Over 250 Australian travel agents have returned home after taking part in Tourism New Zealand’s Mega Famil, run in partnership with Emirates and tourism operators around New Zealand.
It’s one of the largest familiarisation and training events Tourism New Zealand has ever run.
Tourism New Zealand also used the famil to launch its refreshed 100% Pure New Zealand specialist online training program.
The agents, 255 in all, spilt up into groups after a training day and headed out on road trips all around the country, with modes of transport including self-drive, train, plane and helicopter.
Each trip was named after a New Zealand native bird and e-Global Travel Media went along on “Kakapo”, which visited Queenstown, picturesque Arrowtown and the South Island’s wild West Coast. The kakapo is New Zealand’s night parrot, a large, rare, flightless, nocturnal, ground-dwelling bird.
The trip, led by Paul Wilson of AAT Kings and Kris Taute of Tourism New Zealand, was a lot of fun – and genuinely educational as well. The Kakapo parrot may be shy and reclusive but none of the agents on the trip came into that category. Everyone learned a lot and had a good time.
Participating agents were: Jessica Fish, Flight Centre Erina; Jessie Johnson, Flight Centre Botany Rd; Brooke Williams, Flight Centre West Ryde; Stephanie Dounis, Student Flights Sydney Central; Tomas Denson, Student Flights Glebe; Zaac Hansel Totonjian, FCm Travel Solutions – The Royals; Amy Hutton, Flight Centre Hurstville; Alyce Jane Muldoon Flight Centre Gordon; Wendy Fung-Lan Shoo, Flight Centre Dubbo; Rachael Danielle Coppock, Flight Centre Ingleburn; Elinor Richardson, Corporate Traveller NSW 103; Serena Harden Flight Centre Archer; Mark Jeffrey Muller, Flight Centre Shellharbour; Fady Raslan, Flight Centre Kings Cross; Annette Hundt, Escape Travel Macarthur Square; Chelsea May Wall, Flight Centre
Warriewood; Cindy Louise Hendrie, Flight Centre Mount Druitt; Autumn Moser, The Travel Authority; Jessica Sarah Leary, Go Tours Travel; Kristy Ann Trenchard, Travelworld Forster; Adrina Binti Mohd Anwar, Qantas Holidays; Paul James Nichols, Flight Centre Blacktown; Simone Armeni, Flight Centre Gladesville; Klyne Jeffreson, Flight Centre Sydney; Kirsty Hunter, Mindshare; and Danielle Lawson, Impulse Travel.
Agents took in the thrilling Shotover Jet experience, zooming through narrow canyons on Queenstown’s Shotover River, and cruised Lake Wakitipu on the vintage steamship TSS Earnslaw (built in the same year as the Titanic), where the engine room is open to the public and so is the bar.
Our Kakapo group flew up to Franz Josef Glacier on The Helicopter Line, an immensely scenic experience that also happens to be weather dependent. If there’s too much fog, mist or cloud around, you can’t fly. For us, the weather was perfect. Everyone was able to make the flight – for some agents it was their first flight in a copter.
We relaxed in hot glacier-water baths at Franz Josef. We explored the Westcoast Treetop Walk, the region’s newest attraction, and took the TransAlpine train through to Christchurch, where Christchurch Canterbury Tourism gave an update on the redevelopment of the city following the earthquake.
Lunch at Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch and a room inspection showed the hotel is very much open and keen for business. Not only is it the tallest building in Christchurch, it was voted one of the Top 25 Trendiest Hotels in South Pacific in the Trip Advisor Travellers’ Choice 2012 Awards.
Some photos from the famil can be seen below.
Written by : Peter Needham