New Zealand Trails Newsletter December 2013
• Photos and Feedback from our first walking tour of the season
• Hiking Quicktips - A lifesaver for any outdoor travel: Drybags
• Two great travel deals for Trailmates
Kia Ora from New Zealand!
With the New Zealand walking season now under way and Christmas just around the corner it's a busy and fun time of year. Those of you in the northern hemisphere you may be heading into short days and cold weather, thankfully for us down under it's the opposite as evenings are now long and days warm. Probably one of the biggest appeals of travelling to New Zealand in December, January or February is the chance to swap seasons for a while, something those of you heading our way soon are looking forward to I am sure.
In this month's edition we'd like to start with sharing some photos and guest feedback from our first walking tour of the season. Summer seemed to arrive a little early this year and the timing was perfect for us on our November World Heritage Walking tour, we had fantastic weather the whole way around, save for a short shower on the last hour of our hike on the Hollyford Track. By then the rain was almost welcome, after me talking about rainforests for nearly two weeks and guests having bought all their raingear from home, it seemed almost appropriate that we did get to hike in the rain, even if it was pretty light and for such a short time. Our visits to Punakaiki, Queenstown, Wanaka, Fiordland and Mt Cook were all in brilliant sunshine, so much so that I came back to the office with a suntan, which made it difficult to convince everybody that I'd been hard at work!
For our outdoor travel tip, we'd like to share a little secret that can be a real lifesaver for anybody who loves hiking or any other outdoor activity – drybags. In our travel deal section, in addition to last month's offer which is still available for selected 2013/2014 departures, we'd also like to offer you an earlybird deal for the 2014/2015 season.
For those of you joining one of our hiking tours soon, we are looking forward to seeing you soon and to all of you, we'd like to wish you all a safe and happy holiday season.
Andrew Wells and the New Zealand Trails team
November 2013 World Heritage Hiking Tour
Fantastic weather and unforgettable wildlife experiences
Our first walking tour of the year really was an amazing trip. A great small group, combined with fantastic weather and closeup encounters with wildlife made for a memorable trip for all of us. We'd like to share the best of our New Zealand hiking images and some thoughts from guests on the trip. I guided this trip myself and I'd like to say thanks so much to our guests for making it such a fun tour and a special mention to Ken who took and shared many of these great photos.
November 2013 Guest Feedback:
'We thoroughly enjoyed our guided tour with New Zealand Trails. Our guide Andrew was outstanding and his knowledge of geology, history and the environment made every day a learning experience. The hiking trails were amazing and we did somany things like riding in a jet boat and a helicopter for the first time. Everything was very well planned, with outstanding accommodation and excellent restaurants. We have very fond memories of our trip and are already recommending it to our active friends.' Ray & Pamela Bryars, USA.
‘My walking tour with New Zealand Trails was a trip of a lifetime - truly excellent. Our tour guide Andrew was fantastic. He's extremely knowledgeable, friendly, and well organized. NZ Trails has put together a very good mix of trail hiking and other activities (kayaking, cave glowworm tour, glacier hiking, winery visits, etc.) I don't normally travel on guided tours like this, but was so glad I did and it was absolutely worth every penny. The meals and accommodation were also excellent. Out of five stars, I give this tour a six!’ Ken Olsen, USA.
Quick Travel Tip - A lifesaver for any kind of outdoor travel: Drybags
Drybags are something I discovered a few years into my guiding life and are now something I could never be without. The drybags I am referring to are the self sealing waterproof bags you buy from an outdoor store, they some in a variety of sizes and close securely and ensure the contents remain 100% dry, no matter what the weather. For my first years as a guide, I used what so many people do, normal plastic bags and thought that this was as good as it gets, until I tried a real drybag of course. Nowadays with so many of us carrying precious and pricey electronic devices with us all day every day, not to mention travel documents or spare clothing, getting yourself kitted out with a couple of good quality drybags will mean that you'll never have to worry about anything getting wet ever again.
Here's what I carry on every hike, even short half day walks:
Mid Sized Drybag for clothing
The most common use of drybags is for clothing stored inside your backpack. It makes all the difference to be able to pull out a nice dry fleece to put on and keep warm at the end of a hike in wonderful rain, to make your journey back to your lodge a comfortable one. There's nothing worse than having your spare clothes get wet and you've got nothing dry to change into after your hike.
Document Sized Drybag for passports, travel documents and personal items
Many of our guests like the security of knowing their valuable travel documents are with them all the time and a document sized drybag (or map holder) is perfect for this. When I'm hiking I make this my valuables bag and put my wallet and travel vouchers inside and stow safely inside my pack.
Custom Sized Drybag for your phone or camera
If you're like me and carry your Smartphone with you all the time and love nothing better than having this small compact camera in your pocket and ready at all times on a hike then one of these small drybags is for you. Nothing makes you feel as vulnerable as having a brand new Smartphone in your pocket as the heavens open up and there's nowhere to hide! With one of these in your pocket you're covered, just slip your phone in, seal it closed and your precious is safe.
Two great travel deals for Trailmates
Travel Deal #1:
On selected small group New Zealand hiking tour departures for the 2013/2014 season we would like to extend a special offer – included in your tour price is one night's accommodation either the night before you join the tour or the evening you leave the tour, plus a private transfer between your accommodation and the airport.
Travel Deal #2:
We have released our 2014/2015 tour dates now and for a very limited time would like to offer our current 2013/2014 season tour price to anyone booking and paying a deposit on a 2014/2015 season walking tour departure. Due to rising costs our prices unfortunately will be going up next season but you can guarantee yourself a savings by booking early. This deal expires on 31 December 2013 so don't miss out.
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