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Active New Zealand: Hike, Bike and Paddle the South Island

Program Number: 20621RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/18/2013 - 3/3/2013; 2/16/2015 - 3/1/2015; 3/2/2015 - 3/15/2015; 3/16/2015 - 3/29/2015; 11/9/2015 - 11/22/2015; 1/18/2016 - 1/31/2016; 2/8/2016 - 2/21/2016; 2/22/2016 - 3/6/2016; 3/7/2016 - 3/20/2016;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: New Zealand
Price starting at: $4,098.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: Multi-Sport Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 30; 11 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Vegetarian; Vegetarian; Vegetarian    

For outdoor enthusiasts who live for snow-capped mountain peaks, pristine coastlines and immaculate bike paths through stunning landscapes, New Zealand’s South Island is the ultimate destination. In the shadow of the stunning Southern Alps, hike through valleys you might recognize from the “Lord of the Rings” films. Bike through New Zealand’s renowned wine-growing country and stop at a vineyard for lunch. Experience the glacier-carved beauty of Fiordland National Park by kayak and on foot.


• Enjoy an exhilarating day of expert-led rafting on the pristine Rangitata River.
• Bike the Otago Rail Trail, a well-maintained gravel path through rocky gorges and past small villages.
• Absorb the incredible beauty of the Milford Sound fjord on a boat excursion.

Activity Particulars

Hiking up to eight miles on mixed, sometimes hilly terrain, biking up to 25 miles on mostly flat terrain, river rafting and sea kayaking.

Date Specific Information


November is a lovely time of the year with lambs, green pastures & Spring flowers

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Christchurch; coach to Geraldine, 3 nights; coach to Twizel, 2 nights; coach to Queenstown, 3 nights; coach to Te Anau, 3 nights; coach to Invercargil; departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Cross International Date Line
1 night
Arrival Christchurch
Coach to Geraldine
3 nights

Journey to Geraldine, a country town known as a retreat for artists. Enjoy a nature walk in Peel Forest and investigate its beautiful ferns with a plant expert. Learn about the New Zealand deer industry, the world’s largest, on a field trip to a working deer farm.

Coach to Twizel
2 nights

Take an expert-led walk in the Hooker Valley below Mount Cook, the country’s highest peak, and see the huge Tasman Glacier. Learn about New Zealand’s favorite son at the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre. Bicycle along the peaceful Pukaki-Ohau hydro canal system.

Coach to Queenstown
3 nights

Discover the historic gold mining town of Arrowtown, reminiscent of America’s Old West. Ride a gondola to Skyline Queenstown, an observation deck with incredible views, for a performance of traditional Maori music. Walk the new Gibbston River trail with the Kawarau River on one side and vineyards on the other, then stop at a winery for lunch and a tasting.

Coach to Te Anau
3 nights
Coach to Invercargill

Walk a section of the Kepler Track, a spectacular “tramping” path, to a beachside hut on Lake Manapouri. Explore heavenly Lake Te Anau on an expert-led sea kayaking excursion. Meet some of New Zealand’s native birdlife at an endangered bird sanctuary operated by the Department of Conservation.

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.

Geraldine: Comfortable garden motel. Twizel: Country inn with Southern Alps views. Queenstown: Resort on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Te Anau: Comfortable motel steps from Lake Te Anau.

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

An avid mountaineering enthusiast, John Jordan enjoys leading learning adventures in New Zealand and overseas, and has received recognition for his services to Search and Rescue. With his wife, Margaret, he owns a dairy farm at the base of Mt Taranaki (Egmont). John has a special interest in native plants, especially native ferns.
Brien Mahoney

Brien Mahoney, has had a lifetime of experience in hiking and mountain climbing. He is familiar with most of the major trails and climbs in New Zealand and has taken part in expeditions to the Andes in South America and to several sections of the Himalayas, includng Nepal and Bhutan. As a board member of the Outward Bound Trust — an organization founded by the Duke of Edinburgh — Brien also works to train young people in outdoor skills.
Colin Jordan

Colin and Kim Jordan are former dairy farmers who now jointly run a Hill Country deer Farm near the South Canterbury town of Fairlie. Colin has an agricultural science degree from Lincoln University, and Kim has a business management degree from the same university. They are both former rugby players who now coach rugby teams, which they fit in around raising their three young children. In their free time, the Jordan family enjoys hiking, skiing and hunting.
Meals and Lodgings
   Andorra Motel
  Geraldine, New Zealand 3 nights
   Mackenzie Country Inn
  Twizel, New Zealand 2 nights
   Kingsgate Terraces Hotel
  Queenstown, New Zealand 3 nights
   Alpine View Motel
  Te Anau, New Zealand 3 nights
 Andorra Motel
Type: Motel
  Description: 1 acre quiet garden surroundings and within easy walking distance of Geraldine town centre
  Contact info: 16 Mckenzie Street,
Geraldine,   New Zealand
phone: +64 36938622
  Room amenities: TV, radio, and Phone
  Facility amenities: Laundry facilities Swimming Pool
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $120 NZ room available prior to the program commencement

 Mackenzie Country Inn
Type: Hotel
  Description: private country style surroundings with mountain views
  Contact info: Crn Ostler & Wairepo Rd
Twizel,   New Zealand
phone: +64 34350869
  Room amenities: Phone and TV
  Facility amenities: restaurant, internet, laundry
  Smoking allowed: No

 Kingsgate Terraces Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: stunning views over lake Wakitipu and surrounding mountain ranges
  Contact info: 88 Frankton Road
Queenstown,  9197 New Zealand
phone: +64 3 442-7950
  Facility amenities: wireless broadband and internet spa
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Alpine View Motel
Type: Motel
  Description: large spacious grounds
  Contact info: 15 Quinton Drive
Te Anau,  9600 New Zealand
phone: +64 32497459
  Facility amenities: internet
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: $120 NZ room Additional nights available at end of Program

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
10.00 am This program begins Wednesday February 20, 2013 in Christchurch New Zealand with a coach to Geraldine at the Andorra Motel You will be staying at Andorra Motel that night.
  End of Program:
3.00 pm This program ends on Sunday March 03, 2013 at Invercargill Airport You will be staying at Alpine View Motel the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required. No visa required
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: "Budget Shuttles" cost is $57 pp from the Christchurch Airport to Geraldine
To Start of Program
  Location:  Geraldine
  Nearest city or town:  Timaru
  Nearest highway: On the inland Scenic Route
  Nearest airport:  Christchurch
  Transportation to site: Coach provided for all participants from Christchurch airport to Geraldine
  From End of Program
  Location:  Te Anau
  Nearest city or town:  Invercargill
  Nearest airport:  Invercargill
  Transportation from site: Coach provided from Te Anau to Invercargill airport for all participants.
Equipment Requirements: Cycling clothes and layers of hiking clothes,Waterproof jacket Sturdy walking/hiking boots, day pack, swimsuit Warm hat and gloves, sunhat and sunscreen A durable pair of walking shoes or boots is essential! A walking stick may also be desirable if you are used to walking with one
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: In Flight
(Monday, February 18)
 In Transit: Overnight flight from USA

Day 2:
(Tuesday, February 19)
 In Transit: Flight through time zones; day lost

Day 3: Arrival, coach to Geraldine, short walk, orientation and Welcome Dinner
(Wednesday, February 20)
 Arrive To: Christchurch airport
 Morning: Coach to Geraldine (1.5 hours). A beautiful village nestled at the foot of soft rolling hills and bisected by the tranquil Waihi river A popular base for exploring the region and enjoying a wide range of outdoor activities
 Lunch: Lunch at cafe en-route
 Afternoon: Short walk in Talbot Forest (1 hr) Orientation
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at restaurant
Accommodations: Andorra Motel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Fern walk, rafting on the Rangitata river followed by BBQ meal
(Thursday, February 21)

Note: Walk 2.5-3 hrs approx 6-7 km Rafting 2.5 hour on the river. Instruction given. You will walk around any grade 5 rapids

 Breakfast: At Motel
 Morning: Coach to Peel Forest. Guided Fern walk, with fern expert (2 hours)
 Lunch: Lunch at rafting Lodge
 Afternoon: Guided rafting with instruction by a world class guide on the Rangitata river (4 hours) Be in awe of the rugged mountain scenery surrounding you as you practise your paddling and safety drills on the initial calmer waters
 Dinner: BBQ meal at Rafting Lodge
Accommodations: Andorra Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Visit Deer farm with field lecture followed by farm walk
(Friday, February 22)
 Breakfast: At motel
 Morning: Coach to Fairlie for Deer farm visit with field lecture. Experience a working deer farm
 Lunch: Packed Lunch in the Field
 Afternoon: Guided Farm walk
 Dinner: Dinner at restaurant
Accommodations: Andorra Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Horse ride at Tekapo, walk up Mt John to observatory and a soak in Alpine Springs hot pools
(Saturday, February 23)

Note: Horse riding is a gentle trek for 1 Hour Mt John walk is up hill through Larch forest and then open tussock on wellformed track (approx 2 hrs 4-5 km)

 Breakfast: At motel
 Morning: Coach to Tekapo for horse ride. 1 hour guided gentle trek through larch and pine forest to the edge of Mt John, with fantastic views of Lake Tekapo (option to take a scenic walk in place of the horse ride)
 Lunch: At cafe
 Afternoon: Walk up Mt John to Observatory (2 Hours) Soak in Alpine Springs Hot Pools Coach to Twizel. Twizel is the nearest town to Aoraki/ Mt Cook It was built as a base for one of the most impressive hydro-power schemes in the southern hemisphere. It is now used for a base for skiing in winter and fishing, boating, kayaking and hiking in summer
 Dinner: Dinner at Hotel
Accommodations: Mackenzie Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Guided walk in Hooker Valley at Mt Cook and Tasman glacier lake Visit Sir Edmond Hilary Museum
(Sunday, February 24)

Note: Hooker valley walk on well formed track with gradual up hill (12 km 4 hrs return) Tasman glacier walk 1 hr 2.5 km

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Coach to Mt Cook Village ( a tourist centre and base camp for the Mountain) and Guided walk in the Hooker Valley towards Aoraki/Mount Cook the highest mountain in New Zealand (12,316 ft) The track crosses 2 swing bridges and follows the river to the source, the Hooker Glacier Terminal lake (12 km 4 hours return)
 Lunch: Packed lunch in the Field
 Afternoon: Visit Sir Edmond Hilary Museum at the Hermitage Tasman Glacier Lake Walk This track leads to a viewpoint of the glacial terminal lake. Icebergs can be seen floating in the lake (1 hr)
 Dinner: Dinner at Inn
Accommodations: Mackenzie Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cycle Canals, Coach to Queenstown visiting Arrowtown with a 20min Walk Maori Concert
(Monday, February 25)

Note: Cycle 2-3 hrs 14-28 km on flat paved canal road with one section on gravel road

 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Cycle Pukaki Ohau canals (14-28 Km) This canal is part of the most impressive hydro-power schemes in the southern hemisphere. The canal road follows the canal between lake Pukaki and Lake Ohau wth great views of the Southern Alps
 Lunch: Lunch at Omarama
 Afternoon: Coach to Queenstown. Visit Arrowtown (an old gold mining town with beautifully preserved historic buildings) with a 20 minute historic walk. Queenstown is a major tourist centre in the South Island - situated in dramatic landscape of Lake & mountains. All year round outdoor activities attract many overseas tourists. It is also noted for its rapidly expanding production of wine in adjacent areas.
 Dinner: Dinner at Pizza Bar "The Cow"
Accommodations: Kingsgate Terraces Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Walk Gibbston River Trail with lunch at winery Free Afternoon
(Tuesday, February 26)

Note: River trail is a well formed track undulating at first then flat 2.5-3 hrs 8.5 km

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel
 Morning: Walk Gibbston River Trail (8 km 2-3 Hrs) The trail has spectacular views framed by the Kawarau River on one side and the Gibbston vineyards on the other
 Lunch: Lunch at Gibbston Valley winery with winery tour
 Afternoon: FREE AFTERNOON For Gondola Ride and walk or luge down, Walk in Botanic garden, Walk up Queenstown Hill, sail on ferry TSS Earnslaw or shopping
 Dinner: Dinner own choice
Accommodations: Kingsgate Terraces Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 10: Cycle a section of the Otago rail trail
(Wednesday, February 27)

Note: Cycle an firm slight gravel surface Flat to Chatto Creek (25 km) then "S" bends and slowly ascends a gradual 1in 50 incline and descends slightly into Omakau (11.5 km)

 Breakfast: breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Coach to Clyde Cycle on Otago Rail trail to Chatto Creek (25 km) The rail trail follows the old central Otago railway and passes over viaducts and bridges, through tunnels and past old railway stations and through old gold mining towns Watch for colourful Lupins and smell the wild thyme
 Lunch: Lunch at Chatto Creek Tavern
 Afternoon: Cycle Chatto Creek to Omakau (11.5 km) optional Visit Ophir to see the many Historic Buildings and visit the Post office Return by coach to Queenstown
 Dinner: Dinner own choice
Accommodations: Kingsgate Terraces Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11: Coach to Te Anau Walk a section of the Kepler track
(Thursday, February 28)

Note: Walk on a well formed track through beech forest and crosses a wetland 12km 3-4 hrs return

 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Coach to Te Anau. Te Anau lies beside the sparking blue waters of Lake Te Anau the largest lake in the South Island It is the Gateway to Milford Sound (2 hours by coach) Walk a section of the Kepler track, Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut (12km 3-4 Hrs return) From the swing bridge the track follows the Waiau river terrace, crosses a wetland and through beech forest Moturau Hut is situated beside a beautiful beach with panoramic views of Lake Manapouri
 Lunch: Packed lunch in the field
 Afternoon: Return to Rainbow Reach
 Dinner: At local restaurant
 Evening: Optional boat trip to Te Anau Glow Worm Caves at own cost
Accommodations: Alpine View Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: All day excursion to Milford Sound with a boat cruise
(Friday, March 1)
 Breakfast: At motel
 Morning: Coach to Milford Sound (2 hours) Boat Cruise with commentary Nestled within Fiordland National Park Milford Sound is the best known of the glacier cut fiord's. From cloud piercing cliffs and snow capped mountains to rain forest and a number of ever changing waterfalls, this is a region drenched in beauty. Mitre Peak is a commanding sight that welcomes you at the head of the fiord
 Lunch: on board boat
 Afternoon: Return by coach with short walks at the Chasm and Lake Gunn
 Dinner: Dinner own choice
Accommodations: Alpine View Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 13: Guided Kayaking on Lake Te Anau Visit Department of Conservation and endangered bird Sanctuary
(Saturday, March 2)

Note: Sea kayaking on Lake Te Anau with instruction 4- 5 hours

 Breakfast: At motel
 Morning: Guided Sea Kayaking on Lake Te Anau The glacial Lake of Te Anau has clear, deep water,edged with sandy beaches, coves and cliffs, designed with islands, glaciated valleys, fed by waterfalls, cradled by classic Fiordland native bush and mountain scenery
 Lunch: Packed lunch in the field
 Afternoon: Visit department of conservation and endangered bird sanctuary with a guided tour
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner at local Restaurant
Accommodations: Alpine View Motel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Coach to Invercargill Visit museum and view Tuatara Flight from Invercargill to Auckland and USA
(Sunday, March 3)
 Breakfast: at motel
 Morning: Coach to Invercargill Visit Art Gallery with guided tour Visit Museum and view Tuatara
 Lunch: own choice
 Afternoon: Flight from Invercargill to Auckland and USA
Meals Included: Breakfast
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 Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Julian Fitter

Description: Comprehensive and compact, this Princeton Pocket Guide features 600 color photographs.

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 Traveller's History of New Zealand and the South Pacific Islands

Author: John Chambers

Description: A brisk portrait of New Zealand, and its culture, economy and society, this concise history also covers the settlement of the Pacific Islands.

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All

Author: Christina Thompson

Description: In this endearing, offbeat memoir, anthropologist Thompson effortlessly alternates tales of mostly disastrous early encounters with the Maori and the story of the love of her life, Seven, the Maori she married.


Author: Samuel Butler, Peter Mudford (Introduction)

Description: Butler's classic Victorian novel inspired by his experiences in 1860s New Zealand. A satirical account of a journey to an upside-down country at the end of the world, where sick people are thrown in jail and murderers are taken to the hospital.

Eyewitness Guide New Zealand

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: This superb illustrated guide features color photography, dozens of excellent local maps and a region-by-region overview of attractions.

Here at the End of the World We Learn to Dance

Author: Lloyd Jones

Description: Dancing between New Zealand and Buenos Aires and ranging over decades, tango is the leitmotif of this earlier novel by Lloyd Jones, published here for the first time, author of Mister Pip. Like Mr. Pip, this compact, seductive novel concerns the power of storytelling.

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

Author: James Belich

Description: A social history of 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.

Maori Tattooing

Author: H.G. Robley

Description: A new unabridged edition of the classic, illustrated sourcebook on Maori tattooing (moko), first published in 1896. The author pays scrupulous attention to the intricate patterns, design and cultural meaning of traditional Maori tattoos.

New Zealand Map

Author: National Geographic

Description: This handy, double-sided map includes an index and insets of the Sub-Antarctic islands.

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.

New Zealand, A Natural History

Author: Tui De Roy, Mark Jones

Description: Having relocated many years ago to the beaches of Golden Bay on the North Island, Tui and Mark present the wildlife, habitats and splendor of their homeland in this photographic celebration.

Once Were Warriors

Author: Alan Duff

Description: This controversial best-selling novel follows the fate of a Maori woman in what appears to be modern-day Auckland, an insightful look at social problems of the Maori in contemporary New Zealand.

Presenting New Zealand, An Illustrated History

Author: Philip Temple

Description: Organized from North to South, this oversized paperback, featuring large, full-color archival illustrations on every page, is a profile of the island nation, its history, people and nature.

Slipping Into Paradise, Why I Live in New Zealand

Author: Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson

Description: In this far-ranging travelogue, Masson (who wrote a series of books on the emotional lives of animals) combines his travels and tales with history, riffs on the kiwis, nature and society.

Southern Exposure

Author: Chris Duff

Description: Subtitled "A Solo Sea Kayaking Journey Around New Zealand's South Island."


Author: Katherine Mansfield

Description: The three marvelous, long stories in this collection constitute the beginnings of a novel based on Mansfield's childhood in Wellington.

The Bone People

Author: Keri Hulme

Description: Set on the South Island, this powerful novel brings together three troubled individuals who represent Maori and European traditions in contemporary New Zealand.

The Earth Machine, The Science of a Dynamic Planet

Author: James D. Webster, Edmond A. Mathez

Description: An informative, illustrated overview of the earth and its fiery origins by curators of the American Museum of Natural History's Hall of Planet Earth.

The Future Eaters, An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People

Author: Tim F. Flannery

Description: An engaging ecological history of Australasia, focusing on human impact on local environments and animal populations in the recent geologic past.

The Hand Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Barrie Heather

Description: The revised compact edition of the classic field guide, featuring 74 color plates by Derek Onley.

The Happy Isles of Oceania

Author: Paul Theroux

Description: 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 in this wickedly funny, wide-ranging tale.

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