RHS Chelsea Flower Show prize winners tour Victoria
The trip of a lifetime has begun for UK residents Kevin and Gillian Shelton, winners of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne’s Australian Garden prize competition at the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The Sheltons entered the competition along with more than 24,500 entrants while the Australian Garden was on show at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in London during May 2011.
The Royal Botanic Gardens joined with some of Victoria’s leading attractions to offer an 11-day prize package valued at more than $8,500, allowing the lucky winners to experience the best of Victoria on the South East Touring Triangle.
The Sheltons have the opportunity to get up close to koalas, penguins and seals at Phillip Island; savour some great Australian wines and float above the Yarra Valley in a hot air balloon; be pampered at the Peninsula Hot Springs; and explore some of Victoria’s world-class gardens.
After arriving in Melbourne on Tuesday 14 February, the excited couple couldn’t believe their luck after entering the competition through the Classic FM website.
“This is our first visit to Australia and it’s something that we’ve always wanted to do,” explained Kevin. “Gillian is the gardener in our house; I help out now and again although this usually involves some persuasion on her part!” he joked.
Some of the highlights on the couple’s jam-packed itinerary include:
- Exclusive helicopter and hot balloon rides over Melbourne and the Yarra Valley
- Must-do Melbourne experiences such as Eureka Skydeck, Neighbours tour, and National Sports Museum
- Gourmet lunches and wine sampling at some of the finest wineries on the Mornington Peninsula including Montalto, Max’s of Red Hill and De Bortoli
- Dinners on Melbourne’s iconic Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, at the beautiful Chateau Yering in Yarra Valley, and limousine transfers to dinner at the stunning Skyhigh Restaurant
- An afternoon of pampering at Peninsula Hot Springs
- A close encounter with koalas at Healesville Sanctuary, tour of Phillip Island Nature Parks, seal-watching on a Wildlife Coast Cruise, and lunch at Rhyll Trout Bush Tucker Farm
- VIP experiences at Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, including the Aboriginal Heritage Walk and Devonshire tea, and
- Exclusive tour of the Australian Garden at RBG Cranbourne – the inspiration for RBG Melbourne’s Gold Medal winning show garden at the 2011 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.
The Sheltons will also get a sneak peek at the second and final stage of the Australian Garden at RBG Cranbourne. The completed Australian Garden is set to become one of Australia’s major tourist destinations when it opens to the public in late 2012.
The nine hectares comprising Stage 2 of the Australian Garden will extend the success of Stage 1 and enhance community engagement and visitor experiences, with the addition of new plantings, public amenities, landscapes, artworks, interpretive information and educational resources.
For more details and photos from the Sheltons’ trip, check out the RBG Melbourne blog at: http://botanicgardensmelbourne.wordpress.com/
Media enquiries: Katie O’Brien, 03 9252 2470 or 0409 507 485