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May 2, 2018 Mahurangimatters 37

Chriss recommends visiting Machu Picchu as a ‘must do’ for any traveller.


Croatia provides a rich history from its civil war.

Top 10 most spectacular places in the world you must visit Chriss Kavanagh is a Hello World travel broker, who has visited more than 100 countries. She lives in Warkworth when she isn’t on a plane to somewhere and recently bought a house in Spain. Mahurangi Matters asked Chriss to list the top 10 countries that would be on her ultimate trip. Argentina South America is my favourite continent because it has everything. It’s safe as long as you use common sense, though I would recommend being part of a travel group or learning some basic Spanish if you’re going to visit. In Argentina, I like the contrast between the vast deserts in the north and the ski fields in the south. Like New Zealand, the scenery is always changing, but on a bigger scale. Cuba It isn’t a destination on many people’s itinerary because of a lack of easy access, but the jazz theme in Cuba is fantastic. It’s not uncommon to walk up the street and see people playing a double bass or trombone on the

side of the road. It also has a fantastic social history. Peru If there is one place you should put on your bucket list, it’s Machu Picchu. It’s an amazing experience. You have the option of completing a three-day Inca trail on foot or catching a train, so it’s accessible to everyone. Vietnam Vietnam is all about the food. Everything is fresh and Vietnamese cooking involves the use of a really great mix of herbs as well. For Kiwis who like their coffee, they produce the best in the world in my opinion. Spain I finally brought a house in Spain because it is one of my favourite destinations. The two drawcards for me are the language and the climate, which is hot and dry. Bolivia It’s one of the less touristy places in South America and has quite a low socioeconomic status. Travelling there is all about the people, though, who despite their poor circumstances are unbelievably nice and helpful. The salt lakes are also amazing to visit.

Croatia Croatia is becoming increasingly popular with tourists because it provides something quite different to a lot of other popular European destinations. The highlight there is the history, especially around the Croatian War of Independence. Guatemala If you’re an adventurous type of traveller then Guatemala is a great destination. There are a lot of cycle trips and some fantastic lakes to do activities on. Italy Much like Vietnam, cuisine is a real highlight in Italy with the likes of fantastic cheeses and pizzas on offer. It’s also home to a lot of stunning scenery. New Zealand As cliché as it will always sound, once you’ve travelled to half the places on the globe, you realise how great things are where we live. I visited England before I had even gone to the South Island, but it’s worth making sure you check out our backyard as well as trying all the other overseas options.


Departs 25 July 2018. Join us on this spectacular trip to South Australia Includes: Home pickup and return airfares, visit Kangaroo Island, visit Hahndorf village and the studio of Hans Heysen, a great day trip up the Barossa valley, 5 nights on the Murray River on board the Proud Mary. All daily excursions off the river are covered in your tour cost. Plus much more. 12 days, Usually $5250.00 pp twin share, SPECIAL MAHURANGI MATTERS ONLY DEAL $5100.00 pp if booked by Friday May 11.



Departs 23 June 2018. Escape winter on this great trip Includes: Home pickup and return airfares, visit Kurunda on the skyrail, day trips to Great Barrier Reef and Daintree Rainforest, 3 nights on the edge of the outback, 4 nights in spectacular Port Douglas, a full day trip on the Iconic Savannahlander train. Plus much more. 12 days. Usually $4995.00 pp, SPECIAL MAHURANGI MATTERS ONLY DEAL $4895.00 pp if booked by Friday May 11

More fantastic tours coming up around New Zealand including: World of Wearable Arts – October 2018 Stewart Island & Catlins – Three trips over summer 2018/2019 Autumn Colours South Island tour - April 2019 – Be quick, this fills fast Molesworth & Farewell Spit – November 2018 Chatham Islands Forget me Not tour – October 2018 Australia: Tasmania – October 2018

Contact us now for information on any of these great trips or to join our mailing list to receive our quarterly newsletters with all tour details.

For further information call Reid Tours on 0800 446 886 • •

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38 Mahurangimatters May 2, 2018

66 8720 ext 0 66 8721

Framed photos from Phones and Cameras

E: Nightmare journeys Check out By Nicola Bolton

Call in store today or go to 35 Queen Street, Warkworth 09 425 9574

Last year, my partner and I booked a tropical escape to Samoa. The brochures looked stunning, the fares were cheap, and the flight wasn’t much longer than three hours. We used a local travel agent to secure the flights, then surfed the net to book our own accommodation. We chose three different resorts for our five-night stay, spread across the two main islands of Upolu and Savaii. My partner and I chose to spend the majority of our time on Savaii. We liked the idea of being more remote. This meant less activity and more rest and relaxation. However, the one big thing we did not do was to check the weather forecast. We knew the flights were cheap, but we should have questioned why. It turned out we were holidaying in the wet season. Whoops. The dates we chose also happened to coincide with the arrival of Tropical Cyclone Gita. Whoops again. Gita’s visit brought howling winds and violent rain. By the time we departed, Savaii’s roads were severely flooded, large trees were up-rooted, roofs peeled back and windows smashed. We were without electricity for days. Ferries were cancelled, flights were cancelled, hotels and shops closed up. As travellers, we sat stranded with no accommodation, very wet luggage and a soggy rental car. Our tropical escape turned into a harrowing nightmare. Looking back, I learned a lot about Samoa that week and travel in general. Never again will I book a holiday in the carefree manner I always have. I recommend the following to ensure you don’t make the same mistakes we did. 1. Do your own research. Don’t expect your travel agent to tell you everything you need to know. Register with Safetravel ( which is an amazing website that lets the NZ Government know who is in what country, should a disaster occur. It also provides weather reports and local tips. 2. Always organise mobile roaming on your phone before you travel. 3. Let your bank know where and when you are travelling so they can monitor your card’s activity. 4. Leave an itinerary with friends or family, along with any important emergency contacts. If you wind up stranded, at least someone can contact your employer or keep feeding your cat. 5. Print off all relevant travel information and have it on hand in your cabin bag. Print-outs of bookings, phone numbers, addresses, maps and so forth will be a godsend if you can’t use your phone. 6. Purchase travel insurance with your flights. If any hiccups occur before or during your holiday, you are backed up with assistance and reimbursement. 7. Hire a car or scooter for stays of more than a couple of days. Don’t rely solely on taxis or hotel shuttles. Car hire is often cheap, flexible and a lot more comfortable. If you are heading to Samoa like we did, keep in mind that the country has quite a few roaming dogs and some of them don’t like scooters. 8. Always keep a secret stash of local currency packed somewhere safe. 9. Don’t expect to eat ‘Kiwi food’ abroad. If you don’t fancy trying the local cuisine, then stick to the resort restaurants. 10. Don’t expect that you will always feel welcome. Sometimes tourists can be met with hostility from the locals, so keep your wits about you. 11. Last but not least, make sure you take plenty of photos. A trip that seemed hellish at the time might just turn out to be a comedy classic.

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May 2, 2018 Mahurangimatters 39


Nor East Excursions Years ago, Peter Foster’s auntie started a travel club, taking friends and acquaintances on shows, day trips and tours in her Toyota Hiace van. The hobby business proved enormously successful, the customers, mostly seniors, booked trips again and again, delighting in both the fun excursions and getting to know their fellow travellers. When aunty decided it was time for her to move on, club members were dismayed. So Peter and partner Lynette Clothier decided to take on the business themselves – upgrading to a 12-seat Ford Transit passenger van, developing a website and monthly newsletter, and generally putting the business on a more professional footing. At the same time, Peter and Lynette, who describe themselves as “Ministers of Fun”, have strived to maintain the friendly, club atmosphere that made auntie’s venture such a hit in the first place. They’ve also broadened the appeal of Nor East excursions to reach younger clients in their forties, fifties and sixties. “There’s seldom any need to put on a CD on in the van. Everybody is so busy chatting and sharing their stories,” Peter says. The variety of trips Nor East organises is enormous. It could be a picnic on

Taking you here, there & everywhere!

Chatham Islands Adventure

Come with us October 18-25 2018 and discover all this amazing and unique part of New Zealand has to offer: • Culture, history and heritage touring the entire island • Fabulous food and hospitality • Optional extras like fishing and Pitt Island tours • We can pick you up and drop you home Phone 09 425 5623 Also contact us to receive our monthly newsletters.

Peter Foster and Lynette Clothier

Great Barrier Island, an eight-day tour of the South Island, a trip to the Chatham Islands, a visit to an exotic country, or an evening out at the ballet, the opera or a musical. “We’re coming up with new ideas and devising new trips all the time,” Lynette says. Upcoming shows planned include Chicago, The 10 Tenors, Beyond the Barricade and the World of Wearable Art Show in Wellington. Peter and Lynette specialise in taking care of every tiny detail, from helping with bags, picking up guests from their homes, and ensuring guests don’t have to walk in the dark to reach a theatre or restaurant. Peter says it’s all about taking the hassle out of travel. “It’s informal, it’s relaxed, it’s fun, and it’s about developing relationships with fellow travellers,” he says.


40 Mahurangimatters May 2, 2018

Chef Ray. A picture taken at the food markets to reinforce our experiences with food and the locals we meet. Camera: Canon EOS 80D with a Sigma 50mm, 2.8 lens. Flash used.

The advantage of using an SLR type system is that it gives access to any number of lenses. In this case I shot the farmer on his tractor with a very wide lens (Tamron 11-18mm, 4.5 - 4.6) to capture both the farmer and dramatic backdrop.

Important to think before you shoot

Mahurangi Matters Beer columnist, Tahi Bar owner and professional photographer Ian Marriott was in Rarotonga last week for both relaxing and taking pictures. Here he offers his thoughts on taking great photographs.

Whether it is the holiday of a lifetime or an annual pilgrimage to a much-loved destination, we all love to capture great photos of our journeys. But do we know how? Here are my tips: 1. Always show respect for customs and cultural traditions of the area you are in. Gain some local knowledge early. A few well-placed questions ahead of time could save you embarrassment or even worse. 2. There are inevitable “oohs” and “aahs” on every trip. When you encounter your perfect scenic shot, take your time, compose and frame the vision, check your settings and don’t be afraid to use the automatic mode if you are not confident with your camera’s controls.

3. Always have a camera with you so that you are ready for that candid shot or moment of humour. You never know what you may stumble upon. Not all good holiday shots should be taken with travel guides in mind. Record your journey. 4. In photography, there are times of the day referred to as the “Golden Hours”. They are the hour at and after sunrise and the hour before and up to sunset. These times impart the best light for photography. Photography is painting with light and you want your memories to be vivid, so aspire that your photographs give life to your memories. Ian previously worked as a sports and event photographer in the English Midlands. See more of Ian’s photographs at


Local Drummer Sonny Williams a one-time performer at Warkworth’s Kowhai Festival. This shot has a link to the country visited and a link to the country travelled from. Canon 80D, 28-135 lens.

Call: 09 422 3700


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Mahurangi Matters 2 may 2018 - Travel FEATURE  

Mahurangi Matters 2 may 2018 - Travel FEATURE

Mahurangi Matters 2 may 2018 - Travel FEATURE  

Mahurangi Matters 2 may 2018 - Travel FEATURE