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New Zealand: An Odyssey Down Under

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Road Scholar
Program #20135RJ
14 Days | 13 Nights
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s 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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Carey Orwig Oct 20, 2014 at 11:15 AM

M husband and I are going on the New Zealand trip on Nov. 9th. Love to hear from others on the excursion.

Jane Oct 15, 2014 at 12:08 PM

I am booked on the Nov. 9 New Zealand trip. Is anyone else booked on this trip? Thanks to all of you who have been there and posted information.
Sue McClelland Oct 20, 2014 at 09:19 AM

I am going on that trip. Am going to be in Sydney the week before the tour starts and will fly to Auckland on my own the night before the program starts.
Sue McClelland Oct 20, 2014 at 09:19 AM

I am going on that trip. Am going to be in Sydney the week before the tour starts and will fly to Auckland on my own the night before the program starts.

Betsy Mahoney Sep 29, 2014 at 11:46 PM

Is anyone arriving early in Auckland for the Oct. 26 - Nov. 8 program like we are? Betsy

Lou Lichti Aug 12, 2014 at 07:41 AM

Wanting to connect with other folks going to New Zealand Sep 21-Oct4, 2014.

Lou Lichti May 12, 2014 at 08:01 AM

I am going Sep 21-Oct 4, 2014 trip. Anyone else going? Am curious about adaptor/converter for Iphone 4S...any suggestions about which and where to get these? And any other helpful tips by those who have been before also appreciated about what to pack, etc.
Shelley Molnar May 12, 2014 at 08:50 AM

New Zealand is not like the USA when it comes to wifi and Internet access. Free Wifi is available at the hotels, but only for a maximum of 30 minutes per day or a set amount of MB, whichever comes first. One member of our group was using the Internet to end photos and was shocked when she learned how huge the bill was that she had racked up.
Shelley Molnar May 12, 2014 at 08:53 AM

My husband and I went in late Oct / early Nov 2013. It is a wonderful trip. The advice to dress in layers is a good one. I brought a fleece and a windbreaker with a hood, and silk long underwear, which takes up little room, and makes lightweight pants comfortable.
Shelley Molnar May 12, 2014 at 08:55 AM

Sorry--I realized I didn't answer your original question. You don't need a converter with an iPhone. It works with both currents. You just need the plug adaptor, which you can get via Internet -- travel smith or Magellan offers these.
Lou Lichti May 12, 2014 at 09:00 AM

thanks Shelley... appreciate the advice!

Sara Bailey Jan 15, 2014 at 09:18 AM

I am going on the Feb. 16-March 1 trip maybe. One of my dogs is having serious medical issues and I don't know how that will be resolved. If I have to cancel the trip and maybe go later I will do that.
I think the money and internet issues have been addressed pretty well. ATM's usually are very available and I will see about international phone possibilities since I will want to check on the dog.

Ardis Jacobson Jan 12, 2014 at 03:07 PM

Dear All --

I am looking forward to meeting you on the Feb. 2-15 trip. I will be on the flight out of LA on the 2nd that leaves at 10 pm and will look for you!! I could only help with one of your questions -- I can get New Zealand money at a local bank where I live and your bank may be able to advise you if there is a bank in your community that provides that service.
It is wise to advise your credit and debit cards when you will be in New Zealand so that you will not have a problem using them and to avoid fraud (too bad that has become a problem).

See you soon --

Patricia Bangs Jan 16, 2014 at 07:52 PM

I will be leaving from LA on the 10 pm flight as well so will
Patricia Bangs Jan 16, 2014 at 07:53 PM

look for you and others as well.

Patricia Bangs Jan 11, 2014 at 01:13 PM

I am on the Feb. 2-15 New Zealand trip and looking for practical advice on changing money, bringing iPhone. Haven't traveled abroad in 10 years. Where is the best place to change money? Can I access Internet at hotels if I leave phone at home? Thanks in advance for any tips.
Shelley Molnar Jan 11, 2014 at 01:43 PM

Before you leave home, find out if your IPhone is locked. if it is, check with your provider to find out how to unlock it. Doing so will allow you to buy a SIM card in Auckland. That way your phone works like a local phone, so it will be less expensive to access the internet. I didn't do that. My iphone was useless--didn't pick up a signal. (I also didn't buy a verizon plan before I left home--perhaps that would have also worked, but it probably would have been very expensive.) there is a camera/tech shop right on the next corner from the Mercure hotel in Auckland. get a local SIM card, you can do so thert. Wifi in NZ is definitely NOT like in the US. Most of the hotels have real tight limits on the amount of time (30 minutes) and MB (i can't remember how much, but suffice it to say that I ran out of MB before I ran out of minutes. Forget sending eats up you allocation immediately. Also, you can't access wifi from your room in most of the hotels. You have to go to the lobby, or pay extra for room access/ more than the allotted time. Some of the hotels DID have pcs in the lobby so you could access the internet, but remember, others are using it too, so you may have to wait. I brought my iPad (phone was useless) and used wifi when I could. By the way, some of the airports have good wifi, and some of the coffee shops do too. But wifi in NZ is SLOOOOWWWWW. Regarding money, I got $300 in NZ dollars before I left home, and then used my ATM card when I needed more cash. Lots of ATMS, and there was no service charge for the ones I used. (I think Bank of NZ). Most places also accept credit cards. I never changed money -- just used my Visa, ATM and the $300 I brought with me. It was very easy. It is a wonderful trip! I'm sure you'll have an amazing time. If you get Chas and Albert you will be lucky indeed. I've posted a few photos and narrative in my blog -- just skip past the most recent posts about the Cook Islands to get to the NZ ones. I still haven't finished describing the trip--will get to it eventually, but you'll at least get a feel for what's in store for you in Auckland and Rotorua
Susan Uyeda Jan 11, 2014 at 09:42 PM

Thank you Shelley for your helpful post! I have another question about practicalities: When the hotel offers "guest laundry" do they do it for you? Or do any have coin-operated machines?
Shelley Molnar Jan 12, 2014 at 09:59 AM

Hi Susan, Yes you will encounter both options along the way. The Queenstown hotel had a coin operated laundry, and you arrive there roughly mid trip, plus you have free time. But remember, everyone else might be doing laundry too and the number of machines is limited. I rinsed out underwear, socks and tops, and had enough bottoms to make it thru, so was okay without using either.
Patricia Bangs Jan 12, 2014 at 01:30 PM

Shelley-Thanks so much for the advice. Extremely helpful.
Nancy Smith Jan 30, 2014 at 11:38 AM

Patricia Bangs, You inquired about your upcoming New Zealand trip. My husband and I just returned from our trip (it was marvelous, by the way). Here's what we learned or discovered. 1) For money: if you have an ATM card, use it at the following banks: ANZ and BNZ, or ASB for the best exchange rate, but DO inform your local bank that you are going as well as your credit card company so that you can charge items if necessary. 2) Internet access at most hotels is free for 20 to 30 minutes a day; however, it is a once-a-day thing per IP address. Once logged off, that is it until the next day. Usually an iPad, Kindle Fire will get you on the Internet through Wifi (phones, too, for that matter, although they can't be used for phone calls), but most of the hotels have PCs with Internet connections that can be used briefly. We never used them so don't know all the particulars about time, restrictions, etc. 3) For appliances, probably an adapter will need to be purchased there. We took all our various adapters and none of them worked. We found one for NZ$10, but others found them to be more expensive (NZ$17 at the high end). Your group leaders (ours was John Erickson and Doug Walker in Auckland) are very good at giving suggestions and informing the group about these things. Other than that, have a great time, and enjoy!
Patricia Bangs Jan 31, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Thanks so much for the info. Extremely helpful. I was thinking about getting an AT&T international plan but sounds like I won't need it.

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Our Value Promise To You

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at no additional cost on this date ...
11 nights of accommodations
32 meals: 11 breakfasts, 12 lunches, 9 dinners
5 Expert-led lectures
23 Field trips
1 Hands-on experiences
1 Performances
3 Flights during the program


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