Road Scholar : Home
New Zealand: An Odyssey Down Under

Program Number: 20135RJ
Start and End Dates:
10/13/2013 - 10/26/2013; 2/26/2016 - 3/9/2016; 3/11/2016 - 3/23/2016; 4/1/2016 - 4/13/2016; 4/8/2016 - 4/20/2016; 5/6/2016 - 5/18/2016; 8/26/2016 - 9/7/2016; 9/9/2016 - 9/21/2016; 9/23/2016 - 10/5/2016; 10/7/2016 - 10/19/2016; 10/21/2016 - 11/2/2016; 11/4/2016 - 11/16/2016; 11/18/2016 - 11/30/2016; 12/2/2016 - 12/14/2016; 1/3/2017 - 1/15/2017; 1/13/2017 - 1/25/2017; 1/27/2017 - 2/8/2017; 2/3/2017 - 2/15/2017; 2/10/2017 - 2/22/2017; 2/17/2017 - 3/1/2017; 2/24/2017 - 3/8/2017; 3/3/2017 - 3/15/2017; 3/10/2017 - 3/22/2017; 3/17/2017 - 3/29/2017; 3/24/2017 - 4/5/2017; 3/31/2017 - 4/12/2017; 4/7/2017 - 4/19/2017;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: New Zealand
Price starting at: $4,598.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 32; 11 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Absorb the beauty of “the land of the long white cloud,” as Aotearoa, the Maori name for New Zealand, is commonly translated. Delve into the story of this island nation’s indigenous Maori people. Examine the natural environments of both the North and South Islands: descend into a pristine volcanic valley, stand alongside bubbling mudpools and meet New Zealand’s national bird, the kiwi. Voyage through the majestic fjord of Milford Sound, sail the beautiful waters of Lake Wakatipu, enjoy stunning vistas of Queenstown and much more.


• Learn from experts about New Zealand’s settlement by Maori and Europeans.
• Witness the eruptions of spectacular geysers in a volcanic park.
• Experience the magnificent Milford Sound.

Activity Particulars

Participants who are energetic, in good health and have a good level of mobility, should have no difficulty participating in this program. People who can walk at normal public walking pace and stand for at least three hours each day for the duration of the program, climb stairs, get on and off buses efficiently and carry their own luggage will be happy participants who have a great time down under. Please review carefully whether you can do all these things before registering for this program.

Please note that participants on this program travel throughout New Zealand alongside the participants of program 16434 – An Odyssey Down Under: Australia & New Zealand. You will join with these participants upon your arrival in Auckland.

Date Specific Information

2-26-2016, 3-11-2016, 4-1-2016, 4-8-2016, 5-6-2016, 8-26-2016, 9-9-2016, 9-23-2016, 10-7-2016, 10-21-2016, 11-4-2016, 11-18-2016, 1-3-2017, 1-13-2017, 1-27-2017, 2-3-2017, 2-10-2017, 2-17-2017, 2-24-2017, 3-3-2017, 3-10-2017, 3-17-2017, 3-24-2017, 3-31-2017, 4-7-2017

Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.


This date does not match up with a correspnding departure of program 16434 and will have a max of 24 participants.
Enjoy the latest in hearing technology — listening devices — on this date.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Auckland, 3 nights; coach to Rotorua, 2 nights; fly to Christchurch, 2 nights; fly to Invercargill, coach to Te Anau, 1 night; coach to Queenstown, 2 nights; fly to Auckland and depart for the USA.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Overnight flight from the USA 1 night
Cross International Dateline
1 night
Arrival Auckland
3 nights

Be introduced to New Zealand history, including Maori and European settlement, through lectures and a guided visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Enjoy a cruise on Auckland's gorgeous Waitemata Harbour and learn about the city’s volcanic geography on a field trip to Auckland's picturesque North Shore.

Coach to Rotorua 2 nights

En route to Rotorua visit the Waitomo Caves, famous for the beautiful light display provided by their glowworm inhabitants. Learn of the impact of the amazing geothermal activity in the region as you explore the Waimangu Volcanic Valley and cruise on Lake Rotomahana. Attend a Maori cultural performance and learn how the knowledge of Maori Arts and Crafts is being handed down to the youth of today.

Fly to Christchurch 2 nights

Visit a historic homestead in this most English of New Zealand's cities to learn of its planned settlement and how it came to be known as the garden city. Be entertained by the Te Puna Ora storyteller channelling two of the city's early inhabitants. Explore the city to learn of the devastation wrought by the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 and how this resilient region is recovering and planning for the future. Travel across Banks Peninsula to the French-inspired settlement of Akaroa and cruise on Akaroa Harbour to spot the area's unique wildlife including one of the world's smallest and rarest dolphins. Visit the International Antarctic Centre to learn of the city's historic links to Antarctica and understand why it is the gateway to the frozen continent for the New Zealand, United States and Italian Antarctic research programs.

Fly to Invercargill
Coach to Te Anau
1 night
Coach to Queenstown
2 nights
Fly to Auckland and depart for the USA.

Travel to New Zealand’s majestic Fiordland and explore the most famous fjord, Milford Sound, by boat — keep an eye out for seals, penguins and dolphins. In Queenstown, learn about the Wakatipu Basin and explore Lake Wakatipu on board a vintage coal-fired steamer. Visit a farm homestead across the lake to learn about New Zealand high-country farming and view a demonstration of dog control and sheep shearing. Ascend via cable car to the Skyline restaurant for a birds-eye view of this beautiful lake surrounded by the awesomely rugged Remarkables mountain range.

New Zealand

English explorer Captain James Cook put New Zealand on the map when he sailed around the coast on the Endeavour in 1769. He not only mapped the area during his three voyages around the coast, but named landmarks, many of which still exist today. Dubbed the “land of the long white cloud” by the early Polynesian settlers, New Zealand’s predominately mountainous terrain and large coastal plains make it the perfect place for adventurous outdoor activity.

Auckland: Hotel in central business district. Rotorua: Hotel with outdoor pool. Christchurch: Hotel in the centre of the city. Te Anau: Garden hotel on the shores of Lake Te Anau. Queenstown: Hotel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Peter Ackroyd

Peter Ackroyd graduated from the University of Canterbury with a master’s degree in engineering geology. Over the course of his professional career, Peter has done geological assessments for land use investigations, managed a range of natural resource usage projects and helped shape policy and resource management for commercial fishing. Peter and his wife Cathrine have three adult children, and as per New Zealand tradition, one lives overseas.
Peter Burns

A native of Melbourne, Peter Burns is a civil engineer by training – with a master’s degree in natural resources – but he went on to work as a teacher and environmentalist in addition to engineering. His work brought him remote Aboriginal communities in central Australia. Peter also worked for 18 years as a ranger in charge of the Great Otway National Park, and he is actively involved in the community as a voluteer ambulance officer.
Margaret Copland

Margaret Copland is a graduate of the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch College of Education. As a historian, she has enjoyed researching the stories of the early Canterbury immigrants, which she will share with us in her capacity as the Te Puna Ora storyteller.Margaret is an experienced history teacher and she has been a heritage storyteller and local historian for 20 years. Her original stories have been researched and developed to create 13 characters who bring New Zealand history to life.
Errol Costello

Errol Costello taught animal science and agriculture at Lincoln University for 40 years, and he has been serving as a top-notch Road Scholar group leader and provider for the past 26 years. In retirement, Errol has taken to light engineering projects like boat building, as well as gardening. Errol and his wife Margaret are avid travelers, having visited South America, England, Ireland and Scotland.
Liz Cruickshank

Liz Cruickshank studied horticulture at Lincoln University in New Zealand and did research in the university’s Botany Division of the Department of Scientific Industrial Research. She took her studies to the field as an ecologist for the Ministry of Agriculture. She then transitioned to radio work, compiling and presenting her own radio program as a Rural Broadcasts Officer. After accruing these years of invaluable experience, she decided to share her extensive knowledge and passion with the world as an expert instructor with Road Scholar.
Michael Deaker

Michael Deaker has lived most of his life in southern New Zealand, and is a member of the Otago Regional Council. He has a master’s degree in geography and a diploma in teaching, and has served as a high school principal, a teachers’ college lecturer and an inspector of secondary schools. He was a manager in the New Zealand Ministry of Education and became the director of communications for the Ministry before becoming an independent consultant. Michael has also been a journalist in print and broadcast media for over 40 years.
John Walsby

Dr. John Walsby is a consultant marine biologist, natural historian, writer, illustrator and educator. John was educated in England and earned a degree in zoology and a Ph.D. in marine biology. He came to New Zealand over 30 years ago to work at the University of Auckland’s Marine Research Laboratory and taught at the university for 15 years. Dr. Walsby now teaches courses for the marine aquaculture industry and for marine environmental monitoring.
Gordon McLauchlan

Gordon McLauchlan is a freelance journalist, writer and broadcaster, best known as a cultural critic and social historian. He is the author of 17 books, including “The Passionless People” and “A Short History of New Zealand.” Gordon wrote a weekly column for the “New Zealand Herald,” the country’s highest circulation daily newspaper, for 30 years, and was also editor of the books pages. A former president of the New Zealand Society of Authors, he wrote the original New Zealand questions for “Trivial Pursuit.”
Meals and Lodgings
   Mercure Auckland Hotel
  Auckland, New Zealand 3 nights
   Copthorne Hotel Rotorua
  Rotorua, New Zealand 2 nights
   Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau
  Te Anau, New Zealand 1 night
   Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview
  Queenstown, New Zealand 2 nights
   Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
  Wellington, New Zealand 3 nights
 Mercure Auckland Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
  Contact info: 8 Customs Street
Auckland,  1010 New Zealand
phone: +64 -9-377-8920
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, iron/ironing board, Internet & PC connection and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a laundry service, fitness facilities and safety deposit box facilities
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: TBA in Preparatory Material The Program Provider can arrange additional accommodation for participants arriving earlier or departing later than the group. A Request form will be included with the Preparatory Material, or participants can contact the Provider direct by email.

 Copthorne Hotel Rotorua
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Fenton Street
Rotorua,  3010 New Zealand
phone: +64 -7-348-0199
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, iron/ironing board and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a heated swimming pool, spa, sauna, tennis court, gymnasium, guest laundry and safety deposit box facilities.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau
Type: Hotel
  Description: Set amongst manicured gardens on the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau.
  Contact info: 20 Lakefront Drive
Te Anau,  9600 New Zealand
phone: +64 -3-249-7421
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, hairdryer and electric blankets.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a guest laundry, foreign exchange and safety deposit box facilities.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview is located within a 10 minute walk of the town centre and all rooms enjoy superb lake and mountain views.
  Contact info: 88 Frankton Road
Queenstown,  9300 New Zealand
phone: +64 -3-442-7950
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, iron/ironing board, electric blankets and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a spa pool, guest laundry and safety deposit box facility.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel has stunning views of Wellington's delightful harbour. It is located on the edge of Wellington's central business district and offers easy, flat walking access to many of the city's attractions including Te Papa Tongarewa: Museum of New Zealand.
  Contact info: 73 Roxburgh Street
Wellington,  6011 New Zealand
phone: +64 -4-385-0279
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making, ISD telephone, television, refrigerator, ironing facilities and electric blankets (upon request).
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a heated swimming pool, cocktail bar, guest laundry facilities and a safety deposit box.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: TBA in Preparatory Material The Program Provider can arrange additional accommodation for participants arriving earlier or departing later than the group. A Request form will be included with the Preparatory Material, or participants can contact the Provider direct by email.

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
The program commences with the arrival of the group flight - NZ3 - at Auckland International Airport at 8:15am. You will be staying at Mercure Auckland Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
The program ends after lunch on Day 14. Participants are then transferred to Wellington Airport for their flight to Auckland to connect with flights to LA and on to home. You will be staying at Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Passport only is required for New Zealand.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Auckland
  Nearest airport:  Auckland International & Domestic Airports
  Transportation to site: Our Group Leader and North Island Site Coordinator will meet the group flight - NZ3 due at 8:15am on Tuesday October 15 - at Auckland International Airport. For participants arriving in Auckland a day or two early, a regular Airbus Express service runs from the airport to Auckland's Central Business District. The service drops off at designated stops down Queen Street and terminates at the downtown Ferry Terminal next to Britomart. From here there is a two-minute walk around the corner to the entrance of the Mercure Auckland Hotel in Customs Street. Tickets cost approximately NZ$16 per person and can be purchased from the kiosk beside the bus stop at the airport. Alternatively, a taxi from the airport will cost from NZ$60 - NZ$80 depending on traffic conditions.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Wellington
  Nearest city or town:  NA
  Nearest highway: NA
  Nearest airport:  Wellington International and Domestic Airports
  Transportation from site: Participants will be transferred to the airport for their group flights after lunch on Day 14. For those needing to make their own way to the airport, the taxi ride from our Wellington hotel takes approximately 15 minutes and will cost around NZ$30.
Elevation Note: The highest elevation reached is the Homer Tunnel en route to the Milford Sound (NZ) at 3,100 feet.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Sunday, October 13)
 Evening: Depart the USA on overnight flight to New Zealand.

Day 2: In Flight
(Monday, October 14)
 In Transit: Cross International Dateline.

Day 3: Arrivals & Orientation / Orientation walk
(Tuesday, October 15)
 Arrive To: Upon your arrival in Auckland your Program Leader and local Site Coordinator will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. After checking in to your hotel and freshening up, your Leader will take you on an orientation walk of the central business district and university quarter.
 Lunch: We will have lunch at a local cafe downtown.
 Afternoon: We return to our hotel after lunch and have the afternoon at leisure.
 Dinner: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Evening: After dinner we will have an orientation meeting introducing us to the program and our fellow participants.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Introduction to New Zealand History / Harbour Cruise / City Orientation / Auckland Museum.
(Wednesday, October 16)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Morning: Kia ora! Welcome to Auckland. Auckland, the “City of Sails”, is New Zealand’s largest city and over one third of all New Zealanders live in the greater Auckland area. It has a cosmopolitan population and the high proportion of indigenous Maori and other Polynesian peoples from the Pacific Islands have contributed distinctive elements to its cultural mix. This mix has been heightened by increased immigration from a number of Asian nations throughout the last decade or two. A third of the city’s population was born outside New Zealand. The city has a unique setting between two harbours on a narrow isthmus studded with numerous volcanic cones. To the east, the Waitemata Harbour provides New Zealand’s busiest Pacific port and a picturesque setting for the central business district and suburbs. Beyond this harbour lie the superb boating waters of the island-studded Hauraki Gulf. To the west, the broad shallows of the Manukau Harbour provide ideal habitat for large flocks of seabirds in the shadow of the rugged rainforest-covered Waitakere Ranges. Beyond these ranges the wild black-sand surf beaches of the west coast are a dramatic contrast to the gentle golden sand of the tree-fringed beaches of the east coast. We begin today with a well-known local author and journalist presenting a lecture giving us an Introduction to New Zealand History. We then walk the two blocks down to Viaduct Basin for a yacht cruise on Auckland's magnificent Waitemata Harbour giving us stunning views of the Harbour Bridge, the city and the surrounding volcanic cones. As we sail the channel, those who wish can have a turn at the wheel, weather conditions permitting.
 Lunch: We board our coach and transfer to Eden Garden, where we have lunch surrounded by delightful gardens. These wondrous gardens were created in an abandoned quarry nearly 50 years ago. We have time to explore the gardens briefly prior to or after lunch.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we visit Auckland’s War Memorial Museum for a guided tour of the permanent exhibitions showing us patterns of Polynesian and European settlement. En route we get an orientation to the layout of the city. The remainder of the afternoon is free for us to explore Auckland at our leisure.
 Dinner: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Auckland's Geology / Explore the North Coast
(Thursday, October 17)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Morning: This morning a local geologist and marine biologist gives us a lecture on the geology of Auckland and its varied coastlines. He then leads us on a field trip to explore Auckland's northern coastline and give us an understanding of the variety of the city’s coastal environment. Our walk at North Head will give us a greater perspective of the Hauraki Gulf and the volcanic islands that litter it.
 Lunch: We have lunch today at a local restaurant looking out over the picturesque Cheltenham beach and across to Rangitoto's dome.
 Afternoon: Our field trip continues this afternoon as we visit Lake Pupuke to understand how the volcanic lake and the stunning coast coexist so closely.
 Dinner: Own arrangements - a chance to sample Auckland's cuisine at your leisure. The Viaduct Basin, formerly the home of the America’s Cup, has a variety of cafes and restaurants a short walk from the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves / Coach to Rotorua / City Orientation
(Friday, October 18)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Morning: We check out of our hotel after breakfast and depart for Waitomo, travelling through Waikato's rolling green countryside passing pristine farmland and dense forest.
 Lunch: We have lunch at a local farm cafe close to Waitomo.
 Afternoon: After lunch we transfer to Waitomo for a field trip. We have a guided tour of the internationally-recognised Waitomo glowworm caves. The glow worm, arachnocampa luminosa, is unique to New Zealand and thousands of these tiny creatures radiate their unmistakable luminescent light as expert guides provide informative commentary on the Caves' historical and geological significance. We will enjoy a boat ride under thousands of magical glowworms and be amazed at the clear natural acoustics of the "cathedral". We reboard our coach and transfer through to Rotorua where we will stay for the next two nights. Located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and nicknamed “Sulphur City”, Rotorua has been sustained by tourism since 1870. It is a thermal wonderland with the most energetic thermal activity in the country including hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud pools. It is also an important centre of Maori culture. In the early 19th century the colonial Government attempted to develop it as a European-style spa town. The impressive Tudor-styled Bath House dating from that time is now the Rotorua Museum. The area also has fine trout fishing and scenic wildlife parks. Nearby Mount Tarawera erupted late last century resulting in major changes to the landscape and considerable loss of life. The beautiful lakes in the region are part of the legacy of this cataclysm.
 Dinner: We have an orientation to Rotorua on the way to our hotel and check in in time for dinner in the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Rotorua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Waimangu Volcanic Valley / Maori Arts and Crafts / Kiwi House / Whakarewarewa Thermal Area / Maori Cultural Evening
(Saturday, October 19)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Today we learn something of Rotorua’s geothermal and Maori background. We travel first to Waimangu Volcanic Valley to learn more about volcanic and geothermal New Zealand. Waimangu Volcanic Valley is the only geothermal system in the world wholly created as the direct result of a volcanic eruption - the Tarawera Eruption of 10 June 1886. We walk through this amazing volcanic landscape serenaded by the songs of the local native birdlife. At the end of our walk we have a cruise on Lake Rotomohana, surrounded by pristine bush and also formed as a result of the 1886 eruption.
 Lunch: We return to Rotorua for lunch in a historic and lovingly-restored hotel beside Rotorua's Government Gardens.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we visit Te Puia – the Maori Arts & Crafts Institute. Here we visit the Kiwi House to meet New Zealand's national symbol – the flightless kiwi. We view the Whakarewarewa thermal area, renowned for its boiling mudpools and the spectacular pohutu geyser. We also learn of the role the Institute plays in encouraging young Maori to train in the traditional Maori arts and crafts – wood- and stone-carving, weaving, traditional building techniques and the like.
 Dinner: After some free time at our hotel, we return to Te Puia. This evening for dinner we experience a hangi – the traditional Maori method of cooking food in the ground.
 Evening: During and after dinner we experience a Maori cultural performance.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Rotorua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Flight to Invercargill then coach to Te Anau / Introduction to Southern New Zealand / Course Overview
(Sunday, October 20)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we check out of our hotel and board our coach taking us to Rotorua airport. This morning we leave the North Island as we fly to Invercargill via Christchurch.
 Lunch: We have lunch with a local service group allowing us the chance to meet some locals in New Zealand's most southerly city - Invercargill.
 Afternoon: After lunch we have a lecture introducing us to New Zealand's southernmost province, Southland, learning something of its importance to New Zealand's agricultural backbone. We then drive to the serenely beautiful hamlet of Te Anau. The township of Te Anau is located on Lake Te Anau, the second largest lake in New Zealand and the largest lake in the South Island. It is a small country centre providing community support to the widely-dispersed fishing and farming communities of sparsely-populated Fiordland. It is situated at the edge of the World Heritage-Listed Fiordland National Park and is renowned for its alpine scenery and its trout and salmon fishing. We will have an introduction to our southern program on board our coach en route to Te Anau. Weather- and light-permitting, we shall have time for a short stroll along the lake before dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Cruise on stunning Milford Sound / Ata Whenua: Shadowland / Coach to Queenstown
(Monday, October 21)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel. We drive around the side of Lake Te Anau, across some of the scenic splendour of the World Heritage-listed landscape of Te Wahipounamu – South West New Zealand. We drive through New Zealand's highest tunnel, the Homer Tunnel, where we may well meet a cheeky kea or two, en route to the majestic Milford Sound. Here we cruise the sound, one of Fiordland's most picturesque fiords, where mountains stand tall right out of the sea and rainforest clings to sheer rock faces. During our drive to or from Milford Sound we shall view the movie Ata Whenua - Shadowland. Showing Fiordland on film, Ata Whenua will take us on an unforgettable journey as we "fly" through the Fiordland World Heritage Area and experience one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. Mysterious, evocative, exhilarating and utterly spectacular.
 Lunch: We have a packed lunch on board our cruise vessel in the Sound.
 Afternoon: We disembark our cruise vessel and board our coach for the journey through to Queenstown. We will travel back through the Homer Tunnel down the Hollyford Valley past Lake Te Anau and across verdant farmland before we drive between the mountain ranges along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is nestled on the shores of this beautiful Lake Wakatipu, nestled in amongst the majestic Southern Alps. Its setting is stunning with the surrounding mountain ranges, the Remarkables and the Eyre Mountains, forming a breathtaking backdrop. It has more to offer than just magnificent landscape, however; the town strives to be the “adventure capital of the world” with a diverse range of attractions.
 Dinner: We check into our hotel in time for dinner in the hotel restaurant looking out over the lake.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Lake Wakatipu Cruise including Walter Peak Sheep Station / Gondola to Skyline Restaurant overlooking Queenstown's stunning natural beauty
(Tuesday, October 22)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Today we cruise across Lake Wakatipu on board the historic steamer TSS Earnslaw. This iconic 1912 twin-screw steamship recently celebrated its 100th birthday. It is much beloved by locals and visitors alike as the lady of the lake. We visit Walter Peak High Country Farm for a guided tour and an insight into the training and usage of farmers' working dogs – the backbone of New Zealand sheep farming. It is hard not to be amazed watching farmer and dog working together in complete unison. Unless the pesky sheep have other ideas...
 Lunch: We have a BBQ lunch at Walter Peak Homestead.
 Afternoon: Our field trip at Walter Peak Station continues before we reboard the Earnslaw and cruise back across the lake. We have some free time to explore Queenstown on our own before we board the gondola to the top of Bob's Peak. We have time to take in the spectacular views before dinner.
 Dinner: We have dinner at Skyline Restaurant overlooking Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables.
 Evening: After dinner soaking up the stunning view, we hop a gondola back down the hill and board our coach back to our hotel.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Flight to Wellington / Orientation to Wellington / City Lights
(Wednesday, October 23)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we check out and board our coach to Queenstown Domestic Airport for our flight to Wellington via Christchurch. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand since 1865, is located at the southern extremity of the North Island. Its magnificent amphitheatre-like harbour, hemmed in by rugged hills, was formed by the flooding of the crater of a very large and long-extinct volcano. It provides a picturesque setting for the city’s distinctive wooden houses set precariously on the steep hills. In addition to its role as the seat of government Wellington is a major seaport, rail and ferry centre and a commercial and manufacturing hub. Its compact city centre is immensely walkable and is full of life and interest. It has a vigorous cultural and artistic scene and is the home of many national cultural institutions. Upon our arrival in Wellington we transfer to our harbourfront hotel and check in in time for lunch.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we have an orientation to Wellington, taking in such sights as the cable car, botanic gardens, Boulton Street Memorials and Premier House. From the top of the cable car, we gain excellent view of Wellington Harbour and its hilly backdrop. As the locals like to say, "you can't beat Wellington on a good day!"
 Dinner: At accommodation.
 Evening: This evening, weather conditions permitting, we take a coach ride up to the top of Mount Victoria to take in the city's lit-up landscape.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: Zealandia Native Sanctuary / Brooklyn Wind Turbine / Te Papa Tongarewa: Museum of New Zealand / New Zealand Politics & Public Life
(Thursday, October 24)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we visit Zealandia – a native sanctuary of forest and lakes just ten minutes from the city centre. Here we learn about some of New Zealand’s unique and fascinating birdlife. Our expert guides will introduce us to these wonderful birds and to the challenges of conserving rare and vulnerable species in New Zealand. We learn the story of how local residents lobbied and volunteered to get this valley sanctuary, only 10 minutes from the centre of town, set aside as a reserve and have it fully enclosed by predator-proof fencing. From Zealandia we will travel to the Brooklyn wind turbine giving us a view across Wellington and the harbour as well as across Cook Strait to the South Island.
 Lunch: We return to our hotel for lunch.
 Afternoon: After lunch we take the short walk across to Te Papa Tongarewa: National Museum of New Zealand where we have a guided tour. Following our tour we have the remainder of the afternoon free to explore the museum on our own. This evening a retired diplomat and academic will give us a lecture on New Zealand politics and the political system before dinner.
 Dinner: We have dinner tonight in the hotel restaurant. Our lecturer will join us to allow you to question him further regarding the intriguing New Zealand political set-up.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: New Zealand Parliament House / New Zealand's Supreme Court
(Friday, October 25)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we visit New Zealand’s parliament buildings – including the aptly-named Beehive – for a guided tour. We also visit New Zealand’s Supreme Court to gain an understanding of how the highest court in the land operates - you may be surprised at the differences between it and the United States Supreme Court.
 Lunch: We have lunch at a local restaurant in downtown Wellington.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free for you to explore Wellington at your leisure. Put on your walking shoes and get amongst it!
 Dinner: Dinner tonight is at own arrangements allowing you to sample the many fine restaurants, cafes and bars Wellington has to offer.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 14: Wellington's fascinating coastline / Flight to Auckland to connect with international flight to Los Angeles
(Saturday, October 26)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we check out and load our bags on our coach. This morning a local scientist guides us on a field trip exploring Wellington's fascinating coastline. Here we learn how tectonic forces have shaped the rugged environment surrounding the New Zealand capital.
 Lunch: We have a picnic lunch at a sheltered scenic spot along the south coast.
 Afternoon: We coach to Wellington Airport and check in for our domestic flight to Auckland and international flight on to the USA.
 Dinner: At own arrangements at Auckland Airport or on board your flight to the USA.
 Evening: International flight to Los Angeles.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Concise History of New Zealand

Author: Philippa Mein Smith

Description: This well-written pocket history in the series by Cambridge University Press covers the history and development of New Zealand from its origins and early development to the 21st century. With illustrations, glossary, chronology and bibliography.

A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Julian Fitter

Description: Comprehensive and compact, this Princeton Pocket Guide by longtime resident Julian Fitter and Don Merton at New Zealand's Department of Conservation features 600 color photographs. With range maps, descriptions and excellent introductory chapters on conservation efforts and key national parks for bird watching

A Personal Kiwi-Yankee Dictionary

Author: Louis Leland

Description: Take this book with you on your trip to help you untangle the sometimes perplexing and colorful local idioms.

A Traveler’s History of New Zealand and the South Pacific

Author: John Chambers

Description: A concise, generous overview of the region, organized chronologically, and including line drawings and maps. While a great deal of the book focuses on New Zealand, there is also ample coverage of the South Pacific.

Captain James Cook

Author: Richard Hough

Description: A vividly written narrative of the life and three great voyages of Captain Cook. This fine book includes a gripping account of his discoveries throughout the Pacific and his demise in the Sandwich Islands.

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All

Author: Christina Thompson

Description: In this endearing, offbeat memoir, Christina Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori (she's an anthropologist) and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married. Her title is taken from what "Darwin said that Cook said the Maori's said at that interesting moment when Europeans first appeared." What probably actually transpired on that fateful day in 1769 at the Bay of Isles was more complex.

Cultural Atlas of Australia, New Zealand & the South Pacific

Author: Richard Nile & Christian Clerk

Description: This handsome volume weaves together history, geography, archaeology, and the arts, covering the Australasian region from prehistory up to the founding of the modern nations. Features hundreds of illustrations.


Author: Samuel Butler

Description: Butler's satirical account of a journey across the mountains to an upside-down country at the end of the world (Erewhon is an anagram of Nowhere), where sick people are thrown in jail and murderers are taken to the hospital. Erewhon is also a place in New Zealand where Butler, not coincidentally, ran a sheep ranch for several years in the 1860s. Upper Rangitata, in the foothills of Canterbury, retains its wild beauty (featured in the movie Lord of the Rings). Butler not only exposes the hypocrisy of Victorian society, church and education but also does a fine job of evoking the landscape of the region. First published privately by Butler in 1872.

Eyewitness Guide New Zealand

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb illustrated guide to New Zealand from the Eyewitness series features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region synopsis of the country's attractions. Handsome, convenient and up-to-date, this is the guide to carry.

Fairness and Freedom, A History of Two Open Societies, New Zealand and the United States

Author: David Hackett Fischer

Description: Fischer compares the political similarities of two societies, the United States and New Zealand, why they have taken different forms, and asks the question: is it possible to be both fair and free? An expansion of Fischer's previous work on liberty and freedom, and the first book to be published on the history of fairness.

Great Southern Landings: An Anthology of Antipodean Travel

Author: Jan Bassett

Description: This eclectic and quirky anthology collects nearly 100 excerpts from various writers who have left their impressions of actual visits to the Antipodes in books and journals, while others, travelling only in their minds, left accounts of imaginary voyages to distant utopias. The contributors include Jonathan Swift, Jules Verne, Joseph Conrad, Kenneth Clark, Charles Darwin, Robin Hanbury-Tenison, Herbert Hoover, Anthony Eden, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Bruce Chatwin, Jan Morris, Harold Larwood, Germaine Greer, and Peter Conrad. A helpful introduction is given to each extract and author.

Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Barrie Heather, Hugh Robertson & Derek Onley

Description: A compact edition of the classic field guide to the birds of New Zealand, featuring 74 color plates. Brief descriptions, range maps and illustrations are integrated on facing pages for easy reference.

Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance

Author: Lloyd Jones

Description: From rural New Zealand at the end of World War I to the present day, two separate love stories resonate across three generations, as two very different couples are brought together by their obsession with the seductive power of the tango. By the author of the critically acclaimed Mr. Pip, this earlier novel was first published in New Zealand in 2002.

In A Sunburned Country

Author: Bill Bryson

Description: Bill Bryson revels in Australia's eccentric characters, dangerous flora and fauna, and other oddities. As has become his custom, he effortlessly imparts much fact-filled history in this wildly funny book. Included at the end is a short bibliography. This book is published as "Down Under" in Australia, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Making Peoples, A History of the New Zealanders from Polynesian Settlement to the End of the Nineteenth Century

Author: James Belich

Description: An extremely readable and scholarly history that traces the development of New Zealand -- and the Maori -- from pre-contact to the late 19th century. With its wide, yet detailed focus, this book gives the reader a glimpse into the social forces that have formed the Maori, including the tremendous impact of colonization. It concludes with a discussion of the Pakeha, the 19th century settlers who helped shape what has become modern day New Zealand. Belich, a professor of history at the University of Aukland, continues the story in a second volume (NZL59).

Maori Tattooing

Author: H.G. Robley

Description: A new unabridged edition of the classic, illustrated sourcebook on Maori tattooing (moko), first published in 1896 and featuring black-and-white photographs and drawings by the author. Robley (1840-1930), who recognized that the traditional art of tattooing was endangered (along with the Maori themselves), pays scrupulous attention to the intricate patterns, design and cultural meaning of traditional Maori tattoos. Robley, a talented artist who had served in the British army in New Zealand, lived among Ngati Tapu at Matapihi from 1864 to 1866.

New Zealand Adventure Map

Author: National Geographic

Description: This handy, double-sided map (1:1,100,000), printed on water- and tear-resistant paper, includes inset maps of the Sub-Antarctic islands and an index. Published in conjunction with Reise Know-How and the World Mapping Project, this is one of a growing series of National Geographic Adventure Maps. One Side. 39x27 inches.

New Zealand Through Time, An Illustrated Journey Through 83 Million Years of Natural History

Author: Ronald Cometti

Description: Step back in time in this illustrated miscellany, featuring dozens of full-color paintings of giant moa, mixosaurus, and other splendid extinct creatures.

New Zealand Wildlife

Author: Julian Fitter

Description: Julian Fitter's splendid introduction to the nature and wildlife of New Zealand features succinct chapters on geography and geology, history, habitats and wildlife, along with hundreds of color photographs. Fitter (Wildlife of the Galapagos) and Tui de Roy, who contributed many of the photographs, also collaborated on Albatross, Their World, Their Ways.

New Zealand: A Natural History

Author: Tui De Roy & Mark Jones

Description: The authors, both naturalists and photographers, present the wildlife, habitats and splendor of their adopted homeland in this pictorial celebration.

Once Were Warriors

Author: Alan Duff

Description: You may have seen the movie. This is the controversial best-selling novel set in what would appear to be Auckland. It follows the fate of Beth, a tough young woman with a son to protect, and is an insightful, gut-wrenching look at social problems of the Maori in contemporary New Zealand.

Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand

Author: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Description: In this far-ranging book, a travelogue of sorts, Masson (who left the rarified atmosphere of Berkeley for Auckland in 2000) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the kiwis, nature and society. This is the same author who has written a series of wildly successful books on the emotional lives on animals, including The Pig Who Sang to the Moon, which is about treatment of farm animals.

Southern Exposure

Author: Chris Duff

Description: In this book, subtitled "A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island," seasoned kyacker Chris Duff challenges the waters of the Pacific while ruminating on the beauty of New Zealand's coast and people.


Author: Katherine Mansfield

Description: This collection includes three marvelous, long pieces which together constitute the beginnings of an unfinished novel based on Mansfield's childhood in Wellington, New Zealand in the 1890s.

The Bone People

Author: Keri Hulme

Description: Set in modern-day South Island, this lyrical novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent New Zealand’s varied Maori and European traditions. (Winner of the Booker Prize)

The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Barrie Heather

Description: A revised, compact edition of the classic field guide to the birds of New Zealand featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley. Brief descriptions, range maps and illustrations are integrated on facing pages for easy reference in the field. It combines the two sections (field guide and details) of the 1997 edition.

The Happy Isles of Oceania

Author: Paul Theroux

Description: Here's Theroux at his wickedly funny and open-minded best. The peripatetic author flies off to Australia and New Zealand with a kayak and ends up exploring much of Melanesia and Polynesia, including Tonga, Fiji and the Marquesas.

Tutira, The Story of a New Zealand Sheep Station

Author: Herbert Guthrie-Smith

Description: First published in 1921, this loving acount of the ecology of New Zealand focuses on Guthrie-Smith's 40,000-sheep shearing station on the shores of Lake Tutira. He covers the geologic setting, ecology and and impact of sheep on the region. With line drawings, maps and a few period photographs.

Whale Rider

Author: Witi Ihimaera

Description: A magical, mythical novella about a young Maori girl and her relationship with a whale, that ultimately saves her village. Based loosely on Ihimaera’s youth in a Maori village.

Wild Fiordland

Author: Neville Peat

Description: This comprehensive (and hard to find) overview of the natural history of New Zealand's Fiordland features maps, lively essays and 200 color photographs. It takes you from high mountains to forests and fjords, lakes and rivers.

Xenophobe's Guide to the Kiwis

Author: Christine Cole Catley

Description: Frank, irreverent and funny, this entertaining pocket guide might just increase cultural awareness!

You can't find a better value than Road Scholar.

As a not-for-profit organization, we are dedicated to providing all-inclusive educational programs at great value. From lectures to gratuities to field trips to accommodations - the tuition you pay up front is all that you pay.

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

© Road Scholar 2016 | Call toll-free: 1-800-454-5768