Road Scholar : Home
An Odyssey Down Under: Australia and New Zealand

Program Number: 16434RJ
Start and End Dates:
4/6/2014 - 5/3/2014; 3/10/2016 - 4/9/2016; 3/31/2016 - 4/30/2016; 4/7/2016 - 5/7/2016; 8/25/2016 - 9/24/2016; 9/8/2016 - 10/8/2016; 9/22/2016 - 10/22/2016; 10/6/2016 - 11/5/2016; 10/20/2016 - 11/19/2016; 11/3/2016 - 12/3/2016; 11/17/2016 - 12/17/2016; 1/2/2017 - 2/1/2017; 1/12/2017 - 2/11/2017; 1/26/2017 - 2/25/2017; 2/9/2017 - 3/11/2017; 2/16/2017 - 3/18/2017; 2/23/2017 - 3/25/2017; 3/2/2017 - 4/1/2017; 3/9/2017 - 4/8/2017; 3/23/2017 - 4/22/2017; 3/30/2017 - 4/29/2017; 4/6/2017 - 5/6/2017;
Duration: 27 nights
Location: Australia/New Zealand
Price starting at: $12,185.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 70; 25 Breakfasts, 25 Lunches, 20 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

Geographically isolated, rich in indigenous heritage and home to diverse and fragile ecosystems, Australia and New Zealand have much in common. Yet, separated from one another by more than 1,200 miles of open sea, they each bear distinctions that run deeper than can be perceived from afar. Find out for yourself what these island nations share and what makes each unique on this in-depth odyssey of discovery.


• Local experts reveal the story of New Zealand’s settlement by Maori and Europeans.
• Witness the eruptions of spectacular geysers in the Rotorua geothermal region and experience the magnificent fjords of Milford Sound.
• Examine a delicate natural wonder — the Great Barrier Reef — and learn about efforts to protect it.

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.

This program is a combination of program # 20135 "New Zealand: An Odyssey Down Under", extension program # 21740 "New Zealand's Capital" and program # 20134 "Australia: An Odyssey Down Under".

Date Specific Information


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

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Auckland (New Zealand), 4 nights; coach to Rotorua, 2 nights; flight to Christchurch, 2 nights; flight to Invercargill and coach to Te Anau, 1 night; coach to Queenstown, 2 nights; flight to Wellington, 3 nights; flight to Sydney (Australia), 4 nights; flight to Melbourne, 3 nights; flight to Alice Springs, 2 nights; coach to Uluru / Ayers Rock, 1 night; flight to Cairns, 3 nights; flight to Sydney, 1 night; departure.

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Cross International Dateline
1 night
Arrive Auckland (New Zealand)
4 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.

Flight 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.

Flight to Invercargill and coach to Te Anau
1 night
Coach to Queenstown
2 nights

Stretching nine miles inland, Milford Sound’s sheer rock walls tower above water inhabited by seals, penguins and dolphins while rainforests clutch the cliffsides. Journey through this striking geographical feature on a magical daytime cruise. In the spectacular adventure playground that is Queenstown, learn about the Wakatipu Basin and explore its lake onboard 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. Take the gondola up Bob's Peak for dinner looking out over majestic scenery.

Flight to Wellington
3 nights

Visit New Zealand's National Museum Te Papa Tongarewa to discover the physical and human influences that have created this small Western democracy in the South Pacific. Learn about politics and public life as you visit the New Zealand capital's key institutions: the New Zealand parliament and the supreme court. Gain an insight to what New Zealand may have been like prior to human settlement during a visit to Zealandia, a community-created wildlife sanctuary and native bush regeneration project. Understand the physical forces at play in New Zealand on an expert-led field trip along Wellington's rugged southern coastline.

Flight to Sydney (Australia)
4 nights

Learn from a local academic about Australia’s early settlement and study Sydney’s colonial past. Go inside the iconic Sydney Opera House guided by an expert and also attend a live performance "in the house" one evening. Be introduced to Australia’s unique wildlife at Taronga Park Zoo and take in the wonderful views of Sydney Harbour and the city it affords. Take a boat excursion on the magnificent Sydney Harbour for a unique view of the city. Visit the famous Bondi beach to gain some understanding of Australia's beach culture and the relationship residents have with the water. Enjoy some free time to explore this wonderful modern city at your leisure.

Flight to Melbourne
3 nights

Journey to Phillip Island for its famous Penguin Parade, pausing at a wildlife park en route to meet the wombat and other local critters. Explore Melbourne’s fascinating Queen Victoria Markets. A local expert discusses Australia's economy and politics. Visit the Australian collection at the National Gallery of Victoria to learn about indigenous Australian art. Have some free time to explore Australia's second city (although the locals will tend to disagree on that point!) at leisure utilising its wonderfully user-friendly tram system.

Flight to Alice Springs
2 nights
Coach to Uluru / Ayers Rock
1 night

An expert lecture addresses the Aboriginal culture and heritage in Alice Springs, a centre of aboriginal culture for more than 15,000 years. An Aborigine woman teaches you about "bush tucker" and makes a dinner to show how these traditional flavours can be used in contemporary cuisine. Learn how the School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service deliver vital services to the most remote parts of the Outback. Visit the Alice Springs Desert Park to meet Australian desert wildlife. See the huge monoliths of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park - Ayers Rock (Uluru) and the Olgas (Kata Tjuta) - up close on guided walks.

Flight to Cairns
3 nights
Flight to Sydney
1 night

On a full-day boat excursion exploring the magnificent Great Barrier Reef, choose to snorkel and/or go reef-viewing in a semi-submersible vessel. Observe the North Queensland tropical rainforest from above the canopy on the SkyRail Rainforest Cableway as you "float" down the Kuranda Range. Visit a local cultural park to gain an understanding of coastal Aboriginal culture and lifestyle. Fly to Sydney and overnight in an airport hotel prior to your flight home to the USA.

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. Wellington: Hotel across the road from Wellington's waterfront. Sydney: Hotel in Darling Harbour. Melbourne: Hotel in City Centre. Alice Springs: Resort hotel. Ayers Rock: Outback lodge. Cairns: Resort with lagoon-style pool. Sydney: Hotel near airport.

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

Sue Grebenschikoff is an instructor and site coordinator in Cairns. Originally from Sydney, Sue moved to Cairns 20 years ago after she fell in love with the tropical region and took so many holidays there that she may as well have been living there. Sue has a bachelor’s degree in commerce with a concentration in marketing, is a keen gardener, and loves to travel and meet people. She has worked in various capacities for many years on award-winning wilderness adventure programs around tropical North Queensland.
Brian Kirkham

Brian Kirkham is an Australian transplant by way of England. He spent 32 years in sales and marketing for an Australian airline and, when he retired early in 1995, held a position with the Sydney Olympic Organizing Committee in the lead-up to the 2000 Summer Olympics. Brian has since volunteered with Australia’s Olympic Youth Camp, the Rugby World Cup, Wheelchair Sports Australia and the Sydney Marathon. He relishes introducing visitors to the Land Down Under.
Meals and Lodgings
   Mercure Auckland Hotel
  Auckland, New Zealand 1 night
   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
   Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
  Sydney, Australia 4 nights
   The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
  Melbourne, Australia 3 nights
   Chifley Alice Springs Resort
  Alice Springs, Australia 2 nights
   Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
  Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia 1 night
   Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
  Cairns, Australia 3 nights
   Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
  Sydney, Australia 1 night
 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 For additional pre- and post-program accommodation, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to

 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

 Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Type: Hotel
  Description: Overlooking Darling Harbour, the hotel is located beside Chinatown and the Entertainment & Convention Centres. It is a five-minute walk of the heart of the city.
  Contact info: 17 Little Pier Street
Sydney NSW 2000,   Australia
phone: +61 2 8217 4000
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, hairdryer, refrigerator and internet access.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a safety deposit box, gymnasium, indoor heated lap pool and foreign exchange facilities. Valet laundry service is available or a commercial laundry is located nearby.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Located in the heart of Melbourne, close to major attractions and adjacent to major tram routes.
  Contact info: 195 Swanston Street
Melbourne, VIC, NA 3000 Australia
phone: +61 3 9663 4711
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, cable television, telephone, refrigerator, hairdryer and iron/ironing board.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include laundry, gymnasium, heated indoor swimming pool, foreign exchange, safety deposit box facilities and internet access.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated on the banks of the famous Todd River, with its magnificent river red gums, the hotel is only a five minute walk from the town centre.
  Contact info: 34 Stott Terrace
Alice Springs NT 0870,   Australia
phone: +61 8 8951 4545
  Room amenities: Room facilities include air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerator, television, in-house movies, telephone, radio, internest access, iron/ironing board hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a swimming pool, guest laundry, dry cleaning service, internet kiosk, foreign currency exchange and safety deposit box facility.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Type: Hotel
  Description: The hotel is located as a part of the Ayers Rock Resort.
  Contact info: Yulara Drive
Yulara NT,  0872 Australia
phone: +61 -8-8957-7605
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee facilities, telephone, television, refrigerator, iron/ironing board and hair dryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a guest laundry, swimming pool and safety deposit box facility.
  Smoking allowed: No

 Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Type: Hotel
  Description: The resort-style hotel is located within easy walking distance of the stunning waterfront esplanade and the compact city centre.
  Contact info: 122 Lake Street
Cairns QLD 4870,   Australia
phone: +61 7 4080 1888
  Room amenities: Room facilities include tea/coffee making facilities, television, telephone, refrigerator, hairdryer, iron/ironing board, in-room safe and internet connection.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include lagoon-style pool with a sand-beach entrance, gymnasium, valet laundry/dry cleaning and guest laundry.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
Type: Hotel
  Description: Situated next to riverfront parkland and overlooking an 18 hole golf course, the hotel is located only 1.2 miles from Sydney’s International and Domestic Airports but is away from the direct flight path.
  Contact info: 20 Levey Street
Wolli Creek, Sydney NSW 2205,   Australia
phone: +61 2 9518 2000
  Room amenities: Room facilities include air-conditioning, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerator, television, pay-to-view movies, telephone, iron/ironing board and hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Hotel facilities include a laundry/valet service, computer centre, outdoor swimming pool, gymnasium, tennis courts and squash courts.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: Upon request. For additional pre- and post-program accommodation, please contact Road Scholar Travel Services at (800) 241-1404 or via email to

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Auckland, New Zealand. The program commences with the arrival of the designated group flight at Auckland Airport. You will be staying at Mercure Auckland Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Sydney, Australia. The program ends after breakfast on Day 28. Participants on the designated group flight are then transferred to Sydney Airport. You will be staying at Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. All US passport holders travelling to Australia must obtain an electronic visa prior to entering the country. You will not receive a visa stamp inside your passport, nor will you receive anything in writing. Instead you will be registered with the Australian Government as valid to enter/exit Australia. Road Scholar Travel Services will process the visa electronically and will send the visa confirmation to participants three to four weeks before departure. There is no charge for this service.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Auckland
  Nearest airport:  Auckland International & Domestic Airports
  Transportation to site: 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 currently cost 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$75 - NZ$95 depending on traffic conditions.
  From End of Program
  Location:  Sydney
  Nearest airport:  Sydney International and Domestic Airports
  Transportation from site: For participants making their own way to Sydney Airport at the conclusion of the program, there is a scheduled airport hotel shuttle service that runs from the final hotel to the airport. It can be booked at hotel reception when you arrive at the hotel for your final night. The cost is currently AU$6 per person.
Elevation Note: The highest elevation reached on this program is the Homer Tunnel at 945 metres (3,100 feet).

Equipment Requirements: Your bathing suit is a must! A long-sleeve sun-protection cover-up are highly recommended for your day out on the Great Barrier Reef.
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, April 6)

Note: Depart on flight from Los Angeles, crossing the International Date Line.

 Evening: Depart the USA on overnight flight to New Zealand.

Day 2: In Flight
(Monday, April 7)

Note: Cross the International Date Line.

 In Transit: Cross International Date Line.

Day 3: Transfer through Sydney and arrive in Auckland.
(Tuesday, April 8)
 Lunch: On board your flight.
 Afternoon: Upon your arrival in Auckland your Program Leader and local Site Coordinator will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. Time- and weather-permitting, we may have a short walk to orientate us to the centre of the city.
 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.
 In Transit: Change flights in Sydney.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Introduction to New Zealand History / Harbour Cruise / City Orientation / Auckland Museum.
(Wednesday, April 9)
 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 harbors 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 harbor 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Auckland's Geology / Explore the North Coast
(Thursday, April 10)
 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.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6: Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves / Coach to Rotorua / City Orientation
(Friday, April 11)
 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 an expert-led exploration of the internationally recognized 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 Institute / Kiwi House / Whakarewarewa Thermal Area / Maori Cultural Evening
(Saturday, April 12)
 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 June 10, 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, April 13)
 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, April 14)
 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, April 15)
 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 an expert-led exploration 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, April 16)
 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, April 17)
 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 an expert-led exploration. 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, April 18)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we visit New Zealand’s parliament buildings — including the aptly-named Beehive — for an expert-led exploration. 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 Sydney / Course Overview / Orientation to Sydney
(Saturday, April 19)
 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 International Airport and check in for our international flight to Sydney. Upon our arrival, we will be met by the local Site Coordinator and transferred to our hotel in Sydney's Darling Harbour precinct. Sydney’s stunning natural harbour forms the centrepiece of a dynamic city that has grown dramatically since its beginnings as a prison colony. Situated in the temperate area of Australia, Sydney is surrounded by National Parks and has a beautiful range of flora and fauna. It is Australia’s largest city with nearly 5 million citizens thriving in a multi-cultural society in a congenial climate. Sydney is dominated by Sydney Harbour, of which Port Jackson is only a small part. The city covers a large area, twice the size of London with half the population, and has large parks and sparkling sandy Pacific Ocean beaches, such as the well-known and very popular Bondi and Manly.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: After dinner we have an overview of our Australian course and a brief introduction to Sydney.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 15: Introduction to Australia / Sydney's Colonial History / Sydney Opera House tour
(Sunday, April 20)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning a local professor gives us a lecture introducing us to the history of Sydney and, by extension, Australia.
 Lunch: In the hotel.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we have a walking exploration of The Rocks area giving us an insight to Sydney’s colonial past. The Rocks was the area of Sydney first settled by the British and it has a fascinating history and wonderful Sydney sandstone buildings. We walk across Circular Quay to the magnificent World Heritage-listed Sydney Opera House. Here we have an expert-led exploration of this truly wonderful, iconic building, a masterpiece of late modern architecture. We return to our hotel and have some free time before dinner.
 Dinner: This evening we take a short walk along the western fringe of Darling Harbour where we have dinner at a local restaurant in the Darling Harbour precinct.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Orientation to Beachside Suburbs / Cruise on Sydney Harbour
(Monday, April 21)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have an orientation to Sydney's sought-after eastern beach-side suburbs and South Head to see the narrow entrance to the harbour. We return to the central business district and board a vessel for a cruise on magnificent Sydney Harbour. On our coffee cruise we take in the stunning scenery and learn how the modern Sydney Harbour has evolved.
 Lunch: We disembark our cruise vessel and walk to a restaurant in The Rocks for lunch.
 Afternoon: The afternoon and evening is free to allow you to explore this wonderful city at your leisure.
 Dinner: Dinner is at own arrangements this evening allowing you to taste what Sydney's restaurant scene has to offer.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 17: Taronga Park Zoo / Performance at the Sydney Opera House
(Tuesday, April 22)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we coach across the Sydney Harbour Bridge to Taronga Zoo, located on the north shore with delightful views across the harbour to the city. Here we begin our study of Australian fauna. As well as meeting kangaroos, koalas & wallabies and hoping for a glimpse of the rather more elusive wombat, echidna and platypus, we will have a lecture introducing us to some of Australia’s more dangerous inhabitants – its spiders and snakes.
 Lunch: We have lunch at Taronga Park Zoo.
 Afternoon: You are given a ferry ticket for the journey back across the harbour to the city centre. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure allowing you to perhaps linger and explore the zoo further or to head back across to the city to investigate more there.
 Dinner: We come together back at the hotel for an early dinner allowing us to get to tonight's performance at the Opera House in plenty of time.
 Evening: This evening we enjoy a performance at the Sydney Opera House - one of the world's great pieces of architectural design. Definitely something to tell the folks back home about!
Accommodations: Novotel Rockford Darling Harbour
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 18: Flight to Melbourne / Course Overview / Introduction & Orientation to Melbourne / Eureka SkyDeck 88 / Shrine of Rememberance / Evening Video
(Wednesday, April 23)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out of our Sydney hotel and coach to Sydney Domestic Airport for our flight to Melbourne. Melbourne, Australia’s second-largest city, is the capital of Victoria, a state in the south-eastern corner of Australia. During the gold era Melbourne possessed great wealth and many of the city’s fine buildings were built during this period of prosperity. Its magnificent streetscapes and extensive parks and gardens provide an ideal setting for its many elegant buildings. In the past Melbourne was a larger business centre and city than Sydney and today the two cities continue a friendly rivalry. Both are cosmopolitan and multi-cultural and Melbourne has many strong ethnic communities from three major periods of migration including: Chinese and German (after the gold rushes), Italian, Greek, southern European (1939 – 1945) and, more recently, Asian. Melbourne is reputed to have the largest Greek population outside Athens. We will be met by our local Site Coordinator and transferred into the city.
 Lunch: We have lunch in a cafe set in one of Melbourne’s parks
 Afternoon: After lunch, we visit the Shrine of Remembrance. We then head up to the top of the Eureka 88 Skydeck offering panoramic views over the city, giving us an understanding of the layout of Melbourne. We then head to our hotel and check in. We come together again for a lecture introducing us to Melbourne and the State of Victoria before dinner.
 Dinner: In the hotel.
 Evening: This evening we can watch a video - "Australia: The Big Country" - educating us on Australia's unique environment.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 19: Australia's Economy and Health System / Melbourne's famous Queen Victoria Markets / local wildlife park - meet the wombat & friends / Phillip Island Penguin Parade
(Thursday, April 24)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have a lecture introducing us to Australia’s Economy and Health System. We then hop aboard Melbourne’s famous tram system and visit Melbourne's well-known and quirky Queen Victoria Market, where we soak up the vibrant, cosmopolitan atmosphere.
 Lunch: At Queen Victoria Markets
 Afternoon: We return to our hotel to board our coach bound for Phillip Island. En route we pause for a comfort stop at a local wildlife conservatory where we again have the opportunity to meet some of Australia’s most recognisable residents – kangaroos, koalas and maybe a wombat or two. We continue on to Phillip Island Nature Park in time for the Penguin Parade. Our Site Coordinator will get us an ideal location, from which we can watch the gorgeous little penguins come ashore at dusk after their day out fishing.
 Dinner: We will have dinner at a quintessential Australian local country pub bistro in San Remo near Phillip Island. Please note that, depending on when dusk is due to fall, we may have dinner before or after our Phillip Island penguin experience.
 Evening: At the conclusion of our Phillip Island penguin experience we board our coach and return to Melbourne.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 20: Introduction to Australian Art at the National Gallery of Victoria / Remainder of day at leisure
(Friday, April 25)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we can walk or take the tram to the National Gallery of Victoria for an introduction to Australian art. A local art historian will give us a lecture and an expert-led exploration of the Aboriginal art exhibition.
 Lunch: Lunch today is at leisure in the city.
 Afternoon: The afternoon is free to explore this cosmopolitan city.
 Dinner: Dinner is at own arrangements giving participants an opportunity to explore and sample Melbourne's renowned restaurant scene.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: The Swanston Hotel Melbourne, Grand Mercure
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 21: Fly to Alice Springs / Course Overview / School of the Air / Aboriginal Culture / Olive Pink Botanical Garden BBQ / Stars of the Southern Hemisphere
(Saturday, April 26)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and coach to Melbourne Domestic Airport for our flight to Alice Springs. Alice Springs is located almost exactly at the geographic centre of Australia and has been a home for Aborigines for 30,000 years. Many of the physical features of the land have great cultural significance. Originally established in 1888 as Stuart, the town developed through the need for an overland telegraph line to assist Australia with its communications to the world. Today, “The Alice” is a pleasurable, modern town and is a major access point for the many tourist attractions of central Australia. On arrival we are met by our Red Centre Site Coordinator and are given an overview of Alice Springs and the Red Centre.
 Lunch: We transfer to our hotel and check in in time for lunch in the restaurant.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we visit the School of the Air to gain an understanding of the techniques of delivering education across the vast isolated and remote expanse of the Australian outback. We return to our hotel and have a lecture introducing us to the culture, art and heritage of the Aborigines of the Red Centre.
 Dinner: This evening we have dinner at the local botanical garden. As we dine we are entertained with ballads and yarns of the Australian bush.
 Evening: After dinner a local astronomer will introduce us to the stars of the southern sky – we can look for the Southern Cross and other southern constellations in the clear air of Australia's Red Centre, free of the lights of the big city.
Accommodations: Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 22: Alice Springs Desert Park / Western MacDonnell Ranges / Royal Flying Doctor Service / Aboriginal Bush Foods
(Sunday, April 27)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we visit Alice Springs Desert Park where we gain an understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Australian desert and the life that exists there.
 Lunch: At Alice Springs Desert Park.
 Afternoon: After lunch we travel to Simpson’s Gap in the Western McDonnell Ranges where we view the permanent waterhole in its stunning location under the towering cliffs of the Simpson Range. We return back into Alice Springs where we visit the Royal Flying Doctor Service and learn how aircraft and the radio are used to deliver medical services in the huge distances of central Australia.
 Dinner: We then head to a local restaurant where a local indigenous caterer introduces us to native Aboriginal bush foods, their traditional use and how they are being incorporated into contemporary cuisine. We have dinner at the local restaurant where our taste buds get to discover for themselves just how contemporary Australian cuisine is utilising traditional Aboriginal flavourings.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Chifley Alice Springs Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 23: Uluru - Ayers Rock / Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre / Sunset viewing.
(Monday, April 28)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we check out and board our coach for the journey to Uluru with an excursion to a camel farm en route. We will pause for morning tea at a typical Outback roadhouse. Rising from the arid heartland of Australia are the haunting geological marvels of Uluru (Ayers Rock) and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). They lie within Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, which is owned by the local Aborigines. Uluru is a red sandstone monolith, the world’s second largest at 5.5 miles around, with smooth slopes rising to 1,098 feet. For thousands of years this rock has been the focus for religious, cultural, territorial and economic inter-relations among the Aboriginal peoples of the Western Desert. Caves around the base of the rock were used by Aboriginal people for shelter and were decorated with their paintings. Kata Tjuta is a collection of smaller, more rounded rocks that are very captivating. The tallest rock, Mt Olga, is nearly 656 feet higher than Uluru.
 Lunch: At Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we explore Uluru by coach and on foot. This sacred Aboriginal site is truly awe-inspiring. Our leader will explain something of the significance of the Rock to the local Aborigines. In the late afternoon we will take in a sunset viewing of Uluru, watching the amazing colours of the Rock as the sun sets.
 Dinner: We have a typical Australian BBQ at our hotel tonight where we have the opportunity to sample some of Australia's more "interesting" native foods.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Outback Pioneer Hotel & Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 24: Kata Tjuta (The Olgas) / Fly to Cairns / Orientation to City / Course Overview / Great Barrier Reef lecture
(Tuesday, April 29)
 Breakfast: This morning we check out and head across for breakfast at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park Cultural Centre.
 Morning: After breakfast we travel out to Kata-Tjuta, the spectacular formation of 36 rounded domes. Kata Tjuta means "many heads" in a local language. Here we will take the short walk in Walpa Gorge, affording us wonderful views across the Outback.
 Lunch: We return to Yulara for lunch at the Outback Pioneer.
 Afternoon: We coach to Ayers Rock airport for our flight to Cairns. Cairns, on the east coast of Australia, is the most northerly city in the state of Queensland. It is always green and lush with abundant tropical plants and flowers. It is also one of Australia’s fastest-growing cities and, in addition to its role as a regional centre for dairy, timber and sugar production, it is an important tourist destination. Cairns is uniquely situated between two World Heritage-Listed areas – the Great Barrier Reef and the Wet Tropics Rainforest.
 Dinner: On board flight to Cairns.
 Evening: Upon our arrival we we are met by our Cairns Site Coordinator and transfer to our hotel in Cairns. We will have an introduction to Cairns and our program en route to the hotel. A local marine biologist will give us a lecture this evening on the Great Barrier Reef and the issues endangering its existence. He will give us an insight into what we might see tomorrow on our cruise out to this World Heritage-listed icon.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 25: Cruise on Great Barrier Reef, one of Australia's most remarkable natural gifts
(Wednesday, April 30)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: Today we have a full-day cruise on the Great Barrier Reef where we can view the World Heritage-listed coral reefs in the company of our dedicated marine biologist. We will be able to snorkel among the spectacular coral reef and/or view the reef from a semi-submersible vessel.
 Lunch: Seafood buffet on board cruise.
 Afternoon: Our cruise continues this afternoon. We return to Cairns in the late afternoon and the rest of the day is free.
 Dinner: Own arrangements.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 26: Wet Tropical Rainforests / Kuranda / SkyRail / Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park
(Thursday, May 1)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we have a lecture introducing us to the second of Cairns’ World Heritage-listed features – the Wet Tropical Rainforests of North Queensland. We gain an understanding of the abundance of life in the tropical rainforest. We then coach to the village of Kuranda, a mountain retreat surrounded by rainforest. We have time to explore before lunch.
 Lunch: At a local restaurant in Kuranda.
 Afternoon: We then walk to the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway to take the stunning cableway journey sweeping above the canopy of World Heritage-listed rainforest. En route to the cableway terminus at Caravonica, we stop at the Rainforest Interpretive Station where our guide will lead us on a rainforest walk teaching us more about this special environment. From the teminus we then walk to Tjapukai Aboriginal Park where we learn about the lifestyle of the northern coastal Aborigines. Here we will have the opportunity to see if we can make our boomerang come back.
 Dinner: We have our farewell dinner tonight in our hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Cairns Oasis Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 27: A chance to relax, explore Cairns at leisure, pack and prepare for the flight home.
(Friday, May 2)
 Breakfast: At accommodation.
 Morning: We have this morning and early afternoon free to explore Cairns at leisure.
 Lunch: At leisure in Cairns.
 Afternoon: We transfer to the airport for our flight to Sydney.
 Dinner: On board flight to Sydney.
 Evening: Upon our arrival in Sydney this evening, we coach to our Sydney Airport hotel in the safe hands of our Program Leader. The remainder of evening at leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Hotel Sydney Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 28: Departure for the USA.
(Saturday, May 3)
 Breakfast: At accommodation.
 Morning: After breakfast, we check out of our hotel and transfer to Sydney Airport. We check in to our flight to Los Angeles and home.
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 Commonwealth of Thieves, The Improbable Birth of Australia

Author: Thomas Keneally

Description: With drama and flair, novelist Keneally illuminates the birth of New South Wales in 1788, richly evoking the social conditions in London, the miserable sea voyage and the desperate conditions of the new colony. His tale revolves around Arthur Phillips, the ambitious (and bland) captain in the Royal Navy who would become the first governor of New South Wales. You may be familiar with Keneally as the author of the acclaimed work (made into an equally-renowned film) "Schindler's 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

Aboriginal Art

Author: Wally Caruana

Description: This well illustrated survey of Aboriginal art, ancient and modern, focuses on the spiritual and geographic sources of art and ritual traditions in Australia. It covers the range of art from all parts of the continent, including a chapter on the Wandjina rock art of the Kimberley region. The concise text is augmented by 187 well produced black-and-white and color illustrations.

Aboriginal Australians

Author: Stephen Muecke

Description: A lively illustrated overview of the culture and history of the Aborigines. The authors explore how the Aborigines came to be in Australia, their rituals and Dreamings, and the importance of kin in their social structures. With a chapter on the atrocious treatment at the hands of white settlers and the pervasive racial prejudice that remained enshrined in the Australian constitution until 1967. The final section deals with the massive indigenous cultural renaissance over the past four decades, and discusses how Aboriginal art - whether Central Desert acrylic art, batik, contemporary urban painting, sculpture or traditional bark painting - has become a flagship for Australian culture.

Australia Map

Author: ITMB

Description: This large folded map of Australia, at a scale of 1:3,500,000, includes national parks, reserves and roads, all clearly marked. Two Sides. 34x40 inches.

Australian Birds

Author: Pocket Naturalist

Description: A fold-up, laminated card featuring color drawings and short descriptions of commonly encountered Australian birds.

Australian Wildlife

Author: James Kavanaugh • Raymond Leung (Illustrator)

Description: This illustrated fold-out guide features almost 150 species of Australian animals. Laminated for durability; pocket-size for quick reference in the field.

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.

Chasing Kangaroo

Author: Tim Flannery

Description: An ode to the kangaroo in all their splendid diversity and oddity. Revisiting his early love of kangaroo fossils, Flannery weaves engaging tales of his adventures on the trails of marsupials past and present with his travels and encounters with eccentric scientists and Aborigines.

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.

Dirt Music, A Novel

Author: Tim Winton

Description: Among Australia's finest writers, Tim Winton fashions powerful and elegant tales set within the arid outback of Western Australia. An alcoholic mother and a down-on-his luck poacher are the protagonists of this recent novel, where landscape and nature play just as much a role as the characters themselves.

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.

Eyewitness Guides Australia

Author: Eyewitness Guides

Description: A compact guide to sites, attractions and places throughout Australia featuring excellent maps and hundreds of full color photographs and site diagrams. With select recommendations on where to eat and stay.

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.

Field Guide to the Birds of Australia

Author: Ken Simpson • Nicholas Day

Description: A handbook and field guide to Australia's birds with 2,000 vivid color illustrations, each accompanied by a brief description and revised range map. This more compact seventh edition features 16 new or revised color plates, new maps and condensed information.

Field Guide to the Mammals of Australia

Author: Peter Menkhorst • Frank Knight (Illustrator)

Description: A comprehensive guide to 376 species of kangaroos, koalas, bandicoots, wombats, deer, seals, whales and other mammals of Australia featuring full color illustrations by Frank Knight. Third edition

Fishwatcher’s Field Guide: Great Barrier Reef

Author: Idaz Greenberg

Description: A double-sided, laminated card covering the reef fish of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the tropical Pacific.

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.

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).

Moonlight Downs

Author: Adrian Hyland

Description: The Ned Kelly Award-winning first Emily Tempest investigation set in the Australia. Emily, a half-white, half-Aboriginal woman returns to her hometown in the Outback only to find that the tribe's elderly leader has been murdered. Emily soon finds herself embroiled in investigations, both into the crime and into her own ambivalent feelings toward her heritage.

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 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.


Author: Bruce Chatwin

Description: Rory Stewart provides the introduction to this 25th anniversary edition of Bruce Chatwin's celebrated travelogue, which is as much about its gifted author - and the meaning of travel - as about the Aboriginal people and their ways of life. Chatwin transforms a journey through the Outback into an exhilarating, semi-fictional meditation on our place in the world.


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 Fatal Shore

Author: Robert Hughes

Description: A celebrated social history, both scholarly and entertaining. Hughes traces the fate of those who were transported to the penal colonies of Australia between 1787 and 1868 in this engaging popular account, drawn from the experiences of the colonists themselves. A precursor to the gulags and prison camps of the 20th century, the British penal colonies in Australia are an oft-forgotten experiment in 19th century social reform and colonization. While the colonies were concentrated mainly in small coastal sections of New South Wales and Tasmania, the book helps elucidate how this first chapter in their history was the most vital factor in defining the early Australian character.

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.

The Secret River

Author: Kate Grenville

Description: Sweeping, gorgeously written and psychologically astute, The Secret River takes in all the bravado, trickery and conflict that attended the settlement of New South Wales. Grenville draws on the history of her own family in Australia for the elements of the blockbuster plot, in which a Thames boatsman, banished to the penal colony in 1806, must carve out a life for himself.

The Turning, New Stories

Author: Tim Winton

Description: These 17 overlapping stories, steeped in everyday life on western Australia, follow the fates of a handful of characters in a small coastal town outside Perth. Winton, short-listed twice so far for the Booker Prize, has published a string of memorable novels, children's books and stories, all richly set in the working class milieu of the sparsely populated coastal desert.

Treasures of the Great Barrier Reef

Author: WGBH

Description: 60-minute Nova documentary captures the diversity and abundance of the fish and invertebrates of the coral reef in dazzling color.

True History of the Kelly Gang

Author: Peter Carey

Description: A powerful, daring novel, steeped in the colonial history of late 19th-century Australia. Outlaw, folk hero, thief and patriot, the Irish immigrant Ned Kelly and his clan figure large in the Australian mindset. Carey's Booker Prize-winning novel (his second after "Oscar & Lucinda") takes the form of a series of rough, captivating letters by the barely literate gang leader to his young daughter. Kelly was hanged in Melbourne in 1880, where his mother was also imprisoned.

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.

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