New Zealand Tour 2021

October 12, 2021 – October 26, 2021


I never imagined when we took our first group to Greece that CMDA’s tours would become so popular! We now are doing two trips a year to both Greece and Israel and last year added Italy. On hundreds of post-trip surveys we asked this question: “Where else would you like to go on a CMDA tour?” and the consistent answer has been New Zealand!

So here is your invitation to join Jody and me as well as Gene and Gay Rudd to make memories for a lifetime! I know we did when Gene and I were asked to speak at the New Zealand Christian Medical Fellowship national meeting some years ago. We rented an RV and spent a week on the north island, spoke at the conference and then flew to the South Island for another week.

Of the 75+ countries I’ve visited, New Zealand is my all-time favorite! The two islands combined are about the size of Colorado, but you won’t find more beautiful country with such a variety of topography—snow-topped mountains, coastal plains, volcanic areas, beaches, rivers, rain forests, fords, glaciers and lakes. When we cruised down Milford Sound, there were too many waterfalls to count and Bowen Falls plummets 528 feet. Niagara Falls pales in comparison. Many of New Zealand’s towns have their own character, depending on the origins of those that settled there. You will think you are in England when you visit Christchurch!

New Zealanders developed extreme sports like bungee jumping and zorbing (rolling down a hill inside a large plastic ball). They invented the jet boat, the tranquilizer gun, electric fences, stamp vending machines, and the electric gas pump, to name a few. Remember the fantastic vistas in the Lord of the Rings movie? You will see some of them in person.

As a bonus, you will enjoy the experience with your CMDA colleagues and have wonderful fellowship. Though this won’t be a biblical tour per se, Gene and I will be leading a time of worship and devotions each day. Due to the longer trip length, we are getting the word out early so busy healthcare professionals can get this one on their schedule for October 2021.

There is also a tour extension to Sydney, Australia and the beautiful Blue Mountains. Why fly that distance without going “down under?”

Space is limited to 50 people, and our CMDA tours typically fill up in under two weeks, so if you are interested, click on the registration button and confirm your spot. If you have questions, you can e-mail our trip coordinator, Kim Hodge, at or call her at 423-844-1063 today.

We are going to have a great time! Come join us!

Tour Package Includes

  • All first-class hotel arrangements from Monday’s arrival through departure (based on double occupancy)
  • All land transportation after arrival from the U.S. (excludes airport shuttle to the hotel on the day of arrival)
  • Meals as indicated on daily itinerary – beginning with dinner on the day of arrival
  • All site and entrance fees (excluding optional activities indicated on itinerary)
  • All professional tour guide services
  • Flight from New Zealand to Sydney for those staying for the extension


New Zealand Tour
Double Occupancy (per person)     $4,350
Single Occupancy (per person)       $5,750

Australia Extension
Double Occupancy (per person)     $1,450
Single Occupancy (per person)       $2,050

Travel Arrangements

  • Fly IN TO Auckland (Auckland Airport – AKL) no later than Monday, October 12, 2020.

New Zealand Tour Only

  • Fly OUT OF Christchurch (Christchurch International Airport – CHC) on Friday, October 23, 2020, no earlier than 12 PM.

New Zealand Tour and Australia Extension

  • Fly OUT OF Sydney (Sydney Airport – SYD) on Monday, October 26, 2020, no earlier than 4 PM.
  • You may want to consider arriving in New Zealand a day or two before the tour begins in order to begin getting over your jet lag. There is a 16-hour time difference between US Eastern time and New Zealand. Kim Hodge can assist with additional hotel nights both before and after the tour if you need them.

Travel Agency
Travelers are welcome to make international flight arrangements through their preferred travel source or World Travel Service, Inc. is available to assist. Direct Number: 865-777-1600.

Visas and Passports
New Zealand – No Visa is required for U.S. citizens to enter as a tourist.
Australia – A Tourist Visa is required and can be purchased at

Travel Insurance
We strongly recommend that ALL participants purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy to cover loss of baggage, personal injury and sickness including emergency evacuation coverage. This can be purchased through CMDA. Flight cancellation and interruption insurance can generally be purchased from your airline of choice at the time of booking.

Detailed Itinerary
For a detailed itinerary, click on the “Schedule” link.

Activity Level
The activity level for this tour is moderately strenuous. You should be able to walk several miles on uneven terrain without difficulty. If you have mobility issues, this tour may not be for you. If you have questions, please contact Kim Hodge before registering.

Postponing or Cancelling Reservations
If Christian Medical & Dental Associations (CMDA) cancels your tour:

  • Passengers booked on a tour where the cancellation is initiated by CMDA and our in-country partner can have all funds paid to CMDA applied to a future tour or returned in the original form of payment. We ask that you be patient and allow 10 – 15 days for the refund process.

If you would like to postpone or cancel your reservation:

  • If you wish to postpone your travels, CMDA will allow participants booked on any tour scheduled through December 31, 2021 to transfer their reservation to any future event without rebooking or cancellation fees.
  • If you choose to cancel your reservation and change your mind before your scheduled tour travels, we will re-book you to the same tour with no additional fees, if there is availability.
  • If you choose to cancel your reservation without rebooking on another tour, your cancelations and requests for refund must be submitted in writing to the CMDA at the address below or by email. Cancelation charges will be assessed as follows:

Before or on April 15, 2021                 Full Refund
April 15 – April 30, 2021                      $500/person
May 1 – May 15, 2021                          $1,000/person
May 16 – 31, 2021                                 $2,000/person
On or after June 1, 2021                       No Refund

Mail:                                             Email:
Kim Hodge                           
PO Box 7500
Bristol, TN 37621

Contact Kim Hodge at or call 423-844-1063.

Day 1, Tuesday, October 12, 2021: Arrive in Auckland, New Zealand (D)
Kia Ora – welcome to New Zealand! After clearing customs and immigration at Auckland airport, you will be met upon arrival by your local tour driver. The rest of today will be spent at your leisure, relaxing after your journey or starting to explore this cosmopolitan city. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel.
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (1 night)
Kia Ora – welcome to New Zealand! After clearing customs and immigration at Auckland airport, you will be met upon your arrival by your local tour driver. The rest of the today at leisure to relax after your journey and to start to explore this cosmopolitan city. Tonight, enjoy a welcome dinner in the hotel.
Accommodation: Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour (1 night)

Day 2, Wednesday, October 13, 2021: Auckland/Waitomo/Rotorua (BD)
Departing Auckland and traveling south across the Bombay Hills and through the dairy-rich Waikato countryside, you arrive at the famous Waitomo Caves. Here, a guide will take you underground to view amazing limestone caves featuring stalagmites and stalactites that took centuries to form. You will board a small boat to view the glow-worm grotto, an underground cavern featuring millions of glow-worms.

From Waitomo you head to Maungatautari in the Waikato region. Receive a traditional Māori welcome, followed by a two-hour cultural experience, including a presentation on Rongoā Māori (the traditional Māori healing system, a holistic practice that often includes using the medicinal properties of New Zealand native plants). There will be a  Māori 101 session in the wharenui (meeting house) for Q&A about the  Māori culture and some history of the marae (a sacred place cleared and free of weeds and trees that serves religious and social purposes). Finally, a cultural guided tour to Sanctuary Mountain, the world’s largest pest-free sanctuary. Continue by coach to the thermal wonderland of Rotorua. Dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Millennium Rotorua (2 nights)


Day 3, Thursday, October 14, 2021: Rotorua & Hobbiton (BLD)
This morning, travel out to the Redwood Forest for an easy walk through the breath-taking California Redwoods that were planted in 1901, then enjoy a guided tour of Te Puia. Your tour combines a premier Māori culture experience with an introduction to the magnificent geothermal activity in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. While in the valley, see the boiling mud pools, steaming silica terraces, hot springs and geysers, including the famous Pohutu Geyser, which can erupt up to 30 metres high, depending on its mood. Converge at the ngawha to see the ‘lifting’ of your lunch from the natural steam vent before enjoying lunch in an exclusive marquee overlooking Pōhutu Geyser. Visit the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Māori are learning the traditional carving and weaving skills of their ancestors. Further highlights of the tour include Rotowhio Marae and Te Aronui a Rua, the sacred meeting house of Rotowhio Marae. This afternoon, travel to Matamata to experience the real Middle-Earth with a visit to The Hobbiton Movie Set, the bucolic setting for The Shire. In 1999, New Zealand filmmaker, Peter Jackson, transformed the green pastures of this Waikato sheep farm into The Shire, Middle-Earth, where hobbits lived in peace in their hobbit holes. During your guided tour, your guide will escort you through the ten-acre site recounting fascinating details of how the Hobbiton set was created. Hear stories from filming as you view the hobbit holes, Green Dragon Inn, mill and other structures. The tour includes a walk-up Bagshot Row to Bag End, to stand outside the most famous hobbit hole in Middle-Earth. Following your tour, dinner is served at the ‘Green Dragon’ Inn. The Green Dragon is featured in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy as the local meeting place for all the residents of Hobbiton. The inn also makes an appearance in The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Following dinner, return to your Rotorua accommodation.


Day 4, Friday, October 15, 2021: Rotorua/Napier (BD)
Departing Rotorua, travel via New Zealand’s largest pine tree forests to Taupo. Enroute, you take a visit to the Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field. This was the first of its kind in the world, generating electricity by tapping a natural steam field then channeling the steam to a nearby power generation plant. View the mighty Huka Falls. Huka in Māori translates to “snow” as the water here has the appearance of snow falling as it is forced along from Lake Taupo through the falls on its journey along the Waikato River. This afternoon, you continue to the ‘Fruit Bowl’ of New Zealand, Hawke’s Bay – Napier. The area is also one of New Zealand’s top grape-growing regions with some of the country’s best-known wines coming from Hawke’s Bay. This evening’s dinner is at the Mission Estate Winery. French missionaries planted the first vines here in the mid-19th century; today, award-winning wines are produced here. Enjoy dinner in the restored seminary buildings that offer sweeping views of Napier.
Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier (2 nights)


Day 5, Saturday, October 16, 2021: Napier (BL)
This morning, take a guided Art Deco walk of Napier. Napier’s now famous Art Deco reputation was a result of the massive earthquake of February 1931 and the subsequent rebuilding of the city in the Art Deco style so popular in the 1930s. Registering 7.9 on the Richter scale, the earthquake levelled almost all of the buildings in Napier and raised the sea bed by 2.5 metres. This tour combines a gentle walk through Napier city centre with a guided coach tour of the wider Napier area and is a truly complete Art Deco experience. Dinner is at your leisure tonight.

This afternoon, CHOOSE ONE of these two optional activities (included in tour price):

Wine Tasting & Lunch
Enjoy a tour of the winelands of the area, with wine tastings at several wineries, including Church Road Winery, home to New Zealand’s only winery museum. Lunch is included at Craggy Range, where you will enjoy amazing views of the eastern side of Te Mata Peak.

Gannet Safari & Lunch
After lunch at a local restaurant, depart on a 4WD Gannet Safari. The coach traverses riverbeds and broad rolling pastures through native bush, steep gullies and breath-taking inclines. There is a stop at a spectacular cliff top with panoramic views of Hawke’s Bay right to Mahia Peninsula. The amazing geology of the area can also be taken in. The three-hour trip includes commentary by the tour guide on the farming operation on Cape Kidnappers and an introduction to the gannets. Includes return transfers from Napier. (Note this is not on our coach, so other travelers may be on board.)


Day 6, Sunday, October 17, 2021: Napier/Wellington (BD)
Travel through the rolling farmlands of Central Hawke’s Bay and the Wairarapa and travel into the Manawatu Region. Then south, through the towns of Levin and Otaki and down the scenic Kapiti Coast into Wellington, the capital city and seat of Parliament. On arrival, visit Te Papa and join a guided tour for an overview of what makes New Zealand unique. Explore our diverse natural environment, Māori culture and taonga, and our art and colonial history. Discover this vibrant land, its dynamic culture, and the spirit of its people. Then depart on an orientation tour of Wellington. Enjoy harbor and hill views from some of the city’s most spectacular vantage points, as well as pass by many of Wellington’s most famous sights, landmarks and icons. Dinner at the hotel this evening.
Accommodation: Sofitel Wellington (1 night)


Day 7, Monday, October 18, 2021: Wellington/Queenstown (BD)
This morning, fly to Queenstown (airfare included). Surrounded by majestic mountains and set on the shores of crystal-clear Lake Wakatipu, the natural beauty and the unique energy of the Queenstown region create the perfect backdrop for a holiday full of adventure, exploration or relaxation. On arrival in Queenstown, transfer to your hotel. The afternoon is at leisure. This evening, take a local steam ship, TSS Earnslaw, across stunning Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm, where you will enjoy a farm tour, including the legendary New Zealand sheepdogs. Disembark at Walter Peak, where you will be escorted through lakeside gardens to the recently refurbished Colonel’s Homestead. Relax in front of a roaring open fire and soak in the views from this stunning lakeside setting while chefs prepare a gourmet BBQ on the outdoor grill. The night-time cruise home is magical. Join in the camaraderie of a sing-a-long with the ship’s pianist on the return journey. (350m walk from the hotel; no coach transfers included tonight).
Accommodation: Hotel St Moritz, Queenstown (3 nights)


Day 8, Tuesday, October 19, 2021: Milford Sound Excursion (BLD)
A very early start this morning as you depart Queenstown, traveling along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to a picturesque town on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island in Fiordland National Park. At Te Anau, stop for breakfast before continuing to Milford Sound. The road from Te Anau to Milford Sound is incredibly scenic. On reaching Milford Sound, enjoy a private cruise of the fiord in a vessel with large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges, offering excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforests, mountains and wildlife. Includes picnic box lunch. Following the cruise, return to Queenstown. Dinner at the hotel tonight.


Day 9, Wednesday, October 20, 2021: Queenstown (B)
Day at leisure to enjoy the many activities and attractions available in the area. You may wish to experience a thrilling ride on a jetboat, join a 4WD tour onto a rural property with panoramic views across the valley, take a guided bush walk, enjoy a scenic flight over the area, take a cycling tour from the Mavora Lakes to Walter Peak, try horseback riding, play a round of golf, enjoy the challenge of whitewater rafting, join a winery tour to some of the most southern vineyards in the world, ride the aerial gondola to Bob’s Peak for the panoramic view across the lake to the mountains, join a 4WD tour into the home of ‘Middle Earth’ where much of the filming was done for Lord of the Rings, or if you dare, try bungee-jumping (all at extra cost). Evening at leisure to sample some of Queenstown’s excellent cafés, restaurants and bars.

Optional Sightseeing – additional cost (not included)

Dart River Wilderness Jet Safari
Depart Glenorchy for a jetboat ride up the braided channels of the Dart River in a wild and picturesque landscape amidst the towering peaks, glaciers and ancient forests of spectacular Mt. Aspiring National Park (1½ hours). Learn about the flora and fauna, history, and geology of this World Heritage Area from experienced guides. Enjoy a short walk (30 minutes) through the primitive native beech forest as well as a back-country road drive (45 minutes) across the opposite side of the valley through Paradise where some of the locations used for the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy can be seen. Please note this trip may operate in reverse. Includes return hotel transfers. Half day tour – remainder of the day at leisure.

Fly Fishing – Full Day
Today, your guide will introduce you to some of the best New Zealand fly fishing waters, taking you into areas of magnificent scenery, majestic mountains, beech forests, crystal-clear mountain rivers and streams. Amongst all this, you’ll stalk and cast to sighted brown or rainbow trout. Includes transfers, waders, tackle and lunch.

Nomad Safaris 4WD Tour
This tour offers gold panning, 4WD river crossings and a great overview of the diverse scenery of the Queenstown/Arrowtown area, from towns to rolling farmland, rugged canyons, mountains, bush and the famous Kawarau Gorge bungee bridge. The tour offers you a glimpse of the film locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, Pillars of the Kings (Argonath), the site of Isildur’s fall, and the Ford of Bruinen. You’ll also overlook Deer Park Heights, where the Rohan refugees and the battle with the Wargs were filmed. Includes return hotel transfers. Half day tour – remainder of the day at leisure.


Day 10, Thursday, October 21, 2021: Queenstown/Franz Josef (BD)
Travel across the fruit-growing Central Otago region, around the shores of glacial Lakes Wanaka and Hawea, then into the rugged beauty of Haast Pass, as you travel through the Southern Alps. Continue up the West Coast past wild beaches, over mountain streams, through native rainforests and past bush-fringed lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights, (additional cost) before continuing onto your accommodation for the night. Dinner at the hotel this evening.
Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef (1 night)


Day 11, Friday, October 22, 2021: Franz Josef/Tranz/Alpine/Christchurch (BD)
Travel north from Franz Josef on State Highway 6 and the native rainforest of the Westland National Park, then across farmlands with the Southern Alps rising steeply to the east and vistas of the Tasman Sea to the west. At Hokitika, you may like to visit the Greenstone studios, where jade stone is crafted into jewelry and ornaments of both modern and traditional design. From here, drive north to the gold and coal mining town of Greymouth. Continue along the coast and then inland to Arthur’s Pass to board the famous Tranz Alpine Express to Christchurch. Enjoy thrilling vistas over deep gorges along one of the most spectacular train journeys in the world. Travel alongside the ice-fed Waimakariri River and traverse the mighty Southern Alps where chiselled alpine landscape will take your breath away at every turn. Upon arrival at the station in Christchurch, you will be transferred to your hotel. Farewell dinner at the hotel.
Accommodation: Distinction Hotel, Christchurch (1 night)


Day 12, Saturday, October 23, 2021: Depart New Zealand (B)
This morning, attend a prayer service at the Transitional Cathedral (Cardboard Cathedral), the world’s only cathedral made substantially of cardboard. The original Cathedral was badly damaged in the Christchurch earthquake in February 2011. The destruction of several landmark historic buildings has led to the development of new city plans, a bold public art program and innovative use of space. You will then be transferred from the hotel to Christchurch International Airport for your flight back home.


Optional 4-Day Sydney Extension


Day 1, Saturday, October 23, 2021: CHRISTCHURCH – SYDNEY (D)
Depart Christchurch, New Zealand for your flight to Sydney, Australia. On arrival, you will transferred to your hotel, located on the waterfront in the heart of the city near Sydney Harbour Bridge. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Accommodation: Pier One Sydney Harbour (3 nights)


Day 2, Sunday, October 24, 2021: Sydney (B)
This morning, embark on a city sightseeing tour that includes the historic Rocks area, where the First Fleet landed in 1788 to establish Australia’s first European settlement. Stop at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair on the harbour foreshore. The chair was carved out of the sandstone by convicts for Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s wife in order for her to watch the activity on the harbour and await the arrival of ships from England. The point provides you with wonderful views of the Sydney Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Fort Denison. Don’t forget to bring your camera. Other highlights include China Town, cosmopolitan Kings Cross and world-famous Bondi Beach. Return to the city, where you will have time for lunch (own cost). This afternoon, depart on an Aboriginal Cultural Cruise. Learn the Aboriginal names and meanings of significant Sydney landmarks before stepping ashore on Be-lang-le-wool (Clark island, National Park). On the island, be taken on a journey uncovering traditional fishing methods and food gathering techniques before participating in an exciting Aboriginal cultural performance. On your return to Circular Quay, enjoy a one-hour private tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House. Uncover the stories, history and magic of the Sydney Opera House with an incredible guided tour taking you underneath the world-famous sails. Dinner at your leisure tonight.


Day 3, Monday, October 25, 2021: Sydney-Blue Mountains-Sydney (BL)
Today, discover the beauty of the Blue Mountains, a stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of Sydney. First, visit Featherdale Wildlife Park, which houses a great variety of wildlife including kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, Australian reptiles, Tasmanian devils, wombats and various species of Australian birds. Take the scenic Cliff Drive to Echo Point and the Three Sisters at Katoomba, a great stop for a photo opportunity! Then enjoy lunch at The Lookout Echo Point Restaurant. Near here is Scenic World, where you take a ride on the Scenic Railway, the world’s steepest incline railway. Descend 415 meters down the escarpment at a gradient of 52 degrees and travel through the tunnel and ancient rainforest. When you disembark, walk the 300-meter rainforest boardwalk to connect with the Flyway platform. The Scenic Flyway is the steepest aerial cable car in Australia. It will take you on a 545-meter ride up through the World Heritage-listed rainforest of the Jamison Valley. Your final adventure at Scenic World is to join the Scenic Skyway to take the journey 270 meters above ancient ravines and dazzling waterfalls. This ride boasts the world’s first, state-of-the-art Electro-Scenic Glass Floor. At the flip of a switch, breath-taking views are revealed through the cabin floor directly below. The 360-degree bird’s-eye view takes in the Three Sisters, Katoomba Falls, Mount Solitary and the never-ending expanse of the Jamison Valley. Return to your Sydney hotel, where dinner is at your leisure.


Day 4, Tuesday, October 26, 2021: Depart Sydney (B)
This morning, transfer to The Rocks for the start of your private The Rocks Dreaming Aboriginal Heritage Tour. Be touched by the most ancient human culture on earth on a 90-minute leisurely walkabout with an Aboriginal guide in The Rocks, and journey into Dreamtime, the culture of Aboriginal People. At the conclusion of your tour, transfer to Sydney International Airport for your flight home.


Included meals shown on each day of itinerary:
B = Breakfast
L = Lunch
D = Dinner

Kim Hodge
PO Box 7500
Bristol, TN 37621