Guests and host Ian enjoying lunch in the garden at Akaunui in Canterbury

Privately hosted lunches in homes and gardens

MoaTours’ home hosted lunches are well off the beaten track and offer a chance to get to know  country Kiwis. They’re so friendly and welcoming, it’s like lunching with family. 

Our guests always tell us these visits are a particularly memorable part of their tour.

Crosshills Farm, Waikato

The whitish-grey, stone homestead complete with dormer windows, French doors, wooden framing and exposed outside beams might have you thinking you’ve somehow arrived in the French Provence.  Wander under arches, through old iron gates and past ivy covered wooden posts in this garden of nooks and crannies.  Click that camera! 

  • Crosshills is located at 168 Ellis Road, Kio Kio, Waikato, not far from Otorohanga. 
  • With views of rolling, grassed hills beyond you’ll be tempted to walk further, watched by inquisitive Jersey cows, along peaceful walkways. 
  • Your hosts are Debbie and Fraser Robertson. 
  • The English-style garden was designed by Debbie’s mother-in-law, Elizabeth Robertson. 
  • Don’t miss the skinny tower folly constructed of stones, with a roof that resembles a magician’s hat.   
  • The home-cooked lunch may include ham, salads, ice cream and fruit accompanied by local wine. 

Visiting Crosshills Farm with MoaTours

We’ve been visiting Debbie and Fraser for years now and wouldn’t think of going anywhere else in that part of the country. All of the following tours stop in and say hello!

Bridge to Nowhere & Forgotten World 

Country Roads & Cross Hills Gardens Fair

Carmel Farm, King Country

You’ll feel welcome at this rural 840 hectare King Country holding which farms sheep, beef and dairy cows.  The nearest neighbour is the distant Piopio Berry Orchard where rows of raspberry, blueberry and strawberry plants stretch out.   

  • Located on State Highway 3, Piopio, Waikato (19km south of Te Kuiti in the Waitomo District) 
  • The lovely English-style garden, with flower beds, looks out over a tranquil limestone, grass-covered valley that dips and rolls with stands of mature trees in a multitude of green hues.  It’s like a scene from Lord of the Rings.  
  • You’ll be hosted by Denzil and Rachel Anselmi.   
  • Denzil is the grandson of the original farm settlers who arrived from the UK in 1931. Dine in the house built by them in 1940, beautifully renovated by Denzil and Rachel, who herself, emigrated from the UK. 

Visiting Carmel Farm with MoaTours

Guests always enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch with seasonal produce, it’s easy to tell Rachel loves cooking. We enjoy Rachel & Denzil’s hospitality on our:

Taranaki Rhododendron Gardens tour

Rangimarie, Anaura Bay on the East Cape

Given you won’t be visiting at the height of summer, the best beach (according to some) on the North Island’s East Coast, overlooked from the 3 hectare Rangimarie property, will probably be deserted. It’s bordered by the Anaura Bay Scenic Reserve, 225 hectares of bush and scrub covered ridges including Puriri trees.  So much greenery, so much sea.   

  • Located at 930 Anaura Road, Anaura Bay, East Coast, Rangimarie is approximately 70km north of Gisborne. 
  • Soak up sensational views of the golden sand, horseshoe-shaped Anaura Bay. 
  • Nothing is too much trouble for host, Judy Newall. 
  • A plaque on grass above the beach marks the second landfall Captain Cook made in New Zealand. Descendants of the famous Maori chief, Hauiti, lived in the area in the 17th Century.  You might even spot the rare, painted meeting house at Anaura Marae on the way past. 
  • After walking through the gardens, where a Balinese-style sleeping platform, outdoor bath and shower, and sauna are nestled in native bush, wander down the steps to the beach.   
  • The sea air will have you devouring a home-made lunch, served on the garden terrace. 

Visiting Rangimarie with MoaTours

Given its unique location, there’s only one tour we visit Judy’s and that’s our amazing East Cape Caper tour.

Moondance Manor, Waikato

Like our hosts Stephen and Jeanette, who’ve been at this tranquil property bordering the Waikato River since 2006, you’ll want to stay longer at Moondance Manor. The arts and crafts décor is homely, the garden smells heavenly.  

  • Moondance Manor is located at 115 Te Awa Road, Tamahere, between Hamilton and Cambridge. 
  • A manor needs an English garden right?  This one has numerous colourful flowerbeds, native and exotic trees, and stretches of lawn and hedging. 
  • Jeanette and Stephen Williams will host you. 
  • You’ll think the two-storey Edwardian Manor house is historic, but building only finished in 1995! 
  • Lunch gets walked off on a garden ramble discovering the themes and structure of the garden with Jeanette and Stephen.  A croquet lawn, terraced lawns leading down to the river, a sports lawn and a private woodland garden with lots of secluded spots.  And a pond with its own island!   
  • You won’t be going hungry with the finger-food luncheon including mini croissants, tarts, kebabs, sandwiches, cream scones and fresh fruit. It’s all locally supplied and in good weather it’s lovely eating out on the terrace.  Save room… there’s dessert after the walk.

Visiting Moondance Manor with MoaTours

You’ll enjoy Stephen and Jeanette’s hospitality and hear first hand from them the labour of love that is their home and garden on the following tours:

World of WearableArt Show tour

Country Roads & Cross Hills Gardens Fair

Gwavas Homestead, Central Hawke’s Bay

Timewarp!  This white-painted mansion deserves its listing as a historic place.  Built in 1890, its second storey, and a long-gone tower, were added in 1900.  Wonder how many people have sat on its balconies and verandahs reading the paper on a warm day surrounded by the sound of bellbirds, tuis and wood pigeons? 

  • Gwavas homestead is located at 5740 State Highway 50, Tikokino, Central Hawke’s Bay, 55kilometres south-west of Hastings. 
  • Gwavas Homestead has 30 rooms and stands among nine hectares of woodland gardens.  They’re based on the woodlands at the Carlyon’s Cornish home where family had lived for 500 years.  Many of the mature trees and shrubs grew from seeds from that property!  The garden’s at its best in spring, with the colours of camellias, magnolia, rhododendrons, azaleas…   
  • Relics include the summerhouse built for shade, glasshouse, and check out the old meat safe. It’s got a slotted board for hanging quail. 
  • There’s also the 132 hectare Puahanui Bush, a virgin bush with Totara more than 600 years old. 
  • Your hosts are Stuart and Phylidda Gibson.  Phylidda is a fifth-generation descendant of the Carlyon family. 
  • Gwavas Homestead is one of the oldest stations in Hawkes Bay, settled in 1858 by English couple, Major George Gwavas and Mary Carlyon. The homestead built by their son, Arthur, is nine hundred square metres.  It’s constructed with Totara and Matai, the entrance hall apparently one of the finest examples of grand interior totara panelling in the country.  
  • Arthur was a photographer.  His cameras, chemicals and plates still sit in the darkroom, over 100 years on. There’s heaps of interesting historical documents and memorabilia. 
  • You won’t believe it but the property is the second oldest voluntary weather station in the country.  Rainfall has been measured every morning since 1889.   
  • There’s loads of historic trees here registered with the Royal New Zealand Institute of Horticulture. 
  • Major Carlyon and Mary watch over the dining-room table where you’ll dine on a homemade lunch to rave about. 

Visiting Gwavas Garden & Homestead with MoaTours

Stopping in to see Stuart and Phylidda for lunch and a look around is always a highlight on the following tours:

World of WearableArt Show tour

Country Roads & Cross Hills Gardens Fair

Fishermans Bay, Banks Peninsula

Hebe lovers, you’ll adore this place. There’s more than 150 species and cultivars of the natives in the garden on this farm which has over 100 hectares of regenerating protected native bush.  But there’s more to it than that. In spring, it blooms with so much colour.  It’s a hidden coastal gem, 150 metres above the sea, at the end of a gravel road. 

  • Situated at 188 Fishermans Bay Road, Akaroa, this property is a 20 minute drive from Akaroa, on Banks Peninsula. 
  • The grounds incorporates a bit of everything with flower, fern, herb and rock gardens, pond, lawns, and stream.  Paths wind throughout.   
  • Enjoy Pacific Ocean views and in the foreground farmland to an accompanying symphony of bellbirds, chirping insects, buzzing bees and perhaps a bellowing bull.  
  • Your hosts are Richard and Jill Simpson. 
  • Richard has owned this 300 ha property since 1997 when he and Jill, working as a landscape gardener, met and fell in love. They spent holidays here with their respective children before renovating the original century-old house and moving in around 14 years ago.  
  • Sculptures and a few farming relics are dotted throughout.  Look out for “Herbina”, the corrugated iron cow, Marcus the goat, as well as a dog.   
  • Lunch is served on the patios and decks – the home baking is delicious.

Visiting Fishermans Bay with MoaTours

Lunch overlooking the Pacific Ocean and a walk around the garden with Richard and Jill is always a special memory for guests on our Canterbury Springtime Gardens tour.

Akaunui Homestead, Canterbury

A curved entrance brings visitors to a grand, red brick homestead with huge verandahs and covered balcony.  It’s set among 12 hectares of gardens and lawns on this 500 hectare property where dairy cattle and sheep are farmed. The swimming pool entices but there’s a huge garden, ablaze with colour in spring, out there to explore.   

  • The property is located at 902 Longbeach Road, Eiffelton, in Canterbury, around 15 kilometres from Ashburton. 
  • There’s old specimen trees, roses, perennials, formal and informal gardens, and four hectares of wetlands centred around the Purakaunui Creek, which snakes for around 1.5 kilometres through the farm. Hear ducks, kingfisher, heron, pukeko and fantails.  
  • If there’s fruit at lunchtime, it may have come from some of the numerous fruit trees – pears, peaches, figs, apples…  And vegetable gardeners… you’ve got to see the size of this one!  
  • Taking the rowboat out onto the curved pond is tempting… 
  • Your hosts are Ian and Di Mackenzie.  Di does all the gardening. 
  • Built in 1905, the homestead has been in Ian’s family since they moved here just after WWII.  
  • The garden was originally designed by Alfred Buxton, famous landscape gardener, and established over 100 years ago.  
  • Spot the endangered Canterbury mudfish which burrow into mud and can survive without water for a lengthy time.  One of the world’s rarest freshwater fish, there’s a large population of them in the wetlands.  And eels too. 
  • Dine on the verandah with a feast.  Ham, lamb or beef with delicious, homegrown vegies and home-baking. 

Visiting Akaunui Homestead & Garden with MoaTours

Ian and Diana are like family to us at MoaTours, we’ve been dropping in for years now. The hardest thing about Akaunui is that no-one wants to leave on our Canterbury Springtime Gardens tour.

Coldstream Farm, Canterbury

In springtime, the colours of roses, camellias, rhododendrons, daffodils, tulips and peonies blooming in this one-hectare garden are dazzling.  The grounds are magical, from the picket gate entrance, to interconnecting paths and lawn and meandering creek.  The homestead sits near the pond edge reflected in the tranquil, lily-padded water.  Beautiful. 

  • Situated at 197 Culverden Road, Culverden, Canterbury, around 35 kilometres south of Hanmer Springs. 
  • The garden has mature trees and garden beds.   
  • The pond, fed by the Coldstream Creek, has pathways around.  Stop and plonk yourself on a bench and enjoy the surroundings.  Neighbouring farmland, the distant Hurunui Hills and Southern Alps, sometimes snow-tipped, can be glimpsed between the foliage. 
  • Vicki Collett and Andrew Dalzell will host you. 
  • This beautiful spot was only established 30 years ago.  Amazing! 
  • The farm was owned by Andrew’s grandparents, passed to his uncle, then to a cousin but sold in 1990.  Andrew and Vicki were thrilled to buy it back in 2012. 
  • Feed the friendly eels down at the jetty. 
  • The garden is rated five stars with the NZ Garden Trust, meaning it’s highly recommended for presentation, design and plant interest year round.  It’s an oasis, with a year-round abundance of water. 
  • Enjoy the good country food, such as baked ham, assorted salads with potato dishes and home baking – scones, shortbread, mini carrot cakes served in fine china – out on the patio.  Or picnic in the grounds with a boxed lunches.

Visiting Coldstream Farm with MoaTours

Lunch and a hosted garden visit is a popular inclusion on our the following South Island tours:

Canterbury Springtime Gardens tour

Kaikoura & Yealands Classic Fighters Airshow tour

Orari Estate, Canterbury

Orari Estate is one of only four high-country stations in South Canterbury which has never changed hands, except by inheritance. Today, Rosie Morten, a fourth generation descendant of the three Scottish Macdonald brothers who began farming here in 1853, runs the 525ha property. So much history. 

  • Orari Estate Station is located at 211 Orari Rangitata Highway, Geraldine, Canterbury. 
  • The grand three-storey, red-brick homestead, looks like it’s been transported from the English countryside. It’s set in a mature woodland garden weaving around a huge duck pond where white swans glide. 
  • Enjoy the extensive gardens which each generation of MacDonalds has added to. Rosie’s love is magnolias and rhododendrons.  
  • Hopefully the Himalayan Lilies are blooming, usually occurring in December but it can happen a little earlier. It’s believed the lily was brought to South Canterbury in the early 1900s and to Orari around 1914. 
  • Rosie will show you around the garden and join you for lunch at a nearby cafe.
  • The homestead was built in 1911 and is listed with New Zealand Historic Places Trust as a Category 2 historic place.

Visiting Orari Estate with MoaTours

Rosie is the wonder host for guests on our High Country Stations, Gardens & Goldfields tour.

Discover country life with MoaTours

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about of the special people and places we visit on our tours. We have been visiting these gardens and farms (and others like these) for years. 

We’ve got to know the hosts so well and our guests love the intimate nature of these places – one of the big advantages of small groups. You’ll feel like family and go home contemplating moving to the country yourself.

To find out more about our tours please get in touch now!

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