Live the mission of Friendship Force as you get know new people in depth during this Journey to New Zealand. We have been given the opportunity to stay with three different clubs where we will be able to begin long-lasting friendships.
Home hospitality provided by the Friendship Force clubs of Thames Coromandel, Wairarapa, and Marlborough.
Live With a Local
- Friendship Force members in Thames will be hosting a social event for Friendship Force clubs in their region. That will be great making friends with other Friendship Force clubs in the area.
- We will be stopping in the city Rotorua and learn about and enjoy learning about the Maori. We will be attending a Maori Village for a dinner and show.
- Explore Coromandel with its "not so many people" and amazing landscapes from coast to forest, it's all there for you!
- Wairarapa is quite unique with what it can offer, more rugged with stone or black beaches, coastlines, and diverse townships well-known for their vineyards, arts and crafts and country feel.
- Spending three nights in Rotorua on the North Island. Rotorua is a melting pot of natural and cultural attractions. Enjoy the region’s unique mix of bubbling mud pools, Maori heritage, and spectacular lakes and forests. The group activity will be going to the Tamaki Maori Village for a show and dinner, followed by free time to explore Rotorua, shop, and relax.
- Visit Blenheim, a great location in the upper part of the South Island, with vineyards and grapes growing as far as the eye can see. (The views are quite spectacular when you fly in or out of there).
Exceptionally well-organized with a great balance of group and individual activities. Ample time spent with hosts and free time during the Journey. - 2017 Ambassador
Thames Coromandel, Wairarapa, and Marlborough, New Zealand
22 Days / 21 Nights Program and Itinerary:
March 3, 2018 – March 24, 2018
Coordinator: Jean Ohlde, FF Central Arizona
All Friendship Force Itineraries are subject to change.
March 3 to 11 - FF Thames Coromandel
Welcome & Farewell Dinners: On March 4, we have a social event with other clubs in our region – Auckland/North Shore, Hamilton/Waikato, Tauranga-Western Bay of Plenty, Taupo, and Whangarei.
Mayoral Reception & Plaque: Meet the Mayor of their District for morning tea and present a plaque to FF Thames that will go into their Friendship Force Garden.
Driving Creek Railway: A small gauge railway through native bush to a lookout over the Firth of Thames and Coromandel Township.
Trip to Hot Water Beach & Cathedral Cove: Hot Water Beach has hot water in the sand at low tide. The walk to Cathedral Cove is downhill, but you have to walk back up again which can take over an hour. (There is a water taxi operating, but it only operates when the sea is calm. The cost is an extra $25 NZ per person return, but you can take a single trip at $15 NZ per person.)
Miranda Shorebird Centre: Learn about these birds that migrate to Siberia & Alaska.
Dairy Farm Visit
Thames Gold Mine: Pay a visit to Thames, an old gold mining town.
Mahara Garden Pottery and Sculpture Park
(Lunches not included in the host fee.)
March 11 to 14 - Rotorua Tour
Ibis Hotel for three nights.
We will attend the Tamaki Maori Village for a show and dinner as a group.
Free time to explore the sites of Rotorua, enjoy the spas, hot baths, etc.
March 14 - FF Wairarapa
Arrival from Rotorua, spend evening at hosts’ homes getting the ambassadors settled in.
March 15 - Masterton
A leisurely start to the morning for hosts and ambassadors to chat and familiarize yourself with the environment in and around the home.
Gather at The Riding for the Disabled where there is usually a short introduction before you view the last ride for the morning from 11:30 a.m. to 12 noon. A gold coin donation is required and seating is provided, or you may choose to view at the fence.
Back to town for lunch at own cost; Entice Café and Taste Café are both within walking distance.
Meet at The Wool Shed for a shearing demonstration, hand-spinning of wool, and to watch the numerous videos and enjoy the history of shearing in New Zealand.
Also within this environment is Aratoi Art Museum with Queen Elizabeth Park over the Road.
Enjoy a pot luck dinner in the evening and a welcome from our Patron Garry Daniell, and meet and greet more FF Wairarapa club members.
March 16 - Castlepoint
First stop at Tinui vintage Store, with a café next door.
Arrive in Castlepoint, where the beach can be seen from the car as you cross the bridge before passing the Heritage Hotel Whakataki. Around the corner is a drive over the hill to Castlepoint Beach. Views at Castlepoint are amazing, whatever the weather. The walk up to the light house is quite a vigorous exercise, but if Ambassadors are fit enough there is a 98 degree panoramic view from the top. Fabulous views of the coast line can be seen from the carpark as well.
Maybe an ice cream or coffee from the shop (or hosts might like to make a snack for a picnic, before leaving Masterton.
Meander back to Masterton at your leisure.
Drive to Stonhenge-Aotearoa for a tour and talk about its meaning. This is optional, as not everyone takes interest in what it represents. Stonehenge-Aotearoa has been a popular event with most of past ambassadors. There is an information shop on-site with a video and other interesting material if ambassadors would like to sit and wait.
Perhaps your host may like to show or take you to a special place in the area, on the drive back to Carterton.
Lunch is your own choice – we recommend the Wild Oats Café or any other café in town.
Meet at the Paua shell factory to watch a video and enjoy a bit of “retail therapy” at own cost. Coffee and tea machine available at a small additional cost.
Perhaps this evening our ambassadors would like to take their hosts out to dinner.
Drive to Featherston, to the Barrage Gates and Lake Wairarapa.
Visit Lake Ferry for lunch.
Leave for Ngawi to see fishing boats and seals.
Travel back through to Martinborough to visit vineyards.
Dine at the Village Café, Pukemanu Pub, Apache Jack Restaurant, or any choice you like, at your own cost.
A leisure day to relax with hosts to do whatever you like in the town you are residing. Take time to relax!
Farewell dinner where ambassadors can mingle, chat, take photos, and dine. Speeches will be made and group photos taken.
To the Masterton Railway Station to get ticket for the one-way trip to Wellington. Either all ambassadors may leave from Masterton Station, or hosts will make sure you are on the nearest station to where you have been domiciled during the week.
March 20 to 24 - FF Marlborough - Blenheim
Enjoy Blenheim, a beautiful little town within Marlborough, where your hosts will be so happy to show you around. The cruise into Picton from Wellington is a delight in itself, and then the flight out over the vineyards will give you more of a view of the area when you depart Blenheim Airport to Auckland.
A visit to a winery with tasting and lunch might be good as we are famous for our wines in Marlborough.
Visit a wonderful aircraft museum.
Enjoy the area, surrounded by the Sounds with lots of beautiful scenery.
$1400 USDPrice Includes: FFI and host fees, three nights in Ibis Hotel in Rotorua, Tamaki Maori Village with dinner and show while in Rotorua, transportation between clubs.
Wait list only
Know before you go
- Arrive in New Zealand at Auckland International Airport on 3rd March 2018. (Ambassadors departing the U.S. need to leave on March 1st).
- New Zealand will be going into the fall season. The average temperature for March are a high 65 degrees F, and a low of 55 degrees F. All the locations are within a couple of degrees different.
- You will need an adapter for the outlets, they have 220 in NZ. If your appliance does not have a 220 setting, you will need a converter also.
- Be sure and pack a jacket and a rain coat and/or umbrella, and of course bring comfortable shoes.
- All the clubs indicated there should not be mobility concerns. Where there might be a little walking, there would be other options.
- We will be traveling between locations on buses and a train, be sure you pack light enough that you can manage your own luggage.
- It is always an option on your part if you would like to add days before or after the Journey. New Zealand is a beautiful country if you would want to stay and explore the South Island, or maybe a stopover in Hawaii or wherever may interest you!
Friendship Force International provides opportunities to explore new countries and cultures from the inside by bringing people together at the personal level. Through the signature program of home hospitality, local hosts welcome international visitors into their culture, sharing with them meals, conversation, and the best sights and experiences of their region.