Tour New Zealand's South Island to explore a weaver's dream destination. Who can resist a journey that includes sheep and finely crafted spinning wheels?
A visit to Middle Rock Farm, a family-run sheep farm in the high country, confirms it all starts with the fleece. And at Ashford Handicrafts Ltd, looms, spinning wheels, and other tools are manufactured so that artisans can create their own yarns and finished goods from wool.
There is also plenty of opportunity to find readymade wares on this trip. At various emporiums, artisans offer a wealth of yarns, garments, and homewares. The weaving establishment of McLean & Co., turns out tartan and tweed fabrics on antique Hattersley looms. Adding interest are skilled craftspeople, including Christine Keller, who shares her knowledge at Dunedin's LoomRoom, and Doe Arnot of The Oamaru Textile Emporium, who is known for dyeing, spinning, and crocheting.
Plus, discover South Island's breathtaking alpine peaks while you cruise Milton Sound and enjoy tea at Larnach Castle, the only castle in New Zealand. This adventure truly captures the heart of South Island.
The tour starts at 6.00pm on Sunday February 12, at Distinction Hotel Christchurch and finishes after breakfast on Saturday February 25, at Distinction Hotel Christchurch.
Day 1 Sun Feb 12 Arrive Christchurch
Kia ora and welcome to New Zealand. Enjoy a welcome dinner tonight. (D)
Day 2 Mon Feb 13 Christchurch
This morning, walk through the city to the Christchurch Art Centre, an Aotearoa New Zealand landmark. En route, visit the Cardboard Cathedral – a transitional structure built after the 2011 earthquake – as well as the memorial to those who lost their lives in that natural disaster, and learn about rebuilding efforts. This afternoon enjoy a demonstration on Maori Culture and Weaving before visiting the beautiful botanical gardens. (B)
Day 3 Tue Feb 14 Christchurch-Ashburton
After breakfast, depart hotel for a visit to Middle Rock Farm, where we view life on a working, family-operated sheep farm in New Zealand's scenic South Island high country. Bordered by the braided Rakaia River, the property farms over 7,000 sheep, producing fine wool for the apparel trade and lamb for export to international meat markets. After this interesting tour, travel onto Ashburton in the heart of South Canterbury. (B, L)
Day 4 Wed Feb 15 Ashburton
Visit Ashford Handicrafts, founded in 1934 by Walter Ashford. It is now a world leader in the manufacture of quality spinning wheels, weaving looms, and textile equipment. Enjoy a special weaving workshop in the historic Mill House, built in 1914 in the arts and crafts style. (B)
Day 5 Thu Feb 16 Ashburton-Oamaru
Continue south to Oamaru to meet Rod and Sue McLean of McLean & Co. Their company specializes in weaving tartan and tweed fabric from locally sourced New Zealand wool – especially merino and alpaca fiber – and crafting limited edition textile pieces. The afternoon is free time to enjoy the Victorian Precinct and to visit attractions such as the famous Steampunk HQ, an interactive museum that has a collection of retro-futuristic sci-fi art, movies, sculpture, and sound. After dinner, visit the Little Blue Penguin Colony. (B, D)
Day 6 Fri Feb 17 Oamaru-Dunedin
Visit The Oamaru Textile Emporium, which offers textile products made by local artisans. Here you will meet Doe Arnot, a spinner, weaver, and dyer, who will introduce you to the emporium and talk about her work. The tour then continues south, stopping for lunch in Moeraki at chef Fleur Sullivan's famed restaurant, Fleur's Place, before arriving in Dunedin. The first stop in this city is Baldwin Street, the steepest street in the world. (B, L)
Day 7 Sat Feb 18 Dunedin
Visit Dunedin's LoomRoom where owner Christine Keller gives you a tour and talk about the community weaving studio that offers classes and workshops. In the afternoon, visit Larnach Castle & Gardens for a tour of the grounds and high tea. (B)
Day 8 Sun Feb 19 Dunedin-Queenstown
Travel through the country towns of Lawrence, Roxburgh, and Alexandra before arriving in Clyde to visit Touch Yarns. This family owned and operated business was founded in 1991 by Marnie Kelly, who produced a comfortable yarn by combining softer superfine kid mohair, merino, and polwarth wools. Continue to Queenstown with an en route opportunity for wine tasting. (B)
Day 9 Mon Feb 20 Queenstown-Milford Sound-Queenstown
Start bright and early to enjoy a daylong excursion to Milford Sound where a nature cruise takes you through breathtaking fjords. Sheer cliffs, gorgeous dark water, and majestic mountain peaks combine for a glorious outing in this pristine setting. (B)
Day 10 Tue Feb 21 Queenstown
Enjoy exploring this lovely town on your own this morning before riding the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak for a special dinner. (B, D)
Day 11 Wed Feb 22 Queenstown-Lake Tekapo
The morning begins in Arrowtown, one of the first locales where gold was found in the mid-19th century. Then continue north through the Kawarau Gorge and over Lindis Pass to Lake Pukaki to take in the view of Aoraki/Mount Cook, New Zealand's highest mountain. Arrive at hotel on the shores of Lake Tekapo for overnight. (B)
Day 12 Thu Feb 23 Tekapo-Christchurch
Return to Christchurch with an en route stop in Geraldine at Maniototo Wool and shop for hand dyed 100% New Zealand wool. (B)
Day 13 Fri Feb 24 Christchurch
This morning, we meet members of the Christchurch Guild of Weavers and Spinners at The Tannery, a boutique shopping emporium on the banks of the Heathcote River. Enjoy a farewell dinner. (B, D)
Day 14 Sat Feb 25 Depart Christchurch
Tour concludes after breakfast. (B)
Deborah Jarchow is a full-time weaver and artist who teaches and lectures on fiber arts, creates and sells wearable art, and has exhibited her work in galleries and museums across the United States. Her commissioned pieces are held by churches as well as many private collectors. Deborah loves helping people discover the joy of weaving and during the past several years, has focused her teaching mainly on rigid heddle looms. She travels extensively to share her weaving enthusiasm and expertise. She is known as a generous teacher who makes weaving accessible and exciting to students of all levels. Deborah is the co-author of The Weaving Explorer: Ingenious Techniques, Accessible Tools & Creative Projects with Yarn, Paper, Wire & More and has a new book coming out in 2021 that focuses on rigid heddle weaving.
What is included in the tour price?
What is not included in the tour price?
Due to the constant changes in the COVID restrictions worldwide, we highly recommend that passengers wait to purchase air tickets until the following:
1. The tour reaches the minimum number to travel.
2. Prior to the due date of their final payment (three months before departure), we will notify passengers the travel status and the requirements for travel to their destination. At that time they may choose to proceed with the tour or not. If they choose to cancel they may apply their non-refundable deposit to any other Opulent Quilt Journeys Tour within 18 months.
Please note: If passengers purchase tickets and the tour is cancelled or moved to a new date, we are not responsible for any loss regarding their ticket purchase.
Distinction Hotel, Christchurch (2 nights)
Hotel Ashburton, Ashburton (2 nights)
Heritage Court Motor Lodge, Oamaru (1 night)
Heritage Dunedin Leisure Lodge, Dunedin (2 nights)
Scenic Suites Queenstown, Queenstown (3 nights)
Peppers Bluewater Resort, Tekapo (1 night)
Distinction Hotel, Christchurch (2 nights)
For further information or to secure a place on this tour please contact:
877 235 3767
If these dates don’t work for you, register to hear about the next tour.
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