Return to Map
ENCOUNTER KOALAS AND OTHER WILDLIFE IN AUSTRALIA
Brisbane, Bundaberg and Sunshine Coast, Australia
July 10 to 26, 2013
- Explore sub-tropical Queensland with 4 days in the historic port city of Brisbane with its River Walk, Bridge Climb, botanical gardens, City Cats, River cruises, Arts and Music festivals.
- Go on a LARC! in Eurimbula National Park.
- Experience Goombucca Aboriginal Culture Center, Botanical Gardens, ginger, macadamia and mango plantations.
- See birds and animals unique to the region.
- Opt for a day on Lady Elliot Island-- southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef
Beginning in the historic port city of Brisbane, we will explore history, rivers, arts, music and gardens. We then travel via scenic TILT train north to meet our host club, FF Bundaberg, chartered in 1991 and has about 60 members. Visiting during their winter season, we can expect mild, clear sunny days and cool nights. Typical exchanges include welcome or farewell meal, barbecues, pot luck dinners and excursions that show us points of interest for the area. Explore beautiful Bundaberg, the Town of 1770-- site of Captain Cook’s landing, and go on a LARC! --an amphibious adventure along the coastline of the Eurimbula National Park to Bustard Bay and the historic Bustard Head Lightstation; a Bird Sanctuary, Snakes Alive at Childers, Hinkler Aviation Centre, Botanical Gardens, Barrmundi Farm, and Mango plantation.
We have planned an Optional Day tour during our free day to fly to Lady Elliot Island, the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef.
The second week we take a train to Nambour/ Maroochydore where our FF Sunshine Coast hosts will welcome us with afternoon High Tea. While here we will visit the Australia Zoo where you can hold a koala and see other wildlife unique to AU, the Goombucca Aboriginal Culture Center, Mooloolaba and the Wharf Region and a beach BBQ breakfast. A day tour will take us by bus to the Hinterland, taking in Maleny and Mary Cairncross Park overlooking the Glass Mountains, boutique cheese and chocolate factories, and an artisan winery. We will also explore Mooloolaba.
$2,050 USD. Includes all FFI and hosting fees for two weeks, 4 nights in Brisbane hotel, club gifts, LARC, Australia Zoo, ground transportation to and from exchanges. NOT included: airfare, travel insurance, Australian VISA, meals in Brisbane, optional Great Barrier Reef tour, personal expenses. Some local events will be at ambassador expense.
Return to Map
TAKE IN THE SPECTACULAR SIGHTS OF SYDNEY and THE GOLD COAST
Sydney and Gold Coast, Australia
September 2 to 17, 2013
- Sydney Harbor, opera house and bridge
- Walk the Rocks area, the first settlement in Sydney
- Famous Beaches: Bondi Beach and Surfers Paradise
- Hinterland, Tropical Rainforest, Wineries
- View Native Wildlife
The program arranged by local clubs will take us to sites not normally seen by tourists, all while being home hosted by our friendly Australian club members.
We begin in Sydney, which has a population of almost 4 million and is located on the picturesque Sydney Harbour. It was the site of the year 2000 Olympic Games and has many parks, the harbour and ocean beaches. The city's attractions include the uniquely designed Opera House, Harbour Bridge, historic Rocks area, SydneyTower, Royal Botanical Gardens, Taronga Zoo, spectacular Harbour Cruises, many museums, galleries and world class restaurants and theatres.
We will have opportunities to explore the Sydney Harbour and Bridge, tour the Rocks area and markets. Plans include a ferry trip on the bay, going to Bondi Beach, and the Sydney Zoo. On a wish day, a trip to a winery is an option. We will be in Sydney for 6 days.
Then, we fly to the Gold Coast of Australia. We will be there during their spring which is still sub-tropical and beach weather. Plans include a trip to the inland mountains known as the Hinterland or 'the green behind the gold'. We can walk the cool shaded rain forests and marvel at the cascading falls and 1000-year-old trees. Visits to the wildlife parks to see the unique koalas, kangaroos, lorikeets, platypus, and dingoes are also a possibility, as is an experience of the Aboriginal culture which goes back thousands of years. There will also surely be a famous Aussie BBQ and trips to beautiful beaches.
$950 USD. Includes FFI and host fees, flight between Sydney and the Gold Coast, other land transportation and Australian visa cost.
Return to Map
NEW - EXPLORE THE BEAUTIFUL GARDENS AND PARKS OF NEW ZEALAND
Auckland, Hamilton, Rotorua, New Plymouth, and Manawatu, New Zealand
October 22 to November 12, 2013
- See our beautiful private and public gardens at their spectacular best - included are gardens of International Significance.
- Visit the village of “Hobbiton” where “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” were filmed, and set left there.
- Visit Rotorua, unquestionably NZ's biggest tourist attraction with its thermal activity and geysers.
- Enjoy a Farmers Market Auction and farmers lunch.
- Interesting day trip to Wellington Capital City.
Enjoy our lovely city of Auckland on a scenic bus tour before heading down to be hosted by the Hamilton FF Club for three nights. While there visit Tatua Arboretum, a house & garden tour and private gardens. An interesting visit for all will be to “Hobbiton,” the picturesque village where “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” were filmed.
During our three-night stay in Rotorua, we will see Whakarewarewa, with its Maori village, geysers, mud pools and hot mineral pools to soak in. Enjoy a Hangi dinner and concert and ride in the Skyline Gondola. At Rainbow Springs watch for the little kiwis.
New Plymouth FF will host you for six nights in the Garden & Energy Province, during which time the lovely Garden Spectacular Festival is on. Visit Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust 900 acres, also enjoy Tupare House and Garden Tour with its stunning English gardens.
With the Manawatu FF club for your six-night stay, you will travel to Cross Hill Rhododendron Gardens, visit private gardens, and also enjoy the Farmers Cattle & Sheep auction and lunch. A day visit to Wellington to see our Parliament, Botanic Rose Gardens and also riding on the historic cable car will be enjoyed by all.
At the end of your stay, hosts will put you on the Northern Explorer Train to return to Auckland. You’ll travel over the engineering marvel Raurimu Spiral on the central plateau and enjoy the day trip on this scenic train. The last night’s stay is in the Auckland Hotel again.
$2,030 USD. Includes FFI and host fees, internal NZ travel, dinners/ bed/ breakfasts unless otherwise stated in the itinerary.
Return to Map
EXPERIENCE THE KIWI WAY OF LIFE WITH TWO HOME STAYS IN NEW ZEALAND
Otago and Kapiti Coast, New Zealand
October 23 to November 13, 2013
- The Kapiti Coast has New Zealand's top golf course, a world class car museum, magnificently restored trams, easily accessible nature reserves and wonderful arts and crafts.
- Experience Dunedin, New Zealand’s oldest city, founded by whalers, gold miners and early Scottish settlers.
- Explore the beaches and look for the exotic wildlife of the South Island of New Zealand.
- Hear the amazing tale of New Zealand’s only castle, designed and built over 100 years ago.
- Trips to the thermal centre of Rotorua and to Southern Alps being planned.
We will arrive in Auckland and work our way down the North Island, paying a visit first to Rotorua, New Zealand’s fascinating thermal region and popular Maori historical center.
We will then continue to the Kapiti Coast on the southwest corner of the North Island for a week of home hosting by the Kapiti Coast FF Club, located 60 km (37 miles) north of Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. With its backdrop of the massive Tararua Ranges, the spectacular landscape and microclimate have made the Kapiti Coast a most desirable place to visit.
Then on to the South Island to visit the Southern Alps in all their splendor. We end this adventure with a week's hospitality on the south end of the South Island with the club from Otago, located around the town of Dunedin. Here we will explore the Otago Harbour with an amazing array of coastal bays and beach views. Dunedin is a city renowned for its proximity to incredible wildlife. We will see the rare yellow-eyed penguins (hoiho), the world's only mainland breeding colony of the Royal Albatross, and we also have easy access to rare NZ sea lions. These are all within a short drive of the city centre. Other not-to-be missed attractions include the world's steepest street - Baldwin Street - (1:2.9), the local Speights Brewery and also the Cadbury Chocolate factory.
$450 USD. Includes FFI and host fees. Does not include international air travel and travel/accommodation outside of the exchanges within New Zealand. Contact the ED for details.
Return to Map
MELBOURNE AND TWEED VALLEY: DELICIOUS FOOD, ABORIGINAL CULTURE, MUSEUMS, AND MORE!
Tweed Valley, Melbourne, Australia
October 25 to November 9, 2013
- Visit farms, orchards, vineyards, plantations, cheese producers and markets with local Friendship Force members
- Learn new Australian recipes and cooking methods, including a real bush tucker talk and have an authentic bush tucker lunch
- Learn about the Aboriginal culture and art
- Visit theaters, museums and art markets
- An authentic Australian BBQ while celebrating Melbourne Cup Day
Week 1 will be with FF Club of Tweed Valley and will focus on cuisine. Members of FF Tweed Valley will take you through the countryside and coastline to discover their culinary treasures. You will get to visit farms, orchards, vineyards, plantations, cheese producers, and markets where you will have the chance to prepare, cook and eat your bounties with new friends in Tweed Valley.
Week 2 will be in Melbourne and will focus on Australian culture. This will include Indigenous art, music, and stories. You will visit Melbourne’s world class galleries and museums. You will also get to experience the cuisine in Melbourne- from fish and chips to Chinatown. The chance to have an authentic Australian BBQ while watching the Melbourne Cup is not to be missed.
Arrivals into Tweed Valley. If arriving from another capital city the airport closest to Tweed is the Gold Coast Airport code OOL, internal flights are very reasonable.
www.jetstar.com www.tigerairways.com and www.virginaustralia.com are the domestic airlines that fly into and out of the Gold Coast very regularly. We will arrange a pick up for you.
If you are arriving into Brisbane, you are able to catch the airtrain from both the International and Domestic airports. Then travel to Varsity Station where we can arrange a pick up. It is worth trying your seniors or pension card for fares on the train. It runs every 30 minutes.
Brisbane's Airtrain - Airport, CBD & Gold Coast Transfers www.airtrain.com.au/
Approx $805 USD (Includes FFI, Host & Program Fees). It does not include airfare, transportation between Tweed Valley and Melbourne or lunch/ dinner as indicated in the attached itinerary.