New Zealand

New Zealand’s Best: Natural Marvels and Cultural Heritage

Program No. 22090RJ
With nearly one-third of its land dedicated to national parks, New Zealand is ideal for exploring natural treasures like harbors, fjords, and snow-capped mountains.

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At a Glance

Pristine volcanic harbors. Snow-capped mountain peaks. Ink-black night skies ablaze with brilliant stars. These are just a few of the treasures visitors seek on journeys to New Zealand. On our journey from Auckland to Queenstown, complete with full free days to explore on your own, experience Maori traditions first-hand, learn local history on expert-led field trips and embrace the awe-inspiring power of nature — evident in every view of the mountains and lakes that surround you.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles daily over varied terrain. Elevations up to 3,200 feet.
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 13 to 24 participants.

What You'll Learn

  • Experience traditional Maori customs.
  • Stargaze in the Mackenzie Basin, home to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, located in New Zealand's only International Dark Sky Reserve.
  • Witness spectacular landscapes during a study cruise.

General Notes

Program includes independent time (including free days in Auckland and Queenstown) to explore independently, and has several meals on your own. Group Leaders will provide directions for self-directed excursions. Suggestions for free-time activities provided in preparatory materials.
Featured Expert
All trip experts
Profile Image
Hazel Petrie
Hazel Petrie is an Honorary Research Fellow in the University of Auckland Department of History. She has a and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Maori Studies, a Master of Arts in History, and a Ph.D. in Maori Studies, all from the University of Auckland. Her published books include “Chiefs of Industry: Maori Tribal Enterprise in Early Colonial New Zealand” that was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards, and “Outcasts of the Gods?: The Struggle Over Slavery in Maori New Zealand.”

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Hazel Petrie
Hazel Petrie View biography
Hazel Petrie is an Honorary Research Fellow in the University of Auckland Department of History. She has a and a Bachelor of Arts in History and Maori Studies, a Master of Arts in History, and a Ph.D. in Maori Studies, all from the University of Auckland. Her published books include “Chiefs of Industry: Maori Tribal Enterprise in Early Colonial New Zealand” that was a finalist in the New Zealand Book Awards, and “Outcasts of the Gods?: The Struggle Over Slavery in Maori New Zealand.”
Profile Image of Shona Sangster
Shona Sangster View biography
Shona Sangster holds a B.A. in philosophy and political studies from the University of Auckland, a Trinity College certificate in TESOL, and a certificate in Te Ara Reo Maori from SIT. Originally from West Auckland, she grew up in the Waitakere Ranges. Now living on Rakiura/Stewart Island, Shona is chair of an environmental restoration trust (SIRCET) and the Southland Conservation Board. A keen tramper and kayaker, Shona has tramped extensively on Rakiura and has completed all of the Great Walks in the South Island.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Meals
20 Meals
9 Breakfasts
4 Lunches
7 Dinners
The following choices may be available when requested in advance: Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Low Salt
Lodging
Lodgings may differ by date. Select a date to see the lodgings specific to that date.
Display
Oct 14, 2025 - Oct 25, 2025
  • Oct 14, 2025 - Oct 25, 2025
  • Sep 24, 2024 - Oct 05, 2024 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Oct 15, 2024 - Oct 26, 2024 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Nov 19, 2024 - Nov 30, 2024 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Jan 14, 2025 - Jan 25, 2025 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Jan 28, 2025 - Feb 08, 2025 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Feb 25, 2025 - Mar 08, 2025 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Sep 23, 2025 - Oct 04, 2025 (Auckland to Queenstown)
  • Oct 14, 2025 - Oct 25, 2025 (Auckland to Queenstown)
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.
3 nights
Auckland
Situated in the centre of Auckland and within walking distance to picturesque Waitemata Harbour.
2 nights
Christchurch
The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is a premium, landmark hotel located in the heart of Christchurch's Cathedral Square. The Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square is next door to Turanga Christchurch Central Library and is only minutes from attractions such as Hagley Park, the Christchurch Art Gallery, the Canterbury Museum, the Botanic Gardens and the Theatre Royal. It is in the centre of the Central Business District, home to numerous shops, cafes, bars and restaurants. The hotel is 25 - 30 minutes from Christchurch airport.
1 night
Lake Tekapo
Near the shores of Lake Tekapo, in the heart of Mackenzie Country in New Zealand’s central South Island, is Peppers Bluewater Resort. Overlooking Lake Tekapo this resort is located in an intensely beautiful part of the world. It is located at the heart of an International Dark Sky Reserve.
3 nights
Queenstown
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.





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