/ Alumni and Family Engagement

Active New Zealand Adventure

New Zealand is a densely packed land of vast beauty. It is one of the most picturesque and photogenic places on earth. Join us from December 27, 2019–January 13, 2020, and ring in the new year in New Zealand.

Program Highlights

New Zealand MapTraveling across the North, South and Stewart islands over 16 days, our journey begins in Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand and home to almost one third of the country’s population. We will see rolling hillsides, vast plains, volcanic plateau, subtropical rainforests, grinding glaciers, dense forests, lovely waterfalls, spouting geysers, boiling mud, picturesque fjords, rugged mountains and miles of sandy and rugged shoreline. In addition, we will learn about the Maori culture, sheep farms, breweries, earthquakes and invasive predator eradication work along with visiting Hobbiton, the Te Papa Museum and Larnach Castle.

Designed to be a more physically active program, voluntary activities include hiking, boating, snorkeling, biking, kayaking and a gondola ride. The program ends in Dunedin. Maximum group size is 24 and with such an enticing itinerary, we expect the program to fill quickly.

Program Leaders

Dave and Pat VanWylenDave and Pat Van Wylen are veteran group travel leaders, having led a variety of both student and adult study travel programs. With adults, they have led programs to New Zealand and the Netherlands. With students, they have led semester abroad programs in Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Australia, along with month-long courses in Peru, Tanzania and Hawaii/Micronesia.

Dave and Pat both graduated from St. Olaf College. Dave later received his Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Michigan (Go Blue). The bulk of his career was at the State University of New York at Buffalo and St. Olaf College before coming to Hope College in 2015 to serve as the dean for Natural and Applied Sciences. In addition to his administrative work, Dave is a frequent teacher and speaker on water-related issues. Pat completed master’s degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of Virginia in health administration and exercise physiology and is excited to head up Hope’s Global Travel Program through the Office of Development and Alumni Engagement. They relish physical activity and learning while traveling and are delighted to lead this New Zealand program with Hope.

What to Expect

This program is designed to be more active than the average Hope Global Travel program. The times of higher activity will be balanced by down times as well. Activities are encouraged, but you can choose to spend your time alternatively as desired.

To fully partake in this program, you should be capable of walking a minimum of one mile at a time over uneven terrain and up to three to five miles per day, climbing stairs that may not have handrails, keeping pace with an active group of travelers on long days of traveling, dealing with the emotional highs and lows that can occur when experiencing a different culture and traveling with a group for several hours each day. You always have the option of skipping a group activity should you think it will be too strenuous.

Hotels will be tourist class (typically three or four star) with private baths and air conditioning. Wi-Fi may not be available at all locations.

Temperatures in our major cities will average:

  • Auckland: high of 75° F, low of 60° F
  • Rotorua: high of 75° F, low of 51° F
  • Wellington: high of 68° F, low of 57° F
  • Queenstown: high of 65° F, low of 45° F
  • Dunedin: high of 63° F, low of 54° F

Keep in mind that these are averages. You should plan on potentially 5–10 degrees warmer or cooler. We recommend bringing light layers that can be added or removed as needed. Rainfall is a possibility throughout the program, of course, and so a light rain jacket is a good idea.

You should plan on seeing your family physician or a travel doctor at least four to six weeks prior to departure, preferably earlier, to talk about routine vaccinations. For more information on travel health, visit cdc.gov or who.int.

Program Fee

The program fee is $6,800 per person. Based on double occupancy, it includes discussions led by Dave Van Wylen, assistance by Pat Van Wylen, a dedicated tour manager, accommodations, breakfast daily and group meals as listed on the itinerary, admissions for group activities, ground transportation during the program, gratuities to group guides, drivers, and meal servers. For single occupancy, add $1,780.

Airfare is not included in the program fee, allowing participants the flexibility to choose airlines, use frequent flyer miles, and pick travel times and connections that best meet their individual travel needs.

Participants are solely responsible for all expenses not specifically included in the program fee. Examples of excluded expenses are: airfare and airport transfers, passport fees, recommended immunizations or vaccinations, trip cancellation, trip interruption or lost baggage insurance, beverages at group meals, laundry, dry cleaning, phone charges, room service or other items of a personal nature, lunch and dinner, unless specifically included on program itinerary, and expenses incurred during free time or non-group activities.


$500 due with registration. If you register after March 14, 2019, it is non-refundable.

Interim Payment
$1,500 due after you have been accepted in the program. Nonrefundable.

Final Payment
Remaining balance due by October 1, 2019. Nonrefundable unless the program is full and a replacement is found.

Cancellations must be in writing.

Travel Insurance

Hope College carries limited insurance in the event that medical evacuation or repatriation is needed. Hope does not provide travel or trip cancellation insurance and we strongly suggest you purchase it to protect your travel investment. Note that some insurance providers will not refund your premium if Hope cancels the program, but will apply it to future travel. You should question providers thoroughly about refunds.

To purchase trip or cancellation insurance, please note that some credit card companies offer travel benefits and insurance on baggage loss, travel accidents, trip cancellation and medical and/or legal assistance when the travel is purchased with that credit card. Consider purchasing Travel Insurance from your insurance agent or Buiten & Associates: Ally Flinski 616.284.3039 or ally.flinski@buiteninsurance.com.