Nothing beats an active involvement with an unusual and different experience when travelling somewhere away from home. Not only does it add to the excitement and enjoyment of a tour, but it also takes you into another world so different from ours – culturally and geographically. On a Goway Holiday of a Lifetime group tour, this travel gem is found in the various itineraries offered, making them really special and memorable.
On our Waltzing Matilda group tour to Australia and New Zealand, (and on the Best of Australia and Best of New Zealand), hands-on experiences come thick and fast. While in Cairns, you will learn how to throw a boomerang by an Aboriginal expert so that you can show off this skill to your friends once back home. You will also meet and be introduced to Goway’s adopted koalas, Matilda, Walter, and Kiah, who live in the rainforest. In Adelaide, you will visit the National Wine Centre of Australia to enjoy a wine tasting of South Australia’s fine wines. What’s not to like? In Melbourne, you will see the fascinating parade of the penguins. Every morning, the colony of penguins here come down from their burrows and head into the sea to look for their next meal. You will observe them emerging from the sea, as they return to their burrows in the late afternoon, looking tired but pleased with themselves. It’s quite a sight, believe me. The Blue Mountains near Sydney have the Katoomba Scenic Railway, the steepest cable-driven funicular railway in the world… and you will get to ride on it!
Jumping across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand, you have the option in Rotorua of staying at a genuine working family farm where you will be hospitably looked after and supplied with some wholesome home cooking. If you are a fan, or even if you aren’t, you can experience being on the movie set of The Hobbit series, just outside of Rotorua.
The Splendours of China & Tibet group tour really involves some unique hands-on experiences. You learn how to practice Tai Chi at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing with a true master of the art. If it’s a mystery now, it certainly won’t be afterwards. Another perhaps mystery is the Chinese Tea Ceremony. You will enjoy partaking in this authentic ceremony in one of Beijing’s old quarters in the Hutongs. Just outside Xian, there is a farming community who for generations has developed the art of painting. You will view these pieces of art, and if interested, can purchase these paintings which colourfully depict Chinese farm and peasant life. In Suzhou, you have the opportunity to learn for yourself the ancient art of Chinese Calligraphy, and come to appreciate its quality and intricateness.
The Splendours of India offers many insights into India’s unusual customs and cultural practices. In the holy city of the Hindu religion, Varanasi, you will attend an Aarti Ceremony on the banks of the sacred River Ganges at sunset. This Hindu ceremony, which is unique to Varanasi, is a ritual of worship in which lights from wicks soaked in purified butter or camphor are offered to one or more Hindu deities. Also in Varanasi, an early morning boat ride on the Ganges will introduce you to sights and scenes you will never forget – local people washing and bathing in the river, funerals being conducted on the banks, and much more. At Ranthambore National Park, famous as a tiger sanctuary, you will have the opportunity to take animal tracking safaris with a guide to seek out these majestic animals, as well as spot other wildlife and birdlife all up close and personal.
The Magic of Africa group tour takes you to South Africa, where it offers olive oil and olive tasting in the Cape Winelands in Franschhoek, which is somewhat different. This is followed by a wine cellar tour with the opportunity to sample some excellent South African wines. While staying at a private game lodge in Kruger National Park, and adding to your enjoyment of game viewing, a visit to a pre-school is arranged to obtain first-hand knowledge of what the community is doing to improve the education system for local children. In addition to the game drives, you can try an optional bush walk with an armed ranger. This is a really exciting Africa safari experience like no other. I hasten to add that, to the best of my knowledge, there has never been an incident of a ranger having to use his rifle! Another hands-on experience is hearing a talk given in Victoria Falls by a local historian about the fascinating and interesting Dr. David Livingstone and his travels and adventures in Southern Africa.
A highlight on Goway’s Cape to Cairo group tour, which covers 8 different countries in Africa, may well be the gorilla trek in Rwanda. It might be of interest to know that only 80 gorilla trekking permits are issued every day, and the maximum size of each group on a trek is 8 people. Trekking can take from two to six or more hours if the gorillas move before the park rangers locate them. Seeing these amazing animals up close will be a long lasting memory to cherish.
In South America, Goway offers two group tours – the Cradle of the Incas and Samba, Tango and Waterfalls, or a combination of the two, called Signature South America to Brazil, Argentina, and Peru. The waterfalls mentioned in the tour title are the mighty Iguassu Falls which border 3 countries, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This tour covers two sides, the Brazilian and the Argentinean. To really experience these falls, there are a number of activities. These include a guided walk along the catwalks, a walk to the breathtaking “Devil’s Throat” – one of the best viewing places to realize the power and strength of the falls, an optional helicopter ride over the entire falls for what would be a truly awe-inspiring experience, and an optional adventurous motor boat ride up to the base of the Falls. In Buenos Aires, the thrill of the Tango will be felt, as you watch expert performers engage in this typical Argentinean art form. Out on the pampas, you will visit a traditional hacienda, not only to see how a typical Argentinean farm operates, but also to meet and talk to the people who work there. You will be given a demonstration of the skills of the gauchos.
Moving to Peru, the opportunity presents itself to meet a special family for lunch in Lima in the exclusive district of San Isidro. This particular family owns a private collection of art pieces ranging from pre-Inca ceramics and textiles to the most complete collection of Nativity scenes in the Americas. This visit will give you an insight into the lifestyle of a local family. In Cusco, the heartland of the Inca civilization, you will be given an in-kitchen cooking demonstration at a local restaurant, involving mouth-watering traditional Andes dishes.
No Goway Holiday of a Lifetime would be complete without these special hands-on experiences! More than just a tour, they truly are “a promise of something special.”
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