New Zealand is on everyone’s travel list |

New Zealand is on everyone’s travel list

Marilyn Foster

One of today's most popular travel destinations is New Zealand, and the Chamber's Travel Club is going there in late October this year. We'll not only explore parts of the North and South Island, but we start off in Australia — after all, you can't travel that far without seeing and touring the iconic Sydney Opera House or the Great Barrier Reef.

Right up front, I will tell you that it's a very long flight to reach our first stop — Cairns — and departing from Reno also adds that extra air time, not to mention ground time — usually in Los Angeles. The total travel time between the two cities is about 23 hours. The travel time between Sydney and Auckland is short in comparison at just over three hours. Returning is a bit shorter from Queensland at about 20 hours — still a long time to be in the air and in airports, but the body can take it and at 89, I should know since I have spent many hours in the air.

But, put the thought of the long travel aside. Flying to and from a destination is probably the worst part of any trip — unless you are flying business or first class. But, still it is incredible to think how far across the globe you can fly in a relatively short — though sometimes uncomfortable — time.

Filmmakers love New Zealand. The scenery is spectacular. Just watch "The Lord of the Rings" or "The Piano." The green of the countryside almost blinds you, for we are more used to the tans and browns of our high desert environment. The only time we see sheep here is to annually graze our hills for fire prevention. There, sheep are everywhere dotting the landscape, outnumbering humans. If you like lamb, you can even enjoy a lamb burger from McDonald's!

The 18-day trip includes some incredible cultural experiences including dinner with a New Zealand family and an authentic Hangi dinner celebration with the native Maori tribe. In fact, there are a full 25 meals included on this tour including a full breakfast daily, two lunches and eight dinners — and a trip to a winery in the Central Otago where many of New Zealand's finest wines are produced. Your last night in Queenstown finds you taking a breathtaking gondola up the mountain to enjoy a farewell dinner at the famous Skyline Restaurant.

In Australia, you'll be able to get up close and personal with cuddly koalas and the not-so-cuddly crocodiles. The famed Sydney Opera House will be explored on a private behind-the-scenes tour and later seen from Sydney Harbor as you enjoy your dinner cruise. A catamaran ride is planned for an exciting excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.

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This Collette Tour features four-star hotels, international flights from Reno, all airport transfers, regional flights within the country, touring, admission to various parks, 25 meals, and more. Plus, you receive free parking at the Chamber and round-trip transfers between the Chamber office and Reno airport.

Want to extend the trip an additional three nights in Fiji? That can be done! Just ask the travel experts at the Chamber!

Also, if you are interested in some free air promos being offered by Mayflower Tours, you have until Feb. 28 to sign up for either the New England and Cape Cod Autumn Foliage Tour departing Oct. 9, 2018 and/or the Tulip Time on the Romantic Rhine and Mosel River Cruise departing April 7.

Itineraries are on the home page under the Travel Club heading at Or, stop by the office at 1900 S. Carson St. Call 775-882-1565.

On March 17, I am off to tour Japan and am hoping to see the famed cherry blossoms. Another long journey, but I know it will be another wonderful Collette Travel experience. I just booked the Mayflower Virginia Coastal Harvest Tour departing Oct. 21 offering fall foliage and amazing foods and wines. Come join me on this foodie tour. I am tasting the fresh fish already!

Marilyn is a consummate traveler and loves new experiences and learning the many cultures that make up this universe. She just turned 89 years old and her feet keep finding ways to walk new paths.