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  • Golden Compass New Zealand Freephone number 0800-132-385
  • 1800-132-385

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Dear Educational Traveller,

Capture the moment! Do it now!
We have had a busy year at Golden Compass Tours. Louise, Hugh and Mark have led a number of successful tours through Europe and the Caucasus, while Robyn has been eagerly showing our participants the wonderful colours and culture of Japan. Some of you have also joined our popular tours within Australia and we have met with many of you at our Travel Forums along Australia’s East Coast and in Auckland.

Christmas is a time to reflect on the year gone by and to celebrate with family, friends and loved ones. In saying this, our thoughts are also with those who have experienced setbacks or loss during 2019.

Looking towards 2020, why not seize the day: carpe diem! Come and join us on a Golden Compass tour, where you’ll be exploring with like-minded travellers, sharing interesting and memorable experiences. Now is the time to plan your next adventure, knowing that you’ll be in safe hands, with our experienced Program Leaders taking care of you.

Oberammergau Passion Play
We are sure that 2020 will be a very special year. It is our Silver anniversary, and we're proud to have created memorable travel experiences for you for 25 years! To mark this event, our own resident Kiwi Program Leader, Louise Shave, will be leading a special Journey through New Zealand; and Mark Goodwin, will be leading a fascinating tour to show you the best of his native country on our Discover Wales tour. Next year also marks the performance of the not-to-be-missed Passion Play in the charming Alpine village of Oberammergau. This once in a decade event takes place in 2020 but not again until 2030. Golden Compass is offering two very special tours to include this unique event: our European Alpine Discovery with Oberammergau shows you the very best of Europe’s Alpine scenery and takes you on spectacular Swiss train journeys. Led by Hugh Morgan, this tour takes in Bavaria, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Alternatively, our Hapsburg Cities with Oberammergau, led by Mark Goodwin, allows you to experience some of the great art, music and architecture of the Hapsburg Empire’s most impressive cities: Prague, Bratislava, Budapest, Vienna and Salzburg, as well as the exuberant Bavarian capital, Munich. Spaces are extremely limited on our Oberammergau tours, so please contact us now to reserve your place!
We are also offering some appetising new tours in 2020 including our Undiscovered Italy tour (guaranteed), Taste of Campania (guaranteed), Balkan Discovery, Highlights of Germany (guaranteed) and two new tours to China: China & Tibet and China’s Silk Road. We only need a few more registrations in order to guarantee some of these tours, so please send your registration forms without delay.

There are also some old favourites in 2020 including our Adriatic Discovery, Scottish Island Hopping, Trans-Caucasus Journey, Singapore in Depth, Journey to the 'Stans' in Central Asia, Santiago in Style, Treasures of India, Persia and Iran, Japan Autumn Colours and Oman and Dubai: An Arabian Adventure. We'll keep you informed with tour updates, as we continue to receive your registration forms, but the really good news is.........

New Guaranteed Departures

As a result of the tremendous support we’ve received recently, we're very pleased to announce some additions to our list of 2020 tours which are already guaranteed with only a few spaces still available on each
Itchan Kala, Khiva, Uzbekistan
Berlin Cathedral
Each tour offers the opportunity to travel with a small group of like-minded people and to experience amazing destinations with the expert guidance, care and insights of outstanding local guides and our much-loved, well-travelled and experienced program leaders.

Please also note our Early Bird Booking Discount for tour departures up to and including June 2020 is being extended until 10 January 2020. Please ensure you contact us and send us your registration soon to secure a saving of $300 per person / $600 per couple on your 2020 tour.

With only a few more bookings on a number of tours, we'll be able to guarantee those tours, so please do send in your registration form.

As mentioned above, we are delighted to announce that our popular Program Leader, Louise Shave, will be leading our Journey through New Zealand in February. Louise is extremely keen to share her love and enthusiasm of her own country, New Zealand, with you and has written a short article (see below) about this spectacular 19-night tour, which we trust you will enjoy reading. Hopefully this article will encourage you to join this New Zealand tour with Louise at what is arguably the best time of the year.


A Journey through New Zealand
Haere mai ki Aotearoa/New Zealand - Welcome to the Land of the Long White Cloud

It's a bit special to be writing a newsletter for a Silver Jubilee program! In my 20 years of working with Golden Compass, I've helped plan and led many of our programs in Europe and Asia, but this is different. This time, I will be able to share with you my own unique corner of the world - a country with an astonishing diversity of landscapes and natural attractions; a country with remarkable stories of settlement - by Maori, (our indigenous people), Europeans (who first arrived to take advantage of the abundant whales and seals around our long, convoluted coastline); and the subsequent arrivals of folk from all corners of the earth - Chinese miners following the Gold Rushes of America and Australia, refugees from war-torn countries or people simply seeking a better life. I'm hoping to show you how life is for our small, multi-cultural population on a daily basis - education, health, politics, environmental issues, difficulties, mistakes, dreams - an insight into what makes these small islands 'tick'.

You will see some of our best natural features. We have mysterious forests with mighty trees that grow to heights of more than 50 metres, with trunk girths up to 16 metres and lifespans of more than 2,000 years. We have meandering, braided rivers, lacy waterfalls that cascade from precipitous heights, deep-blue glacial lakes, geysers and boiling mud pools that will remind you of winter porridge-making, snow-capped mountains which continue to grow (by as much as your fingernails each year) as they are inexorably pushed up by the meeting of tectonic plates. We have glorious, wind-swept tussock lands and gently rolling farmland. We will take guided walks through valleys and forests. Weather-permitting, there will be boat trips in both North and South Islands. In the north we will cruise out into the pristine Bay of Islands to see the famous Hole in the Rock and in Rotorua we will take a trip on a picturesque lake formed by a volcanic explosion in 1886. Nowadays, small warm springs and mini-geysers around the lake edge are the only reminders of the force of that explosive event. Our southern cruises will be on the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Milford Sound with its iconic Mitre Peak and spectacular waterfalls while in Queenstown we will board a faithfully restored steamboat - originally built in 1912 - to cruise across picturesque Lake Wakatipu and visit a working farm.

Inferno Crater, Waimangu Valley, near Rotorua Mitre Peak, Milford Sound

With visits to museums and to Te Puia Maori Arts & Crafts Institute, I plan to introduce you to Maori history, settlement, language and traditions. We will visit the Treaty House at Waitangi, where we will learn about our 'Founding Document' - the Treaty signed between Maori and the British in 1840. We will discuss the current redress of land claims caused by the compulsory acquisitions of the government of those early years. In Rotorua, a cultural performance and hangi (food cooked in an earth oven) will add to our experience.

Each of our cities is different - some planned and settled by hopeful, would-be farmers or merchants; some established for their good harbours and possibilities for trade. Auckland, with its 47 offshore islands, is our most multi-cultural city. Hilly, buzzing Wellington is our capital and here we will learn about our political system with a guided visit to Parliament. We will discover both Art Deco Napier and 21st century Christchurch - two cities which were severely affected by earthquakes and rebuilt (Napier) and being rebuilt (Christchurch), in entirely different architectural styles. We will stay in Queenstown, the glorious city nestled on the shores of Lake Wakatipu and surrounded by the Remarkable Mountains.

Maori Carved Canoe, Waitangi Queenstown, South Island

Our tiny group of islands drifted away from the great super-continent of Gondwanaland before the appearance of mammals on other land masses, and in its isolated environment (which David Bellamy has dubbed 'Moa's Ark'), numerous species of flightless birds evolved - moa, kiwi, takahe, huia and others with equally exotic-sounding names. Once humans arrived in Aotearoa, many of these birds became extinct as they either provided food or were killed by the animals and other pests we 'imported' - either purposefully or accidentally. With current knowledge and determined efforts, many of those which were close to extinction have been brought back from the brink. We will meet our iconic kiwi at one of the breeding places and we will also explore one of the vital predator-free sanctuaries, hopefully meeting some of the 'rescued-from-extinction' characters of our avian world.

It would be great if you could join me to celebrate 25 years of great adventures in the adventure capital of the world!

Ma te wa! See you soon!

Louise Shave

Golden Compass Program Leader

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2020 Guaranteed Departures

2020 Guaranteed Departures

New guaranteed departures for 2020!

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Refer a Friend Rewards

Refer a Friend Rewards

Receive a $250 discount off any Golden Compass tour when your friends or family book with us! Your friends will also save $250 off their own booking and there is…

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Early Booking Discount

Early Booking Discount

Early Booking discounts are available for all our 2020 tours but please make sure you don’t miss out! Registering before the Early Booking deadline secures a saving of up to…

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Meet Our Program Leaders

Meet Our Program Leaders

Our Program Leaders are based in Australia and New Zealand, so have an understanding of the needs of our Australian and New Zealand participants. They are all well-travelled with a…

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The Hapsburg Cities Tour with Oberammergau:

08 June - 27 June 2020

The great cities of the Hapsburgs were the golden trio of Vienna, Prague and Budapest, which influenced not only the body politic but also the awesome outpouring of creativity from composers such as Mozart, Haydn, Liszt and Dvorak to Smetena, Bartok and Janacek.


Inclusive of field trips, local guides, gratuities and many meals.