New Zealand Tour: October 2020

October 12, 2020 – October 26, 2020


Please email to be placed on the waiting list.

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 Colorado but you won’t find a 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 waterfalls over 3,000 ft. wide and 450 ft. high. 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 your 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 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 on their schedule for October 2020.

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 less than 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.

Recommended Travel Agency
World Travel Service, Inc.
Agent: Judy Rouse
Direct Number: 865-777-1622

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, 2020                 Full Refund
April 15 – April 30, 2020                      $500/person
May 1 – May 15, 2020                          $1,000/person
May 16 – 31, 2020                                 $2,000/person
On or after June 1, 2020                       No Refund

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

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

Day 1, Monday, October 12, 2020: Arrive Auckland, New Zealand (D)

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, Tuesday, October 13, 2020: Auckland/Waitomo/Rororua (BD)

Departing Auckland travel south crossing the Bombay Hills through the dairy rich Waikato countryside we arrive at the famous Waitomo Caves. Here a guide will take you underground to view the amazing limestone caves featuring stalagmites and stalactites, which have taken centuries to form. Continue to walk down to an underground stream to 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 Maaori Welcome, followed by a 2-hour cultural experience, including a presentation on rongoaa Maaori, medicinal Maaori healing and plants and a 101 Maaori session in the wharenui (meeting house) for those to ask anything about the Maaori culture and share some history of the marae. 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, Wednesday, October 14, 2020: Rotorua and Hobbiton (BD)

After a leisurely start this morning enjoy a guided tour of Te Puia. Your tour combines a premier Maori culture experience with an introduction to the magnificent geothermal activity in the Whakarewarewa Thermal Valley. Whilst 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. Visit the New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute where young Maori 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. Then travel out to the Redwood Forest, for an easy walk through the breath-taking Californian Redwoods which were planted in 1901. 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 film-maker, 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 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, Thursday, October 15, 2020: Rotorua/Napier (BD)

Departing Rotorua, travel via New Zealand’s largest pine tree forests to Taupo. En-route you take a visit to the Wairakei Geothermal Steam Field. This was a world-first, generating electricity by tapping a natural steam field then channelling the steam to a nearby power generation plant. Continuing to view the mighty Huka Falls. Huka in Maori 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, Hawkes 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 the 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. Enjoy dinner in the restored seminary buildings that offer sweeping views of Napier.

Accommodation: Scenic Hotel Te Pania, Napier (2 nights)


Day 5, Friday, October 16, 2020: Napier (BL)

This morning take a specialised 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 1930’s. 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.

The afternoon you have a choice of optional activity (included in tour price): Dinner is at leisure tonight.

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, broad rolling pastures, through stands of native bush, steep gullies and breath-taking inclines. There is a stop on the way 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 3-hour trip includes a 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 travellers may be on board).


Day 6, Saturday, October 17, 2020: Napuer/Wellington (BD)

Travel through the rolling farmlands of Central Hawkes Bay and the Wairarapa and travel into the Manawatu Region and drive south through the towns of Levin and Otaki 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. Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Accommodation: Sofitel Wellington (1 night)


Day 7, Sunday, October 18, 2020: Wellington/Queenstown (BD)

This morning depart on an orientation tour of Wellington. Enjoy harbour 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. This afternoon 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, the TSS Earnslaw across stunning Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm where you will enjoy a farm tour, including seeing the legendary New Zealand sheepdogs, and a delicious gourmet BBQ dinner. A dining experience that’s unlike any other in Queenstown, disembark at Walter Peak where you will be escorted through the lakeside gardens to the recently refurbished Colonel’s Homestead. Relax in the unique ambience in front of a roaring open fire and soak in the views from this stunning lakeside setting while the 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, Monday, October 19, 2020: Milford Sound Excursion (BLD)

From Queenstown, travel along the shores of Lake Wakatipu and through the rolling countryside to Te Anau – a picturesque town on the eastern shore of Lake Te Anau, the largest lake in the South Island in Fiordland National Park. There will be time for photo stops and short walks along the way. On reaching Milford Sound, enjoy a full length cruise of the fiord in a modern, purpose built vessel offering excellent viewing of waterfalls, rainforest, mountains and wildlife with large windows, spacious decks and comfortable lounges. Includes picnic box lunch. Following the cruise, return to Queenstown. Dinner at the hotel tonight.


Day 9, Tuesday, October 20, 2020: 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 horse riding, play a round of golf or enjoy the challenge of white water 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 bungy-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)

Fly Fishing led by Dr. David Stevens Full Day (Cost TBD)

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 forest, 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.

Dart River Wilderness Jet Safari ($155 per person)

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 that were 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.

Nomad Safaris 4wd Tour ($135 per person)

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, and bush and the famous Kawarau Gorge bungy bridge. The tour offers you a glimpse of the film locations of Minas Tirith, Misty Mountains, the 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, Wednesday, October 21, 2020: Queenstown/Franz Josef Glacier (BD)

Travel across the fruit-growing Central Otago region, around the shores of glacial Lakes Wanaka and Hawea then into the rugged beauty of the Haast Pass as you travel through the Southern Alps. Continue up the West Coast past wild beaches, over mountain streams, through native rainforest and past bush-fringed lakes to Franz Josef Glacier. On arrival, time is available for optional scenic flights, (additional cost) before continuing onto our accommodation for the night. Dinner at the hotel this evening.

Accommodation: Te Waonui Forest Retreat, Franz Josef Glacier (1 night)


Day 11, Thursday, October 22, 2020: 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 jewellery 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 Pescatore Restaurant at the hotel.

Accommodation: The George Hotel, Christchurch (1 night)


Day 12, Friday, October 23, 2018: 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 or on to Sydney Australia (airfare included in extension price).


Sydney, Australia Extension

On arrival in Sydney, you will be 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. (D)

Accommodation: Pier One Sydney Harbour (3 nights)


Day 13, Saturday, October 24, 2020: Sydney (B)

This morning embark on a city sights tour taking in the historical 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 14, Sunday October 25, 2020: Sydney – Blue Mountains (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 415m down the escarpment at a gradient of 52 degrees and travel through the tunnel and ancient rainforest. When you disembark, walk the 300m 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 metre 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 270m above ancient ravines and dazzling waterfalls. This ride boasts a world 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 birds 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 15, Monday, October 26, 2020: 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