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New Zealand Feature Article

New Zealand's Tongariro National Park is the star of a 14-page feature in the July 2009 issue of National Geographic. The article "Between Fire & Ice" describes the Maori significance of the volcanic landscapes and the Lord of the Rings connection. Tongariro holds the distinction of having twice been named a World Heritage site, both for its' physical features and its' cultural importance.

Volunteer Travel Opportunities Australia

Contact Travel Downunder for more information on these opportunities

Conservation Volunteers Australia (CVA) is Australia’s leading not-for-profit and non-government conservation organization offering a range of experiential, eco-certified and award winning conservation holidays. Founded in 1982, each year CVA completes in excess of 2,500 essential conservation projects with active volunteer participation. Joining a volunteer holiday supports critical wildlife conservation across Australia.

These ecotours combine visits to pristine areas and conservation activities. Participants enjoy the opportunity to visit unique destinations, get close to nature and explore the great outdoors, while contributing to the conservation of the environment. Vacation destinations are chosen for their significant natural and cultural features. Each program provides an intimate experience with nature, a range of accommodation options and personalised services with no more than 10 people on a program. The time spent undertaking conservation activities typically make up 30 - 40 percent of the trip with the other time spent touring such as bush walks, island tours, wildlife viewing and visiting national parks.

Primarily project activities involve research, monitoring and easy 'hands on' projects. No experience is required to participate in a program, though you should be reasonably fit and active and declare any pre-existing medical conditions at the time of booking. Program prices include accommodation, meals, program leader, transfers from the designated pick up point, park or reserve entry fees and scheduled activities. All programs are led by an experienced guide.

Day with the Devils

Go Wild @ Bonorong and take an exclusive behind the scenes look at this important Conservation Centre. Bonorong Wildlife Conservation Centre specializes in wildlife conservation, education, and native animal care and is committed to the conservation of Tasmania's threatened species. Enjoy close encounters with the Tasmanian devil and other wildlife. Join our expert wildlife keeper to learn about the recovery program helping to save this iconic threatened species from a fatal facial tumor disease. Visit Mt Field National Park, one of the prime habitats of the Tasmanian devil, where you'll walk through beautiful forests and experience striking waterfalls. Share an unforgettable connection with Tasmania's wildlife and play a part in their protection.

Two-Day Wildlife Encounter

Tasmania boasts many unique species of plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. This two-day program combines active participation in wildlife conservation with opportunities to experience Tasmania's magnificent natural beauty. You'll enjoy friendly hospitality, wildlife, accommodation and meals featuring the best of Tasmania's world-renowned natural produce. Visit Bonorong, a Wildlife Conservation Centre committed to the conservation of Tasmania's threatened species, and learn about endangered wildlife while participating in behind-the-scenes activities. Enjoy encounters with the Tasmanian devil, now listed as endangered this iconic species faces extinction in the wild. Travel to Bruny Island and experience wild coastlines, stunning natural cliff formations, lighthouses, rich heritage and local wildlife. Join a major conservation initiative to recover the habitat of two endangered Tasmanian birds, the magnificent swift parrot and the jewel-like 40-spotted pardalote.

Walk along stretches of white sandy beaches and observe little penguins as they make their regular evening journey ashore. You will also have an opportunity to assist local national parks and wildlife rangers with ongoing penguin rookery restoration and learn about the conservation measures designed to ensure their continued survival. This meaningful program provides critical support for Tasmania's threatened wildlife species.

Six-Day Tasmanian Experience

Experience the natural wonders of Tasmania. Explore the World Heritage-listed and breathtaking Cradle Mountain National Park, stroll along pristine white beaches of Freycinet National Park, and visit cascading waterfalls and experience close encounters with wildlife. Along the way help make a difference to Liffey Reserve an area of high conservation value protecting threatened species in the World Heritage Area wilderness, and on the east coast assist our conservation expert with little penguin surveys. The Tasmania Experience is a remarkable journey featuring iconic landscapes and exclusive areas seen by few.

Eight-Day Wildlife and Wilderness

Travel in four-star accommodated comfort as you experience the wilderness and wildlife of Tasmania's west and east coasts. Visit the Freycinet Peninsula and Freycinet National Park, one of the state's most scenic coastal areas. The imposing granite peaks of the Hazards, crystal blue waters and white sandy beaches are among some of the park highlights. During the evening join our experienced conservation guide to undertake penguin surveys and enjoy observing these hardy little seabirds as they make their regular evening journey ashore. Wander through historic townships, enjoy fresh Tasmanian produce and take a leisurely walk around the magnificent Cataract Gorge, a reserve for native wildlife on the doorstep of Launceston. Visit Liffey River Reserve, a beautiful temperate rainforest located on the edge of the Tasmanian Central Plateau World Heritage Area and spend a few hours helping to restore native habitat for wildlife. Cruise the narrow passage of Hells Gate near Strahan for spectacular views of the World Heritage Area. Be mesmerized by Cradle Mountain National Park; this wild and spectacular landscape provides a diversity of walks and landscapes. Meet the Tasmanian devil at a facility committed to the long-term conservation of this now endangered species and enjoy local wildlife. Be inspired as you experience and help protect the natural wonders and unique wildlife of Tasmania.

Wildlife Warriors

Wildlife Warriors Worldwide Ltd was established in 2002, initially by Steve and Terri Irwin, as a way to include and involve other caring people to support the protection of injured, threatened or endangered wildlife - from the individual animal to an entire species. We are happy to advise that Wildlife Warriors has recently adopted the conservation of the Tasmanian devil as a global cause.

National Geographic To Promote Cooks As Geotourism Destination

The National Geographic Society has signed an agreement with the Rarotonga government to promote the Cook Islands as a "geotourism" destination.

The Cook Islands is the first destination in the Pacific to sign the National Geographic's Geotourism Charter and only the fourth destination in the world.

"Geotourism focuses on those attributes that make a place worth visiting. It's about what makes one place different from the next," according to Jonathan Tourtellot, director of National Geographic's Center for Sustainable Destinations.

The Southern Spirit
- Luxury Australian Rail Cruises

The Southern Spirit is not for everyone. It's for those who expect more. Those who view travel as they view life, not as a destination, but a journey to be savoured.

The Southern Spirit experience is something quite unique in Australia. Epic transcontinental rail cruising in Platinum or Gold Service style, combined with a suite of deluxe excursions and once in a lifetime events at ports along the way.

On board you'll enjoy unparalleled luxury and unmatched personal attention with 24-hour cabin service. Whereas trips “ashore” offer you the chance to indulge yourself at exclusive five-star hotels or take off on excursions as adventurous and exciting as you choose to make them.

No, Southern Spirit is not for everyone. It's for the lucky few who get on board.

Please contact Travel Downunder for the individual itinerary details.

Vegetarian and special dietary requirements are also available on request at time of booking.

Cook Islands
Easter Island
French Polynesia
New Caledonia
Norfolk Island
Solomon Islands
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