New Zealand
Extension: Wellington, New Zealand’s Vibrant Capital
Wellington’s dramatic coastline, spectacular views, rich social history and friendly locals make this boutique capital city a wonder to explore.
Rating (5)
Program No. 21740RJ
4 days
Starts at
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4 days
3 nights
8 meals
3 B 3 L 2 D
Fly to Wellington, Sights, NZ Political System
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, on our feet most of the morning.

Afternoon: We will fly directly to Wellington, located at the southern extremity of the North Island, and the capital of New Zealand since 1865. 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 (many visitors have been known to draw parallels with San Francisco) 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. Thanks partly to the fact that it is the home town of Sir Peter Jackson (“Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy), Wellington is the focal point of New Zealand's thriving film industry. Upon our arrival in Wellington we have an orientation via motorcoach and walking with our local Site Coordinator. We will take in sights such 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!" We will then head to our hotel and check in, dropping our bags and coming down for a lecture by a local expert on New Zealand’s political system and politics.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will have a buffet dinner. Our lecturer will join us, affording an opportunity to ask any further questions you may have.

Evening: At leisure.

NZ Parliament & Supreme Court, free afternoon & evening
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will board our motorcoach and ride to New Zealand’s parliament buildings — including the aptly-named Beehive — for an expert-led exploration. We will then walk across Lambton Quay to New Zealand’s Supreme Court where their resident expert will explain how the highest court in the land operates. You may be surprised at differences between the Supreme Court of NZ and the US.

Lunch: At a restaurant close to Parliament and the Supreme Court, we will have pre-ordered plated lunches.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will be happy to offer suggestions. Put on your walking shoes and get amongst it!

Dinner: On your own to enjoy what you like, allowing you to sample the many fine restaurants, cafes and bars Wellington has to offer.

Evening: At leisure.

Zealandia Wildlife Sanctuary, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles; paved surfaces, uphill and downhill.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Our next field trip is to Zealandia, a sanctuary of native forest and lakes, a motorcoach ride of 10 minutes from the city centre. Here we will learn about some of New Zealand’s unique and fascinating birdlife. Expert volunteers will introduce these wonderful birds and explain the challenges of conserving rare and vulnerable species in New Zealand. We will learn the story of how local residents lobbied and volunteered to get this valley sanctuary set aside as a reserve and have it fully enclosed by predator-proof fencing. At the conclusion of our field trip, we will return to the hotel.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: We will take the short walk across the road to Te Papa Tongarewa: National Museum of New Zealand where the docents will introduce the key displays of this magnificent facility. We will then have time to explore the museum on our own and return to our accommodation independently at leisure.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will enjoy a farewell to New Zealand buffet dinner. Share your favourite experiences with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Time to do that final packing and prepare for your last day in New Zealand tomorrow.

Wellington's Wild Coastline, Program Concludes
In Flight

Activity note: Field trip combines viewing from motorcoach with short walks.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we will load our bags on to our motorcoach. We will then be joined by an eminent local scientist who will lead our field trip exploring Wellington's fascinating coastline. We will learn how tectonic forces have shaped the rugged environment surrounding the New Zealand capital.

Lunch: At a sheltered scenic spot along the south coast, we will have a boxed lunch.

Afternoon: We coach to Wellington Airport and check in for our domestic flight to Auckland and international flight on to the USA. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

Dinner: At own arrangements at Auckland Airport or on board your flight to the USA.

Evening: International flight to Los Angeles.