Category Archives: Oceania

Infographic: 6 Destinations to Spot the Southern Cross in 2017

We at Willamette Intl Travel love tried and true destinations like these! Interested in one (or more) of the places below? Give us a ring! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Antarctica, Australia, Brazil, Europe, Hawaii, New Zealand, South Africa, South Africa

Conscientious Traveler: G Adventures

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Welcome back to Conscientious Traveler–our monthly series in which we showcase a fantastic travel organization that supports humanitarian and/or environmental work. January is all about G Adventures!

It’s summer in the Southern Hemisphere, the perfect time to visit the Land Downunder and catch a glimpse of the Southern Cross! G Adventures hosts a variety of escorted tours (both luxury and backpacker-style) in Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, and spectacular expeditions to Antarctica. Call Willamette Intl Travel (503-224-0180 | info@wittravel.com) to find out more about the fun and affordable tours G Adv that offers.

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G Adventures is also the founder and close partner of the Planeterra Foundation, a nonprofit designed to enrich communities touched by tourism in a sustainable way. G Adventures sees tourism as “a force for global good,” and we at Willamette Intl Travel agree. Though we’ve covered Planeterra on our blog before (way back in 2012!), we’re happy to feature them again!

Planeterra works directly with G Adventures to minimize harmful impact on destinations, promote economic growth and small local businesses, and ensure that all animals encountered on G Adv tours are treated humanely. They are working in over thirty projects empowering women, encouraging craft cooperatives, conserving cultures.

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In the “Oodles of Noodles” project in Hoi An, Vietnam, G Adventures works with STREETS International. This curriculum is a way for Vietnamese students to lead a noodle-making class with travelers, practicing their English and presentation skills.

In the “Moshi Mobile Mamas” project in Moshi, Tanzania, Planeterra works with a free and women-only business school. Their curriculum includes business management, accounting, and English, plus a seed fund for graduates to start their own business.

In the “Mayan Community Homestay,” in San Juan la Laguna, Guatemala, Planeterra works with the local communication in Lake Atitlan to develop a homestay program for travelers. They also promote local businesses centered around tourism including an art gallery, a medicinal shop, weaving co-ops, and a Temazcal steam bath.

Go to planeterra.org to find out more or to donate. There’s no question about it–G Adventures certainly is a Conscientious Traveler!

Thinking of going on a G Adventure? Call Willamette Intl Travel at 503-224-0180 or info@wittravel.com and we can get started on your adventure!

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Filed under Australia, Conscientious Traveler, Europe, G Adventures, New Zealand, Oceania

First-Ever Drone Footage of Uluru, Australia

Uluru, or Ayers Rock, is a massive sandstone monolith in the heart of Australia. People travel from around the world wake up at sunrise for some gorgeous views. But have you seen the first-ever drone footage of Uluru in Australia?

Willamette Intl Travel has sent countless of clients to their ideal destination in Australia. Margaret River, Melbourne, Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island—the list goes on. Uluru is just one of the many incredible sights on this wild and ever-changing continent. 

Check it out! Footage is courtesy of Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia.

Read what some of our friends said about Uluru:

“We were literally up at the crack of dawn, actually before that, as we wanted to see the sunrise on the giant monolith at 5:46 to be exact!  We arrived exactly then at the “sunrise viewing” area. We were the ONLY folks there at first! The idea is to watch the colors go from black to the varying hues of browns, oranges and reds, looking quite different than at sunset. 

William Gosse, the first white man to see this rock in 1873, wrote: “An immense rock rising abruptly from the plains….this rock is certainly the most wonderful natural feature I have ever seen”. This is considered by some accounts, to be the largest monolith in the world and recognized by UNESCO on 2 lists, quite rare.  The first is its geological listing in 1987 and 10 years later, they added it as a cultural site due to its sacred value to the local aboriginals.

After seeing what we wanted of this experience, we drove closer to the rock to give it a different close up perspective, which I liked better.  So many crevasses, water lines colored black, large moon-like holes, really fascinating and really old!  It’s thought to have been created by the chaotic upheavals on earth about 700 million years ago!  How’s that for old!”

— Mary W., Dec 2015

Did You Know? While not illegal, climbing on Uluru is highly discouraged. The indigenous tribe, the Ananou, believe that climbing path crosses a highly sacred dreamtime track—a spiritual place beyond time where past, present, and future all exist together.

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Filed under Australia, Day Trips From..., Oceania

5 Things to Do on a Rainy Day in Wellington, NZ

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It’s Autumn in Wellington, and due to rain later this week! Do you happen to be on the South Island of New Zealand, wandering the streets of its favorite metropolis, looking for a place to huddle and keep out of the rain? Lucky for you, there’s an abundance of museums and indoor sites to check out.

1. Weta Cave & Workshop. If you’ve seen a movie this past decade, you’re sure to love the Weta Workshop, the big name behind the special effects and props of The Lord of the Rings. Sign up for a tour of the studio and check out behind-the-scenes magic to countless movies including Mad Max, Avatar, District 9, The Chronicles of Narnia and TV shows like Xena. Stop by the Weta Cave Shop and its mini museum and troll sculptures—don’t forget your souvenir. Open every day 9am to 5pm.

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2. Te Papa Museum. The country’s best museum is a fantastic way to spend a rainy afternoon and learn all about New Zealand history, geology, art, wildlife and culture. You can spend hours playing with the interactive exhibits; or join a tour on Maori culture and Gallipoli. What’s more—it’s all free. Open every day from 10am to 6pm, and on Thursdays to 9pm.

3. Coffeeee. Do as the locals do and pass your rainy morning at a Wellington cafe. CNN recently named the city as one of the top 8 coffee capitals in the world. Drop by The Waterfront or L’Affare for some locally roasted beans. Or go all in with cupcakes at Floriditas.

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4. Foood! One of the best things about Wellington is the covered food stalls at Capital Market. Take your pick of Asian bowls, gluten-free deli, BBQ, fish and chips and a juice bar.

5. Catch a film at an Arthouse Cinema. Wellington has plenty of old theaters, throwbacks to the golden era of cinema. The Paramount and The Penthouse are all old world nostalgia. The Roxy is a shining star of art deco, fully restored to its former glory. For something a bit more state-of-the-art, stop by the Embassy Theatre, 1920’s art deco that was restored by Director Peter Jackson for his The Lord of the Rings premieres.

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Filed under New Zealand, News

Conscientious Traveler: Goway

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Welcome back to Conscientious Traveler—our monthly series in which we showcase one of our fantastic partners with projects that support the environment, wildlife and local communities. This month, we feature Goway

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Goway is one of our favorite trusted vendors specializing in fully customizable trips around the world. We have worked with them for years organizing trips for our clients to Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Japan and more.

Goway has supported many foundations over the years, donating to causes that benefit local communities, cultures, wildlife and the environment. Here are just a handful:

tourismcareslogoTourism Cares. Goway participates in Tourism Cares initiatives that preserve and enrich the travel experience of travelers worldwide through giving back and volunteering.


logo_top_enChildren’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
A nonprofit that helps Canadian children diagnosed with a life-threatening illness realize their favorite dreams. In 2015 & 2016, Goway received a Valued Partner Award for their efforts to support Children’s Wish, and last summer raised $10,000 for one child’s wish at their annual fundraiser.

canadianbloodservicesenglishlogofinalcolourrgbCanadian Blood Services. Goway had their first annual blood drive last month, during which staff donated blood to the clinic.

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Wildlands Conversation Trust. Goway has made two sizable donations to the Trust’s “Looking out for Rhino” campaign, supporting the latest tracking technology fitted for rhinos.

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So you can combine Travel with a Good Cause! Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel and let us arrange a remarkable journey for you! Call 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Asia, Australia, Cambodia, Conscientious Traveler, Goway, Laos, News

Travel Tips: 7 Reasons you should visit O’ahu

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The beautiful Hawaiian island of O’ahu is an unparalleled destination, full of fun and unique sights, smells, and savories! Here’s a quick list to whet your appetite: 

1. The Byodo Temple

The stunning and breathtaking Byodo Temple was built to commemorate the first Japanese immigrants in Hawaii. Located on the Windward Side of O’ahu, the temple is more exhibition than functional, complete with a Lotus Buddha statue, lush Japanese gardens, koi ponds and crooning peacocks.

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2. The North Shore Highway

Escape the urban sprawl of Honolulu for the more remote and beautiful North Shore. The north is more relaxed and nostalgic, giving you a glimpse of “Old Hawaii”—and is also the legendary surfing capital of the world. Plus the drive alone has some gorgeous views of the scenic Pacific Ocean.

3. Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck

Be sure to stop by Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck driving north on the Kamehameha Highway. A converted 1953 bread truck now offers some of the tastiest shrimp you’ll ever try—with mouthwatering scampi, lemon butter, hot & spicy shrimp shrimp shrimp!

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4. Matsumoto’s Shave Ice

Nothing says “Hawaiian-style” so much like shave ice, a.k.a. the island snow cone. On O’ahu, flavors like red bean, passion fruit, and guava are as ubiquitous as the dessert shops that sell them. And the ice at Matsumoto’s is legendary, with delicious bowls of frosty pineapple and li hing mui flavors.

5. KCC Farmer’s Market

The KCC Farmer’s Market is an awesome market, chock-full of tropical fruits, baked goodies, drinks and a snippet of crafts. Don’t leave the islands without trying some dragonfruit, white guava, or young coconuts.

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6. Manoa Falls

Trekkers all love the elegant waterfalls at Manoa Falls. The tree-studded path will take you past old park buildings, large boulders, sweet floral aromas and delicate bamboo and ginger. The area is also famous as a filming location for Lost and Jurassic Park. Just be sure to wear the proper shoes (it gets muddy!), sunscreen and insect repellent. 

7. Ahi Poke from Foodland

Nothing says Hawaii like fresh aki poké, raw fish appetizer served with soy sauce, sea salt, roasted candlenut, sesame oil, seaweed and chili pepper. Freshly caught poké is hard to come by, even in Hawaii, so best to try your luck with a local. Foodland supermarkets have a huge poké and poké bowl selection—come early in the morning for the best taste.

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Looking to Experience Pearl Harbor and the Arizona Memorial? Look no further.

In addition to your hotel, flights and car, Willamette Intl Travel can organize tours for you and your family while on the magical island of O’ahu. Call us at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com and ask us about your Hawaiian vacation today.

WIT Agent Nancy’s favorite way to experience historical O’ahu is a Pearl Harbor Tour. Tours may include:

  • Fort Shafter, Wheeler Army Airfield, Schofield Army Barracks, and Punchbowl National Memorial.
  • Visit to Home of the Brave’s nostalgic WWII museum that honors the brave men and women who fought courageously during WWII. One of the largest and most unique collection of 1940s memorabilia and photographs.
  • Ticket to board the Arizona Memorial via the Navy Launch, park service film, and tour of the Valor in the Pacific Visitor center.
  • Pick up at Waikiki hotels, avoid the crowds with guaranteed earliest timed entry at the Visitor Center.
  • Driver and knowledgeable guides in period costume.
  • The real radio broadcast of the day Pearl Harbor was bombed on the car’s PA!

photos from Flickr creative commons, courtesy of Jason Raia, frontriver, Edmund Garman, Eugene Kim, Christopher Liang

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Filed under Hawaii, North America, Oceania, USA

Acclaimed Golf Voyages with Azamara Club Cruises

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Does your perfect day involve playing a round of golf at the most prestigious courses in the world?

If it does, you’ve come to the right place! Azamara Club Cruises and Perry Golf have teamed up to bring you worldwide golf voyages to some of the most acclaimed courses on the planet.

Call your agent at Wittravel for more details: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com Let us plan your perfect holiday from start to finish, so you can enjoy a vacation without any hassles!

The golf packages on Azamara’s 2016 & 2017 British Open voyages feature venues such as Royal Birkdale, Gleneagles, and Turnberry, and also include attendance at the final round of the British Open Championship to watch the world’s finest players compete for the coveted Claret Jug.

Their voyages to Australia & New Zealand, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic Sea offer golf packages as well, with an outstanding collection of courses including Barnbougle Dunes, Cape Kidnappers, Bro Hof Slott, Continental Europe’s #1 Valderrama, and many others.

AND if you book selected voyages by June 30, 2015, you’ll receive 50% OFF the cruise fare of the second guest!

Hurry! PerryGolf packages sell out quickly.

Sample 11-Night Golf Cruise: Screen shot 2015-06-24 at 2.30.37 PM

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Filed under Australia, Azamara, Cruises, Europe, New Zealand, Oceania, Travel by Ship, Travel by Sport