Experience the amazing insider itineraries and off-the-charts access enjoyed by pro travel writers (without the annoying deadlines of course).
“You have the best job in the world.” Oh if we only had a frequent flyer mile for every time the wandermelon team has heard that sentiment expressed to us. As professional travel writers and photographers, it’s true we enjoy a pretty enviable lifestyle, with exceptional travels abroad made possible through extensive global contacts, some hard-won travel industry mojo, and a little bit of luck having encountered scores of amazing people and experiences along the way. But enough already with keeping it all to ourselves. We figured it wasn’t fair that we only recounted our experiences in print and online — we felt it was time to share. Share the contacts, the experiences, the off-the-beaten path, OMG moments that can only come from traveling on curated, self-guided itineraries designed by someone who has been there, done that and written about it for a major travel publication.
If you want to “Travel like a Travel Writer,” with all the perks and off-the-charts access (but without those annoying deadlines) we encourage you to check out our itineraries and come travel with us. We personally design each self-guided trip, so you have all the benefits of our experience and contacts, but travel at your own pace and with only the most important people in your life. Regarding the nuts and bolts of the trip: reservations, customization and booking, you’re in very good hands. We’ve assembled some amazing partners who do this all day long. Expert travel advisors with highly respected companies including Tahiti Legends, the largest Tahiti travel providers in the US, Excursionist.com, the experts in off the beaten-path travel and the Exclusive Travel Group, an Auckland-based company that are the go-to experts for anything and everything New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. This means that when you have questions and are ready to book, you get to speak with a real person – and expert at that — who will answer your questions, customize your itinerary, or handle any other requests like getting you that oceanview room.
We decided to design our first journeys in one of our favorite parts of the world, the Pacific, with our initial trips going to Bora Bora, Hawaii and New Zealand. We’re currently working on more, ranging from short stays in one of California’s hottest, under-the-radar wine regions, to our fave itineraries in South America and Europe, so stay tuned!
wandermelon Journeys currently available include:
The Bora Bora Liquid Festival is a fun and joyous celebration of water sports and Tahitian culture hosted each year during the month of December. Think of it as the ultimate mash-up of beach party-meets-Ironman with the added plus of being set on one of the most beautiful bucket list destinations on Planet Earth. With its pristine lagoon and jade green mountains, Bora Bora sets the ultimate stage for this week-long event that not only features world-class watersports competitions such as a circle-island OC-1 outrigger and SUP (stand-up paddle) race, but also inclusive events for everyone ranging from short-course races for weekend warriors to beachfront Zumba classes for those who want to do nothing more than dance in the sand .
Scheduled to take place from December 3–9, 2012, the Bora Bora Liquid Festival & Ironmana are not about winning races, but competing with like-minded athletes and active travelers enjoying the island lifestyle surrounded by new friends from around the world.
HAWAII’S BIG ISLAND
On this Big Island Hawaii Journey done in collaboration with Excursionist.com, our incredible itinerary will guide you past the tourist fluff to experience Hawaii at its most authentic: Manta rays, waterfalls and volcanoes are just a part of a spectacular experience that let’s you dive deep into the rich culture, raw beauty and off-trail adventures of Hawaii’s Big Island. Our deep knowledge of the island along with our experienced Hawaiian guides combine to give you an unforgettable itinerary that will take you around nearly the entire coastline of this natural marvel.
Your trip starts on the Kona Coast with its endless sun and welcoming beaches, then moves up to the isolated, off-the-radar North Kohala Coast and finishes near Volcanoes National Park, home of the fiery Hawaiian goddess of volcanoes, Pele. Here, you’ll be privileged to have an exclusive cultural experience with a native Hawaiian healer at a site sacred to Pele, as well as experience the traditional Hawaiian bodywork of lomi lomi. Other trip elements include a private tour of an Eden-like 100-acre organic farm where you’ll sample exotic fruits like lychee and star fruit; waterfall hike on the misty North Kohala Coast; snorkel or scuba adventure to admire the gentle giants known as manta rays pirouette in the sea; and a prix fixe gourmet lunch at hidden, loved-by-locals restaurant in easy-going Hilo.
Big enough to hold the rest of the Hawaiian islands combined, Hawaii Island is also as big as your imagination and appetite for adventure, especially when combined with our stand-out, insider’s itinerary.
If you want to experience the best that New Zealand has to offer, then the concept of Relais & Chateaux’ “Routes de Bonheur” is hard to bypass. This exclusive French hotel collection has been drawing in discerning travelers since 1954 when a group of hoteliers and restaurateurs between Paris and the French Riviera rallied together to share their passion for excellence, fine cuisine and the art de vivre. Now, we’ve teamed with Exclusively New Zealand to bring you an unforgettable experience that takes this concept and transplants it to this spectacular destination. Consider this itinerary the “greatest hits” of New Zealand, featuring the legendary locations and ultimate experiences that have made New Zealand one of the world’s most sought-after destinations. Both North and South Island are included with stops at places like North Island’s Lake Taupo, the trout-filled Waikato River and the iconic Huka Lodge. Activities you’ll enjoy here include fly fishing, parasailing, horseback riding and heli-trips to Whakaari (White Island).
There’s also stops in wine country at top vintners like Te Awa Winery and sight-seeing at spectacular Hawkes Bay, coupled with stays at exclusive retreats such as The Farm at Cape Kidnappers. On the South Island, the experiences are just as magic and memorable, including accommodations at hidden gems such as the Edenhouse hotel, an English-style country house situated on 48 acres of private grounds where garden-fresh, home-cooked meals are paired with manicured gardens and easy access to some of the South Island’s top attractions including Abel Tasman National Park with its golden sand beaches and nature-filled bushwalks.
Other South Island must-see’s you’ll experience include the Southern Alps, the lovely city of Christchurch and on its outskirts, fabled Otahuna Lodge. Finally you will arrive in Queenstown, set like a small jewel on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. This is the place to experience all those high-adrenaline sports you’ve been hearing about that make South Island such a mecca for everything from bungy jumping to canyon swinging and jet boating. Your trip ends with the ultimate in Kiwi hospitality at the luxe Whare Kea Lodge & Chalet and includes a heli-tour to spectacular Milford Sounds and Fiordland National Park, where you’ll soar over lush native and beech forests, glaciers, lakes and rivers. Visit New Zealand? Not at all, you lived it.