Santa Monica, CA, June 25, 2007 â€“ Follow in the adventurous footsteps of one of the worldâ€™s travel pioneers on the 11-day â€œNew Zealand: Adventure With Purposeâ€ designed by Mountain Travel Sobek. Inspired by the companyâ€™s co-founder, author and extreme river rafter Richard Bangs, the trip retraces Bangsâ€™ April 2007 journey through New Zealand, which he filmed for an episode of his PBS series â€œAdventures with Purposeâ€ (the New Zealand show is set to premier this winter). On his quest to explore the island nationâ€™s essential spirit, Bangs uncovered the Maori concept of kaitiakitaanga â€“ an ancient principle of sustainability manifesting as guardianship of land, people and culture â€“ and its real-time adaptation by forward-thinking Kiwis of all stripes, from hiking guides to the head of state*.
Like Bangs, you can traverse dramatic landscapes on both islands, scale glaciers, slide down waterfalls, sea kayak in a crater lake, view birdlife found no where else, embrace Maori culture and volunteer in local community projects. Led by a Mountain Travel Sobek expert guide, the â€œNew Zealand: Adventure With Purposeâ€ tour is limited to a maximum of 14 people and is priced at $5,595 per person (double occupancy) with two departures scheduled for 2008: April 7 â€“ 17 and November 17 â€“ 27. For more on Richard Bangsâ€™ New Zealand adventure visit: http://www.newzealand.com/travel/about-nz/features/richard-bangs/richard-bangs_home.cfm
The adventure begins in Queenstown deep in the pristine Matukituki Valley, where a river, carving its way through rock, has crafted a natural theme park for canyoneering. After climbing, swimming, floating and leaping from rock to river and back, retreat gratefully to the quiet respite of Makarora (population: 30).
The next day marvel as deep canyons give way to icefalls at Fox Glacier on South Islandâ€™s West Coast. Strapping on crampons and armed with an ice pick, learn the basics of ice climbing and experience the fast-changing contours of the glacier â€“ observing first hand how it evolves into ice caves then devolves into crevasses â€“ all in the space of a few hours. Further up the West Coast at Okarito Lagoon, dip back into water in its fluid form for a bracing spot of black-water rafting through a meandering series of caverns and caves. This voyage along the path of an underground river hints at celestial navigation â€“ as constellations formed of the self-luminous light of glowworms decorate the caveâ€™s ceiling.
Off the coast of Kaikoura â€“ aka the â€œSerengeti of the South Pacificâ€ â€“ the deep krill-rich waters teem with dolphins, seals and a resident pod of sperm whales. Meet these maritime â€œlocalsâ€ on a stimulating boating and snorkeling excursion, prior to spending a relaxing day tasting great wines in Marlborough, famed for its fruity sauvignon blancs.
Capital city Wellington â€“ the seat of government and crucial conservation projects led by the Department of Conservation and Global Volunteer Network â€“ beckons next. Join passionate Kiwi volunteers on a day devoted to dune restoration and replanting native bush.
Amidst the natural wonders of Taupo, sea kayak on a crater lake large enough to fit all of Singapore inside! Adrenaline junkies, longing for a birdâ€™s eye view, may opt to sky dive instead. Back on terra firma, walk the lunar landscape of Orakei Korako, a geothermal park with a tongue-twister name, swirling fumaroles, bubbling mudpools and twirling spews of steam. Spend an afternoon with a local Maori community in Rotorua learning about New Zealandâ€™s indigenous traditions, before flying up to Kaitaia in Northland.
End your New Zealand adventure with a breathtaking scenic flight over Cape Reinga on the northernmost point of North Island, where the deep blue waters of the Pacific mingle with far warmer, rougher currents of the Tasman Sea. This special place is of great spiritual significance to the Maori, as explained by a local elder who will also bless your return home.
The â€œNew Zealand: Adventure With Purposeâ€ land-only package includes expert guide, canyoneering, black water rafting, sea kayaking, ice-climbing and snorkeling for 11-days with 10-night accommodations. Trips tend to fill up six months to a year in advance â€“ so booking early is advised. For more information and reservations, log onto Mountain Travel Sobek at http://www.mtsobek.com/mts/pnp or call 1-888-MTSOBEK (687-6235).
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