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New Zealand

A New Zealand Odyssey: Indigenous Culture & Natural Beauty

Program No. 22753RJ
Explore the unique story of New Zealand as you learn of its distinctive natural environment and rich Maori and European history from local experts.
Length
16 days
Rating (4.75)
Activity Level
Starts at
6,699
Flights start at
1,450

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To make your experience as safe as possible, we require all participants to be fully vaccinated. See our Safety Roadmap

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Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
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Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 7 - Apr 22, 2023
Starting at
6,699
Sep 29 - Oct 14, 2023
Starting at
6,699
Oct 20 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
6,999
Nov 10 - Nov 25, 2023
Starting at
6,999
Dec 1 - Dec 16, 2023
Starting at
6,999
Jan 12 - Jan 27, 2024
Starting at
6,999
Jan 26 - Feb 10, 2024
Starting at
6,999
Feb 9 - Feb 24, 2024
Starting at
6,999
Mar 1 - Mar 16, 2024
Starting at
6,999
Apr 5 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
6,799
Sep 27 - Oct 12, 2024
Starting at
6,799
Oct 18 - Nov 2, 2024
Starting at
7,099
Nov 8 - Nov 23, 2024
Starting at
7,099
Nov 29 - Dec 14, 2024
Starting at
7,099
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Apr 7 - Apr 22, 2023
Starting at
7,749
Sep 29 - Oct 14, 2023
Starting at
7,749
Oct 20 - Nov 4, 2023
Starting at
8,149
Nov 10 - Nov 25, 2023
Starting at
8,149
Dec 1 - Dec 16, 2023
Starting at
8,149
Jan 12 - Jan 27, 2024
Starting at
7,999
Jan 26 - Feb 10, 2024
Starting at
7,999
Feb 9 - Feb 24, 2024
Starting at
8,099
Mar 1 - Mar 16, 2024
Starting at
8,099
Apr 5 - Apr 20, 2024
Starting at
7,699
Sep 27 - Oct 12, 2024
Starting at
7,699
Oct 18 - Nov 2, 2024
Starting at
8,199
Nov 8 - Nov 23, 2024
Starting at
8,199
Nov 29 - Dec 14, 2024
Starting at
8,199

At a Glance

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. Sail the beautiful waters of Lake Wakatipu, enjoy stunning vistas of Queenstown and much more.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to three miles at a time at a normal public walking pace over varied terrain. Standing at least three hours daily; climbing stairs (at times without handrails), getting on/off buses and boats, carrying own luggage. If you believe you require wheelchair assistance to get through an airport you are not fit enough to participate in this program. Elevations up to 3,100 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.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Learn from experts about New Zealand’s settlement by Maori and Europeans.
  • Witness bubbling mudpools in a volcanic park.
  • Experience the majestic Piopiotahi Milford Sound.

General Notes

For a similar program with greater opportunity for independent exploration (including free days in both Auckland and Queenstown), please view program 22090.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Hamish Campbell
Hamish Campbell earned a Ph.D. in paleontology from Cambridge University, and went on to serve as a senior scientist at GNS Science — the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences — in Wellington, New Zealand, and as geologist at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Hamish channeled his expertise to write several popular books on New Zealand geology. His passion for New Zealand, geology and learning have made him an exceptional long-time instructor for Road Scholar.

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

Profile Image of Hamish Campbell
Hamish Campbell View biography
Hamish Campbell earned a Ph.D. in paleontology from Cambridge University, and went on to serve as a senior scientist at GNS Science — the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences — in Wellington, New Zealand, and as geologist at the National Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa. Hamish channeled his expertise to write several popular books on New Zealand geology. His passion for New Zealand, geology and learning have made him an exceptional long-time instructor for Road Scholar.
Profile Image of Albert Sword
Albert Sword View biography
The fields of photography, musical theatre, writing and travel have all been professional interests for Albert Sword. He has run his own photographic studio, specialising in portraiture, and taught photography at university level in Auckland. He has toured with the New Zealand musical theater group Operatunity, performing works ranging from Gilbert and Sullivan to Broadway shows. Albert has also taught writing and travelled all over the world, including a four-month voyage around the Pacific on a 50-foot yacht.
Profile Image of Lloyd Esler
Lloyd Esler View biography
Lloyd Esler is a Southland teacher and writer with a background in natural history and museum work. He has explored many hidden corners of New Zealand and visited Antarctica and the sub-Antarctic islands. Lloyd is an Invercargill City Councilor who also works part-time as program coordinator at Borland Lodge on the edge of Fiordland National Park. He has organized and escorted hundreds of field trips around New Zealand. He also writes a weekly newspaper column on history and has written several Southland reference books.
Profile Image of Margaret Copland
Margaret Copland View biography
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.
Profile Image of Neil Rawlins
Neil Rawlins View biography
Neil Rawlins is a devoted world traveler and has explored extensively in Asia, Europe, Africa and North America. He has been leading educational adventures around the world for over 30 years. He is also an accomplished travel writer, with many published articles and two books, with a third book in the works. He is an avid photographer and uses his photography to add color to his cosmopolitan articles and books.
Profile Image of Robyn Laing
Robyn Morag Laing View biography
Robyn Laing lives in Auckland on the idyllic Waiheke Island. After graduating with a science degree from Massey University, Robyn spent four years studying in Japan. Returning to New Zealand, her fluent language skills were in demand leading to stints teaching in a high school, working for the Japanese embassy in Wellington. Returning to New Zealand after a decade working on documentaries, she was lured into leading group travel programs. She looks forward to introducing her homeland to visitors from North America.
Profile Image of Kate McMillan
Kate McMillan View biography
Kate McMillan is an associate professor in comparative politics and head of the political science and international relations program at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research and teaching focuses on immigration politics, media politics and citizenship politics, with a particular focus on New Zealand and its region. Kate grew up in Christchurch but has spent much of her adult life in Wellington, with stints also living and working in Melbourne, London, San Diego and Lund.
Profile Image of Wendy Black
Wendy Black View biography
Wendy Black is a born and bred Southlander who has worked in a variety of jobs. She began her tertiary education with an office management course at Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) and in her time off worked at a local florist. From there, she managed a local veterinary clinic and, once married, worked part-time at SIT helping run educational programs with New Zealand College for Seniors. As children arrived and the family grew, they have undertaken extensive overseas travel: 48 countries and counting.
Profile Image of Peter Lawson
Peter Lawson View biography
Peter Lawson has lived in Wellington for 44 years after graduating from Christchurch’s Canterbury University with a Bachelor of Science in Pure Maths and Operations Research. He started his career in the Government Railways Department in their Economic Planning and Research unit when the Railways employed approximately 20,000 people. During 22 years, Peter worked as a marketing manager, in General Management, and Project Management. He then had a career change, working as a self-employed investment adviser and sharebroker before retiring in 2021.
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 Lizzie Johnston-Walker
Lizzie Johnston-Walker View biography
Lizzie Johnston-Walker graduated from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Science in zoology and microbiology. She completed a Bachelor of Nursing at Otago Polytechic and a Master of Health Sciences at the University of Otago. She has worked in clinical areas and hospitals in New Zealand, Australia, and the U.S. For the past 15 years, Lizzie has been an RN in the Intensive Care Unit at Christchurch Hospital. She is also involved in undergraduate and postgraduate nursing education at the University of Otago.
Profile Image of Margaret Logan
Margaret Logan View biography
Margaret Logan raised a family and served 23 years as a child and family social worker in Timaru. She then joined her husband, Richard, in establishing the freshwater salmon farming industry in the hydro system waters in the Mackenzie Country on the South Island. Now “retired,” she is still involved with High Country Salmon as an owner-director. Margaret loves living in Wellington where Probus activities keep her well occupied, along with walking, reading, bridge, planning for more overseas travel, and meeting with friends and family.
Profile Image of Stephen Hoadley
Stephen Hoadley View biography
Stephen Hoadley is Associate Professor of Politics and International Relations at the University of Auckland. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a Life Member of the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs. Steve is a regular commentator on international affairs in the New Zealand media and enjoys giving public lectures to diverse audiences.
Profile Image of Sue Hume
Sue Hume retired from a career as a secondary school teacher and principal. She led her school through difficult periods including the Canterbury earthquakes in 2011, the Christchurch mosque shootings in 2019, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Sue was awarded a Christchurch City Council Earthquake Award in 2012 for service during the earthquakes, a Woolf Fisher Fellowship in recognition of educational excellence in 2012, and a Queen’s Service Medal in 2022 for services to education. A keen traveler, Sue has always resided 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.
The Penguin History of New Zealand
by Michael King
This bestselling book is arguably the definitive contemporary reference to the history of New Zealand. New Zealand was the last country in the world to be discovered and settled by humankind. It was also the first to introduce full democracy. Between those events, and in the century that followed the franchise, the movements and conflicts of human history have been played out more intensively and more rapidly in New Zealand than anywhere else on Earth. The Penguin History of New Zealand tells that story in all its colour and drama. The narrative that emerges is an inclusive one about men and women, Maori and Pakeha. It shows that British motives in colonising New Zealand were essentially humane; and that Maori, far from being passive victims of a 'fatal impact', coped heroically with colonisation and survived by selectively accepting and adapting what Western technology and culture had to offer.
Purakau: Maori Myths retold by Maori Writers
by Witi Ihimaera & Whiti Hereaka (editors)
A lively retelling of Purakau - Maori Myths - by contemporary Maori Writers.
A Field Guide to the Birds of New Zealand
by Julian Fitter
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
Stories
by Katherine Mansfield
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.
Zealandia: The Valley That Changed A Nation
by Jim Lynch
In 1990 James Lynch QSM conceived the idea of urban conservation through a plan to `Bring the Birds back to Wellington'. Two years later he came up with the daring concept of community conservation. His visionary 1992 proposal for the Karori Wildlife Sanctuary (now Zealandia) imagined a predator-fenced, community-driven eco-sanctuary, populated with endangered species and located 2 km from the Wellington CBD. 30 years later Zealandia is a resounding success and Wellington has been transformed into an international showcase of urban conservation. Inspired by Zealandia, eco-sanctuaries proliferated around the nation. This is Jim's account of how Zealandia became a reality and changed a city and a nation. An uplifting account of daring innovation, and of the determination of an ever-expanding community that built a jewel that will be treasured by generations yet to be born.
Mauri Ora: Wisdom from the Maori World
by Peter Alsop & Te Rau Kupenga
Pearls of wisdom - whakatauki - have been gifted from generation to generation as an intrinsic part of the Maori world. Mauri Ora links whakatauki to key personal virtues identified across cultures and generations.
New Zealand: A Natural History
by Tui De Roy & Mark Jones
The authors, both naturalists and photographers, present the wildlife, habitats and splendour of their adopted homeland in this pictorial celebration.
New Zealand Wildlife
by Julian Fitter
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.
The Meaning of Trees
by Robert Vennell
Robert Vennel is the manager of Auckland Museum's natural science collection. In this book, sub-titled "The History & Usage of New Zealand's Native Pants", he tells the story of plants and people in Aotearoa New Zealand. In addition to outlining indigenous bush kai (food), Vennell also investigates New Zealand's native plants in terms of their value for suitability for carving, weaving and rongoa (medicinal uses). He looks at traditional Maori usage of the forest and how it put sustainability above all else as well as how European settlers had to change their way of thinking when confronted with vastly different vegetation.
The Book Of Fame
by Lloyd Jones
In August 1905 a party of young men set sail for England. Among them were ordinary farmers and bootmakers, a miner and a bank clerk. Together they made up the All Blacks, an unknown rugby team from New Zealand. And they had come to show the world what they could do. What they didn't know was that they were bound for fame. In this melding of true history and imagination, Lloyd Jones has recreated an unforgettable journey from innocence to celebrity.
Whale Rider
by Witi Ihimaera
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.
The Bone People
by Keri Hulme
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 1985 Booker Prize.
The Luminaries
by Eleanor Catton
It is 1866, and Walter Moody has come to make his fortune upon the New Zealand goldfields. On arrival, he stumbles across a tense gathering of twelve local men, who have met in secret to discuss a series of unsolved crimes. A wealthy man has vanished, a whore has tried to end her life, and an enormous fortune has been discovered in the home of a luckless drunk. Moody is soon drawn into the mystery: a network of fates and fortunes that is as complex and exquisitely patterned as the night sky. The Luminaries, an extraordinary work of fiction, was the Man Booker prize winner in 2013.





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