3304
New Zealand
Land of Geysers and Greenstone
Experience for yourself the indigenous culture, natural beauty, thermal pools and unique wildlife as you discover the wonders of New Zealand on this comprehensive adventure.
Rating (5)
Program No. 3304RJ
Length
27 days
Starts at
8,799
Flights start at
1,475
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27 days
26 nights
68 meals
24 B 22 L 22 D
Getting There
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DAY
1
In Transit to Program
In Flight
DAY
2
In Transit to Program, Crossing International Dateline
In Flight

Activity note: Please be aware that rooms are being held tonight at the Mercure Hotel Auckland for all participants on this program. This is to allow you to check-in to your rooms as soon as you arrive at the hotel after your early-morning arrival into Auckland on the group flight. Participants arriving in to Auckland prior to the day the group flight arrives are welcome to make use of this room tonight. Please be aware, however, that you will not be able to check-in prior to the standard 2pm check-in time.

Evening: In transit, crossing the International Dateline.

DAY
3
Arrive Auckland, Orientation, Walk Through Central Auckland
Auckland
L,D
Mercure Auckland Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles, paved surfaces, undulating terrain. Upon your arrival in Auckland, you will be given a day-use backpack and an aluminium water bottle to use throughout your program. These items are yours to keep.

Morning: Kia ora! Welcome to Auckland. Upon our arrival, the group flight will be met by our Group Leader and local Site Coordinator and participants will be transferred by motorcoach in to our hotel. There will be time to check in and freshen up before we come together to commence our New Zealand adventure. Orientation. The Group Leader and Site Coordinator will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. This program will be staffed with both a Group Leader and a local Site Coordinator at most study sites providing information and leading field trips. Some meals will be buffets, others will be plated and served; and some we will order in advance. Beverages typically included coffee, tea, water, with other beverages available for purchase depending on location. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, attending performances or other events on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. To conclude our Orientation session, we will have an introduction to Auckland.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: 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 harbours 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 harbour 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. This afternoon our Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will lead us on a walking field trip in central Auckland, introducing us to New Zealand's largest city. We will learn something of how Auckland interacts with its harbour for both business and pleasure and 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, a recent winner of the World Building of the Year award at the World Architecture Festival and return independently. We will return to our hotel in time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At the hotel. We will have “Welcome to New Zealand” wine with dinner tonight.

Evening: At leisure. We have an early night tonight to rest up following our long flight.

DAY
4
NZ History, Volcanism, Auckland War Memorial Museum
Auckland
B,L,D
Mercure Auckland Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 1.2 miles; flat, paved surfaces.

Breakfast: The breakfast buffet in the hotel's top-floor dining room has stunning views of Auckland Harbour and the central business district.

Morning: We begin today with a well-known local author and journalist who will provide an introduction to New Zealand history. A local geologist then gives us a lecture on New Zealand and its volcanic history.

Lunch: At the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon we will ride via motorcoach to Auckland’s War Memorial Museum, with an orientation to the layout of the city en route. At the museum, a docent will introduce the permanent exhibitions showing patterns of Polynesian and European settlement. Following our time at the museum, we board our motorcoach and return to our hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free.

Dinner: At our hotel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Geology, Flora & Birdlife of Auckland's Wild West Coast
Auckland
B,L
Mercure Auckland Hotel

Activity note: Walking up to 3 miles; undulating terrain, varied surfaces, some steep sections of purpose-built pathway. We will be on our feet for large sections of today.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: A local geologist and marine biologist will join us at the hotel for a lecture on the geology of Auckland and its varied coastlines. He will then lead us on a field trip Auckland's west coast beaches and bushland.

Lunch: At a local cafe restaurant on our way out west, we will have plated meals.

Afternoon: Our geologist-led field trip continues as we visit Muriwai, typical of the west coast's black sand surf beaches. The beach is backed by native rainforest and is home to a gannet colony and abundant native flora. We return to our hotel through Auckland's western suburbs.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader and local Site Coordinator will be happy to offer suggestions. The Viaduct Basin, formerly the home of the America’s Cup, has a variety of cafés and restaurants a short walk from the hotel. The relatively new development of the Wynyard Quarter is a delightful stroll across the bridge beyond the Viaduct, while the Britomart precinct is located in the streets behind the hotel.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
6
Coach to Rotorua, Forestry Research, Saving the Kiwi, Spa
Rotorua
B,L,D
Copthorne Hotel Rotorua

Activity note: The drive from Auckland to Rotorua is about 140 miles (230 kilometres), approximately 3 hours. Walking around 2 miles; flat, maintained surfaces; some exposed tree roots.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We check out of our hotel after breakfast, board our motorcoach and depart for Rotorua, travelling through Waikato's rolling green countryside passing pristine farmland and dense forest. 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-style 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. As we arrive by Lake Rotorua we head to visit St. Faith's Maori Church and its richly-decorated interior in the lakeside Maori village of Ohinemutu. We carry on to the Forestry Research Institute where a local forestry scientist will give us an introduction to plantation forestry in New Zealand. She will lead us on a guided tour of the tree-breeding trial centre with its research plantation & redwood grove.

Lunch: At an historic and lovingly-restored hotel beside Rotorua's Government Gardens, we will have a pre-ordered, plated lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, we transfer to the National Kiwi Trust at Rainbow Springs. Here we have a lecture introducing us to New Zealand's endangered national bird. We will learn of the vital role the National Kiwi Trust is playing in rearing young kiwi chicks until they are large enough to be released into the wild. After we finish our time learning about the kiwi, we continue to our hotel and check in.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: This evening we experience the Polynesian Spa where we can soak in seven hot mineral pools offering picturesque views of Lake Rotorua. The pools are fed with hot mineral spring water from two different springs.

DAY
7
Rotorua Museum, Maori Culture & Performance, Hangi
Rotorua
B,D
Copthorne Hotel Rotorua

Activity note: Walking up to 2.5 miles; paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we visit the Rotorua Museum of Art & History for an expert-led exploration. The museum is located in the delightful old historic bath house complex and gives us an insight into the history of this, New Zealand's first tourist resort area. The remainder of the morning is at leisure. Those who wish can undertake the steep climb to the viewing platform on the roof of the Museum.

Lunch: Lunch is at own arrangements downtown today.

Afternoon: Following some time at leisure, we will take our motorcoach to Te Puia, the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Here we view the Whakarewarewa thermal area, renowned for its boiling mudpools and the spectacular Pohutu geyser. We will also learn from local experts at the Institute about the role it plays in encouraging young Maori to train in the traditional Maori arts and crafts: carving wood and stone, weaving, traditional building techniques, and the like. After returning to the hotel, we have some down-time before we head out for dinner.

Dinner: We will visit a Maori village where we experience a hangi, the traditional Maori method of cooking food in the ground.

Evening: Performance. Before, during and after dinner we experience a Maori cultural performance giving us an introduction to Maori culture and tradition. We will be spellbound by songs and dances demonstrated in a rich cultural performance, culminating with a powerful “Haka” or Maori war dance. We take our motorcoach back to our hotel. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
8
Coach to Turangi, Waimangu Volcanic Valley, Geothermal Power
Turangi
B,L,D
Turangi Bridge Motel

Activity note: In the morning, walking up to 3 miles; gravel pathways, uneven, steep in parts. The drive from Rotorua to Turangi is about 80 miles (130 kilometres), approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel bound for Turangi. Today we learn something more of the central North Island's geothermal background as we pause first in 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.

Lunch: In the cafe overlooking Waimangu Volcanic Valley, we will have a buffet lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch we continue our drive south. En route we will pause at the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station, only the second in the world to use geothermal power and the first to utilise flash steam from geothermal water as an energy source to generate electricity. We will then pause at the Huka Falls on the Waikato River, New Zealand's longest river. At the Falls, the normally 100-metre-wide river is squeezed through a 20-metre-wide gap over an 11-metre drop. We continue on to Turangi past Lake Taupo. The Lake, located is almost the exact centre of the North Island, is New Zealand's largest lake by surface area. The lake lies in a caldera created by a supervolcanic eruption which occurred approximately 26,500 years ago. We continue on to Turangi and check in to our accommodation. Turangi sits under the shadow of Mt. Ruapehu on the volcanic plateau at the southern shore of Lake Taupo. It is the gateway to Tongariro National Park, which is noted for its active volcanoes and ski fields. Prior to 1965, Turangi was a small settlement best known to ardent trout fishermen. It then became the home for workers involved in the building of the Tongariro hydropower scheme.

Dinner: In the hotel, we will have plated meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
9
Tongariro National Park, Ruapehu Chairlift, Free Afternoon
Turangi
B,L,D
Turangi Bridge Motel

Activity note: Getting on and off a chairlift. On Mount Ruapehu we are walking on semi-formed pathways on a natural volcano. Care needs to be taken when walking over volcanic rock. We walk for approximately one mile. If you have a walking pole, it would be useful today.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we explore Tongariro National Park - the centre of the volcanic plateau in the middle of the North Island. We will visit the Department of Conservation Information Centre to learn about the plateau and, weather permitting, ride the ski lift up Mount Ruapehu for stunning views of the central North Island. We return by motorcoach to our hotel in time for lunch.

Lunch: In the hotel, we will have plated meals.

Afternoon: This afternoon we have at leisure to explore this typical New Zealand country town. Perhaps you will take a stroll along the banks of the river or visit the National Trout Centre.

Dinner: In the hotel, we will have plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
10
Coach to Wellington via the Desert Road & Kapiti Coast
Wellington
B,L,D
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Activity note: The drive from Turangi to Wellington is about 200 miles (320 kilometres), approximately 5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our accommodation and depart the central volcanic plateau bound for Wellington at the bottom of the North Island. We travel through the picturesque North Island countryside and National Park area, via New Zealand's infamous Desert Road and the Rangitikei Gorge.

Lunch: At a local café, we will have pre-ordered, plated meals.

Afternoon: After lunch, we carry on south to Wellington exploring the scenic Kapiti Coast as we pass by. Wellington, the capital of New Zealand since 1865, is located at the southern extremity of the North Island. 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. We check in to our hotel upon our arrival and have some time to relax before dinner.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
11
New Zealand Parliament, Wellington Orientation
Wellington
B,L,D
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Activity note: Walking around 2 miles; predominantly downhill on paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We begin this morning with a lecture, by a local expert, on New Zealand’s political system and politics. We board our motorcoach and ride to New Zealand’s parliament buildings — including the aptly-named Beehive — for an expert-led exploration.

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

Afternoon: This afternoon we have an orientation to Wellington, taking in such sights 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!"

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
12
Te Papa Tongarewa - Museum of New Zealand, Free Afternoon
Wellington
B
Copthorne Hotel Wellington, Oriental Bay

Activity note: Walking over 1 mile; flat, paved surfaces; on our feet for most of the morning.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we take the short walk across to Te Papa Tongarewa: National Museum of New Zealand where a local expert introduces us to this cultural icon. Following our expert-led exploration, we have the remainder of the morning free to explore the museum independently on our own.

Lunch: On your own to enjoy what you like.

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, allowing you to sample the many fine restaurants, cafes and bars Wellington has to offer.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer to the South Island tomorrow.

DAY
13
Fly to Dunedin, Introduction to Southern New Zealand
Dunedin
B,L,D
Mercure Hotel Leisure Lodge

Activity note: The flight from Wellington to Dunedin is a little less than 2 hours. Typically Air New Zealand uses ATR 72 aircraft on this route.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and coach to Wellington Domestic Airport for our flight to Dunedin. Dunedin, the "Edinburgh of the South", is home to New Zealand’s first university and was, during the height of the Central Otago gold rush, the largest city in the country. The dominant “industry” today is education, particularly tertiary and higher education, which permeates every aspect of city life. There are many historic buildings throughout the city and careful efforts have been made to preserve the architectural heritage. The city's architecture and feel give some hint to its Scottish settler roots. As a counter-balance to this grand old architecture, the city also has a new sporting stadium, commissioned for the 2011 Rugby World Cup and boasting a unique (at that time) permanent “plastic” roof allowing the grass to grow normally and providing a pristine playing surface. After landing at Dunedin Airport we are transferred via motorcoach through the city to our accommodation.

Lunch: Hotel buffet.

Afternoon: After lunch we will have an overview of our southern program before a local retired teacher, journalist and broadcaster gives us a lecture introducing us to Southern New Zealand. We will then have time for a wander through Dunedin's botanical gardens across from our hotel. Those who wish will also have time to explore the nearby University of Otago, New Zealand's oldest university.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
14
Otago Peninsula, Albatross Colony, Cruise, Larnach Castle
Dunedin
B,L,D
Mercure Hotel Leisure Lodge

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles; paved surfaces; undulating, steep in parts. Getting on/off a boat. The drive out to Taiaroa Head is about 20 miles (32 kilometres), approximately 45 minutes on winding, sealed roads.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We depart this morning and head out to the beautiful Otago Peninsula. We travel first to visiting Taiaroa Head, home to the only mainland breeding colony of the majestic Royal Albatross. A local expert will introduce us to these wonderful creatures before leading us on a walk to the hide for viewing the partially fledged birds on their nests.

Lunch: At the Albatross Centre we will have a plated lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch we transfer to Wellers Rock where we board the MV Monarch for a cruise around Taiaroa Head allowing us to take in the abundant birdlife and dramatic headland. We then continue with our exploration of Otago Peninsula by visiting Larnach Castle, viewed as New Zealand's only "castle". A local expert will lead us through the castle and grounds enlightening us to the fascinating history surrounding the castle. We shall then transfer back to Dunedin and visit the Toitu Otago Settlers' Museum where we learn about the people whose character, culture, technology, art, fashion and transport shaped New Zealand’s "first great city". We return to our hotel in time for dinner.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
15
Catlins Wilderness Area, Nugget Point, Invercargill
Invercargill
B,L,D
Ascot Park Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately 2 miles; undulating terrain; gravel surfaces, steep in parts. The drive from Dunedin to Invercargill via The Catlins is about 220 miles (350 kilometres), approximately 5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We check out this morning and board our motorcoach bound for Invercargill. As we travel along the Southern Scenic Route we explore The Catlins, a rugged, sparsely populated area in the far south-east of the South Island. The Catlins features a scenic coastal landscape and dense temperate rainforest. We will pause at Nugget Point to take in the rugged coastline and visit the petrified forest in Catlins Forest Park.

Lunch: In the stunning landscape of The Catlins, we will have a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: After lunch, weather-permitting, we will walk the short path to the Purakanui Falls, the best-known waterfall in the Catlins area. We carry on along the Southern Scenic Route pausing at Curio Bay, home to ancient petrified forests. We continue on to Invercargill, the main city of the province of Southland. Southland, the southernmost region of New Zealand, covers about 12,300 square miles. Southland's south-west coast, the World Heritage-listed Fiordland National Park, is a rugged region of fiords and forested wilderness area. It is the largest national park in New Zealand and is the country’s most remote, least tamed and wettest region. The national park adjoins a pastoral district where intensive sheep and dairy farming on fertile, alluvial plains has shaped Southland into a highly productive agricultural region. Upon our arrival in Invercargill, we will transfer to our hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
16
Return Cruise to Stewart Island
Invercargill
B,L,D
Ascot Park Hotel

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat. The ferry ride to Stewart Island is one hour each way. Walking at least 2 miles; mixed surfaces; undulating terrain.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we transfer to Invercargill's port of Bluff, known as the New Zealand mainland's southernmost point. Here we will board our ferry to the pristine wilderness of Stewart Island. Upon our arrival we have a local-led walk around the settlement and environment of Oban.

Lunch: We have a packed lunch on Stewart Island.

Afternoon: After lunch we take the cruise to Patterson Inlet and Ulva Island, taking in the stunning scenery and magnificent birdsong. We then have some free time to explore at leisure, maybe visiting the Island's museum or the Department of Conservation centre, before returning via ferry to the mainland.

Dinner: At a local hotel in Bluff, we have pre-ordered, plated meals.

Evening: After dinner we return via motorcoach to our accommodation in Invercargill. At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
17
Tuatara at Southland Museum, Bird Park, Glowworm Caves
Te Anau
B,L,D
Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau

Activity note: The drive from Invercargill to Te Anau is about 125 miles (200 kilometres), approximately 3 hours. Getting on/off a boat. Walking about 1.5 miles; natural surfaces, steep in parts.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we visit the Southland Museum for a lecture on their tuatara breeding program. The tuatara is a reptile that is endemic to New Zealand and which, though it resembles most lizards, is the only surviving member of its distinct order, which flourished around 200 million years ago. We then transfer on our motorcoach through to Te Anau having a view of Kepler Track - one of southern New Zealand's famous multi-day walking tracks - en route. We arrive in Te Anau and visit the Department of Conservation Bird Park, on the side of Lake Te Anau, before continuing on to our hotel. The serenely beautiful hamlet of Te Anau is located on Lake Te Anau, the second largest lake in New Zealand and the largest lake in the South Island. It 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 its trout and salmon fishing.

Lunch: In the hotel.

Afternoon: This afternoon we cruise across Lake Te Anau to the glow worm caves where we explore a mysterious underground world. By geological standards the caves are very young (12,000 years) and are still being carved out by the force of the river that flows through them. The result is a twisting network of limestone passages filled with sculpted rock, whirlpools and a roaring underground waterfall. We cruise back across the lake and return to our hotel.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: This evening a local conservationist talks to us about conservation in Fiordland.

DAY
18
Lake Manapouri, Doubtful Sound Nature Cruise
Te Anau
B,L,D
Kingsgate Hotel Te Anau

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we cruise on the remote and picturesque Doubtful Sound. Despite its name, Doubtful Sound is the second largest fiord in the Fiordland National Park. To get to this remote part of Fiordland we first cruise across the beautiful Lake Manapouri. We then board a coach for the drive over the Wilmot Pass and down to Doubtful Sound. During our drive, we will pass through the Manapouri Underground Hydro Station. The construction of this power station, New Zealand's largest hydro-electric power station, is considered one of New Zealand's greatest engineering achievements, with the majority of the work completed underground in a remote location. We finish our drive and board our cruise on which we immerse ourselves in the vast, spectacular and untouched wilderness of Doubtful Sound, where mountains stand tall right out of the sea and rainforest clings to sheer rock faces. Our skipper will interpret the stunning scenery we are cruising through. Keep an eye out for the resident pods of dolphins as we sail out towards the Tasman Sea.

Lunch: Aboard the vessel, we will have packed lunches.

Afternoon: Our cruise on Doubtful Sound continues before we retrace our journey back over Wilmot Pass and across Lake Manapouri.

Dinner: Hotel buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for hotel check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
19
Atawhenua Shadowlands, Gondola to Dinner Above Queenstown
Queenstown
B,D
Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview

Activity note: The drive from Te Anau to Queenstown is about 105 miles (170 kilometres), approximately 3 hours. Stops en route. Walking up to 2 miles.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We check out of our hotel and, before leaving Te Anau, visit Fiordland Cinema to view the Atawhenua Shadowlands visual presentation. This remarkable film offers a bird's (or helicopter's) eye view of the majestic beauty of the remote Fiordland National Park. It was put together by a cinematographer from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Mysterious, evocative, exhilarating and utterly spectacular, Ata Whenua will take us on an unforgettable journey as we "fly" through the Fiordland World Heritage Area and experience one of the most awe-inspiring landscapes on earth. We then depart Te Anau and head for Queenstown. We drive across verdant farmland before we travel between the mountain ranges along the shores of Lake Wakatipu. Queenstown is situated 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”. We arrive in Queenstown and head downtown for some time to wander independently at leisure.

Lunch: On your own.

Afternoon: This afternoon we have an orientation to Queenstown and its beautiful lake-side setting. We check in to our hotel and have the remainder of the afternoon is at leisure. We then transfer by motorcoach to board the gondola that will take us to the top of Bob's Peak. We will have time to take in the spectacular views before dinner.

Dinner: Buffet dinner at the restaurant atop Bob’s Peak overlooking Queenstown, Lake Wakatipu and The Remarkables.

Evening: After taking in the stunning views over dinner, we will hop a gondola back down the hill and board our motorcoach back to our hotel.

DAY
20
Lake Wakatipu Steamer Cruise to Walter Peak Sheep Station
Queenstown
B,L,D
Copthorne Hotel & Apartments Queenstown Lakeview

Activity note: Getting on/off a boat.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Today we will 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 will then visit Walter Peak High Country Farm for an expert-led exploration and insights 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: At the farm, we will have a buffet barbecue lunch.

Afternoon: Our field trip at the farm continues. Then, reboarding the “Earnslaw” we will cruise back across the lake and return to the hotel. The remainder of the afternoon is free to explore Queenstown independently.

Dinner: In the hotel restaurant looking out over the lake, we’ll have pre-ordered plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
21
Southern Lakes, Arrowtown, Wine Tasting, Coach to Wanaka
Wanaka
B,L,D
Edgewater Resort

Activity note: The drive from Queenstown to Wanaka is about 70 miles (110 kilometres), approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and drive through to the picturesque and historic gold-mining town of Arrowtown. Here we visit the Lakes District Museum and learn of the gold-mining history of the Wakatipu Basin. We carry on to a local winery where we have an expert-led tasting and learn of the challenges producing wine in this cold-climate wine region. And of the rewards, when you get it right...

Lunch: At the winery, we have a shared platter lunch.

Afternoon: We reboard our motorcoach and drive through the rugged beauty of Kawerau Gorge to Wanaka. The picturesque town of Wanaka is situated on the southern end of Lake Wanaka and is the gateway to the Mount Aspiring National Park and the Treble Cone, Cardrona, Harris Mountains and Pisa Range ski areas. It has some of New Zealand’s finest alpine scenery and the view of the Alps across the gleaming waters is unparalleled. We have the afternoon free to explore this delightful small town and its numerous attractions at leisure.

Dinner: At the hotel, we have plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
22
Coach to Franz Josef, Haast Pass, Fox Glacier, Lake Matheson
Fox Glacier
B,L,D
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Activity note: The drive from Wanaka to Franz Josef is about 180 miles (290 kilometres), approximately 5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our hotel and leave Central Otago bound for the West Coast region. We drive alongside the beautiful Lake Hawea and up and over the Southern Alps. We cross the Main Divide through the Haast Pass and Mount Aspiring National Park.

Lunch: As we drive through to the West Coast, we pause for a picnic lunch.

Afternoon: We arrive on the West Coast and enter Westland National Park - an area of stunning scenery. Fox Glacier is located 125 miles (200 kilometres) south of Greymouth in the middle of the Westland National Park. The township of Franz Josef sits at the base of Franz Josef Glacier, 12 miles (20 kilometres) to the north. The Fox and Franz Josef Glaciers (albeit in their current retreat condition) are among the most stunning sights in New Zealand. Nowhere else in the world, at this latitude, have glaciers advanced so close to the sea. These two glaciers are exactly what they should be – mighty rivers of ice tumbling down a valley toward the sea. We head first for a look at Fox Glacier where we gain an understanding of glaciology and the movement of the glacier. Weather-permitting we then visit picturesque Lake Matheson, renowned for the stunning reflections of bush and snow-capped mountains in its still and sheltered waters. Here participants have the choice of doing a short 40-minute return walk or a longer walk circumnavigating this lovely lake. We continue on to Franz Josef and check in to our accommodation.

Dinner: At the hotel, we have plated meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
23
Westland National Park, Franz Josef Glacier
Fox Glacier
B,L,D
Scenic Hotel Franz Josef Glacier

Activity note: Please note that due to daily national park access requirements we may have to split the group into two and/or swap the morning and afternoon activities today. Our walk is over rough and stony terrain on formed paths.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we first visit the Kiwi Wildlife Centre, an all-weather attraction located in the centre of Franz Josef. The Centre is the official home to the incubation and captive-rearing program for New Zealand’s rarest Kiwi – the Rowi and Haast tokoeka. Here we learn of local efforts to protect New Zealand's national symbol. From here we visit the Westland National Park Visitors Centre where we learn about the natural features and history of the area including weather, flora, fauna, and glacier formation, and see what is happening with conservation in the local area. We shall also visit the Alpine Adventure Centre.

Lunch: At Franz Josef, we have a café lunch.

Afternoon: This afternoon we have a field trip to Franz Josef Glacier where a local expert introduces us to the glacier, its moraine and the possible threats this delicate landscape faces.

Dinner: At the hotel, we have plated meals.

Evening: At leisure. Prepare for check out and transfer tomorrow.

DAY
24
West Coast, Greenstone, TranzAlpine Train to Christchurch
Christchurch
B,L,D
Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel

Activity note: The drive from Franz Josef to Greymouth is about 110 miles (175 kilometres), approximately 5 hours. The train journey across the South Island takes approximately 4.5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we check out of our accommodation and drive up the West Coast to Greymouth, learning more about the geology and flora of Westland as we go. We pause in Hokitika where we learn from locals about the carving of greenstone or pounamu - the local South Island nephrite jade, traditionally greatly valued by the Maori.

Lunch: In Hokitika, we have independent café meals.

Afternoon: After lunch we continue on to Greymouth Railway Station and board the TranzAlpine Express train for the stunning journey through the majestic Southern Alps to Christchurch. This journey is widely regarded as one of the world's great scenic train journeys for the wonderful scenery it passes through. We arrive in Christchurch situated on the east coast of the South Island. Christchurch 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. After a series of significant earthquakes between September 2010 and May 2012, the population of Christchurch is now slightly less than Wellington. Upon our arrival at the railway station, we transfer to our accommodation, located in the heart of the city, and check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we will have pre-ordered, plated meals.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
25
Local History, Canterbury Museum, Story-Teller
Christchurch
B,L,D
Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel

Activity note: Walking approximately three miles; predominantly flat, paved surfaces.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning 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 we learn of the effects of the earthquakes, we gain an insight to the damage caused gauge for ourselves the progress of the rebuild and just what future New Zealand's "garden city" may have. 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. We then visit Canterbury Museum where we gain an understanding of the city's long-held connection to Antarctica and Antarctic exploration. We then travel out to Sumner, one of Christchurch's beach suburbs, popular with locals for its slightly alternative lifestyle.

Lunch: In a local café, we have plated meals.

Afternoon: After lunch we will take a stroll along Sumner's promenade and see for ourselves how Christchurch's eastern beach and hill suburbs have been affected. Our resident expert will discuss the local coastal environment with us. We return to the city and have some free time before we head out to Lincoln University, New Zealand's specialist land-based university. We have a stroll through the grounds before dinner.

Dinner: At Lincoln University, we have a buffet meal.

Evening: After dinner our Te Puna Ora story-teller — playing two characters — will introduce the experience of early immigrants to Canterbury. We will then transfer back to our hotel on our motorcoach.

DAY
26
Akaroa, Harbour Cruise, Central City Walk, Winery Dinner
Christchurch
B,L,D
Novotel Christchurch Cathedral Square Hotel

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: We will head to the delightful Banks Peninsula township of Akaroa, an 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, we will learn from our Site Coordinator about historical patterns of settlement of the local Maori, French, and other European settler populations. Upon arriving in Akaroa, we will board a boat for a harbour cruise on which we will see sea caves, volcanic formations, high cliffs and myriad nesting sites. 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 get our own lunch at leisure as we explore.

Afternoon: We will regroup at the Akaroa Museum and view a video to learn about life in this small community. We will then board our motorcoach and drive back over Hilltop to Christchurch. Before dinner 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. We then transfer to a local winery on the outskirts of Christchurch and have a guided tasting before dinner.

Dinner: At the winery, we will have a pre-ordered, plated farewell dinner. Wine will be included.

Evening: We board our motorcoach and return to our accommodation. At leisure. Prepare for check out and departure tomorrow.

DAY
27
International Antarctic Centre, Program Concludes, Fly Out
In Flight
B,L

Breakfast: At accommodation.

Morning: After checking of the hotel, we will transfer to the International Antarctic Centre. Here, we will get as close as possible to experiencing Antarctica without actually going there. We will have a lecture on Antarctica and Christchurch's involvement with Antarctica as the nearest mainland base for US, NZ, and Italian Antarctic research. We will explore the Centre and have an opportunity to get up close to little blue penguins.

Lunch: At the International Antarctic Centre, we will have plated meals.

Afternoon: We will board our motorcoach and transfer across the airport campus to check in for flights up to Auckland and on home. 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!