed in accordance of the laws of the State of Victoria, Australia. Attention is also directed to the terms and conditions of NCL Cruises passage contract, detailed at the NCL Cruises website.
Delays and unforseen events::
You engage Travelrite to book this tour on your behalf and you acknowledge that Travelrite acts as your agent for the purpose of making contracts between you and the various providers of accommodation, transportation and other services that comprise the tour. Travelrite may without reference to you provide or make available to you, or may as your agent engage any third party to provide or make available to you, any good or service which Travelrite reasonably believes is necessary for your benefit to maintain the tour itinerary, repatriate you or otherwise accommodate, transport or sustain you in circumstances in which the tour itinerary fails wholly or partly for any reason. You appoint Travelrite your attorney for this purpose. You agree to pay Travelrite any cost thereof and you indemnify Travelrite in respect of any cost it incurs in this regard. Travelrite advises you to obtain travel insurance generally including in respect of the risk that any such good or service may become required.
Travel Vaccination Policy:
The wellbeing of our guests is our top priority. All guests booked to travel internationally with Travelrite International are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, which may include a booster shot to keep it current and valid.
How to Book: Bookings can be made by sending full names and addresses of intending tour members with a deposit of $900 for the Garden Tour.
Travelrite International Pty Ltd
423 Whitehorse Road Balwyn, Victoria 3103
Further information or a booking form can be obtained by telephoning Travelrite International on the following numbers:
About Travelrite International: Travelrite International Pty Ltd (ABN 64 005 817 078) is a well-established travel company which has been marketing throughout Australia for over 38 years and operating in Victoria for more than 40 years. It has an ATAS accredited offices at Balwyn, which is also accredited with IATA. As such they directly represent the major airlines of the world and all major domestic and international hotel, tour and transport operators. Travelrite International Pty Ltd is a full member of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents – AFTA.
“The whole tour was wonderful and the group was a good mix of personality. The gardens visited were interesting and varied.”
“Very enjoyable. Good mix of people in the group.”