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NEW ZEALAND

Land of Geysers and Greenstone

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Road Scholar
Program #3304RJ

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27 Days | 26 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Active
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. Minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding, and rewarding, programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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David Owens Nov 05, 2015 at 02:32 PM

While perusing the NZ websites listed in our program packet, found something I thought was interesting, at least to those of us who have Rx prescriptions. Our Rx prescriptions have to be declared on the Passenger Arrival Card (so much for the quick "Nothing to Declare" line), the pills have to be in their original labeled containers, and (this is the kicker) we have to have the prescription itself (or a letter from our doctor). Don't know about you, but with today's electronic Rx fulfillment, I haven't seen a paper Rx in years. And besides, by definition, they can't be copied. No idea why NZ wants a paper Rx, but I e-mailed their customs contact line, and they confirmed that they do. For one of my Rx's, I have the data sheet that came with it - includes my name and Rx number. For the other, I went to my Rx website, brought up my Rx, and printed the brief summary that appeared there. Hopefully, this will be sufficient. It better - that's all I got. Odd that the RS NZ folks have never mentioned this.
Bob & Judy Ervin Jan 08, 2016 at 06:33 PM

David Owen - Bob Ervin here. What actually happened in NZ Customs concerning RX
David Owens Jan 09, 2016 at 09:44 AM

Bob - short answer, nothing, really. Long answer: We marked "yes" for drugs on our card. Gave officer our passport and card. Officer returned both, and a ticket. Our ticket had a big "DECL" (declaring?) printed on it, presumably other passengers's tickets didn't. Then we entered the actual customs area (deserted), which consisted of a dozen lanes for checking/xraying baggage. An agent looked at the ticket and directed us to the far right lane; everyone else was directed to one of 3 left lanes. At our lane, two very friendly folks greeted us - seemed happy to have some business for a change. One squinted at the card and said "Prescriptions, huh?" and we said "yes." He said "OK" and waved us through. No showing of pills, Rx, etc. Our bags were xrayed (not opened), just like everyone else, and we were on our way. Interestingly, we were almost the first out; the left 3 lanes were still clogged when we exited. So "declaring" ended up being more like an express lane than the opposite! I think RS is caught in a bind: they can't say "don't bother to declare" because that's counter to "official' NZ policy, yet if they do bring it up, everyone gets uptight over a non-event. So my advice to Rx holders is: sure, mark yes on the card, don't worry about the paperwork "requirements."
Bob & Judy Ervin Jan 12, 2016 at 07:37 PM

David - Thanks for being specific in your answer as well as answering. We've not heard from any one on our tour. (Hint-hint to anyone on the March 2016 trip.) How was your weather ? We're getting down to the picking and packing clothes job and any help you could provide will be appreciated..
David Owens Jan 13, 2016 at 11:46 AM

Yeah, these boards don't see much activity do they? OK, weather: Overall, pleasant, maybe a little on the cool side. One half-day excursion up a mountain on ski-lift was truly cold (35F and windy). but I wouldn't pack with such a short exception in mind. But an over-jacket of some kind is essential, particularly a rain jacket. (Many did quite well with a light rain jacket with heavy long sleeve pullover underneath for the cooler days.) We had one rainy day on the North Island, and the western part of South Island is often rainy. We took compact umbrellas, but never used them - rain jackets were enough. Most of the hotels had laundry facilities. We never went anywhere where fancy clothes were needed, so no need to take much. My only other piece of advice: DO NOT LOSE YOUR PASSPORT (as Judy did!!)
Bob & Judy Ervin Jan 13, 2016 at 02:32 PM

David - Thanks for the advice. Did you get to bring Judy home? Or is she still there enjoying the summer weather? Your actual weather experiences are abut what we are thinking as we try to "pack light". We're going a few days early to explore the areas north of Auckland so more clothes & $$ required.
David Owens Jan 22, 2016 at 12:48 PM

I just posted a group picture in the Photos section, not so you can admire our smiling faces, but so you can see (1) what we all were wearing on this cool but pleasant day, and (2) so you can see our most excellent group leader Suzanne Gordon (on the end, in the bright green top). Suzanne told me it was likely she would be leading the March group too. Yes, Judy got home OK. But get this: When we arrived in LAX, Immigration told her the temporary passport issued in Auckland was invalid, the consulate had made a mistake! We spent the better part of an hour in the "tank" while they straighten it out. Lucky we were staying overnight, no connecting flight.
Barbara Sweat Jan 28, 2016 at 10:08 PM

Herb and Barb Sweat here. We are scheduled for the March trip and have been asking each other the same questions! Thanks for the suggestions. The RS syllabus suggests a folding chair is a good idea for some of the outdoor lectures. Did any of your folks find that necessary?
Bob & Judy Ervin Jan 29, 2016 at 08:38 PM

Herb & Barb - Good to hear from you. No others from our trip have commented. Last I heard we have only 14 signed up! We live in the Portland OR area and are really looking forward to the trip. Email us at ervinjb@aol.com.


Bob & Judy Ervin Oct 31, 2015 at 06:43 PM

Jeff - Which trip are you inquiring about? There are three departures upcoming. We're on the March 2 trip and I believe they are looking for 24
David Owens Nov 06, 2015 at 02:10 PM

Did you folks notice that the Jan/Feb dates just disappeared? RS must have cancelled them. After next week, the next NZ trip is yours.


Jeff Stripling Oct 31, 2015 at 12:08 PM

What is the group size on this trip?
David Owens Dec 17, 2015 at 11:27 AM

On the 11 Nov 2015 trip, we had 24.


Bob & Judy Ervin Oct 07, 2015 at 03:18 PM

Richard - Thanks for checking in. We've moved our tour date to the March 2016 departure. The only other person to check in with us has been David Owens. We hope he corresponds with you.


Richard Bramble Oct 06, 2015 at 09:41 PM

I will be in Auckland on Nov 9th. Anyone else going early?
David Owens Oct 09, 2015 at 02:08 PM

Richard - No, we'll be leaving on the 11th. Look forward to meeting you. BTW, still no sign of our final packet -- seems like it's getting kind of late. Have you gotten your's yet?
Richard Bramble Oct 20, 2015 at 11:56 PM

Just record final packet. Looking good.


Bob & Judy Ervin Sep 04, 2015 at 06:01 PM

We've switched program dates and are now signed up for the March 2016 program.
David Owens Sep 05, 2015 at 10:47 AM

Ah, that probably explains why the November program just switched from waitlisted to open. Sorry we won't be meeting you.
Bob & Judy Ervin Sep 05, 2015 at 02:56 PM

Thanks for the thought, David. You seem to be the only Nov 2015 traveler that ever signed in.


Bob & Judy Ervin Apr 02, 2015 at 06:52 PM

Any advice on how much NZ currency to bring along? We realize some shopping might be involved but we're looking for some practical guidance,
Karin Salomon Apr 02, 2015 at 07:16 PM

Hi Bob&Judy - I think if you have a debit card that is hooked into the networks - and your bank can tell you if so, there is no service charge. I used a CC and paid 3% per transaction. The bank in Rotorua charged me $5. to change, so the more U change that way the cheaper it is. I didn't really buy a lot, as so much is already paid for. Tipping is not required, but you can if you would like and tax is included in any transaction. Hope this helps.
Charlotte Drayer Apr 03, 2015 at 09:41 AM

You will need NZ currency or a credit card for the few meals that are on your own, adult beverages if those appeal to you, and souvenirs. We bought several Paua shell and carved bone necklaces/earrings/scarf holders as gifts (inexpensive) and a couple of greenstone (nephrite jade) pendants (expensive). I also bought a hat with a chin strap because the one I took kept blowing off. Some people bought very soft possum fur clothing items (expensive). The most important souvenirs were the photos and memories. It's a wonderful trip! Enjoy!


Mary Vallier-Kaplan Mar 07, 2015 at 12:08 PM

A couple of reflections from recent Feb trip. What to take? You might want to add binoculars especially if you like birds. Do not need washcloths, hairdryers, or toiletries in any of the hotels. Wished I had taken a light weight fleece vest to wear in the cool mornings and evenings. A walking stick is useful.
Bob & Judy Ervin Dec 16, 2015 at 05:44 PM

Mary - Thanks for checking in with the wet weather advice. Not sure how this works what with the lengthy time between posts.
Bob & Judy Ervin Jan 13, 2016 at 02:39 PM

Mary - Been awhile since our last post. I assume you are still going on the March 2016 trip. Let us know. We're going a few days early to explore the countryside north of Auckland and will be staying at the Mercure Auckland hotel the night of March 3rd. Looking to find someone in our group to have dinner with that night.


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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
24 nights of accommodations
68 meals: 24 breakfasts, 22 lunches, 22 dinners
10 Expert-led lectures
40 Field trips
2 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances
2 Flights during the program

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4.8
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