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Exotic Istanbul: Where East Meets West

(with an optional four night extension to Cappadocia, Turkey)

Main tour:  April 26 -May 3, 2013
Extension: May 3 – 7, 2013

(Download a printable itinerary)
Click here to read more about our upcoming tours…

Location, location, location! That is the story of Turkey, where east meets west, Europe meets Asia, Christianity meets Islam and where the world’s oldest city was discovered. Turkey today is a splendid mosaic, a thriving democracy that is rich in Oriental history and European splendor. Full of marvelous mystery and intrigue, it’s a glistening city of tiled mosques, world-class cuisine and the whirl of a dervish.  Istanbul, Cappadocia and all things Turkish conjure exotic images most of us dream about but few actually experience in their lifetime. Join our magical carpet ride to a land that is far away, romantic and unforgettable. 

 

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Splendor in the Land of the Maori

 

 

 

New Zealand and Sydney, Australia

Splendor in the Land of the Maori: Gardens, Wineries and Landscapes

March 25 – April 6, 2012

Edventures is pleased to announce a 13-day tour  ̳Down Under‘ March 25-April 6, 2012. ―Splendor in the Land of the Maori: Gardens, Wineries and Landscapes‖ will bring travelers to New Zealand‘s two major islands and its spectacularly beautiful landscapes of vast alpine mountain chains, sweeping coastlines, deeply indented fiords and lush rainforests. The trip will explore Queenstown, set in the magnificent mountain ranges known as ―The Remarkables‖ and visit landscapes featured in the film, ―Lord of the Rings.‖ Ancient forests unchanged for 80 million years, an exploration of Maori culture in museums and villages, visits to wineries, public and private gardens are only some of the included sights and events.

The tour concludes with a two-night visit to Sydney and its famous opera house, Harbor Bridge, and beaches.

25 March, 2012 Depart from San Francisco via Air New Zealand to Queenstown, New Zealand. Travelers will meet in San Francisco. If you would like to arrive a day or two early, please note on the trip reservation form that we have obtained special hotel rates for our travelers.

26 March, 2012 Enroute to Queenstown

27 March, 2012 Upon arrival in Queenstown we will meet our local tour guide and deluxe motor coach and transfer to our hotel.

The Remarkables mountain range nestles above Queenstown.

Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast

28 March, 2012

A mountain resort city, Queenstown is set along placid Lake Wakatipu, with the mountain range known as the Remarkables on the horizon. The range lives up to its name by rising sharply to create an impressive mountain scape. From Queenstown, the mountain range creates a stunning backdrop.

This evening is at leisure to rest and explore the charming pedestrian mall of downtown Queenstown.

After breakfast, enjoy a relaxed tour of the Gibbston Valley area and enjoy a wine tasting with lunch at Gibbston Valley Winery. Its underground cave was blasted out of the mountains, creating an ideal environment for its award winning boutique wines. We will also visit the Amisfield Wine Company whose iconic stone building has stunning views of snowcapped mountains and the beautiful Lake Hayes. It is renowned for its Pinot Noirs and aromatic whites.

New Zealand is famous for the invention of extreme adventure sports, so in the afternoon we will visit the AJ Hackett bungy bridge, where bungy jumping is an optional activity. We will then return to Queenstown and visit a local private Queenstown garden. Your hosts are local gardening enthusiasts and will be happy to share their knowledge and gardening tips. Nestled in the heart of the rural Wakatipu, each gardener draws their inspiration from the spectacular alpine landscape.

Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast, lunch

29 March, 2012

Breakfast at hotel. Today is open for a variety of activities. First, this is the day to take an optional day- long trip to Milford Sound, which is part of the World Heritage Fiordland National Park. This may be the only opportunity you have in your lifetime to visit a fiord. Milford Sound is a place of awe-inspiring landscapes, dramatic rivers and cascading waterfalls from the steep cliffs that surround the fiord. Your journey to the sound will take you through Home Tunnel, almost one mile long and drilled through solid rock. You will also visit Eglinton Valley, a place of ancient alpine

forest and gushing waterfalls. The boat trip not only provides spectacular views but also sightings of seals, birds, and other wildlife. With luck you will see the rarest penguin in the world, the Fiordland crested penguin. Additional details are at the end of the itinerary.

If you choose not to take this optional boat trip, your day is at leisure to explore the natural areas around Queenstown, lunch in one of the many charming restaurants in Queenstown, take a cable car ride or shop for some wonderful New Zealand knitwear.

Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast

30 March, 2012 After breakfast, we travel to Glenorchy, located on the northern arm of Lake Wakatipu. We will travel the back country route by 4WD safari vehicle and stop to view some of New Zealand‘s most spectacular scenery that has framed the epic backdrop for many international movies, including the ‘Lord of the Rings.’ We will then hike through the nearby primordial forest where a naturalist will help us understand the history of the area, its flora and fauna and the value placed on the location by the Maori people. We will then board a jetboat for a ride in the gorge of Mt. Aspiring National Park. We will navigate the ever changing shallow channels of the glacier fed Dart River‘s braided river system, with our expert jet boat driver stopping along the way to highlight points of interest that make this a unique area of natural and cultural importance. We have some free time on our own for lunch and to shop for some of some of the country‘s famed ―possum socks.‖

This evening we will cruise Lake Wakatipu on a vintage steam ship to a traditional farm, the Colonel‘s Homestead, where we will enjoy a dinner of the best of New Zealand meats and seafood. This will be followed by an entertaining presentation that provides a glimpse into high country farming life. On your return cruise to Queenstown, relax with a drink from the bar, join a lively sing-along, or watch the crew feed the steam engine.

Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast, dinner and cruise

31 March, 2012 Today we will leave the south island and fly to New Zealand‘s north island and the city of Rotorua.

We begin our discovery of the Maori with a powhiri (welcome ceremony) before we enter the village, with crackling open fires in front of traditional whare (houses). We’ll hear traditional Maori instruments and watch the daily activities of days gone by. In the wharenui (meeting house), a Rangiatea culture group offers a powerful display of haka song and dance. Then, as new friendships are forged, we will dine on a traditional hangi feast, where the food is cooked slowly beneath the ground in earth ovens. This is an amazing re- enactment based on actual events from history, with real characters, traditional arts and crafts, and power filled song and dance. This dinner theater is a great way to understand the Maori traditional culture combined with a meal typical of the Maori.

Overnight: Rotorua, Meals: Breakfast, dinner & show

01 April, 2012 After breakfast we begin a full day of sightseeing. We will visit the Rotorua Museum which is housed in the historic Bath House building, located in the Government Gardens.

Next we will visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Arts and Crafts Institute. Te Puia is the premier Māori cultural center in New Zealand, a place of gushing waters, steaming vents, boiling mud pools and spectacular geysers. The Māori tradition lives on at Te Whakarewarewa, with guided tours and attractions featuring Māori culture, and the National Carving and Weaving Schools of New Zealand. For more information, see http://www.tepuia.com/about_te_puia_our_maori_people.htm.

Our next stop will be to visit Wai-O-Tapu. Sculptured out of volcanic activity and thousands of years in the making, Wai-O-Tapu is considered to be New Zealand‘s most colorful and diverse geothermal sightseeing attraction. You are introduced to a uniquely different natural landscape – the key to what you see lies below the surface – one of the most extensive geothermal systems in New Zealand.

In the late afternoon you may wish to take a spa treatment at the Polynesian Spa which is open until approximately 9 pm for optional swims and spa delights. You can get more information at http://www.polynesianspa.co.nz/polynesianspa.

Overnight: Rotorua, Meals: Breakfast

02 April, 2012

After breakfast we will take a scenic drive to Hamilton where we will visit the Hamilton Gardens (http://hamiltongardens.co.nz/collections/), with their collection of mature gardens from around the world such as a Chinese Scholars Garden, an English Flower Garden, a Japanese Garden of Contemplation, an American Modernist Garden and an Italian Renaissance Garden. The Garden Collections include the Rogers Rose Garden, the New Zealand Cultivar Garden, the Rhododendron Lawn, the Hamilton Camellia

Garden and the Victorian Flower Garden. For those more interested in the food which a garden can produce there are the Herb Garden, the Kitchen Garden and the Sustainable Backyard Garden.

In the afternoon we will continue to Auckland with a visit to the Auckland Botanic Gardens (http://www.aucklandbotanicgardens.co.nz/) and, time permitting, the Parnell Rose Gardens.

Overnight: Queenstown Meals: Breakfast

03 April, 2012

Our full day of sightseeing begins with a visit to the Auckland Museum where you will tour the section devoted to the Maori. This will be followed with a wilderness tour

to the Waitakere Ranges, a large regional park only half an hour away from Auckland and a jewel box of 40,000 acres of geographic diversity, including a rainforest, spectacular rocky outcrops, streams, waterfalls and beaches.

At its peak we will experience breathtaking views from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. After a picnic lunch we will visit the black sand volcanic beach overlooking the Tasman Sea and

return via the Rose Helleby Cottage, which is located high up on the hills in the Waitakere Ranges and offers spectacular views over bush country to Auckland and its surrounding waters.

This evening there is an optional dinner cruise aboard the Pride of Auckland sailing yacht which departs from Auckland‘s Viaduct Basin. It was created when New Zealand won the America‘s Cup Sailing Regatta and is the largest yacht marina in the southern hemisphere. Following a seafood dinner (alternative menus available), the Pride of Auckland sets its sails and brings its passengers on a harbor cruise, passing under the Harbor Bridge to Chelsea sugar works, Devonport Naval Base and the City’s waterfront. Guests are welcome to participate in sailing the yacht or can just sit back, relax and enjoy the sail

Overnight: Auckland Meals: Breakfast and lunch

04 April, 2012

Today we fly to Sydney. Upon arrival, a local assistant will meet us and accompany us to the hotel. Sydney is a thriving harbourside metropolis populated by almost four million people and is Australia’s best known city. It was

the first site of European settlement on the Australian continent – one vastly different from today’s cosmopolitan showcase. The city’s most famous landmarks include The Harbor Bridge, The Opera House and the Centrepoint Tower. With the harbor as the Sydney’s heart, the city proper is bounded by water to the north and west and fringed to the east by the extensive green parklands of the Botanical Gardens and the Domain. Sydney is an exciting and interesting city to experience.

Overnight: Sydney Meals: Breakfast

05 April, 2012 Sydney City Tour After breakfast, we will meet our local coach for a panoramic sightseeing tour of Sydney and the southern beaches. We will see the historic buildings of Governor Macquarie’s time in The Rocks, Mac Quarie St. with Parliament House and St

Mary’s Cathedral. Moving on to more modern style

architecture we stop at Mrs MacQuaries Chair in the Domain alongside the Botanical gardens for fine views of the Sydney

Opera House. We also take in the picturesque views of the Sydney Harbour, Double Bay, Rose Bay, Vaucluse and the Sydney Harbor heads. We end our

tour with a stop at the famous Bondi Beach.

Overnight: Sydney Meals: Breakfast

06 April, 2012 Today we return home.

Meals: Breakfast, lunch and dinner

OPTIONAL TOUR ACTIVITIES:

1)

2)

4)

Full day tour to Milford Sound: $195 per person Milford Sound is a world-renowned natural wonder. Nowhere else in fiord land do the mountains stand so tall, straight out of the sea. Luxuriant rainforests cling to sheer rock walls and waterfalls tumble hundreds of feet to the sea below. We will depart via motor coach from Queenstown, connecting to our cruise boat at Milford Sound. There are frequent stops along the way for visits to sights of natural wonders. Amazing photo opportunities are available. An included lunch will be on board.

360 degrees Shotover River trip: $89 per person (must be pre-purchased before departure to get this price—approximately $100 US on site)

World famous as the ultimate jet boating experience, Shotover Jet has thrilled over 3 million people since 1970, and now it’s your turn! Take a unique breathtaking ride

through dramatic and narrow Canyons, and hold on tight for Queenstown’s only exhilarating full 360° spins. ‘Can you handle the canyons?’ with award winning Shotover Jet, ‘The World’s Most Exciting Jet Boating Ride’ and the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. (http://www.shotoverjet.com)

3)      Pride of Auckland dinner cruise: $119 per person (must be pre-purchased before departure to get this price)

Bungy Jump (to be booked and paid locally) in Queenstown

TRIP PRICE based on double room occupancy is $5,499. The single supplement is $899. SMALL GROUP FEE: A small group fee of $200 will be charged if the group number falls

below 20. PAYMENT SCHEDULE: A deposit of $500 per person is due at time of registration.

DISCOUNT FOR EARLY SIGN-UP: Travelers who send in their registration fee by November 30, 2011, will receive a discount of $100.

TOUR PACKAGE INCLUDES:

      Flights San Francisco to Queenstown on Air New Zealand with return from Sydney to San Francisco via Auckland.

     Airline fuel surcharges of $300, subject to change until airline tickets are issued.     10 nights accommodations at the following hotels or similar

4 nights Copthorne Hotel, Queenstown, New Zealand 2 nights Distinction Hotel, Rotorua, New Zealand 2 nights Heritage Auckland Hotel & Towers, Auckland, New Zealand 2 nights Menzies Hotel, Sydney, Australia

     Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned motor coach

     Daily breakfast, 2 lunches, 2 dinners

     Entrance fees per itinerary  Gratuities

     Porterage of one piece per person on arrival and departure at each hotel

    Tax deductible donation to the sponsoring organization.

     Pre-departure materials.

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Edventures photos on Flickr!

Check out Edventures’ new Flickr page and enjoy some wonderful photos from past trips! If you are an Edventures traveler and have photos of your own that you’d like to share, please let us know by sending an email to goedventures@gmail.com

 

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Learn more about our next trip!

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT AVAILABLE!
Download a printable registration form for Scotland.

Edventures Presents Overview of Trip to Scotland at Saratoga Arts!

Wednesday, June 22 at 7 pm
Saturday, June 25 at 11:30 am
Tuesday, July 5 at 7 pm
Saturday, July 16 at 11:30 am.  

Saratoga Arts is located at 320 Broadway, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866
RSVP on Facebook by clicking here

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Scotland: Highlands, Castles, & Much Moor!

EARLY BOOKING DISCOUNT AVAILABLE!
Download a printable registration form for Scotland.

Day 1 – Overnight Flight to Edinburgh, Tuesday, September 27

We depart from JFK or Newark for our overnight flight to Edinburgh.

Day 2 – Edinburgh City Tour, Wednesday, September 28
When we arrive in Edinburgh, our Scottish tour escort will meet us at the airport and assist with a transfer to our hotel. Your city tour will start this afternoon. We will be able to compare and contrast the wide streets and elegant mansions of the Georgian 200-year-old “New Town” with the narrow lanes and medieval townhouses along the Royal Mile, the oldest part of the city and continue on to Princes Street, the main shopping thoroughfare that separates the two areas. Throughout our visit we will learn about many prominent Scottish inventors, doctors and writers. We finish our tour at the imposing Edinburgh Castle where you can see historic buildings and enjoy splendid views of Edinburgh. The balance of the day is free for independent exploring, shopping and dining on your own in Edinburgh.
In the afternoon, you may wish to visit the elaborately carved Rosslyn Chapel, easily reached six miles away on public transportation. It was well visited even before it became a prominent player in The Da Vinci Code. The Museum of Scotland, the National Gallery of Scotland, and the Royal Botanic Garden are other possible destinations.
We conclude the day with a welcome dinner.
Overnight: Edinburgh
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3 – Edinburgh City Tour with Holyrood Palace, Thursday, September 29
After a full Scottish breakfast, we will visit The Palace of Holyroodhouse. The official residence in Scotland of Her Majesty The Queen stands at the end of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile against the spectacular backdrop of Arthur’s Seat. This fine baroque palace is closely associated with Scotland’s rich history. The palace is perhaps best known as the home of Mary, Queen of Scots, and as the setting for many of the dramatic episodes in her turbulent reign. Mary was married at Holyroodhouse and witnessed the brutal killing of her secretary Rizzio by her jealous second husband in her private apartments. The palace briefly served as the headquarters of Bonnie Prince Charlie during the 1745 uprising. Today the State Apartments are used regularly by The Queen and other members of the Royal Family for State ceremonies and official entertaining. The afternoon is free at leisure to enjoy other sites of Edinburgh. Optional Dinner Show Highlights Scottish Culture. In the evening, you have the option of attending a dinner and show at the King James Thistle Hotel. According to the event’s producers, this is more than just a show; the evening is a cultural lesson in Scottish history. They report that even the panels and wall adornments convey abundant information about the rich and diverse past of our country. The fee includes transportation and an escort, a four-course Scottish banquet and a show that features Highland pipers and dancers and the very best in Scottish music, song and dance. The price is $190.
Overnight: Edinburgh
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4 -Loch Lomond & Stirling Castle, Friday, September 20
We depart Edinburgh and head slightly north west pass Bannockburn, scene of Robert The Bruce’s famous victory over the English in 1314, and then Linlithgow Palace, birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots in 1542. We continue to Stirling for a visit to the Castle. Stirling Castle is a great symbol of Scottish independence and a source of enduring national pride. The castle’s long, turbulent history is associated with great figures from Scotland’s past, such as William Wallace, Robert the Bruce and Mary Queen of Scots. We will also visit gardens, such as the Bowling Green Garden, an important feature of the castle. Here the royal family would stroll with their courtiers, talking of politics or maybe of love, watching entertainments, and playing games such as bowls and archery. We will drive through the picturesque village of Callander and pass the massive 14th century Doune Castle, which was featured in the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail. We then travel towards Loch Lomond, Britain’s largest expanse of water, with time for a leisurely walk. Recently designated as a national park, the Loch Lomond and Trossachs area’s magnificent landscape has fired the imagination of writers and artists for centuries. With its lochs, glens and heather covered mountains, this area is well known as “Scotland in Miniature,” and was a favorite destination of Sir Walter Scott, who used the location as the backdrop for his Rob Roy and The Lady of the Lake. Then journey through Glen Coe, a spectacular glen made famous by the Campbells’ massacre of the Clan Macdonald in 1692. We continue to Oban for dinner and overnight.
Overnight: Oban
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 – Isle of Skye & Clan Donald Centre, Saturday, October 1
This morning we head north via Fort William and take the “Road to the Isles” through some of Scotland’s loveliest scenery, stopping for photos at the Glenfinnan Monument. We will take the bridge to the Isle of Skye, sometimes called the Misty Isle where we will visit the Clan Donald Centre to discover the history of the Clan Donald, Lords of the Isles and the most powerful clan of the Isle of Skye. We will continue to drive through the island and return to the mainland by bridge, stopping for photos at the picturesque Eilean Donan Castle. Then drive along the beautiful shores of Loch Ness, famous for its monster. We will pause to view the huge ruins of Urquhart Castle before continuing to our hotel in the center of Inverness.
Overnight: Inverness area
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 – Culloden Battlefield & Whiskey Distillery, Sunday, October 2
Today we will enjoy a leisurely day of discovery in the lovely countryside and majestic Highland scenery. We drive to Culloden Moor to tour the Visitor Centre and walk around the battlefield where, on April 16, 1746, British Government forces defeated the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart in just one hour and ended hopes of restoring the Jacobite Stuarts to the British throne. And we will tour a distillery to see how barley and water are combined to create the “Water of Life” and enjoy a tasting. We continue our travel through the lovely scenery of Aberdeenshire with gentle hills and farms into Royal Deeside, an area that came into favor with Queen Victoria during the 19th century. Near the village of Banchory we will stop at the Falls of Feugh, a charming tea shop, which is popular with local people. We can sample afternoon tea with delicious freshly-baked scones and enjoy a talk on bagpipes, fishing or other aspects of Highland life. We continue to Blairs or nearby location in time for dinner.
Overnight: Blair Atholl area
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 7 – Glamis Castle & St. Andrews, Monday, October 3
We travel south through the lush countryside of Aberdeenshire to visit Glamis Castle, the legendary setting of “Macbeth” and childhood home of the late Queen Mother and then drive across the modern Tay Bridge to St. Andrews, the “Home of Golf.” We will see the famous Royal and Ancient Clubhouse and the Old Course and enjoy free time to visit the British Golf Museum or browse through the medieval town with its cathedral and castle. Leaving St. Andrews, we continue south back into Edinburgh and prepare for our return flight the next morning.
Overnight: Edinburgh
Meals: Breakfast

Tuesday, 04 October, 2011
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your departure flight home
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Trip price based on double room occupancy is $3499/person. This price is based on the rate of Exchange of 1GBP – 1.61896 USD. If the price increases or decreases by $50 or more, your invoice will reflect this increase or decrease resulting from currency fluctuations. Under $50, the price remains the same.

The single room supplement is $530. The special Scottish dinner extravaganza is an extra $190.

The following elements are included in the price of the trip

• Round trip non-stop air from JFK or Newark.
• $100 tax deductible contribution to Saratoga Arts, NYS Retired Teachers Association or Soroptimist International of Saratoga County.
• Full time tour escort and guide who will help make Scotland and its rich history and culture come alive for us.
• Gratuities for guides, bus drivers, tour escorts
• Daily breakfasts, and 4 dinners
• Private motor coach transportation throughout the trip
• Pre-departure documents and meeting

Not Included in Trip Cost:
• Airline tax and fuel surcharges are included up to $362 and are subject to change until airline tickets are issued. A cost of $10 beyond this fee will be passed on to travelers.

PRICE for $3499 per person double occupancy. The single supplement is $530.

SMALL GROUP FEE: A small group fee of $200 per person will be charged if the group number falls below 20.
PAYMENT SCHEDULE: Reservations are due ASAP. A deposit of $500 per person is due at time of registration. The reservation deadline is July 10. For reservations after this date, contact Edventures.
FINAL PAYMENT: Following your registration, Edventures will send an invoice. Final payment is due by July 10.

TRIP INSURANCE is a personal choice, but is recommended. Some purchase it through their local AAA office, which sells Access America. To get the best rates, you can compare costs online through agents like Squaremouth.com, InsureMyTrip.com or Totaltravelinsurance.com, which offer side-by-side comparisons. Please contact Edventures prior to purchasing trip insurance to assure that the trip is a “go.”

Do you still have questions about this trip? If so, contact Mary at Edventures 1 (607) 387-3322 or edventures@lightlink.com.

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Edventures on Facebook!

Edventures is now on Facebook. Please become a fan and invite your friends to do the same! Enjoy photo albums of past trips and learn about the very exciting travel plans we have in store for Fall 2011 and Spring 2012!

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The Loire Valley (May 16-23,2011)

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