Tag Archives: day trips

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

All About Day Tours

A new, foreign country can be daunting. Imagine heading out with only yourself and a guidebook. You can waste precious trip time wandering unfamiliar streets and unexpected corners with only a vague sense of the highlights. Where is that Cafe you’re friend told you about in Montparnasse?

Why not hire a local guide for a few hours or even for a day? Friendly, approachable guides love to chat about their city and introduce visitors to the local culture. Theirs is a personal, tailored touch that can’t be replicated from a guidebook. Since they already know all the best places to visit and the best way to get there, they can be a great source to save valuable time and money you could instead spend on that gelato.

Day trips can be simple walking tours around Rome, dinners with flamenco dancers, or full day excursions to see Stonehenge. They can be tailored to your needs, providing private services for you and your family or group tours with 12 or more people at affordable prices.

We at Willamette Intl Travel have contacts all over the world that come highly recommended. Have a destination in mind? Let us open your experience by arranging day trips with any one of our great guides. Here is a sample of the best:

Anselmo in Lisbon. Anselmo and his band has provided tailor-made tours all over Portugal and Spain for the last 15 years, specially designed for private families and small groups. They can take you on unforgettable day trips to Sintra and Lisbon or multi-day tours through the Douro Valley, Santiago de Compostela, or the amazing cities of Batalha, Tomar and Evora. “Just a note to tell you how wonderful Anselmo has been. If you can imagine being squired around Portugal by Mr. Carson of Downtown Abbey, but with a sense of humor, you can get a sense of Anselmo” ~~ Carla, client of Wittravel

Spanish Trails in Barcelona. This group offers amazing and unique tours in and around Barcelona.Their tours include wine tastings in the Catalonia countryside, sea kayaking along the Costa Brava, and food and wine tours in the city.

A&R in Rome. Adrienne & Renato are a husband-wife team, she from Portland and he from Naples. With their team of local guides they can arrange everything from private Pompeii tours to dinners in the Tuscan countryside. Their services include close, personal attention illuminated by a background in art history and mythology.

Chocolatine in France. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Chocolatine offers private services in France that are 100% tailored to your needs. We work closely with them to arrange private excursions in Paris and elsewhere in France. Recently, they have helped to track down a client’s ancestral ties in battlefields in Alsace-Lorraine.

Meli in Istanbul. Meli is the founder of MeliTours, an exceptional tour company based in Kusadasi. For years they have escorted our clients in unique itineraries in Turkey, Greece, and on sailing trips along islands and coasts.Their guides are passionate, knowledgeable, and geared toward the interests of each individual guest.

Laura in Cape Town. Laura’s Township Tours is operated by Laura Ndukwana who was a born and bred in Guguletu, South Africa. As a tour guide for 17 years, she is the perfect guide to Cape Town, opening up the experience with her personal anecdotes of day to day life in the area. Laura is also actively involved in community projects that aid local children.

Marissa in Buenos Aires. Marissa is a unique one-woman operation in BA, and has organized tailor-made tours in and around the city for the past 12 years. “When you spend a day with Marisa in the fabulous city of Buenos Aires, you become Argentinian!!” ~~ John @ Wittravel


Filed under News, Tour Guides

Day Trips from Auckland

Have a few days in Auckland but not sure what to see? Why not join a day or half-day tour exploring the great highlights of the town and around? Board a dinner cruise, watch a breaktaking Maori haka performance, or take a tour into the mysterious Waitomo glow caves. Below are just some of the many tours available on the North Island. Call us up to book or discuss your thoughts: 503-224-0180.

Hop-on Hop-off Tour

The hop-on hop-off buses take you around major sites of the vibrant city of Auckland. Explore Kelly Tarton’s Sea Life Aquarium, Auckland Museum, Sky Tower, Parnell Rose Park Gardens, Bastion Point Lookout and much more. Includes audio commentary in multiple languages. From 33 USD.

Dinner Cruise on Waitemata Harbour

Take an evening cruise from Auckland to the gorgeous Waitemata Harbour for a spectacular view of the city lights at night. Dine aboard a 50-foot yacht and enjoy a beautiful, scenic dinner. From 79 USD.

Photo by Sids1, Creative Commons

Whale-watching in Hauraki Gulf

Take a luxurious 20m high-speed catamaran out on Hauraki Gulf for an unforgettable viewing of whales, dolphins and sea birds. Considered one of the most biologically diverse marine parks in the world, there have been no less than 22 species of marine mammal identified in this gulf. Cruise around with a crew of scientific experts for some spectacular views of these creatures. From 131 USD.

Bungee Jump

Take the 40-meter plunge from Auckland Harbour Bridge over sparkling Waitemata Harbor. This fun, adrenaline-rushing excursion offers a number of options available, including the favorite “water touch.” From 123 USD.

photo by Graeme Churchard, Creative Commons

Hobbiton Tour

Take a small group tour through the movie set of Hobbiton. Pose for photographs in front of hobbit holes and wander the Shire for glimpses of the party tree, Green Dragon Inn and Bilbo Baggins’ house. Afterwards, enjoy lunch at The Shire’s Rest Café. From 196 USD.

Maori Tour

Explore Auckland’s historic sites from the Maori perspective. See a live performance of the Haka War Dance and explore the surrounding countryside, including the ancient forest of Tiriwa. You’ll learn about black sand beaches, native flora and fauna, and Maori legends and traditions, all from a well-versed Maori guide. From 243 USD.

Kumeu Wine Country

Sample the region’s top wines just outside of Auckland in Kumeu. Discover the wine-pioneering history of the area, stroll along the gorgeous Muriwai Beach, and enjoy tastings from several award-winning wineries. Afterwards, enjoy a fresh Mediterranean-inspired New Zealand lunch at the Solkans Estate Winery. From 147 USD.

photo by Ian Armstrong, Creative Commons

Waitomo Caves and Rotorua

Take a guided tour from Auckland to the glowworm grotto of Waitomo by foot and boat. Catch a magnificent view of Rotorua’s bubbling mud pools and geysers. Visit the Agrodome for shearing demonstrations and sheep mustering. From 267 USD.

Our agents have been to New Zealand many times and would love to share our knowledge and expertise with you! Give us a call at 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Day Trips From..., New Zealand, Oceania

Excursions Abroad

This week we are doing a double feature on excursions abroad, tying in one of our favorite art and nature tours with our friends over at Walking Softly. Tune in next week to see part two!

The modern traveler is often not satisfied with a mere sightseeing and museum tour. They want to interact with the people and to explore every inch of the landscape. They want an authentic experience that even the locals might enjoy. Whether you’re on a tour, traveling à la carte, or on a cruise, Willamette International Travel can arrange day trips, shore excursions, hikes or even cycle tours to enhance your trip experience. These can be a few hours to a week in length, and cover a range of activities!

cycling through Lake Bled region, photo by Dale Harvey

Small add-ons are fully customizable based on your itinerary, your preferred activity level, as well as length, price and dates—and can be tailored to suit your needs.

Interested, but not sure on specifics? Here are some of the great options available to you:

–         Mountain hiking in the mountains of Bavaria and Tyrol. Take in stunning vistas and stay in rustic Alpine cabins.

–         Cycle Lake Constance Area, a trip that will take you through four countries—Austria, Switzerland, Lichentenstein and Austria.

–         Cycle the Peninsula of Istria in Croatia and visit cultural monuments and natural reserves

–         Explore with a guided tour the ancient world of Athens and the isles of Santorini and Naxos

–         Hike and enjoy the rare wildlife in Majella National Park

–         Follow in the footsteps of pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago—by car

–         Cycle the Loire Valley from Angers all the way to the Atlantic

–         Explore and hike the fishing villages and coastal footpaths along Cinque Terre

–         Take a combination bike and barge tour through Amsterdam and Bruges

–         Visit a whiskey distillery and ride a steamer boat on Loch Katrine in Scotland

–         Go on a cave tubing tour in Belize

–         Go ziplining in the Cloud Forests of Costa Rica

–         Attend a Puerto Rican cooking class and learn to make mojitos and mofongo

ziplining in Austria; photo by WK

And there are many more! Headed somewhere but unsure of how to get the best out of your destination? Contact your agent at Willamette International Travel by calling 1.503.224.0180. Or email us at info@wittravel.com for more information.

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Filed under Europe, Features, Our Travel Agents, Travel Tips