A weekend of cultural and artistic magic is on the way for Queenstown.

The Arrowtown Creative Arts Society (ACAS) is behind the inaugural ‘Gardens + Galleries’ event, which runs tomorrow and Saturday and opens up a stunning selection of local gardens for public viewing.

Simultaneously, there’s an artists’ trail across the Whakatipu, representing a diverse range of local painters and sculptors.

It culminates on Sunday night with Twilight Opera, being held at Lower Shotover’s Springpointer Garden.

Sponsored by ACAS, Jarden, David Reid Homes, Bayleys and Baxter Design, the Gardens + Galleries tour’s already sold out the two Giverny sculpture garden tours, a Millbrook Resort kitchen garden tour and screenings of the Frances Hodgkins documentary, Anything But A Still Life, at Dorothy Browns.

However, there are still spaces available for those interested in getting rare access to some of the Basin’s most stunning gardens, maps for which will be available from Millbrook for ticket-holders.

ACAS committee member John Lapsley says because Gardens + Galleries, which is supporting Plunket, is being run tomorrow and Saturday, anyone can head to Millbrook to purchase a one- or two-day ticket and collect their map, noting ‘‘all the big gardens are open’’.

The weekend’s events also include award-winning local landscape architect Paddy Baxter, of Baxter Design, providing some top tips, along with his colleague, landscape architect Mark Stallard.

There are also artists talks with Fiona Garlick and Jenny Mehrtens and floor talks at Arrowtown’s Birdwoods Gallery, and at Queenstown’s Starkwhite and Romer galleries.

Sunday’s Twilight Opera, presented by ACAS and the Auckland Opera Studio, and sponsored by Walker & Co Realty, will go ahead regardless of the weather.

This year’s line-up features future stars Ridge Ponini and Taylor Wallbank (tenors), Joel Amosa (bass-baritone), Alfred Fonoti Fuimaono (baritone), Rhiannon Cooper and Katherine Winatana (sopranos), along with Amelia Berry, who’s back from Europe, and South Korea-born
NZ pianist Somi Kim as accompanist.

For further info, or to book tickets, visit acas.nz

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