Tag Archives: pacific

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.

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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.

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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.

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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’.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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Kaimuki: O’ahu’s favorite eclectic neighborhood

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WIT Agent Debbie is currently on O’ahu, Hawaii for an educational trip! Look out for her photos later — we’ll post them to Facebook!

She’ll be checking out the Prince Waikiki hotel and Turtle Bay on her trip, so she’ll be able to provide firsthand feedback. Feel free to give her a call when she’s back to know more at our office: 503-224-0180 or email info@wittravel.com. 

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Why you should check out Kaimuki

Want a break from the hubbub of Waikiki? Why not swing by its sleepier sister?

Have you heard of Kaimuki? Not far from Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, this historic neighborhood calls back to Hawaii of 50 years ago. With old-timer buildings, charming parks and old-fashioned delis, it makes a great place to hang out on a hot afternoon.

Once a farm owned by King Kalakaua, where ostriches roamed wild on green slopes, Kaimuki is now a low-key residential area with a strip of niche restaurants and cute boutiques.

Talk story at Coffee Talk, a friendly, relaxed cafe with a hearty selection of drinks and pastries. Grab a tasty sandwich at Kaimuki Suprette, a new deli made up in the old-fashioned style, serving with farm-fresh favorites. Wander down the main street of Waialae Avenue to the niche shops, where you can scavenge for unique jewelry, aloha shirts and rare comic books. Summer is a great time to snack up on those cool treats: and you’ll find everything from shave ice to acai bowls to handmade gelato here. There is even some karaoke, and a wealth of cosmetic spas!

Fun fact: This is the very neighborhood where Israel Kamakawiwo’ole grew up!

So check it out! Kaimuki is just east of Waikiki Beach and Ala Moana–behind Diamond Head:

(Kaimuki is in shaded pink)

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Filed under All About Hawaii, Hawaii, Hawaiian Airlines

Vendor of the Month: ATJ

Asian Transpacific Journeys (ATJ) has been a leading tour company in Asia/Pacific for 25 years. Willamette Intl Travel is proud to partner with such a prestigious tour company. ATJ prides itself on its creativity and in connecting their clients with the locals for an authentic experience.

Their highly efficient team is based in Boulder, Colorado. Each and every employee has lived and worked in their specialized area extensively, and each has traveled to an average of 24 countries. ATJ’s remarkable tour leaders possess a wealth of firsthand knowledge about Asia and the Pacific. Their experts are well-versed in art, culture, anthropology, linguistics, and that elusive (but extremely important) skill: human interaction. The team is committed wholeheartedly to facilitating genuine connections and true cultural immersion among their guests. Their compassion, intimate knowledge and enthusiasm will make your trip come alive.

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courtesy of Asia Transpacific Tours

ATJ has sent clients to the madrassas and mosques on the Silk Road, on private cruises on the Ganges to witness a Hindu cremation ceremony, and to dazzling fall and spring festivals in the remote country of Bhutan.

Willamette Intl Travel can help organize your trip with ATJ, book your airfare, and customize your pre- and post-travel arrangements. We can also advise you on the trip that’s right for you! Call us at Wittravel for more details of how ATJ can add that unique spark to your travels!

Here are just some of the unique ways ATJ stands out:

–         75% of their business comes from repeat and referral customers

–         Though they do provide set itineraries, ATJ’s personal consultants are flexible to design the perfect itinerary for their clients

–         Fully bilingual and formally educated tour leaders

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courtesy of Asia Transpacific Journeys

They have partnered with tops institutions such as:

–         Nature Conservancy

–         National Wildlife Federation

–         World Wildlife Fund

–         Harvard Museum of Natural History

–         UCLA, Brown, Princeton, Yale, Harvard and MIT alumni associations

–         San Diego Zoo

–         World Affairs Council

Check out a Sample Itinerary for Bhutan here. WIT Agent and Co-Owner Christina has been to Bhutan!

“Traveling with Asia Transpacific Journeys made every difference in the world.” – Patricia Schultz, Author, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. All of WIT Agents have traveled extensively in and throughout Asia. Call us for more details! 800.821.0401 or email info@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Asia, News, Oceania, VOTM

Where in the World is the WIT Client? ~~ Traversing Canada by Train

Copy of blog post

Lately we have been booking rail journeys in the Great White North, so we decided to feature this month’s Where in the World is the WIT Client? in Canada! Check out how our clients travel by rail and which options might be right for you.

Popular due to gorgeous vistas, high level of comfort, and spacious car designs, traveling Canada by train often offers a cozier journey and more stunning views than travel by plane. Since a trip will often take a few days, many trains offer accommodations, sleeper cars and meals to their passengers. Peak time to travel is from March to September.

There are also a number of vacation packages on offer that include rail, transfers, accommodation, and city tours together. Call Willamette International Travel and speak with one of our many qualified agents if you’re interested.

photo by Shayne Kaye

Which Route is Right for Me?

There are dozens of train routes all across Canada—the longest one coursing from Vancouver to Toronto. Before choosing a route, consider what you find most valuable in travel—destinations, vistas, onboard service and comfort. Each train is different and each has its own unique offerings. Let’s take a look at five of the most popular.

East Coast: Montreal to Halifax

The route from Montreal and Halifax is more than 1300 km and offers chances to view some spectacular scenery. Passengers are treated to fantastic panoramas of Matapedia Valley, Chaleur Bay, and the countryside of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Fun fact: one train’s sleepers were originally intended for the Channel Tunnel that runs between Great Britain and France.

Ontario and Quebec

The tracks that run through Ontario and Quebec showcase the best of Canada’s culture, traveling from Quebec City and Montreal to Ottawa, Toronto and Niagara Falls. Passengers can stop and enjoy French-speaking Montreal, wander through the elegant neighborhoods of Ottawa, shop in boutiques in Toronto, or stroll through the charming water town of Kingston. This route is popular with business travelers and tourists alike as its trains are frequently as fast as commercial airlines.

photo by Martin Cathrae

The Canadian: Vancouver to Toronto

Probably the most popular of routes for leisure travelers, the Canadian travels from Vancouver, stopping at the major cities Jasper, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, and ends in Toronto via a breathtaking transcontinental route. This train takes 4 nights and 3 full days, traversing 5 provinces and 4466 kilometers, and hosting some of the finest sleeper facilities in North America. It departs three times per week and guarantees striking views of the Rockies, the vast Prairie grasslands, and the serene Muskoka Lakes.

The North

This northbound route takes travelers up to the far arctic province of Manitoba and the town of Churchill. It is a popular route for seasonal tourists hoping to catch glimpses of polar bears and the Northern Lights. Passengers can also enjoy the beautiful transition from gentle prairie to stark tundra. The train travels 1,700 km in two days, departing from Winnipeg on Tuesdays and Sundays, and from Churchill on Thursdays and Saturdays.

The Jasper-Prince Rupert

The Jasper-Prince Rupert route is a unique rail journey through the Pacific Northwest and fjord country. Crossing 1160 km, it departs from Jasper, coursing past Mount Robson and the rest of the Canadian Rockies, and through the incredible wild scenery of upper British Colombia. The train departs three times a week from Jasper in Alberta, overnights in Prince George, and continues on to Prince Rupert on the Pacific coast.

Interested in traversing Canada by train? Or just want to get more information about tickets, routes, or discounts? Call us at 503.224.0180 or email our rail specialist at wailanak@wittravel.com.

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Filed under Canada, North America, Travel by Rail, Where in the World is the WIT Client?