Extreme Sport & Authentic Adventure Holiday

June 6, 2012

If you are looking to connect with nature and spend some time with wildlife, New Zealand is for you.You can hire a punt on an urban river; relax for days on a houseboat, motor yacht or sailing vessel; be your own captain or hire an experienced professional crew.

The pristine landscapes and waterways of the Southern South Island offer a favourite cruising experience for many, offering scenic cruises through Fiordland, Queenstown and Stewart Island.

Whether you prefer a high speed jet boat ride or a leisurely jaunt, you’ll find New Zealanders are happy to share with you their love of water-borne transport.

JET BOATING
Like a jet aircraft, a jet boat has no external propeller. Instead, it squirts water out at high speed just below the surface behind the boat. This allows the boat to operate in depths of only a few centimetres.

The jet boat was developed in the 1960s by New Zealand farmer William (Bill) Hamilton, to allow navigation of the shallow Canterbury rivers. However, enterprising New Zealanders soon realised its potential as an adventure activity.

Sit back, buckle yourself in and feel the acceleration. A New Zealand jet boat ride will take you powering through narrow river gorges, almost brushing against sheer rock faces; or skimming across the surface of water channels that weave through the shingle banks of braided rivers.

Jet boating is suitable for all ages and levels of fitness, and can be enjoyed the whole year round. Some of the most exhilarating trips are available near Queenstown and Canterbury. Other areas include the Buller and Makarora regions in the South Island and the Rangitaiki, Whanganui and Waikato Rivers in the North Island.

KAYAKING - SALT WATER
Exploring New Zealand’s magnificent coastline by paddle power is an exercise and pure enjoyment. You can discover the coastal regions of national parks. You can paddle around islands and along fiords. You can even paddle a traditional Maori waka.

In the South Island, sea kayaking experiences can last half a day or several. Meander through the Marlborough Sounds, where waters are sheltered and people are few; follow the edge of the Abel Tasman National Park and hope for encounters with seals, dolphins and orca; get a sea level view of a fiord; or find your way around Okarito Lagoon, where you’ll see all kinds of wading birds.

In the North Island you can embark on a sea kayaking safari around the Bay of Islands, Waiheke Island or Wellington harbour. Sheltered water experiences can be found on the Hokianga and Tauranga Harbours. Paddling around a marine reserve, such as Goat Island, is always fun - beach your kayak and go for a snorkel.

RAFTING
From a quiet drift through the forested wilderness to a white-knuckled, wide-eyed journey down turbulent rapids, rafting covers the full adventure spectrum.

The mountains of New Zealand’s interior feed a myriad of fast flowing rivers that run through the forests to the sea. Grade 1 rivers offer relatively tranquil waters, while grade 5 rivers is regarded as an extreme sport. Trips ranging from a couple of hours to five days are led by qualified rafting guides who comply with established safety codes. All gear and special clothing is provided.

Rafting rivers in the North Island are mostly found in the central east coast areas of the Bay of Plenty and Hawke’s Bay. In the South Island, you’ll get the chance to try rafting around the resort town of Queenstown, Christchurch and on the West Coast. Some operators offer a combined helicopter and rafting experience. You can also try black water rafting through underground caves.

SAILING
There are several areas of New Zealand’s coastline that are ideal for sailing adventures. Sheltered harbours open out to inshore cruising grounds dotted with picturesque islands, and there are popular coastal journeys with harbour-like bays conveniently spaced less than a day’s sail apart.

You can charter a vessel and sail her yourself or opt for a skipper and crew. Skippered voyages range from an afternoon tea and sightseeing sail on the harbour to several days on an ocean-going maxi racing yacht.

The style of boat varies from restored historic square riggers to New Zealand’s high-tech America’s Cup winners. You can get as hands on or as laid back as you wish.

The maritime reserves of the Bay of Islands, Hauraki Gulf and Marlborough Sounds are among the best areas for a holiday afloat. Auckland, known as the City of Sails, has the world’s largest number of boats per head of population.

WHALE WATCHING
Kaikoura, on the east coast of the South Island, is the main centre for whale watching in New Zealand. It’s one of the only places in the world where you can easily see sperm whales.

Sperm whales, the largest of the toothed whales, grow to over 15 metres in length. They dive deep into the ocean to feed. The resident population of sperm whales at Kaikoura can be seen all year round. Orca (killer whales) may be seen from December to March, and humpback whales in June and July. Several dolphin species are seen almost daily in the area.

Whales thrive close to Kaikoura because of its unusual submarine landscape. The continental shelf drops quickly into a number of extremely deep underwater canyons. In addition, a warm current from the north meets a colder one from the south. This causes nutrients from deep within the ocean to be carried upward, a phenomenon that helps to support all types of marine life from plankton and krill to dolphins and whales.

DOLPHINS
An encounter with dolphins always feels such a privilege. Their gentle nature is something most people admire, and something we would prefer to see more of in humans. These playful creatures appear keen to communicate. They’re quite a large animal, yet they present us with no danger. They are intelligent, but seem to be completely free of cruelty or greed. This may explain why swimming with dolphins has been rated by visitors as one of the top tourism experiences in the country.

Many dolphin species can be seen in New Zealand. There’s the common dolphin and the large bottle-nosed dolphin, which can often exceed three metres in length. The smaller dusky dolphin is less than two metres long and is very playful. The Hector’s dolphin is one of the world’s rarest and smallest dolphins, and is found only in our waters.

New Zealand offers a wide selection of dolphin watching and swimming tours. Operators take great care not to harm the dolphins, and some of the tour price often goes towards dolphin conservation.

PENGUINS
These cute little creatures are bound to make you smile. In the sea they dive and swoop like other birds do in the air, and on land they march upright and waddle like officials in a parade.

You’ll find three species of penguin around New Zealand. The korora, or little blue penguin, is the world’s smallest. Standing only 25 centimetres tall, and weighing just over a kilogram, it is found in coastal waters and often comes ashore at night. The Marlborough Sounds, Akaroa Harbour, Oamaru and Stewart Island are excellent places to see little blues.

The rare hoiho, or yellow-eyed penguin, has a beautiful yellow eye band sweeping back from each yellow eye. You can find hoiho on the Otago Peninsula, just out of Dunedin, and along the South Otago Coast.

The Fiordland crested penguin is one of the world’s rarest. It is found in Fiordland and Stewart Island, in the deep south of the South Island.

Antarctic king and gentoo penguins can be viewed at an aquarium and Antarctic attraction in Auckland.

To learn more about travel to New Zealand, call the Travel Gal at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net

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Where are the Tuamotu Atolls?

November 22, 2011

The Tuamotu Atolls located in French Polynesia and are the remnants of ancient collapsed volcanoes and these coral atolls boast some of the most renowned snorkeling and scuba diving on earth. Expert divers refer to the magnificent coral filled lagoon as “God’s Aquarium”. This sheltered lagoon is home to dolphins, rays, and myriad colorful tropical fish. Nearby Fakarava is classified by UNESCO as a biosphere reserve as it is home to black sand beaches, a black pearl farm, and a variety of rare birds and plants.

Rangiroa
Rangiroa (rain-gee-roh-ah) is the largest atoll of the Tuamotu Archipelago, which comprises 78 coral atolls scattered over several hundred miles of the eastern Pacific Ocean.

Life on these remote atolls is simple, quiet and peaceful. In the small villages, the visitor can discover the true flavor of the Tuamotus, often participating in the daily activities of the Taumotu people. The interior lagoons are a haven for black pearl farms, fish breeding farms, snorkeling and scuba diving.

Rangiroa, referred to as “The Island of the Long Sky” is the largest atoll in the Southern Hemisphere, the second largest atoll in the world, and heralded as one of the world’s greatest dive destinations. It is an impressive sight viewed from the air with its string of 240 coral islets (motu) encircling a 400 square mile turquoise and jade-green lagoon.

Fakarava
Fakarava (fah-kah-rah-va) is an atoll in the west of the Tuamotu group in French Polynesia. It is the second largest of the Tuamotu atolls. Fakarava’s main village is called Rotoava.

Fakarava, “The Island of Dreams,” is the second largest atoll after Rangiroa. It is an untouched world with an ecosystem that is home to rare birds, plants, crustaceans and exceptional dive sites.

It was once the ancient capital of the region and the site of the first Catholic mission in the atolls built of coral in the 1870’s. The environment is so pure that the atoll is being considered for classification as a UNESCO nature reserve for the preservation of rare species.

Scuba diving and snorkle explorations are magical since many dive sites are virtually undiscovered.

If you would like more information or to plan a magical holiday to an amazing tropical island paradise, call us at 800 644-6659 or email Teresa@LuxuryHideaways.net today!

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Islands of Tahiti - Where to Scuba Dive - Here’s the Guide!

September 9, 2011

Are you planning a winter vacation that must have fantastic scuba diving? Look no further then the islands of Tahiti.  I have listed below just a few of the amazing and pristine dive sites in the islands:

* Moorea: Explore the remains of ancient shipwrecks, glimpse a black tipped reef shark, impressively large moray eels, sea turtles and barracudas;
* Bora Bora: View Lemon sharks and manta rays close up;
* Raiatea: Discover shipwrecks and the marine life that thrives among mushroom shaped corals including octopus, tuna and leopard rays;
* Rangiroa and Fakarava: In this premier diving location, look for hammerhead sharks (Dec - Feb) or manta rays (Sept-Oct). In addition, dolphins, turtles, eagle rays and other fascinating fish species are often spotted here among coral reefs and canyon passes;
* Nuku Hiva: The steep cliffs and caves off this island reveal a variety of unusual marine life, including hammerhead sharks, melon-headed whales, moray eels and scorpion fish.

Are you convinced yet?  The two of you will find yourselves surrounded by the most beautiful and romantic islands, set amid endless Pacific waters. You have discovered paradise!

Contact your tropical island specialist at 800 644-6659 - lets begin planning your trip today!

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American Safari Cruises Offering Travel Credit

June 25, 2011

Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands will receive $150.00 per person or $300.00 per couple travel credit aboard the Safari Explorer if the cruise is purchased by 29/July 2011.

Experience 5 star luxury resort living aboard the 36 passenger Safari Explorer and see the Hawaiian islands in a different light.  Sailing 7 - 10 night active, adventure itineraries between Maui and the Big Island from November 2011 through April 2012, visiting Moloka’i, Lana’i and Molokini. The credit is intended to help guests defray air costs to the Hawaiian Islands where they will embark on their adventure cruise.

“We are confident guests will be thrilled with the experience of seeing and experiencing Hawaii up close on an upscale yacht,” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “This is a brand new vacation option in the Hawaiian Islands, and we hope the travel credit aids in the decision-making process to try an adventure un-cruise in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.”

Jacox says the un-cruise defines the active, up close and personal style of adventure travel that makes American Safari Cruises different from other cruise vacations. The Safari Explorer is the only small-group expedition yacht offering overnight cruises in the Hawaiian Islands.

Flexible yacht itineraries focus on the leeward side of the eastern-most Hawaiian Islands. The unstructured itinerary allows time for seeking wildlife such as Manta rays, dolphins and humpback whales. Outfitted for active adventures, the yacht’s well stocked water sports equipment includes kayaks, paddle boards, snorkeling gear, wet suits, sailboats and inflatable skiffs for up-close excursions. Guided snorkeling tours are a highlight throughout the trip. Two knowledgeable expedition leaders guide hiking and kayaking tours. Bicycles are also available for guest use on Moloka’i and Lana’i.

Exclusive cultural tours have been arranged for guests in Moloka’i including guided hikes, visiting and restoring a family’s ancient taro terraces, “talking story” with native Hawaiians and a private, authentic Hawaiian pa’ina (feast).

The Safari Explorer has an on-deck hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment, a wine library and two large-screen TVs in the main salon. Exceptional cuisine is prepared with fresh, local ingredients and the complimentary bar offers premium spirits, fine wines and microbrews. The active spa environment includes a complimentary massage and yoga classes. All staterooms offer Tempur-pedic mattresses, flat screen TV/DVD players and iPod docks. Upper category staterooms feature Jacuzzi tubs and suites have private step-out balconies.

Fares start at $4,995 for the seven-night cruise and $6,495 for the 10-night cruise, both per person, double occupancy. Itineraries include exclusive excursions as well as all from-the-yacht activities and equipment; transfers; exquisite meals; fine wine, premium spirits and microbrews; and all port charges, taxes and fees. An all-American crew has a guest-crew ratio of 2 to 1 and includes Hawaii residents who have personal knowledge of the islands.

Posted Originally by American Safari Cruises/Innersea Discoveries

For more information contact Teresa@Luxuryhideaways.net or call 800 644-6659

Note from Travelgal:
I personally experienced life onboard one of American Safari Cruises for a few days, it is a floating all inclusive luxury resort. If you were to break down the cost of hotel, meals, transfers, alcohol and activities - this is a deal!

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New Zealand - The South Island, Christchurch & Queenstown

July 10, 2010

The South Island is home to some of New Zealand’s most striking landscapes… perfect for outdoor adventures.

Christchurch, the “Garden City,” is also called the “most English city outside England.” The largest city on the South Island, it is filled with beautiful parks and gardens, through which the Avon River runs. Whale-watching, visiting the International Antarctic Centre, punting on the Avon, hot air ballooning, and wine tasting are some highlights of a visit to Christchurch.

Toward the center of the South Island, Queenstown is the adventure capital of New Zealand. Activities include jetboat rides, garden tours, lake cruises, helicopter flights, bungy jumping, golf, skiing, gondola rides, guided walks, fishing, skydiving, wine tasting, and much more. If there’s any outdoor activity you crave, chances are you can find it in Queenstown! By far the most popular activity is the trip to Milford Sound, including a launch cruise on this stunning fiord.

Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, is located on the southern coast. It is home to Edwardian heritage buildings, museums, galleries, and New Zealand’s first university. The nearby Otago Peninsula is a haven for wildlife, including seals, dolphins, albatross, and penguins.

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