The champagne corks are popping again because Intrepid Travel has received the top award for being Australia’s fastest-growing and most innovative company at the 2008 SmartCompany Awards.
Geoff Manchester, Intrepid Director and co-founder said, “This is a great honour and one that Darrell, my fellow co-founder and I will cherish, because it recognises the 20 years of hard work our employees and industry partners have put in to helping build Intrepid.”
Camel rides through the desert in India, elephant rides in Thailand, pony carts in Luxor and donkey rides to the Valley of the Kings. These a just a few of the many animal riding opportunities offered as part of the experience in tourism destinations. But is it cruel for the animals? Or is it actually a good thing because your payment is helping fund the handlers and enable them to better care for the animals?
We asked animal welfare organisations for their views on animal riding…
“Travelling with my parents, they’ve always impressed upon me respect for other cultures and how learning some words in their language can be fun and show respect.
So – at age 11 – I learnt ‘calimera’ meant good morning in Greek, for when we were travelling through some of the islands there.
So one morning, I walked along a beach at the front of our hotel, picking up shells and nodding my head at passers-by and calling them ‘squid’ (calamari) instead. *nod* Squid! *nod* Squid!
To this day I love learning bits and pieces of the language when we travel – I love seeing people’s faces light up in delight that you have taken the time and care.” Kirsten Jackes, Intrepid Express reader.
When Express reader Louise Macfarlane and her boyfriend decided on a picnic in France, little did they know it would end up more like a funniest home videos sketch than a romantic afternoon…
“One of the most memorable afternoons I have experienced whilst travelling, was in southern France. We were travelling on Intrepid’s Classic Europe trip and having a free afternoon, my boyfriend and I borrowed rickety bikes from the hotel and filled the baskets with delicious French fare for a picnic lunch in the surrounding grape-laden countryside.
We found the perfect location to lay our sarongs (always the most useful things in our backpacks!). We wanted to set up an idyllic picnic photo to record this special day, so we unwrapped our spread of fresh fruits, cheese, crusty breads, sweet wine and even a bunch of red radish for effect!
The Intrepid Foundation’s volunteer administrator, Anna Wade, recently travelled to Cambodia with her husband, two twelve-year-olds and her adventurous septuagenarian parents and one of the highlights for them all was visiting The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)…
“ACCB was established in 2003 to help conserve the local wildlife and to educate people on the need to protect their indigenous animals. Located 30 km (18 miles) north of Siem Reap, ACCB endeavours to rehabilitate some animals to return to the wild and care for those who couldn’t survive without their help.
The Travel Lab’s Jacquie Burnside hadn’t been back to Bali for 13 years, but she finally put that right last week! It took Bali Bootcamp to get her there, but now she can’t believe she left it so long…
“The minute I stepped off the plane I had a smile a mile wide recalling all the fun times spent on previous trips, the warm and inviting Balinese hospitality and the shy but playful local characters. I was greeted by that very Balinese smell of kretek, clove cigarettes, and air thick with the fragrance of recent rain and there was Made, the cheerful driver sent by the guesthouse to transfer me from the airport.
Ah Bali, beautiful Bali! Where culture, religion and daily life are as one. Where the rice paddies are impossibly green, where the people are so friendly and welcoming you feel immediately at home and where I could happily hang my hat and never leave! The pace of life slows, the head clears and that smile…well, it stays a mile wide for the duration of my stay.
Now I am back home and still pining for the warmth and excitement of Thailand; my wonderful group; and our superstar leader, Ben!
Ben really ensured we all had a great time throughout the trip and cajoled those of us who were intimidated by food we weren’t familiar with, to give it all a go! Although my mission was to try as many Thai curries as possible, Ben gave us even more fab food adventures. Although porridge is my breakfast staple at home, the Thai version (with meat balls and egg) she introduced us to was a real feast to start the day!
There’s no going back now – digital cameras have opened up a whole new world of photo opportunities!
They’ve made it easy for us all to be a photographers and capture those magic moments then share them quickly with friends and family. But there is still an art to getting it right and Intrepid’s John Kirk comes to our rescue with some great tips for taking the perfect shot…
“I just love the challenge of night photography and capturing spectacular images of city lights. However, there are a few tricks to getting good results. I have some proven tips that I share with my Intrepid Australia groups to help them take home superb night photographs of city lights, harbours, campfires and the endless starlit sky.
Is there anything New Zealand group leader Kim Bowden doesn’t know about the Land of the Long White Cloud? Kim takes us on a bird-watching adventure to learn that the kiwi’s feathered friends can be very cheeky…
“Would you believe that the bat is the only land mammal native to New Zealand? With Australia as a close neighbour, visitors to NZ shores are often surprised to discover that this land is snake, crocodile and kangaroo free.
The explanation lies in the fact that New Zealand separated from the ancient landmass of Gondwanaland before most mammals were on the scene. Prior to the arrival of Maori and then European settlers, many of New Zealand’s birds had adapted in remarkable ways to fill the niche occupied by mammals in other countries. Couple this with New Zealand’s location in the roaring 40s at the edge of the Southern Ocean and you can be sure to spot both weird and wonderful birds on any NZ travels.
We’ve all done it – felt confident trying out a few local words, only to end up with hot sauce instead of mild or a one-way ticket when we wanted round trip. But that’s all part of the fun, as Express reader Ewa Malinowska explains…
“This is a story of a friend whom I was traveling with in Poland. In Polish water is ‘woda’, and vodka is ‘wodka’ – the extra ‘k’ turns the word ‘water’ into an endearing term. During our travels, I taught my friend many words and phrases, and one day he decided to do the breakfast ‘shopping’ by himself.