Category Archives: Travel By

3 Ways to Do New Zealand Right

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

Top Tips on Best Travel Photography

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Awesome travel photography doesn’t happen overnight. Even the pros have had to work on improving their composition, equipment, and methods. Here are some of our best tips from decades in the travel business.

Note: I use the word camera here, but you can easily apply these same tips to smartphone cameras.

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Engage with your Subjects.

Don’t simply snap an image and walk away. Like you should get to know your destination, get to know the people there. Speak to them, and ask them about their day, their family, what they are doing. If you don’t speak the local language, try hand gestures, nodding, word of greeting, or smile. Open up, and you might find that people open up as well.

Ask people for portrait shots. The worst they can do is say no. Most people will likely smile in agreement. Make sure you thank them, and if you can, show them their own photo. You can even offer to send them a copy if they have email or postal address.

Talking to people even before you bring out your camera can also help you get a sense of place. Say hello to passersby. Ask for directions. Buy souvenirs. Use your interactions as inspiration for the mood and essence you want your photos to convey.

Be your true self, and engage with people authentically. Become part of the story that you tell.

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Travel Lightly.

Perhaps a difficult task if you have expensive photography gear, but traveling light is an important tool to learn. Pack only your camera, memory cards, lightweight mini tripod, portable storage unit, flash unit, selection of lenses—all in a supportive camera bag that protects from weather conditions and terrain.

As to whether lenses you take, choose a fast zoom like 18-200mm or 28-300m. If you have space, also grab a portrait prime lens, a wide angle lens and a telephoto.

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Research your location.

The best travel photography comes in part due to Research. Know your destination, the festivals, the scenic routes and panoramas. Consult your travel agent. Read guidebooks. Read articles online and blog posts from writers you admire. Scan through Instagram.

Know what other photographers have managed to capture in the region, and decide if you want to pursue similar shots or look for unique angles. Make sure you keep track of the light via an app—download The Photographer’s Ephemeris, which tells you what time the sun rises, sets, and the position of the moon to your location. You can also check the tides for access to cool shots and locations during low tides.

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Late to Bed, Early to Rise

I know, you’re on vacation, so you’d rather not wake up early! But some of the most fantastic light for your next iconic shot will be early in the morning. The soft, warm morning light is perfect for images—and plus you can beat the tourist crowds, too. Need that epic shot of the Taj Mahal—wake up before sunrise.

Make sure you’re outside for sunset, too. The golden hour and subsequent blue hour of photography bathe cities and landscapes in magical light. Time to make some forever memories.

Rule of Thirds

Maybe you’ve heard of this one—one of the basic tenants of photography. Understanding the Rule of Thirds will change the way you look through the camera lens. This is about composition. Imagine breaking down the image into thirds horizontally and vertically. Place important parts of the photos into those sections. This means, for example, positioning a person on the left grid line instead of the center. Shift the horizon on the bottom third, rather than straight down the middle. Remind yourself of the Rule of Thirds by switching on your camera’s “grid” feature.

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Travel Tripod

Many of the best travel photographers recommend a lightweight tripod fashioned specifically for travel. These will keep your images in a steady position and let you play with all types of tricks: video production, exposure, time-lapse, panorama. Tripods also let you shoot non-optimal subjects, like waterfalls or low-light stars, without that annoying shaking camera.

Did you know that some tour guides offer special photography tours? Our clients have done these special-interest tours in Costa Rica, Puerto Rico, Norway, Iceland and more! Ask your Willamette Intl Travel agent about more of these incredible, eye-opening photography tours.

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Filed under Europe, Travel By, Travel by Sport, Travel by Taste

8 Awesome Africa Accounts you should be following on Instagram

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We at Willamette Intl Travel love any photo of Africa we can get our hands on! Thank goodness for Instagram! We’ve stumbled upon some great wildlife and cultural photos of Africa, that we’d love to share with you. 

WIT Owners/Founders Christina and John go practically every year to Africa. In Portland, Oregon? Call Christina today to arrange your trip to Africa, or to simply find out more: 503-224-0180 or email inquiry@wittravel.com.

1. Gboxcreative

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Moving Shadows II, IV. #StreetsofAddis

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Get colorful with G Box Creative – freezing life on the everyday streets of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

2. South_Africa_through_my_eyes

Take a walk on the wild side of beautiful South_Africa_through_my_eyes, founded by Nina Zimolong, a photographer based in Cape Town.

Did you know: Willamette Intl Travel has a brand-new Instagram account! Follow us over at @Wittravel.

3. Originsafaris

Of course we couldn’t help but mention the awesome cultural and natural photographs by our friends over at Origins Safaris.

4. DSWT (David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust)

Who can help but “oo” and “aa” over the touching photos of the elephants and rhinos by the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust.

5. Davidlloyd

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At Home in the Jungle

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The breathtaking photos of big cats and other African nobles, courtesy of David Lloyd, an NZ wildlife photographer.

6. Stevenchikosi

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A3 (Harare – Mutare Rd)

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We love the storytelling lens of Steven Chikosi’s account!

7. Wildlifeplanet

The feed of wildlife planet looks like something out of a fairytale picture book.

8. Margotraggettphotography

Conservationist and photographer Margot Raggett captures snapshots of animals at play, and in peaceful and quiet moments.

Follow us on Instagram for more glimpses of Africa – coming soon!

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Filed under Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Travel By