Road Scholar : Home
New Zealand: An Odyssey Down Under

Program Number: 20135RJ
Start and End Dates:
1/9/2015 - 1/21/2015; 2/26/2016 - 3/9/2016; 3/11/2016 - 3/23/2016; 4/1/2016 - 4/13/2016; 4/8/2016 - 4/20/2016; 5/6/2016 - 5/18/2016; 8/26/2016 - 9/7/2016; 9/9/2016 - 9/21/2016; 9/23/2016 - 10/5/2016; 10/7/2016 - 10/19/2016; 10/21/2016 - 11/2/2016; 11/4/2016 - 11/16/2016; 11/18/2016 - 11/30/2016; 12/2/2016 - 12/14/2016; 1/3/2017 - 1/15/2017; 1/13/2017 - 1/25/2017; 1/27/2017 - 2/8/2017; 2/3/2017 - 2/15/2017; 2/10/2017 - 2/22/2017; 2/17/2017 - 3/1/2017; 2/24/2017 - 3/8/2017; 3/3/2017 - 3/15/2017; 3/10/2017 - 3/22/2017; 3/17/2017 - 3/29/2017; 3/24/2017 - 4/5/2017; 3/31/2017 - 4/12/2017; 4/7/2017 - 4/19/2017;
Duration: 12 nights
Location: New Zealand
Price starting at: $3,999.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type:
Meals: 30; 10 Breakfasts, 11 Lunches, 9 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free; Low Fat; Low Salt    

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


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

Activity Particulars

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

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

Date Specific Information

1-9-2015, 2-26-2016, 3-11-2016, 4-1-2016, 4-8-2016, 5-6-2016, 8-26-2016, 9-9-2016, 9-23-2016, 10-7-2016, 10-21-2016, 11-4-2016, 11-18-2016, 1-3-2017, 1-13-2017, 1-27-2017, 2-3-2017, 2-10-2017, 2-17-2017, 2-24-2017, 3-3-2017, 3-10-2017, 3-17-2017, 3-24-2017, 3-31-2017, 4-7-2017

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


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

Itinerary Summary

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

Coordinated by Road Scholar.

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

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

Coach to Rotorua 2 nights

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

Fly to Christchurch 2 nights

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

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

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

New Zealand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Novotel Christchurch is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch is only moments to main attractions, Cathedral Square, Cashel St Pop-Up Mall, Hagley Park, Christchurch Business District and 30min from Christchurch Airport.
  Contact info: 52 Cathedral Square
Christchurch,  8011 New Zealand
phone: +64 3 372 2111
  Room amenities: Each room has an ensuite bath or shower, charged wireless Internet access, double-glazed windows, a work area, large LCD TV, pay movies, a safe and a hairdryer.
  Facility amenities: Featuring 154 contemporary rooms, high-end amenities and WIFI internet (surcharge). Hotel facilities include gym, guest laundry, restaurant, bar and meeting rooms catering for up to 250 delegates.
  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
  Additional nights after:  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 group flight - NZ5, due at Auckland Airport at 8:00am. You will be staying at Mercure Auckland Hotel that night.
  End of Program:
Queenstown, New Zealand. The program ends after lunch on Day 13. Participants are then transferred to Queenstown Airport for their flight to Auckland to connect with flights to LA and on to home. You will be staying at Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Passport only is required for New Zealand.
  Parking availability:
Transportation (For Independent Travelers)
To Start of Program
  Location:  Auckland
  Nearest airport:  Auckland International & Domestic Airports
  Transportation to site: 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 the best option is to take a five-minute taxi ride to the Copthorne Auckland City. Tickets for the Airbus Express 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:  Queenstown
  Nearest airport:  Queenstown Airport
  Transportation from site: For those needing to make their own way to the airport at the conclusion of the program, the taxi ride from our hotel to Queenstown Airport takes approximately 15 minutes and will cost around NZ$40.
Elevation Note: The highest elevation reached on this program is the Homer Tunnel at 945 metres (3,100 feet).

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

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Departure
(Friday, January 9)
 Evening: Depart the USA on overnight flight to New Zealand.

Day 2: In Flight
(Saturday, January 10)
 In Transit: Cross International Dateline.

Day 3: Program Overview & Introduction / Meet Your Fellow Participants / Walking Tour of Central Auckland
(Sunday, January 11)
 Arrive To: 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. Upon your arrival in Auckland your Program Leader and local Site Coordinator will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. After checking in to your room and freshening up, we come together with the participants on program 16434, who will be sharing in our journey through New Zealand, for a program overview, an introduction to Auckland and the opportunity to get to know our fellow participants.
 Lunch: At accommodation.
 Afternoon: This afternoon our local Site Coordinator and Group Leader lead us on a walking tour of central Auckland introducing us to New Zealand's largest city. We will learn how Auckland interacts with its harbour for both business and pleasure and we may take a stroll through the grounds of the university. Those who wish to may choose to linger at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki, recently named as World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival in Singapore. We return to our hotel in time for dinner. This afternoon's walk will be at least two miles in length on paved surfaces over undulating terrain as we walk up Queen Street from the harbour.
 Dinner: At accommodation.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Introduction to New Zealand History / Harbour Cruise / City Orientation / Auckland Museum.
(Monday, January 12)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's top-floor dining room with stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.
 Morning: 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 four flat, paved blocks (1.2 miles) 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: We have dinner at own arrangements giving you the 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 while the Britomart precinct is located in the streets behind the hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Auckland's Geology / Explore the North Coast
(Tuesday, January 13)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's dining room.
 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. On today's field trip we will walk at least three miles over undulating terrain and varied surfaces. Please note that, depending on the tidal conditions, we may have to run today's field trips in the reverse order.
 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. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon and have some time at leisure prior to dinner.
 Dinner: At accommodation.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Mercure Auckland Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Waitomo Glow-Worm Caves / Coach to Rotorua / City Orientation
(Wednesday, January 14)
 Breakfast: In the hotel's top-floor dining room.
 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-recognised Waitomo glowworm caves. The glowworm (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 cave". We reboard our coach and transfer through to Rotorua where we will stay for the next two nights. Located on the shores of Lake Rotorua and nicknamed “Sulphur City,” Rotorua has been sustained by tourism since 1870. It is a thermal wonderland with the most energetic thermal activity in the country including hot springs, geysers and bubbling mud pools. It is also an important centre of Maori culture. In the early 19th century the colonial government attempted to develop it as a European-style spa town. The impressive Tudor-styled Bath House dating from that time is now the Rotorua Museum. The area also has fine trout fishing and scenic wildlife parks. Nearby Mount Tarawera erupted late last century resulting in major changes to the landscape and considerable loss of life. The beautiful lakes in the region are part of the legacy of this cataclysm.
 Dinner: We have an orientation to Rotorua on the way to our hotel and check in in time for dinner in the hotel restaurant.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Copthorne Hotel Rotorua
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7: Waimangu Volcanic Valley / Maori Arts and Crafts / Kiwi House / Whakarewarewa Thermal Area / Maori Cultural Evening
(Thursday, January 15)
 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. This morning's walk will cover approximately three miles on gravel pathways that are steep in parts and can be uneven.
 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. At Te Puia we will walk nearly a mile and a half on paved surfaces with some steep sections.
 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: Fly to Christchurch / Riccarton House & Bush - History of Christchurch / Orientation to Christchurch / Immigrants' Stories with the Te Puna Ora Story-teller
(Friday, January 16)
 Breakfast: In our 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 Christchurch situated on the east coast of the South Island. The city is set close to the sea on a broad plain between the towering Southern Alps and the large extinct volcanic crater that forms Banks Peninsula. It is the largest city in the South Island and the centre of farming, industrial and cultural activities for the province of Canterbury. Because of its excellent transportation facilities, bountiful water supply and abundant hydro-electric power, Christchurch is one of the most important industrial centres in New Zealand and was, until 2011, New Zealand’s second-largest city. The area, between September 2010 and May 2012, suffered a series of significant earthquakes resulting in a large part of the Central Business District being damaged and many homes, in the eastern suburbs in particular, being destroyed. Much of the rest of the city, and particularly the western side, is pretty much up and running as per usual as the rebuilding and rejuvenating process begins in earnest in the affected areas. We will be met at the airport by our local Site Coordinator and transferred to Riccarton House, one of Christchurch's most significant early homesteads.
 Lunch: At Riccarton House.
 Afternoon: After lunch we will have a guided walk through Riccarton Bush - a unique native lowland podocarp forest close to the centre of New Zealand's "Garden City". We will have a lecture on the early-settler family responsible for the existence of both Riccarton House and Riccarton Bush. Through this we will gain an insight into the early settlement of the province of Canterbury. We then transfer to our hotel to check in before a local engineering geologist will lead us on a field trip orientating us to the city and introducing us to the effects of earthquakes on a vibrant, modern, first-world city. As well as seeing the effects of the earthquake we will learn of the innovative, often community-led projects helping to rejuvenate this city the locals are so passionate about. We will bear witness to the city's determination to rebuild and move on as we visit sites such as the Transitional Christ Church Cathedral - known to locals as the "cardboard cathedral". We then head out to Lincoln University on the outskirts of the city for a short stroll before dinner.
 Dinner: At Lincoln University.
 Evening: After dinner the Te Puna Ora story-teller will, by playing two characters, introduce us to the experience of early immigrants to Canterbury. After the performance we will transfer back to our accommodation.
Accommodations: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Banks Peninsula Settlement History / Akaroa / Harbour Nature Cruise / Akaroa Museum / Walking Exploration of central Christchurch
(Saturday, January 17)
 Breakfast: At accommodation.
 Morning: We head to the delightful Banks Peninsula township of Akaroa this morning. Akaroa is a historic French and British settlement nestled in the heart of an ancient volcano. Some of the town's French character is shown by its French street names. En route to Akaroa we will learn about the historical patterns of settlement of the local Maori, French and other European settler populations. We arrive in Akaroa and board a boat for a harbour cruise on which we will see sea caves, volcanic formations, high cliffs and myriad nesting sites. We should keep an eye out for the delightful Hector's Dolphin, the world's rarest and smallest dolphin, as well as blue penguins, fur seals and abundant bird life.
 Lunch: We return to land and are given free time to explore Akaroa on foot, just as the Christchurch visitors do on their day trips. We will be given money so we can get our own lunch at leisure as we explore.
 Afternoon: We come together at the Akaroa Museum where we learn about life in this small community. We then board our coach and head back over Hilltop to Christchurch and our accommodation. The remainder of the afternoon is free but our local Site Coordinator will lead a walking tour of the centre of Christchurch for those participants interested in learning more about what makes this city tick as it continues its regrowth.
 Dinner: At our hotel.
 Evening: At leisure.
Accommodations: Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: International Antarctic Centre / Flight to Invercargill then coach to Te Anau / Introduction to Southern New Zealand / Course Overview
(Sunday, January 18)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast we check out of our accommodation and transfer to the International Antarctic Centre. Here we get as close as possible to experiencing Antarctica without actually going there. Our lecturer will give us a lecture on Antarctica and we will gain an insight into Christchurch's involvement with Antarctica as the nearest mainland base for US, NZ and Italian Antarctic research. We will also have the opportunity to get up close to the Centre's little blue penguins. We then transfer to the airport for our flight to Invercargill.
 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. Te Anau 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 outdoor lifestyle. We will have an introduction to our southern program on board our coach en route to Te Anau. Those who wish to 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 11: Cruise on stunning Milford Sound / Coach to Queenstown / Gondola to Skyline Restaurant overlooking Queenstown's stunning natural beauty
(Monday, January 19)
 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 (New Zealand mountain parrot) 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. We walk approximately two miles on today's field trip.
 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 to lure visitors of all ages. We check in to our hotel Upon our arrival in Queenstown. We then transfer to 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 spent 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 12: Lake Wakatipu Cruise including Walter Peak Sheep Station
(Tuesday, January 20)
 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 this afternoon.
 Dinner: We have 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 13: Historic Arrowtown / Flight to Auckland to connect with international flight to Los Angeles
(Wednesday, January 21)
 Breakfast: In the hotel.
 Morning: This morning we will check out of our hotel and head to the historic little former gold-mining settlement of Arrowtown. Here we will have time to walk and explore. Maybe you will choose to check out the museum or the Chinese village. We will walk at least a mile in Arrowtown.
 Lunch: You will be given cash enabling you to purchase your lunch in Arrowtown or at Queenstown airport.
 Afternoon: We coach to Queenstown Airport and check in for our domestic flight to Auckland and international flight on to the USA. Those participants doing extension program 21740 - New Zealand's Capital - will join the participants on program 16434 in flying to Wellington to continue their exploration of New Zealand in the country's small and vibrant capital.
 Dinner: At own arrangements at Auckland Airport or on board your flight to the USA.
 Evening: International flight to Los Angeles.
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Concise History of New Zealand

Author: Philippa Mein Smith

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

A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand

Author: Julian Fitter

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

Captain James Cook

Author: Richard Hough

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

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All

Author: Christina Thompson

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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)

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.

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

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

Specifically, this program includes:

Plus these special experiences...

View the Daily Schedule to see more

And included with all Road Scholar programs:

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