Road Scholar : Home
Cultivated New Zealand: Vineyards, Gardens & Homes

Program Number: 21583RJ
Start and End Dates:
3/3/2015 - 3/18/2015; 3/1/2016 - 3/16/2016; 11/1/2016 - 11/16/2016; 2/28/2017 - 3/15/2017;
Duration: 15 nights
Location: New Zealand
Price starting at: $4,676.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: ; Homes & Gardens; History & Culture Activity Level: t (see description)
Meals: 37; 13 Breakfasts, 13 Lunches, 11 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

With its maritime climate and rich alluvial soils, New Zealand has grown into a paradise for wine enthusiasts, garden experts and other connoisseurs. Journey from the coastal headlands of the North Island to the mountains of the South Island to experience the acclaimed vineyards, gardens and homes of New Zealand. Along the way, enjoy privileged access, meet the people behind the vine, and savor the flavor of distinctive Kiwi wines and cuisine.


• Taste some of the best wine in the world and meet the people who make it at a hand-picked selection of vineyards and wineries.
• Enjoy exclusive access to spectacular botanical and country gardens and homes.
• Explore the historic French settlement of Akaroa with a local expert, and marvel at the dramatic beauty of Milford Sound.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Napier, 3 nights coach to Wellington, 2 nights; ferry and coach to Blenheim, 3 nights; coach to Christchurch, 2 nights; fly to Queenstown, 2 nights; coach to Milford and on to Te Anua, 1 night; Coach to Queenstown for departure.

Overnight flight from the U.S.A.
1 night
Cross International Dateline
1 night
Arrival Napier 3 nights

Begin your adventure on New Zealand’s North Island in Napier — the nation’s oldest winemaking region, where some vineyards have made wine for more than 140 years. Learn how the geology, soil and perfect climate create ideal conditions for world-class Bordeaux-type reds and Chardonnay wines. Enjoy tastings at a number of the region’s most-acclaimed vineyards, and learn about the history of New Zealand winemaking with oenology experts. Consider principles of landscape and garden forms with a leading garden designer, and enjoy exclusive access to spectacular homes and country gardens in the Hawkes Bay area. At the Kennedy Park Rose Garden, learn about the 500 varieties of roses on display.

Coach to Wellington
2 nights
Coach to Blenheim
3 nights

Journey from the bottom of the North Island in Wellington across Cook Strait by ferry to the South Island in Blenheim. Amid the region’s mountains, Blenheim nurtures a variety of gardens and vineyards. Learn how the area has become regarded as New Zealand’s counterpart to Napa Valley. Experience the area’s natural beauty, old and new public and private gardens, an olive grove and a number of wine-producing estates. Stroll to Blenheim’s picturesque Botanical Gardens, and meet an expert who discusses garden design.

Coach to Christchurch
2 nights
Fly to Queenstown
2 nights
Coach to Milford and Te Anua 1 night
Coach to Queenstown and flight to Auckland for departure.

Settled in the mid-19th century, Christchurch boasts gardens with remarkably beautiful mature trees and shrubs. A horticulturist discusses the city’s famed gardens,
while a noted historian details the history of colonization in historic Akaroa, cradle of French influence and home to a superb French winery. Visit the spectacular Winterhome Garden on the coast, recognized as “a Garden of National Significance” by the New Zealand Garden Trust. Fly to Queenstown, set dramatically on Lake Wakatipu with the Southern Alps in the background. Explore Christchurch’s botanical gardens, meet the owners of a boutique winery and learn about the culture of the indigenous Maori.

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.

Napier, Wellington, Blenheim, Christchurch: Clean, comfortable downtown hotels. Queenstown: Resort hotel with magnificent view of Lake Wakatipu and the Remakables mountain range.

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

Professor Nigel Roberts is a senior faculty member of the political science department at Victoria University, Wellington. He is an authority on the political and electoral systems of New Zealand and Scandinavia, and has served as a regular television commentator on these topics. Nigel is widely regarded as the top political commentator in New Zealand, and since 1987 has served as the election-night commentator for Television New Zealand.
Gordon Ogilvie

Dr. Gordon Ogilvie is a leading biographer, historian and authority on the Province of Canterbury. His expertise on the early history of the Banks Peninsula has resulted in numerous books, while the biographies “The Riddle of Richard Pearse,” and “Denis Glover: A Life,” were finalists for the Wattie award and Montana award. Gordon received an M.A. in English from Victoria University, and is currently a prolific freelance journalist and member of the Historic Places Trust.
Celia Laity

Celia Laity is a very experienced professional garden designer whose work is known throughout New Zealand. She has appeared on national television more than once and has been featured in national garden magazines. She is also a specialist in home entertainment and hosts weddings and confernces at her home.
Meals and Lodgings
   Viceroy Hotel
  Napier, New Zealand 3 nights
   West Plaza Hotel
  Wellington, New Zealand 2 nights
   Scenic Hotel Marlborough
  Blenheim, New Zealand 3 nights
   Copthorne Commodore Christchurch Airport
  Christchurch, New Zealand 2 nights
   Copthorne Lakeview Hotel
  Queenstown, New Zealand 2 nights
   Kingsgate Te Anau
  Te Anau, New Zealand 1 night
 Viceroy Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: This hotel, which overlooks scenic gardens in Clive Square, has just completed a full refurbishment program. Both the guest rooms and public rooms are comfortable, with attractive décor. The location is central, and most city amenities are within easy walking distance. The delightful Marine Parade, on the Pacific Seafront, is only a ten-minute walk.
  Contact info: Cnr Tennyson Street & Clive Square
Napier,   New Zealand
phone: +64 6 8353373
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: NZ$160 Arrange through program providers

 West Plaza Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: This hotel is in a very central city location, being across the street from the Visitor's Bureau, the Town Hall and the City Conference Center. The City Library and the attractive Civic Square are within 2 minutes' walk. The spacious lobby contains comfortable leather couches and a grand piano which is often played in the evenings by professional musicians.
  Contact info: 110 Wakefield Strret
Wellington,  6001 New Zealand
phone: +64 4 473-1440
  Room amenities: All usual amenities, including tea and coffee making facilities, refrigerator, and television are provided.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Type: Hotel
  Contact info: Cnr Alfed & Henry Streets
Blenheim,   New Zealand
phone: +03 578 5079
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Copthorne Commodore Christchurch Airport
Type: Four-Star Hotel
  Description: Attractive native Garden - indoor heated swimming pool Convenient distance from Airport
  Contact info: 449 Memorial Avenue
Christchurch,   New Zealand
phone: +64 3335 88129
  Room amenities: Wi Fi available
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Copthorne Lakeview Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Outstanding views of Lake Wakatipu from this hotel, as each guest room has its own terrace with a full lake view. Facilities are excellent and this is a first class hotel in every way. The hotel restaurant also has wide views and the meals are of a high standard.
  Contact info: 88 Frankton Road
Queenstown,  9197 New Zealand
phone: +64 3 442-7950
  Room amenities: All guest rooms have tea and coffee facilities, refrigerator.and television.
  Facility amenities: Full laundry services are available in the hotel.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Kingsgate Te Anau
Type: Hotel
  Description: Stunning lake and mountain views
  Contact info: 20 Lakefront Drive
Te Anau,   New Zealand
phone: +6432497421
  Room amenities: Telephone Standard Rooms at the Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau are spacious and welcoming. They feature one double and one single bed as well as an ensuite bathroom. Guests can enjoy a range of amenities when staying in this modern hotel. Te Anau, New Zealand is a beautiful spot from which to explore the natural wonders of this mountainous region. Room Details: 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: Internet and email desk and hotspot Laundry Restaurant and bar
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights after: $140 NZ room 
  Check out time: 10:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
10 am - Arrival city is Napier You will be staying at Viceroy Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
1.00 pm - Departure city is Queenstown You will be staying at Kingsgate Te Anau the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. No documents other than current passport
  Parking availability:
Not required
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
  Train or bus availability: Coach transport provided
To Start of Program
  Location:  Napier
  Transportation to site: By comfortable coach
  From End of Program
  Location:  Te Anau
  Nearest city or town:  Invercargill
  Nearest airport:  Invercargill
  Transportation from site: By comfortable air-conditioned coach
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
(Tuesday, March 3)
 Depart From: Depart the US for New Zealand.

Day 2: In Flight
(Wednesday, March 4)
 In Transit: In flight - cross the international date line.

Day 3: Arrive Napier Welcome lunch at Winery
(Thursday, March 5)
 Arrive To: Napier. Arrive at the delightful city of Napier, on the Pacific Coast, in the sun-soaked Province of Hawkes Bay. It was named by Captain James Cook on his discovery voyage in 1769. With its Mediterranean climate and its numerous orchards and wineries, this region is a Mecca for garden and fruit lovers and, of course, for wine enthusiasts. Napier is also regarded as the “Art Deco Capital of the World” as it was rebuilt in that style following a severe earthquake in 1931.
 Morning: After arrival and check-in to the hotel, the coach will take us to the historic Mission Estate Winery, New Zealand’s oldest, established in 1851 by the Marist Brothers. There we will have a wine tasting and discussion on wine styles.
 Lunch: Welcome Lunch at the Mission Restaurant, generally regarded as the best in the Bay. A choice of wines will be provided at this meal.
 Afternoon: Afternoon: Visit by Coach to Kennedy Park Rose Gardens, with hundreds of bushes, hybrid tea, floribunda and David Austin varieties, in both bush and climber styles. On returning to the hotel, there will be free time until the evening meal.
 Dinner: Light meal at the Hotel Restaurant.
Accommodations: Viceroy Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field trip to view private homes and gardens. Introductory Lecture on New Zealand wine.
(Friday, March 6)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Embark on a field trip to a selection of the most outstanding private homes and gardens in the leafy suburb of Havelock North, which contains some of the most attractive residences in Hawkes Bay.
 Lunch: At Vidal's Winery Restaurant.
 Afternoon: At 5.00 pm, we will have a Lecture at the Hotel, by Malcolm Reeves a former senior member of the faculty at the Eastern Institute of Technology, with very wide experience of oenology and viticulture, both in NZ and overseas. He is also a regular Judge of wines at major Competitions.
 Dinner: .A Buffet meal at the Norfolk Restaurant in Napier
Accommodations: Viceroy Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Guided Art Deco Walk in Napier City. Field trip to Clearview winery for guided vineyard tour, tastings and lunch
(Saturday, March 7)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Napier City is widely-known to be the best example of the Art Deco style and people come from far & wide (including many from overseas) to view its downtown area. The group will take a guided tour of the area. Also, a field trip to an Art Deco style house and garden.
 Lunch: We will travel by coach to Clearview Winery, delightfully located on the Pacific Coast. Here, lunch will be taken (al fresco if weather permits)and there will be a wine tasting.
 Afternoon: The viticulturist will guide us on a tour of the Clearview Vineyard and Winery and explain the various processes and procedures. We will then travel by coach to the large country garden for a guided tour.
 Dinner: This will be taken at the Farmhouse Kitchen where there will be a Cooking Demonstration with the opportunity for pax to take part. Wine will be supplied with this meal.
Accommodations: Viceroy Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Coach to Wellington View gardens en route
(Sunday, March 8)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Depart the hotel for Wellington. We will have morning tea at Dannevirke and then travel through the Wairarapa district . En route we will spend time at Puhaka Mt. Bruce, a wildlife Resrve where we will take a guide tour see a New Zealand Kiwi, our national bird..
 Lunch: Lunch will be taken at a Cafe in Masterton . Continuing our journey, ,we will soon arrive at New Zealand's capital of Wellington.
 Dinner: Wellington is set on the hillside surrounding a magnificent harbour (often compared to San Francisco - on a different scale! We will check into our hotel, in a very central location, and enjoy our dinner in the spacious restaurant.
Accommodations: West Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Visit Botanical Gardens FREE TIME in Afternoon
(Monday, March 9)
 Breakfast: In hotel
 Morning: Board coach to the Cable Car station in Lambton Quay. Ride the Cable Car to the top station. Enjoy panoramic views of the City and Harbour. Walk down through well-established Botanic Gardens to Lady Norwood Rose Garden where the coach picks up those who wish to see noted Te Papa Museum of New Zealand (10 minutes walk from Hotel accommodation)
 Lunch: Lunch- own choice (excellent facilities at Te Papa or at adjacent restaurants.)
 Afternoon: FREE TIME to view museum and galleries. Te Papa Museum is highly regarded for its Maori Culture Section and features concerning early settlement with many interactive displays.
 Dinner: Own choice to enable sampling of local fare. There are numerous restaurants and cafes within easy distance as Wellington is regarded as the "gourmet Capital of N.Z."
Accommodations: West Plaza Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

Day 8: Ferry trip to South Island via scenic Marlborough Sounds Arrival in Marlborough Wine District, the largest and most important in N.Z.
(Tuesday, March 10)

Note: Board ferry for trip to Picton Coach to Blenheim Lunch at Alan Scott winery in Blenheim

 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Board ferry for scheduled 3-hour voyage to Picton on the South Island. After leaving Wellington Harbour, where many coastal suburbs are visible, the ferry crosses Cook Strait between the two islands before entering the sheltered waters of scenic Marlborough Sound, the setting for numerous holiday homes as well as aquaculture projects. Upon arrival on the South Island, board the coach for the drive to Blenheim.
 Lunch: At Alan Scott Winery Restaurant at Blenheim (wine tasting and lecture included). This is one of the favourites out of the 45 wineries in the District. It has been 30 years since Brancott Estate released the first punchy, stabbingly acidic sauvignon blanc wine from Marlborough, enthralling Northern Hemisphere drinkers with a new wine flavour. Chardonnay, riesling and other aromatic varietals also flourish in the region's cool climate, and high-end pinot noirs now get serious attention. Wine is now a substantial proportion of NZ's total exports, with over a billion $NZ going in 2012, a high proportion going to U.S.A. About a third of that figure came from Marlborough District.
 Afternoon: Field trip to Blenheim Botanic Gardens, featuring a great variety of plantings, both indigenous and exotic.
 Dinner: At Hotel Restaurant.
Accommodations: Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Visit outstanding Gardens in this area Lecture on Garden Design by prominent professional designer.
(Wednesday, March 11)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Lecture on Garden Design in New Zealand by prominent professional Garden Designer recently featured in National Garden Magazine. Field trip to Hortensia Garden with French influence.
 Lunch: At Wither Hills Winery including wine tastings. This winery building is unusual, having been completed in 2005 with local materials and a distinctive New Zealand design. Pinot noir from this winery has proved to be very popular.
 Afternoon: Field trip to private gardens including a small garden (Le Petit Jardin) and a rather formal style (Broomfield Garden)
 Dinner: At restaurant in the City.
Accommodations: Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Visit to olive grove Lecture by Garden Designer on floral decorations. Visit to Aeronautical Museum
(Thursday, March 12)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Visit to garden for lecture by garden designer on floral decorations in vessels of varying size and shape. Learn how to use wayside greenery and to incorporate common fruit and vegetables for stunning effect.
 Lunch: At Highfield Estate Winery Restaurant with wine tasting. This is a most attractive building, designed by Sir Michael Fowler in the Italian Renaissance style.
 Afternoon: Visit olive grove and Omaka Aviation Centre (with rare WWI military aircraft & memorabilia.) .
 Dinner: At Hunters Winery restaurant. The Hunter family pioneered the development of the Marlborough District as a wine -producing area. Following the tragic death of Ernie Hunter in a road accident, his widow Jane has picked up the reins and has built the label into one of the region's best known.
Accommodations: Scenic Hotel Marlborough
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 11: Coach to Christchurch with visit en route to outstanding Winterhome Country Garden.Visit Pegasus Bay Winery for tastings.
(Friday, March 13)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Board coach for scenic coastal drive to Christchurch. En route the group will have a field trip & lecture at Winterhome Gardens.
 Lunch: Lunch will be taken en route at a café in the Domett area. We will call at Pegasus Bay Winery for a tasting. The grounds and gardens at this site are quite outstanding.
 Afternoon: Continue journey to Christchurch, which has always been known as "The Garden City". The recent earthquake has damaged many buildings but the stunning Botanic Gardens and Parks are regarded as the best in New Zealand.
 Dinner: Dinner will be taken at the hotel.
Accommodations: Copthorne Commodore Christchurch Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 12: All day visit to historic Akaroa - former French settlement. Visit French Farm Winery and famous mosaic garden
(Saturday, March 14)

Note: Coach to Akaroa, and return

 Breakfast: In hotel
 Morning: All-day field trip by coach to Akaroa, a popular resort town with its own harbour. It was first settled by the French, giving the area a strong French flavour, which endures to this day. En route, we call in at the charming village of Little River to view exhibits at the excellent local art gallery.
 Lunch: Lunch will be taken at the historic French Farm Winery. This is set in beautiful grounds with a South of France ambience.
 Afternoon: Field trip & guided walk in the village including celebrated mosaic garden and historic house of Josie Martin. There are surprises everywhere in this glorious garden.
 Dinner: Return to Christchurch. Dinner at hotel.
Accommodations: Copthorne Commodore Christchurch Airport
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 13: Guided walk in celebrated Botanical Gardens Flight to Queenstown Maori Cultural experience.
(Sunday, March 15)
 Breakfast: In Christchurch hotel
 Morning: Guided walk in Christchurch Botanic Gardens. Towering majestic trees, many over 120 years old, dominate the Gardens, forming a striking back-drop to the extensive themed plant collection and sweeping lawns. More than a million visitors come to the Gardens each year.
 Lunch: At a popular local cafe.
 Afternoon: Coach to Christchurch Airport for flight to Queenstown. Arrive in Queenstown and take a coach to the hotel. This city is one of the best-known in the country, both nationally and internationally. It is an all-seasons resort city and a mecca for tourists and local holiday-makers as it caters for winter sports and all types of outdoor activities - hiking, jet-boating and river-rafting. The scenery is spectacular, as the city overlooks the blue waters of Lake Wakatipu and is dominated by the towering range of the Remarkable Mountains. Our hotel is built so that this wondrous scenery can be viewed from every room. If time permits after hotel check-in, group will proceed to Lake Shore for short walk in Botanical Gardens.
 Dinner: At hotel
Accommodations: Copthorne Lakeview Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 14: Visit outstanding Alpine garden. Tasting of award-winning wines.
(Monday, March 16)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Board coach for field trip to specialised Alpine Garden at Clachanburn. Here we see a 4-acre garden flourishing despite the severe Central Otago climate.
 Lunch: Lunch at Gibbston Valley Winery. This winery was the first to be established in the spectacular Gibbston Valley. The generous size of the attractive tasting room, the fine adjoining restaurant and the informative wine cave tours have all contributed to making this cellar door the most visited in the country. If weather permits, there will be a short tour of the vineyard.
 Afternoon: Before dinner, we will visit the Amisfield Winery for a lecture and tasting. The stylish building is made from schist and timber and overlooks beautiful Hayes. MAORI CULTURAL EXPERIENCE: The group will travel back to Queenstown for this unique experience which takes place in the Skyline Building at the top of the Gondola overlooking the City. It is performed by Queenstown's leading Kapa Haka Group.
 Dinner: Dinner Own Choice
Accommodations: Copthorne Lakeview Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 15: Coach trip to Milford Sound, one of New Zealand's most beautiful scenic attractions. Farewell Dinner. Return by coach to Te Anau for overnight stay.
(Tuesday, March 17)
 Breakfast: At hotel
 Morning: Excursion by Coach to Milford with stops en route to view Mirror Lakes and dramatic gorges. Cruise the fiord by scheduled launch with packed lunch on board. The journey by coach to Milford is generally regarded as the most spectacular trip in New Zealand. After crossing the main divide near the Hollyford valley the route traverses the Homer Tunnel before descending to sea level at the Sound. From here you will see towering cliffs and peaks, including the much-photographed and iconic Mitre Peak which rises over a mile straight out of the sea. Waterfalls cascade into the fiord and luxuriant rain forest clings to sheer rock faces in this exceptional place. All this will be seen in the 2-hour scenic cruise on the Sound.
 Lunch: Packed lunch on board cruise.
 Afternoon: Return by coach to Te Anau, an attractive small town on the shores of Lake Te Anau with striking mountain views. Check into hotel for last night in New Zealand.
 Dinner: Farewell Dinner. This will be a celebratory event with a wide selection of wines.
Accommodations: Kingsgate Te Anau
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 16: Flight to USA
(Wednesday, March 18)

Note: Coach to Queenstown Airport for flights back to USA

 Breakfast: In hotel
 Morning: Depart Te Anau by coach to Queenstown Airport
 Lunch: At Airport cafe
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

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