Category Archives: Oceania

Travel News: Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant

WIT (12)

Eat With The Fishes At Norway’s New Underwater Restaurant
Open Jaw reports a new restaurant with what’s being billed as Europe’s first underwater dining room will soon open on the southern tip of Norway. The semi-submerged, aptly named Under is housed in a 112-foot long rectangular building, one end of which sits on the seabed, 18 feet below the surface of the North Atlantic.
The other, above ground end looks kind of like an intermediate species dragging itself from the sea on an evolution chart or, as The Guardian more picturesquely puts it, a “whale resting its head on the rocky shore.” Diners descend through a steadily darkening interior, decorated with earth-toned wood and metal, pink and coral textiles, and finally rich greens and blues, before reaching the submerged dining room, where 40 guests are seated in front of a 36-foot wide, 11-foot high window looking out on the aquatic goings-on. The menu will showcase locally grown produce and locally caught seafood, such as stone crab, rugose squat lobster, limpets, clams, and sea cucumbers. Try to ignore the horrified looks of the fish swimming by the window as you eat their neighbors. Unusual and underappreciated ingredients will be welcome in the kitchen. A dessert made with two types of algae is promised. Located in southern Norway’s forested, beachy, and often stormy Lindesnes region, Under opens to the public on April 2, but we couldn’t find an available reservation until September, so book well in advance.

List Of New Zealand’s Visa Waiver Countries modified
In October, requirements will change for people from several nations planning to visit New Zealand. An Electronic Travel Authority (ETV) along with an International Visitor Conservation and Tourism Levy will be introduced. The visa waiver applies if visitors intend on staying for three months or less.  Here’s a list of New Zealand visa waiver countries but who will need to get the ETV: Andorra, Argentina, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia (citizens only), Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Kuwait, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macau, Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, UAE, UK, USA, Uruguay, Vatican City.

Cuba Set To Build Over 3,800 Guestrooms In 2019
Open Jaw reports as part of an ambitious Ministry of Tourism (Mintur) development plan through 2030, this year around 3,805 hotel rooms should be completed across Cuba, with another 5,000 to be renovated and improved. Currently, according to José R. Daniel Alonso, Mintur’s general director of development, investment by Cuban state enterprises and international companies are geared towards expanding lodging capacity. Alonso said, “We are doing so in important tourist poles like Varadero, where there is investment by the Almest furniture enterprise and Mintur’s real estate company, Inmotur. In this case, we can mention the Oasis and Varadero Internacional hotels. Meanwhile, in this destination, other investment projects are in the preparation stage.” New facilities are being built in the center of the country. For creating diverse range of tourist options across the island and taking advantage of its natural potential, Cuban investments are also being made for new hotels on the Ramón Peninsula and in Guardalavaca, Holguín. Also, the development of a tourist pole on Camagüey’s Cayo Cruz is planned by the Ministry for reaching the capacity projected for 2030. Another issue that needs to be addressed is connectivity. The Ministry of Tourism, along with the Ministry of Communications, is carrying out a national development plan for getting hundred percent Wi-Fi coverage in all tourist facilities.

 

This Is The Best Cruise Destination In The World
Travel+Leisure reports if you’re looking for the ultimate cruise destination, one place just took the top spot in the cruise industry’s Wave Awards: Greece. The U.K.-based awards recognize the best of the cruise industry, from the best locations to the best operators, and winners are decided by a combination of industry judges and public vote. The judges named Greece as the best destination, both as a port and a country, for 2019. Greece has more than 2,000 islands each offering their own charms and attractions, and the country’s ideal climate makes cruising possible for most of the year. Wave Awards representatives highlighted the picturesque seascapes and many cruise options, including smaller ships that visit quieter islands, as a major benefit. Explore lesser-known gems like Giola, a natural pool located on the island of Thassos. Greece’s islands are a longtime favorite, particularly with Travel + Leisure readers. The island of Páros was named the best island to visit in Europe and one of the best islands in the world in the World’s Best Awards. The country’s tourism sector is growing at a record place, according to the World Travel and Tourism Council. In the public vote, Greece came in second, just behind Barbados. Barbados also has a lot to offer, from the pristine coastline and 70 miles of beach to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bridgetown.

 

A Wisconsin Cruise Ship Passenger Faces Years In Cayman Islands prison After A Gun Was Found In Her Luggage
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports Carol Ann McNeill-Skorupan’s ship had anchored at George Town in the Cayman Islands last month, the first stop on a nine-night Caribbean cruise that departed from Florida. Once in port on Feb. 3, the 68-year-old Madison, Wisconsin, woman got a notice that her third piece of luggage, which hadn’t arrived with her flight from Wisconsin to Fort Lauderdale, had been found and flown down to the George Town airport. But when McNeill-Skorupan went to pick it up, her vacation turned into an expensive lesson in how American gun rights don’t always travel well, and that could land her in a foreign prison. Inside that third bag, X-rays showed, was a .25 caliber handgun and six rounds of ammunition. Despite her claim of a Wisconsin concealed carry permit, in the Caymans, it was considered illegal possession of an unlicensed firearm. Conviction carries a mandatory seven-year prison term upon a guilty plea, 10 years if convicted at trial, unless the court finds “exceptional circumstances.” She’s among dozens of Americans caught up in the Cayman Islands’ strict enforcement of gun laws, but one of only two facing trial and the risk of significant incarceration. According to reports in the Cayman Compass, the Cayman Islands’ main news outlet, McNeill-Skorupan spent three nights in jail before her release on $10,000 bail and the surrender of her passport. She was living in a hotel with an evening curfew while awaiting trial next month. McNeill-Skorupan didn’t ask that Delta forward the bag, her lawyer told the court, and had directed that it should be left with a friend in Florida, Meadors said. A judge later granted her permission to travel, and Meadors said she’s back in Madison. He said he has been tracking her case because it could impact his own and has been in touch with people who have spoken with her. Meadors, 54, who is in Florida awaiting a hearing in May, is in bigger trouble. He has already pleaded guilty to bringing his 9mm handgun to the Caymans, where he was building a multi-million dollar retirement home, but was allowed to return to Florida for medical treatment. It’s unclear if McNeill-Skorupan was planning to bring the gun on her cruise since Celebrity Cruises bans passengers from taking firearms on board. Guns and ammunition are strictly regulated in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory south of Cuba and northwest of Jamaica, as several other visitors have learned recently.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Europe, New Zealand, Norway

Travel News: Taking Holidays Can Prolong Life

Copy of wittravel blog header

A New Study Suggests Taking Holidays Can Prolong Life 

Travelmole reports three weeks’ holiday or more each year is the most important factor to a long life, according to researchers. The findings of a lifestyle study that began 40 years ago claim taking vacations is even more beneficial to following a healthy lifestyle. The study, which began in the 1970s, involved 1,222 middle-aged male executives, born between 1919 and 1934, who had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, overweight or smoking. Half were told to exercise, maintain a good diet, stop smoking or keep to a healthy weight, while the other half were given no advice. According to the findings, those given the regular advice were more likely to die young, possibly because they suffered extra stress by trying to live a healthy lifestyle. Among the same group, those who took less than three weeks off each year were 37% more likely to die young over the next 30 years. Professor Timo Strandberg, of the University of Helsinki, said: “Don’t think having an otherwise healthy lifestyle will compensate for working too hard and not taking holidays. “Vacations can be a good way to relieve stress.

National Car Rental Chosen By Travel + Leisure Magazine As ‘World’s Best’ For Fifth Year In A Row  

Travelwirenews reports vehicle selection, customer service and overall value were just a few of the categories for which National Car Rental received praise, taking the top spot for the fifth year in a row in Travel + Leisure magazine’s World’s Best Awards. This recognition marks the 23rd year that National has qualified for the prestigious “World’s Best” list. In addition to the National brand, Enterprise and Alamo placed among Travel + Leisure magazine’s “Top 5 Car-Rental Providers.” This is the fifth consecutive year that all three brands have been named among the top rental car operators. Business Travel News magazine also recently recognized National and Enterprise for their mobile app technology, quality of data reporting and consistent communication, naming them as the top two car rental brands in its annual Car Rental Survey for the fourth consecutive year.

maldives-1993704_640

Record Cruise Year For Northern Europe

Cruise Industry News reports cruise ships will be in record numbers in the waters of Northern Europe this summer, with 129 ships set to offer cruises in the region. Capacity will also move to a record high, with more than 2.5 million cruise guests expected, up from 2.3 million in 2017, and way up from just under 2 million in 2014. 

New Zealand To Abolish Departure Cards

New Zealand will follow Australia and abolish “bothersome” departure cards from November in a move pitched as bringing seamless travel between the close neighbors one step closer. Immigration Minister Iain Lees-Galloway and Customs Minister Meka Whaitiri announced the document’s demise Sunday but have yet to announce an exact date. The removal is in line with an international trend as countries rely on more sophisticated records to track traveler identity information. Australia axed its onerous green departure cards in July last year. New Zealand estimate it will save departing travelers 100,000 hours as they complete more than 6.5 million cards a year.

Air Yachts: The Next Big Thing In Yukon Luxury Tourism? 

Hybrid Air Vehicles of Britain has built a modern blimp with a passenger gondola that looks more like a luxury yacht than a platform for filming football games. Branded as the Airlander 10, it is a self-contained unit for transporting guests and everything they want. It has glass floors and 360-degree windows, a cocktail bar and bedrooms. Guests can stroll around the 20 metre-long cabin as they watch the landscape roll by underneath. The airships cruise at up to 150 kilometres per hour. The Whitehorse to Dawson run becomes an afternoon outing instead of a week-long saga. The Airlander 10 is designed to carry fuel for five days so, unlike a river boat, side excursions to land on a glacier or watch a herd of caribou on a distant mountainside are possible. You can also fly low and quietly hover. Unlike the infamous Hindenburg, the German hydrogen-filled airship that burst into flames spectacularly in 1937, today’s airships are filled with helium, which doesn’t burn. They have sophisticated multi-directional propeller systems that allow pilots to control them much better, even in high wind. In the off-season, you can fly it somewhere else and generate cash flow all year long. An Airlander 10 might do trips in the Yukon in the summer and spend the winter floating its cargo of people, money and champagne around California and the Caribbean. It’s an intriguing idea. However, the catch is the cost. Hybrid Air Vehicles is reported to be planning to charge about $40 million per airship. That’s not far off what a new Boeing 737 costs. So don’t expect to see a fleet of luxury airships hovering over Dawson City any time soon. 

Delta Is Adding New Seatback Screens While Other Airlines Get Rid of Them

In a press release last week, Delta Air Lines announced that it had installed a seatback entertainment system on its 600th aircraft. Delta now says it has more aircraft with seatback screens than any other airline in the world. The figure underscores Delta’s desire to keep passengers entertained in multiple ways. “With seat-back screens, customers don’t have to choose between using their phones or watching a movie,” Tim Mapes, the airline’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “Whether they want to work, relax, or a little bit of both – we want to give our customers the ability to choose and make the most of their time in flight.” Delta Studio, the in-flight entertainment system, works on seatback screens and personal devices. Last year, Delta introduced free messaging via Wi-Fi on board. 

palm-trees-660445_640

Fiji Increases Departure Tax 

The Fiji Government is hiking its departure tax by more than US$25, but players in the tourism industry don’t believe that will stop tourists visiting the popular travel destination. As part of its budget, the Government has announced its airport departure tax will increase from US$81 to US$108 from January next year. Fiji’s new departure tax is far higher than its direct competitors, including Samoa and the Cook Islands. Nearly $US3 of the tax will go to the Civil Aviation Authority of Fiji and five dollars will be given to Airports Fiji Limited. The tax, which is included in the price of the ticket, will also include a five-dollar environment levy.  

Cruise Line To Avoid Swamping Small Towns With Thousands Of Passengers

Visits by the 3560-passenger Majestic Princess are expected to inject $100 million into the New Zealand economy over the coming summer cruise season. A cruise line bringing almost 100,000 passengers to New Zealand this coming summer says the industry needs to be careful not to swamp smaller ports as vessels get bigger. Princess Cruises largest and newest ship, the Majestic Princess, which carries almost 5000 passengers and crew, will make its maiden voyage here at the end of September. Akaroa residents have complained about the small port town being swamped by cruise visitors and tour buses, and some have called for an end to “two ship” days at the height of the season. Princess Cruises’ senior vice president for Australia and New Zealand Stuart Allison said they were mindful of the impact ships had on smaller centres such as Akaroa, and they had worked hard to increase shore excursions getting guests off the beaten track.

Leave a comment

Filed under Asia, Europe, New Zealand, News

3 Ways to Do New Zealand Right

Copy of wittravel blog header (3)

It’s almost time to start booking that trip you always meant to take: to the fabled land of New Zealand! So we’ve prepared 3 itineraries that might inspire you of your journey. Whether you’re an adventurer, golf fanatic, or stopping by for a quick jaunt on your way to Australia, New Zealand has something for you!

Call your agent at Willamette Intl Travel to discuss options for a self-guided drive. We can arrange car, maps, itineraries, flights, and hotels for you to explore this fascinating country on your own. Call 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com. 

For the Adventurer: South Island Glacier Adventure

6 Days | 848 miles, 1365 km

Ancient Glaciers | Arthur’s Pass | Mt. Aoraki | Canterbury Plains | Azure Lakes

Day 1: Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass

Pick up your car for the freedom or choose to travel the more leisurely TranzAlpine. Today’s journey will take you to explore the hiking trails from the village of Arthur’s Pass. As you descend the Southern Alps, you’ll reach the rainforests of the west coast. Greymouth is the region’s largest town, known for its breweries and gold rush history.

Day 2: Greymouth to Fox Glacier

Drive out to Hokitika, for workshops and galleries to admire the pounamu, special New Zealand jade. Near Arahura River, you’ll find the Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers. Take the day for a guided hike, heli-hike or scenic flight for an unforgettable adventure.

Day 3: Fox Glacier to Queenstown

On your drive to Queenstown, the adventure capital of New Zealand, you’ll have loads to explore: the wild ranges of Haast, river safaris, Mount Aspiring National Park. Or take a break from the adventure to explore the town of Wanaka.

Day 4: Spend the day in Queenstown

Queenstown is THE stop to try all sorts of fun activities: bungee jumping, jet boating, skydiving, ziplining, rafting and mountain biking. Or just take it easy with hiking trails around the beautiful Lake Wakatipu.

aoraki-90388_1920

Aoraki

Day 5: Queenstown to Aoraki Mount Cook

Welcome to Aoraki Mount Cook National Park, the stunning grand playground for NZ escapades. Edmund Hilary used this area as a training ground for the Himalayas, and the unqiue landscape continues to draw mountain climbers, glacier-climbers, hikers, heli-skiiers and heli-hikers.

Day 6: Aoraki Mount Cook to Christchurch

Unwind from your adventures at Lake Tekapo, and take it easy with some lowland kayaking or horse-riding. Your drive will take you to into Christchurch, to chill back once more in civilization.

The Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

For the Golf Pro: North Island Golf Highlights

8-9 Days | 808 miles, 1300 km

Cliffside Courses | Cape Kidnappers | Hawkes Bay | Wellington

Day 1: Auckland to Matauri Bay

From Auckland, leap off to the town of Paihia amid the Bay of Islands. Continue along Matauri Bay to the world-renowned Kauri Cliffs. You can also visit the Waitangi Treaty Grounds, the birthplace of New Zealand, and attend a Maori cultural show.

Day 2: Spend the day at Kauri Cliffs

Spent a full day at one of the world’s top golf courses, which played host to PGA Tour’s Kiwi Challenge, and the Shell Wonderful World of Golf match between Fred Couples and Michael Campbell.

Day 3: Paihia to Auckland

From Paihia, return to Auckland for a scenic oceanside drive. Explore the North Island’s favorite city, wines and foods, or escape a bit out to the black sand beaches on the west coast.

hills-golf-course-299914_640

Golf Course in NZ

Day 4: Spend the day at Windross Farm

Take your clubs to Windross Farm Golf Course, just 30 minutes from Auckland. It covers 60 hectares of pristine golf grounds — perfect to work on your swing.

Day 5: Auckland to Taupo

Drive to the center of the island, past the stunning Lake Taupo, and Kaimai Mamaku Forest Park. The road will take you to Wairakei Golf Course, in the middle of NZ’s famous bush.

Day 6: Spend the day at Kinloch Club

From Taupo, a 20-minute drive will take you to Kinloch Club, designed by the one and only Jack Nicklaus. This picturesque landscape is a beautiful respite for fishermen, golfers and boat lovers (and you can even charter a boat to catch the sunset!)

Day 7: Lake Taupo to Napier

From Taupo you’ll make your way to Napier, an Art Deco city on Hawke’s Bay, known for its winning temperature, orchards and vineyards, and the magnificent Cape Kidnappers Golf Course.

Day 8: Napier to Wellington

Finally, drive on the scenic route to Wellington, NZ’s capital. If you’re still gearing to golf, head out to the stylish grounds at Paraparumu Beach Golf Club. If you’d rather pack your clubs in for the week, spend the rest of the day exploring magnificent Wellington’s museums, gardens, old cable cars.

Reading List: New Zealand

For the Quick Sightseer: Christchurch, Canterbury + Dunedin | 4 Days | 406 miles, 654 km

Turquoise lakes | Stargaze above Lake Tekapo | NZ’s longest glacier | Dunedin’s Larnach Castle

Day 1: Christchurch

Discover the street art and botanical gardens of vibrant Christchurch, famous for its stunning Avon River.

Day 2: Christchurch to Lake Tekapo

Hop on the bus or car for 3h-3h30 to beautiful turquoise waters of Lake Tekapo. At nightfall, head to Mt. John for panoramic views from the International Dark Sky Reserve.

lake-tekapo-51736_640.jpg

Lake Tekapo

Day 3: Lake Tekapo to Omarama via Aoraki

Explore the South Island, stopping at Aoraki for a short detour to admire the country’s largest glacier. In Omarama, spend the night at the famed hot tubs amid wondrous geological formations.

Day 4: Omarama to Dunedin

Drive southeast past lakes to the iconic Moeraki Boulders and Moeraki Lighthouse. Once in Dunedin, explore what some call the “Edinburgh of New Zealand,” home to remarkable Victorian and Edwardian architecture and the country’s only castle.

 

Read More on New Zealand:

Top Roads of Australia & New Zealand

From the Gallery: Clients’ Trip

More posts on NZ, Click Here

Leave a comment

Filed under New Zealand, Oceania, Travel By, Travel by Backpack, Travel by Car, Travel by Rail

Travel News: Longest Lunar Eclipse this July

wittravel blog header (1)

The Longest Lunar Eclipse of the Century Is Happening in July 

Afar.com reports if you’re based in North America, you’ll have to travel to see the blood moon on July 27. A total lunar eclipse is happening on the night of July 27, and it will last 1 hour and 43 minutes, making it the longest lunar eclipse to take place this century. But if you want to see it in person, you’ll have to leave North America, since no part of the eclipse will be visible in the United States, Canada, or Mexico (unless you’re watching a livestream). A total lunar eclipse occurs when a full moon enters the Earth’s shadow. While some of the sun’s light can still reach the moon even when the Earth is directly between the two, our planet’s atmosphere filters out the blue light making the moon take on a deep red or rusty brown color, which is why a total lunar eclipse is also known as a “blood moon.” Unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses can be observed safely with the naked eye. According to NASA the entire eclipse will be visible from most parts of Africa and the entire Middle East will also have great views, if the weather is clear. But that’s not all. India, Pakistan, western China, and most central Asian countries reaching up to parts of southern Russia will also be able to see the eclipse in its entirety. Everyone in Europe, western Africa, and most of South America will be able to see the lunar eclipse after sunset on July 27. If you’re in Asia or Australia, you’ll get a glimpse of the blood moon just before sunrise on July 28.

Federal Aviation Administration Says Shrinking Airline Seats Are Not Its Problem 

The FAA has stated that squeezing bottoms into shrinking airline seats is not its problem. The FAA did so despite a demand for federal regulation of seat size, a lawsuit brought by the consumer group Flyers Rights, and a judge’s order that the agency reconsider its position. Reconsider, the FAA did, concluding that there is “no evidence that a typical passenger, even a larger one, will take more than a couple of seconds to get out of his or her seat” in the case of an emergency. Seat width on many major airlines has shrunk from about 18.5 inches to 17 inches. Seat pitch, the distance between your seat and the one directly in front of you, has decreased from an average of 35 inches to 31 inches, and on some airlines it has been reduced to 28 inches. While seats have grown smaller, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention report a growing size in American passengers. The average weight of a man is 192 lb (89 kg), a woman 165 lb (75 kg). Men pack a 101cm waistline. Women tickle the tape around the waist at 96cm. 

the-palm-962785_640.jpg

Passing through DUBAI Airport? DXB is Getting The World’s Largest Vertical Farm

Business Insider that there are plans for a 130,000-square-foot vertical farm in Dubai. Vertical farms grow crops indoors and year-round without natural sunlight or soil. The facility will be the largest of its kind, and will produce 6,000 pounds of crops daily. The greens and herbs will be used for in-flight meals at Dubai International Airport, the world’s largest by international passenger traffic. When passengers board their flights at Dubai International Airport, most are served in-flight meals that include salads or greens atop sandwiches. These crops usually come from traditional, outdoor farms in the United Arab Emirates. By 2020, flights taking off from the airport will serve greens and herbs grown from a more high-tech source. The 130,000-square-foot indoor farm will produce up to 6,000 pounds of greens and herbs every day. Unlike traditional outdoor farms, Crop One grows crops year-round under LEDs (which mimic natural sunlight) located inside climate-controlled rooms, which are each set to optimal temperature and oxygen levels depending on the crop. Instead of soil, greens sprout in nutrient-rich water beds on trays stacked from the floor to the ceiling. Sensors in the trays track how the plants are doing in real time. The two companies will start construction in November 2018, and start delivering crops to Emirates Flight Catering’s customers, including 105 airlines and 25 airport lounges, in December 2019. Crop One currently operates a vertical farm in Millis, Massachusetts, and delivers to Boston metro area grocery stores under the Fresh Box Farms brand name. The new farm in Dubai will surpass the size of the current world’s largest vertical farm, which is operated by AeroFarms. The facility grows greens inside a 69,000-square-foot warehouse in Newark, New Jersey. AeroFarms and other big indoor farming companies mostly sell their products to supermarkets, but Crop One believes greater opportunity may lie within airline partnerships.

Click Here for WIT Agent Pam’s feedback on her trip to DUBAI

Air New Zealand Allowed To Recycle Untouched Snacks And Beverages 

Airlineratings report a project that allows Air New Zealand to re-use untouched snacks and beverages from international flights has prevented more than 132 tonnes of “waste” being sent to landfill in the first nine months. Air New Zealand received permission form New Zealand authorities in August, 2017, to distribute 40 inflight products from international aircraft landing in Auckland to future flights. The unused products were previously sent to landfill because of New Zealand’s tough biosecurity controls and were burnt or buried. The airline said the figure so far, equivalent to the weight of three of its Airbus A320 aircraft, meant it was confident the program would meet its planned target of saving about 150 tonnes from landfill annually. It said tracking to date showed more than nine million individual items had been recovered for reuse or recycling rather than going to landfill. Items that had each seen more than one million recovered included plastic cups, sugar sticks, one paper cups and paper cup lids. Air New Zealand has a number of initiatives to reduce waste, with a program in place to tackle organic waste from office spaces, repurpose office materials and lounge furniture, and blankets. It also last year began plugging in its jets to gates to provide them with power rather than use on-board auxiliary power units, small jet engines in the tail of the aircraft. It estimates that using electricity from the gate will save about 4500 tonnes annually in carbon emissions. 

US airlines and China: tension over how websites refer to Taiwan

China has rejected U.S. requests for talks over how American airlines and their websites refer to Chinese-claimed Taiwan, according to sources, including a U.S. official. China has demanded that foreign firms, and airlines in particular, begin referring to Taiwan as Chinese territory on their websites, along with Hong Kong and Macau. Numerous non-U.S. carriers, such as Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways have already made changes to their websites, according to Reuters. But several U.S. companies, including Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, were among carriers that sought extensions to a May 25 deadline to make the changes. The final deadline is July 25. In late May, the U.S. State Department presented China’s Foreign Ministry with a diplomatic note requesting consultations on the matter, but the ministry has since refused it. 

 

sketch-3045125_640

A new airline enters the market very soon

From Conde Nast Traveler: The International Airline Group (IAG) already has a ton of airlines-British Airways, Iberia, Aer Lingus- but they just announced a “new” budget airline in Europe, one that will start flying on July 17. Level already exists as a relatively new long-haul carrier flying between the U.S. and Barcelona. In this new version, those cheap long-haul flights-from Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Boston, and San Francisco to Barcelona, and then more recently from New York City to Paris and Madrid-will still stand. But those flights (about $350 round-trip, even from the West Coast) look expensive in the face of $30 one-way flights between London and Vienna, which launch on July 17, along with cheap flights between Vienna and Mallorca. The company will expand quickly in August, launching routes from Vienna to Barcelona, Madrid, Florence, Paris, Dubrovnik, and a number of other Italian and Spanish cities, The Independent reports.

Cross the Atlantic with Bob Mackie designs on the Queen Mary 2

Cunard has partnered with Julien’s Auctions to offer guests an exclusive opportunity to sail with legendary fashion icon Bob Mackie and enjoy a special exhibition preview of “Property from the Collection of Bob Mackie,” which includes some of the designer’s most famous pieces. The Transatlantic Crossing sets sail out of Southampton, England on August 19, 2018 (M831B), ahead of the auction which will take place on November 17, 2018 in Los Angeles and online at juliensauctions.com. Renowned fashion and costume designer Bob Mackie is best known for his creations for Cher, Carol Burnett, Diana Ross, and Raquel Welch. From his unforgettable award-winning wardrobe as the costume designer for the first Carol Burnett Show to his longtime collaboration with Cher and her dazzling, boundary-pushing wardrobe on her TV show, concert tours and public appearances, the nine-time Emmy® award winning designer, three-time Academy Award® nominee and Television Academy Hall of Fame inductee has spent a distinguished career designing for women who dare to be noticed. His achievements have been honored with numerous awards and accolades and he continues his work by designing for the upcoming The Cher Show, set to open on Broadway in fall 2018.

Leave a comment

Filed under China, Europe, New Zealand

Travel2 in Australia & New Zealand

travel2.png

 

Looking to escape the winter snows this holiday? Book a couple weeks in Australia and/or New Zealand.

Travel2 is one of our favorite vendors in the South Pacific. They offer tailored packages for travelers in Australia and New Zealand, and beyond.

Want to hit the adventure and see the highlights of Down Under, but don’t want to figure out the logistics of a car and hotels? The folks over at Travel2 are your backup team — and Willamette Intl Travel’s got you even more covered!

uluru-681140_640

On a sample 11-day Sydney, Melbourne & Reef itinerary:

Take in the sights of Australia’s cities–Sydney and Melbourne. See the Great Barrier Reef, a fast-disappearing natural wonder of the world.

new-zealand-1882703_640

On a sample 14-day New Zealand North Island Explorer Self Drive:

Hit the road and explore Auckland’s City of Sails and the geothermal landscapes of the North Island.

mitre-peak-2278361_640

On an 18-day New Zealand Grandeur Escorted Tour:

Take the Grand Tour of New Zealand, from Christchurch to Auckland. Hike through ancient forests, climb across glacier mountains, admire the historical railway and clear celestial skies.

new-zealand-2666076_640

On a 22-day Explore Australia & New Zealand Escorted Tour:

Why choose between the two? Combine Australia & New Zealand on a Grand Adventure! Head out on red dirt roads in the Outback, enjoy a sunset cruise on a private yacht, witness the unforgettable glowworms illuminating the Waitomo Caves.

For more information on a trip to Australia, New Zealand or the Cook Islands tailored just for you, call Willamette Intl Travel: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

More Reading:

3 Comments

Filed under Australia, New Zealand

Best Day Hikes in New Zealand

new zealand best day hikes

Today’s post is courtesy of the New Zealand Government’s Department of Conservation. 

Fancy a Life-Changing Adventure? New Zealand is world-renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean. Hike through ancient forests and rugged coastlines on these amazing Day Hikes.

lake-1274131_640

Lake Wanaka

ROYS PEAK. 5h-6h, 16 km roundtrip. Challenging.

A steep climb through alpine meadows and tussock grasslands to the summit is rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Wanaka, Mount Aspiring / Tititea and Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.05.19 PMsurrounding peaks. With beautiful Wanaka as the backdrop, you’ll walk from lake level through farmland then up into the tussock tops to the 1,578 m summit.

Roys Peak overs views of the lake and the jagged tussock ridges of The Stack Conservation Area. At the top, take a moment to contemplate the extinct Haast’s eagle / pouakai or hokioi (New Zealand’s largest predator and the largest eagle in the world) and its prey, the moa, which once lived here in a forest landscape.

mountains-2186075_640

Mount Cook

HOOKER VALLEY TRACK. 3h, 10km roundtrip. Easy.

Enjoy the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Southern Alps/Kā Tiritiri o te Moana on this Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.05.28 PMshort walk, winding up the Hooker valley past alpine streams and glaciers in the shadow of Aoraki/Mount Cook.

Many different wildflowers can be seen along the way, including celmisia and the Mount Cook buttercup/kōpukupuku, the world’s biggest buttercup. Endangered kea, the only alpine parrot in the world and one of the most intelligent birds, can sometimes be heard along the track.

mount-cook-537224_640

Alpine Ridges

TE WHARA TRACK. 5h-6h. 7.5km one way. Moderate to challenging.

Follow in the footsteps of Northland’s Māori ancestors. This challenging track climbsScreen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.05.33 PMthrough coastal forest before revealing a spectacular 360° panorama. The Te Whara Track follows an ancient Māori trail from Ocean Beach to Urquharts Bay. Once you’ve climbed up onto the ridge, the track becomes undulating and relatively easy-going.

Te Whara was the principal wife of the rangatira (chief), Manaia, of the Ngātiwai iwi (tribe). It was here that Manaia first met Puhi-moana-āriki, an early ancestor of the Ngāpuhi iwi. Manaia’s wife is said to have slighted Puhi and was turned into stone. She stands as the projecting up-thrust rock at the easternmost point of Bream Head, known as ‘Te Wahine iti a Manaia’.

tongariro-1174977_640

Tongariro Crater Lakes

TONGARIRO ALPINE CROSSING. 7h-8h, 19.4km one way. Challenging.

Trek across a volcanic alpine landscape of dramatic contrasts – steaming vents,Screen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.05.40 PMglacial valleys, old lava flows, alpine vegetation and vivid crater lakes. The track climbs the Mangatepopo valley to the saddle between Tongariro and Ngauruhoe, through South Crater before climbing again to Red Crater, the highest point on the crossing at 1,886 m. You will then descend on a volcanic rock scree track to the vivid Emerald Lakes. After passing Blue Lake, the track sidles around the northern slope of Tongariro, then descends in a zigzag track past Ketetahi Shelter and down to the road end.

Tongariro National Park is a UNESCO dual World Heritage Area and the first in the world to receive cultural World Heritage status. The alpine lakes and peaks of the mountains are sacred to the local Māori tribe Ngāti Hikairo ki Tongariro. Respectfully, they ask that peaks are not climbed and waterways are not touched.

boobies-113732_640

Gannet Colony in Cape Kidnappers

CAPE KIDNAPPERS WALKING TRACK

The journey along Māui’s fish hook takes you to the world’s largest mainlandScreen Shot 2017-11-13 at 10.05.46 PM gannet colony and past rugged cliffs etched with history. The area is home to distinctive native wildlife, including the largest accessible mainland Australasian gannet/tākapu colony in the world.

History tells the story of Te Kauwae-a-Māui, the tip of the fishhook of Māui, which he used to pull up the North Island/Te-Ika-a-Māui (the sh of Māui). After an incident between local Māori and Captain James Cook’s crew on the Endeavour in 1769, it became known as Cape Kidnappers.

mountains-2186080_640

Basic Guidelines: 

  • Plan your trip. Make sure you know where you’re going and have looked at a map of the track – consider taking a photo of it. ensure you have enough time to complete in the daylight. A wrong turn can create an unexpected night out.
  • Stay on the track – you have less chance of losing your way or injuring yourself and this protects the wild environment.
  • Tell someone your plans. Message someone – text, social, email – where you’re going and when you’ll be due back. Make yourself easier to be found if something goes wrong.
  • Take home everything you bring with you, including rubbish.
  • Check where the toilets are placed on the track and use them–it’s not allowed to use the outdoors as a bathroom!
  • Never feed wildlife – it can harm them and their young.
  • Leave gates as you find them.
  • Be considerate of others using the track
  • Be aware of the weather. New Zealand’s weather can be highly changeable. Check the forecast – Metservice.com – and expect changes throughout the day. Always prepare for wind and rain as it can, and o en does, happen suddenly.
  • Know your limits. Challenge yourself within your group’s limits. Consider the group’s ability to deal with the changing weather and the physical nature of the hike. stick to the marked track.
  • Take sufficient supplies. What supplies you need for each hike will vary, but you should always have a waterproof jacket, water, food, hat, head torch and sturdy footwear – consider hiking boots. Cell phone signal is o en not available in the outdoors. Place items like phones and maps in a plastic bag to waterproof.
 Willamette Intl Travel can arrange a perfect New Zealand adventure for you and your family. Ask us how! 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

1 Comment

Filed under New Zealand

The Cook Islands: Hawaii’s Quieter, Overlooked Cousin

blog title2

Tropical Bliss…

The Cook Islands are a fantastic destination for travelers looking for a secluded tropical island experience.

Named after Captain Cook, the 15 islands boast stunning lagoons, moderate tropical weather, and a friendly “Ki Orana” spirit.

Most folks head to the Southern Cook Islands, especially Rarotonga and Aitutaki. The country is still undeveloped and the beaches uncrowded, even in peak season. They’ve have been compared to what Hawaii used to look and feel like 50 years ago.

At the Punanga Nui Cultural Market, sample the music, dance, cuisine and songs of the islands. Plus learn how to make local crafts like hat-weaving, lei-making, ukulele-carving and more. Open weekdays 8AM to 4PM, but the best events are on Saturday.

Cook Island Fun Facts

– It’s forbidden for any building to be higher than the tallest coconut palm!

– Local currency is the New Zealand dollar — great value for the cost

– Even though they’re technically part of New Zealand, the islands are self-governing

– Just 30 minutes from the plane to the beach

– Languages: English and Maori

– Only 20,000 inhabitants!

– A great alternative to the more expensive Tahiti

Willamette Intl Travel has sent clients on unforgettable holidays to the Cook Islands, and some even come back for their 2nd or 3rd time!

white-sand-beach-2252020_640

Suggested Itineraries:

Plan your trip to the Cook Islands around a New Zealand and/or Australia getaway!

6 nights/7 days on the Cook Islands:

Spend a romantic vacation under palm trees, fishing, swimming and motorcycling — the ideal recipe for an idyllic getaway.

OR

12 nights Cook Islands + New Zealand:

Fly from Vancouver, San Francisco or Los Angeles into the Cook Islands for 4 nights. Get used to the jet lag and lie on a tropical beach; Soak your skin in the sun and your toes in the sand! Then hop on a plane over to Auckland for a trip in Kiwi central.

OR

16+ nights Cook Islands + Australia:

Spend the 4 nights / 5 full days then fly on to Sydney on the nonstop Air New Zealand flight. Spend as many nights exploring the Land Downunder, then fly over to New Zealand in a spectacular Pacific Adventure.

When to Go?

The Cook Islands are gorgeous year-round, but the shoulder months of April, May, September and October are optimal.

Before you Go: An Adorable Video

We absolutely adore this 12-minute video from Tourism Cook Islands! It will tell you everything you need to know about why you should visit the Cook Islands soon!

Read More:

Our Overview of the Cook Islands

1 Comment

Filed under Cook Islands, Europe