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

Program Number: 20621RJ
Start and End Dates:
12/1/2014 - 12/14/2014; 3/7/2016 - 3/20/2016; 11/28/2016 - 12/11/2016; 1/16/2017 - 1/29/2017; 2/6/2017 - 2/19/2017; 2/20/2017 - 3/5/2017; 3/6/2017 - 3/19/2017;
Duration: 13 nights
Location: New Zealand
Price starting at: $4,166.00 - 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; Gluten Free    

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.

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.
Pauline Mahoney

A retired cardiac nurse, Pauline Mahoney is the true “heart” of this learning adventure in her role as Group Leader. An avid explorer, she has trekked extensively in New Zealand with her family, and has journeyed overseas to Nepal, India, Bhutan, South America, Turkey and Switzerland. In her free time, she enjoys looking after her extensive garden in Napier, as well as practicing yoga.
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.
Ray Willett

Fiordland local, Ray Willett, will delight and enthuse with his tales of adventure and discovery on the Milford Track, known by many as the “finest walk in the world.” Since the 1950s, Ray has been leading adventurers along this noted path which makes its way through Te Wahipounamu World Heritage Area, to Sutherland Falls, and along the Clinton River. In 2013, Ray trekked the entire length of the Milford Track in celebration of its 125th anniversary.
Meals and Lodgings
   Geraldine Motels
  Geraldine, New Zealand 3 nights
   Mackenzie Country Inn
  Twizel, New Zealand 2 nights
   Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview
  Queenstown, New Zealand 3 nights
   Kingsgate Te Anau
  Te Anau, New Zealand 3 nights
 Geraldine Motels
Type: Motel
  Description: On the South side of Geraldine, the Geraldine Motels offers clean, comfortable self-contained accommodation within 200 metres of restaurants, cafés, movie theatre and shops. Geraldine is located in South Canterbury along the Scenic Touring Routes. Enjoy the unique country village atmosphere and the wide range of cafés, galleries and shops. Geraldine Motels are just a short walk to the bowling green, tennis courts, heated swimming pool, parks, domain, museums, and bush and river walks. Two golf courses are just 5 minutes drive away. The large park-like garden behind the units borders the Waihi River and provides an excellent atmosphere for relaxation. Guests can also relax in our spa pool.
  Contact info: 97 Talbot Street
Geraldine,   New Zealand
phone: +64 36938501
  Room amenities: TV, radio, and Phone Fully equipped kitchens Private bathroom with shower, one unit with bath and shower Sky Television Electric heating and electric blankets Undercover parking Iron & ironing board and hair-dryer High chair and cots available Complimentary newspaper
  Facility amenities: Wireless Internet (Units 7 – 13) Two Access Units Full laundry facilities Spa Pool BBQ facilities Trampoline & swing Table-tennis ¾ acres of park-like gardens along the Waihi River
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: $120 NZ room 

 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

 Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview
Type: Hotel
  Description: Stunning views over lake Wakitipu and surrounding mountain ranges The Copthorne Hotel & Apartment Queenstown, Lakeview has 66 studio rooms and 19 two bedroom apartments, every one of them offering views of Queenstown's mountain and lake wilderness.
  Contact info: 88 Frankton Road
Queenstown,  9197 New Zealand
phone: +64 3 442-7950
  Room amenities: In this Queenstown Hotel, NZ has some of the finest accommodation anywhere, with timeless views complementing contemporary comforts. Superior rooms are situated on the ground floor of the hotel. Room Details: Private courtyards Satellite TV Broadband Internet access LCD TV Refrigerator and mini bar Iron and ironing board Hairdryer In-room safe Electric blankets Tea and coffee making facilities Direct dial telephone
  Facility amenities: wireless broadband and internet Free Wifi in Lobby Discover a sumptuous hotel in Queenstown New Zealand that is designed to relax every guest, young or old, on business trip or leisure break alike. A memorable stay is assured, with amenities, facilities and services including: Concierge Newspaper Postal/Parcel Service 24 hour Room Service Foreign Currency Exchange Sky TV In-house movie channel Guest Laundry Same day laundry and dry cleaning Luggage Storage Maid Service Emergency Doctor available Sightseeing arrangements Car rental arrangements Underground car parking Disabled Access Yes, in public areas only
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kingsgate Te Anau
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau is situated amidst lush gardens, and offers enviable views over the mountains and lakes. Guest rooms are comforting and modern, while an excellent range of amenities are provided. With an on-site restaurant and bar, you needn't look far for entertainment during your stay. Set amongst manicured gardens on the tranquil shores of Lake Te Anau, Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau is the perfect base for exploring the scenic wonders of the region. Known as the "Walking Capital of the World", this area is host to some of the most breath-taking natural wonders known to man. Visit Milford Sound (120 kms), Doubtful Sound, Manapouri and the Glowworm Caves. The area has a number of awe-inspiring walks such as the Milford, Routeburn and the Kepler Tracks. Te Anau, New Zealand, hotels such as the Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau are ideally placed for experiencing the scenic beauty of this unique region.
  Contact info: 20 Lakefront Drive
Te Anau,  9600 New Zealand
phone: +64 32497421
  Room amenities: 6 digital Freeview TV channels Refrigerator Tea and coffee-making facilities Hair dryer Iron and ironing board Radio alarm clock Daily newspaper (on request) Complimentary off-street parking
  Facility amenities: Message Service Postal/Parcel Service Excursions and sightseeing attractions can be arranged at no extra charge Sky TV 7 digital Freeview TV channels in guest rooms Maid Service 24 hour Room Service (limited overnight) Currency Exchange Luggage Storage Newspaper Hotel Shop Wireless internet.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights after: $120 NZ room 
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
10:20 am This program begins in Christchurch New Zealand and coach to Geraldine You will be staying at Geraldine Motels that night.
  End of Program:
3.00 pm This program ends at Invercargill Airport You will be staying at Kingsgate Te Anau the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is 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 and towel Warm hat and gloves, sunhat and sunscreen A durable pair of walking shoes or boots is essential! A walking pole may also be desirable if you are used to walking with one Sandals for water activities
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, December 1)
 In Transit: Overnight flight from USA.

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

Day 3: Arrival, coach to Geraldine, short walk, orientation and Welcome Dinner.
(Wednesday, December 3)
 Arrive To: Christchurch airport
 Morning: Coach to Geraldine (1.5 hours)
 Lunch: Lunch at cafe en route
 Afternoon: Short walk in Talbot Forest (one hour). Orientation.
 Dinner: Welcome Dinner at restaurant.
Accommodations: Geraldine Motels
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Visit Deer farm with field lecture followed by farm walk
(Thursday, December 4)

Note: Farm walk over farm tracks and farmland uneven ground & uphill(about two hours).

 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: Enjoy an expert-led farm walk. After returning to Geraldine, visit The Giant Jersey. All of the knitwear produced at The Giant Jersey is made on hand-operated knitting machines. Enjoy a short talk on New Zealand wools.
 Dinner: .Dinner at local restaurant
Accommodations: Geraldine Motels
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fern walk, rafting on the Rangitata river followed by BBQ meal.
(Friday, December 5)

Note: Walk 2.5-3 hours, 6-7 kilometers. Rafting 2.5 hours on the river. Instruction given. You will walk around any grade 5 rapids.

 Breakfast: At motel
 Morning: Coach to Peel Forest. Enjoy an expert-led fern walk (two hours).
 Lunch: Lunch at rafting lodge.
 Afternoon: Rafting with instruction by a world-class guide on the Rangitata river (four hours). Be in awe of the rugged mountain scenery surrounding you as you practice your paddling and safety drills on the initial calmer waters.
 Dinner: BBQ meal at rafting lodge. Visit a local home and garden
Accommodations: Geraldine Motels
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

Note: Horse riding is a gentle trek for one hour. Mount John walk is uphill through Larch forest and then open tussock on well-formed track (about two hours over 4-5 kilometers).

 Breakfast: At motel.
 Morning: Coach to Tekapo for horse ride. Enjoy a one-hour expert-led gentle trek through larch and pine forest to the edge of Mount 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 Mount John to Observatory through Larch forest and then open tussock with mountain views at the head of the lake (two hours). Soak in Alpine Springs hot pools. Coach to Twizel.
 Dinner: Dinner at Hotel
Accommodations: Mackenzie Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Expert-led walk in Hooker Valley at Mount Cook and Tasman glacier lake.
(Sunday, December 7)

Note: Hooker Valley walk on well-formed track with gradual uphill for four hours over 12 kilometers. Tasman Glacier walk is one hour over 2.5 kilometers.

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel.
 Morning: Coach to Mount Cook Village ( a tourist centre and base camp for the Mountain) and enjoy an expert-led walk in the Hooker Valley toward Aoraki/Mount Cook, the highest mountain in New Zealand (12,316 feet). The track crosses two swing bridges and follows the river to the source, the Hooker Glacier Terminal lake (the return is four hours over 12 kilometers).
 Lunch: Packed lunch in the Field
 Afternoon: Visit Department of Conservation to view exhibits of the National Park. Tasman Glacier Lake Walk. This track leads to a viewpoint of the glacial terminal lake. Icebergs can be seen floating in the lake (one hour).
 Dinner: Dinner at Inn
Accommodations: Mackenzie Country Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Cycle Canals, Coach to Queenstown Maori Concert
(Monday, December 8)

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

 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Cycle the Pukaki Ohau canal (14-28 kilometers). 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. At 6 p.m., enjoy a Maori concert at the Skyline at the top of the gondola.
 Dinner: Dinner at pizza bar "The Cow."
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

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

Note: River trail is a well-formed track undulating at first, then turning flat (2.5-3 hours over 8.5 kilometers).

 Breakfast: Breakfast at Hotel
 Morning: Walk Gibbston River Trail (2-3 hours over eight kilometers). The trail has spectacular views framed by the Kawarau River on one side and the Gibbston vineyards on the other side.
 Lunch: Lunch at Gibbston Valley winery with winery exploration.
 Afternoon: Enjoy a free afternoon. There are plenty of options: a gondola ride up and walk or luge down; walk in Botanic garden; walk up Queenstown Hill; sail on ferry TSS Earnslaw or other activities.
 Dinner: Dinner own choice
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

Note: Cycle on hybrid/trail cycles on a firm, slightly gravel surface that is flat to Chatto Creek (25 kilometers), then does an "S" bend and slowly ascends a gradual incline and descends slightly into Omakau (11.5 kilometers).

 Breakfast: Breakfast at hotel
 Morning: Coach to Clyde. Cycle on Otago Rail trail to Chatto Ceek (25 kilometers). The rail trail follows the old central Otago railway and passes over viaducts and bridges, through tunnels and past old railway stations and gold-mining towns. Watch for colorful lupin and smell the wild thyme.
 Lunch: Lunch at Chatto Creek Tavern.
 Afternoon: Cycle Chatto Creek to Omakau (11.5 kilometers, optional). Visit Ophir to see the many historic buildings and visit the post office. Return by coach to Queenstown.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Queenstown Lakeview
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

Note: Walk on a well-formed track through beech forest and cross a wetland (3-4 hours over 12 kilometers).

 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Coach to Te Anau. Walk a section of the Kepler track, Rainbow Reach to Moturau Hut (3-4 hours over 12 kilometers). From the swing bridge, the track follows the Waiau river terrace, crosses a wetland and passes 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: Kingsgate Te Anau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: All day excursion to Milford Sound with a boat cruise
(Friday, December 12)
 Breakfast: At motel.
 Morning: Coach to Milford Sound (two hours). Experience a boat cruise with commentary. Nestled within Fiordland National Park, Milford Sound is the best-known of the glacier- cut fjords. 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 fjord.
 Lunch: On board boat.
 Afternoon: Return by coach with short walks at the Chasm and Lake Gunn.
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner on your own.
Accommodations: Kingsgate Te Anau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

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

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

 Breakfast: At motel.
 Morning: Expert-led 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: Free time optional visit to department of conservation and endangered bird sanctuary Regroup for film on Fiordland, "Shadowlands"
 Dinner: Farewell einner at local Restaurant.
Accommodations: Kingsgate Te Anau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Coach to Invercargill Sheep Farm visit Visit museum and view Tuatara Flight from Invercargill to Auckland and USA
(Sunday, December 14)

Note: Short walk on farm.

 Breakfast: At motel.
 Morning: Coach to Invercargill. Visit working sheep farm. Visit Museum and view Tuatara.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch on your own.
 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.

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