For my third trip, I chose to travel far away from home, this time to the land "Down Under", New Zealand and Australia. Unlike most other Contiki vacations, this one contained many optional activities that bordered on the risky and extreme ... and no, I'm not talking about the excessive drinking and party atmosphere that Contiki is well noted for (although that is a story in itself, which you'll have to read on to find out).
The specific tour I took was the 12-day Grand Adventurer, from April 4-15, 2001. This tour is actually a portion of the longer 15-day Grand Explorer tour, which in itself is made up both the Northern Highlights and Scenic Southern tours. The Northern Highlights also contains the 3-day tour of the Bay of Islands. The 12-day Grand Adventurer tour I took is the 15-day Grand Explorer tour, minus the 3-day Bay of Islands tour. Following yet? So in other words, there's a whole bunch of tours all intertwining together, resulting in many people jumping on and off at different points during the whole trip.
However, before I began my 12-day trek through New Zealand, I arrived a couple of days earlier in the starting city of the tour, Auckland, where I met up with Brenda, whom I met on my previous Contiki tour through Spain & Portugal (you can read my travelogue for that specific trip here), who calls Auckland home. Then after the tour, I flew off to Melbourne, Australia to meet up with another friend from the same Spain & Portugal tour, Mandy, for a short stay in her home city. This travelogue includes those extra days at the beginning and the end of the Contiki tour.
I hope you enjoy reading about my (mis)adventures Down Under! Please don't forget to Sign My Guestbook on your way out!
Thanks to our tour director, Gavin, and our driver, Tracy, for a fun and safe time in New Zealand.
Thanks to my friends Brenda and Mandy, and their respective families for their hospitality, kindness and generosity! I hope to see you again soon, whether it's in your corner of the world again, or mine!
Thanks to Michael Lucas for supplying many of his 600+ digital photos from the tour and allowing me to post them here.
Once you're done reading about my travels through New Zealand, don't forget to check out my other travelogues!
June 6 - 25, 2002
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