Move over, Prince William and Kate: your son, George, is the star of this royal tour. He can’t talk, can’t walk, but who cares; he can smile and squirm like a nine-month-old. When the family stopped briefly in Australia to transfer to a Royal New Zealand Air Force plane, Twitter was inundated with adorable pictures, including his dad holding a kangaroo backpack, now sold out from the Australian Koala Foundation. The initial coverage couldn’t help but be positive given all they’ve done is arrive in New Zealand, Kate not just holding George (while walking down a wet staircase in shockingly high heels) but also wearing the fern brooch given to the Queen by the women of Auckland during her 1953-4 tour. Still that hasn’t stopped social media from running with “scandals” including the “disgusting” way George’s car seat was installed into the car. The inevitable purple-tinged rhetoric that will flow during the three weeks of this visit to Australia and New Zealand will be enough to drive republicans crazy in their survivalist bunkers. Blowing story lines from innocuous to Defcon 1 will have the rest of us banging on the bunker doors soon enough.
— Royal Central (@RoyalCentral) April 6, 2014
— Kelly Mathews (@allthingsregal) April 6, 2014
— Anna N. (@AnnieElizabethN) April 6, 2014
— ITV News (@itvnews) April 7, 2014
Royal Tour Itinerary, New Zealand: 7 – 16 April, 2014
Monday, 7 April – Wellington
A ceremonial welcome at Government House including a traditional Māori welcome (powhiri) and inspection of the Guard of Honour will launch the Cambridge’s New Zealand tour.
Wellington is New Zealand’s capital city overlooking a spectacular harbour. It has a thriving café scene (a New Zealand flat white is a must-try) and has been lauded as the ‘Capital of Cool’ by Lonely Planet for its celebration of the arts, nightlife and quirky Cuba Street for shopping.
Tuesday, 8 April – Wellington
Tuesday is a free day for the royal couple.
Wednesday, 9 April – Wellington
The Royal family will visit a Plunket parents group at Government House, where Prince George will be given a gift. One in 10 New Zealanders are ‘Plunket babies’.
Thursday, 10 April – Blenheim, Marlborough
Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will lay a wreath at the War Memorial in this small Marlborough town. Marlborough is New Zealand’s largest wine region and continues to win numerous international awards for its sauvignon blanc wine, some of which is proudly held in the Buckingham Palace wine cellar.
Sir Peter Jackson will host the royal couple at the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre where his personal collection of planes and WWI memorabilia is on display.
Friday, 11 April – Auckland
The Duke and Duchess will compete against each other racing two former America’s Cup boats hosted by Emirates Team New Zealand on Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Auckland is known as the City of Sails and there will be plenty of spectator boats bobbing in the harbour to witness the fun on the water.
They will then be driven across the harbour in a Sealegs craft, a great New Zealand innovation as this amphibious boat can drive out of the water and on the road.
Saturday, 12 April – Hamilton and Cambridge, Waikato
The Duke will spend the morning at Pacific Aerospace, a Hamilton-based aircraft manufacturer that got its start creating top dressing planes and has just signed a multi-million dollar deal to manufacture 10-seater P-750 aircraft for China, while the Duchess will visit Rainbow Place at the Children’s Hospital.
Waikato, New Zealand’s main dairy region, lies on the banks of the mighty Waikato River. It is the training ground for many of the country’s Olympic athletes both on and off the water. In the afternoon, the royal couple will officially open the new velodrome – Avantidrome at Cambridge – and meet several of New Zealand’s favourite athletes.
Sunday, 13 April – Dunedin and Queenstown, Otago
After an official welcome by the Ngai Tahu Māori iwi (tribe) in Dunedin, the Duke and Duchess will attend a Rippa Rugby match at Forsyth Barr Stadium, New Zealand’s only covered stadium.
Rippa Rugby is where budding Kiwi kids start their quest to become All Blacks. It is played by mixed seven-a-side teams with simplified rugby rules. Instead of tackling, players rip velcro-fastened tags from each other’s waists.
In the afternoon the Duke and Duchess will be hosted to a wine tasting at Amisfield Winery in Queenstown where several producers will come together to showcase their award-winning wines. And, following a taste of something to calm the nerves, the Duke and Duchess will experience the thrill of a Shotover Jet ride down Queenstown’s Shotover River.
Monday, 14 April – Christchurch, Canterbury
The morning will begin on a sombre note as Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pay their respects to the 185 people who died in the February 2011 earthquake.
But the afternoon will be a celebration of next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup which will have its opening match in Christchurch. Local cricketing great Sir Richard Hadlee will be there to meet them and Prince George will be given a cricket-themed gift.
Tuesday, 15 April – Wellington
Tuesday is a free day for the royal couple.
Wednesday, 16 April – Wellington
Returning to Wellington, the Duke and Duchess will meet new recruits at the Royal New Zealand Police College in Porirua and pay their respects to officers killed in the line of duty.
The afternoon is free for the couple to walk through Wellington to meet the locals before they depart for the Australian leg of their tour.