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From a night in an isolated glass pod in New Zealand to stunning new safari camps in Botswana

Date published: 13/09/2017 Updated: 14/02/2019

Exciting and unique experiences now available from Audley Travel

Audley Travel today introduces a number of new experiences across its programmes. From unique accommodation to breath-taking experiences - they are all now available to be included on Audley’s tailor-made itineraries.

Sleep under the stars in an isolated glass pod in New Zealand

New for Audley in New Zealand is PurePod - glamping with a difference. The PurePod is made totally of glass (even the roof and the floor) meaning guests experience the beauty of the nature around them whilst sheltered in luxury with no one else around. Guests park their cars around 1km from the pod and the walk introduces them to the local environment as well as giving them a real understanding of the isolation and privacy that awaits them at their home for the night. Meals can be provided on request or guests cook food of their own choice. Binoculars or a telescope are provided for bird watching and star gazing, and guests must rely on the natural environment for their entertainment as there is no TV in the pod.

There are four PurePods on New Zealand’s South Island, all within 2.5 hours of Christchurch. Two are near Kaikoura (one above the Kahutara River and one with great views of the Seaward Kaikoura Mountains), a third is hidden high above a fantastic winery in Waipara and the last is above the Little River township on Banks Peninsula.

A night in the PurePods is available on tailor-made tours to New Zealand’s South Island, which cost from £4,225 per person for 16 days.

Audley adds new safari camps to its Botswana programme

Audley has bolstered its offering in Botswana with the introduction of new safari camps in both the Khwai and Sankuyo Concessions.

In Khwai Concession, Sable Alley overlooks a lagoon that connects the Khwai and Sable Alley rivers and is a short distance from the world-famous Moremi Wildlife Reserve. It is on the footprint of one of Botswana’s original safari camps so is a well-loved (yet not over populated) area of Khwai known for its game populations. A resident pod of hippo and large herds of elephant and buffalo are reliably regular visitors to the lagoon and can be watched from the comfort of the swimming pool and other outdoor areas. Game drives and walks are available exploring the 440,000 acre Khwai Private Reserve and Sable Alley also offers mokoro safaris where guests enjoy watching the animals from a canoe. Accommodation is in 12 elevated luxury tents, each with en-suite bathrooms, private verandas and private indoor and outdoor showers.

Also new in Khwai is Hyena Pan (sister camp to Sable Alley), a tranquil tented camp which is well visited by hippo, elephant and buffalo as well as a fantastic array of water birds. Accommodation is in eight en-suite tents with gas generated showers. It is the ideal place to get away from the outside world, with no mobile signal or Wi-Fi to distract guests from the amazing sights on their doorstep.

The third new camp is Skybeds – a truly unique safari accommodation. Guests stay on a three-storey five-metre-high raised platform with all the comforts expected from more traditional accommodation. Each Skybed is lit by lanterns at night, creating a fantastic romantic ambiance and overlooks a water hole which is frequented by wild dog, lion, elephant and hyena.

In Sankuyo Concession, the new addition to Audley’s portfolio is Rra Dinare (which means ‘father of many buffalo’). The camp overlooks the Gomoti River and its floodplains and offers eight tents. Communal areas (including a pool) feature open, thatched spaces to relax and enjoy the surroundings.

These lodges can be included on tailor-made safaris which cost from £4,165 per person for a 11-day trip.

Twin centre trips with a difference

Audley’s Hidden Beaches team is proving its expertise in designing tailor-made trips with the introduction of some eclectic mixes of beach and culture that offer clients something completely new.

In the Indian Ocean, the specialists recommend trips that combine highlights such as the Cultural Triangle or Kandy in Sri Lanka with time relaxing on the beach at Paradee in Koh Samet, Thailand or island hopping in the Seychelles.

Audley’s specialists also recommend that clients consider Oman for their twin centre beach and culture stay. A trip balancing the dramatic scenery of the mountains in Jebel Akhdar, Oman with relaxation on a Thai beach or an island in the Seychelles is available.

Audley can now also offer a solution for couples who crave some time relaxing in the Maldives, but want to explore and soak up some culture – traditionally difficult to fit into a Maldives trip. Audley recommend clients think beyond the usual twin centre of Dubai or Abu Dhabi and satisfy their hunger for culture with time in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or Bangkok. For the ultimate, once in a lifetime trip, the Maldives and Bangkok can be combined with a few days at Thailand’s first jungle camp - Elephant Hills – where guests can watch the majestic animals interact with their natural environment.

Prices start from £2,359 per person for a 13-day trip.

New destination in Russia

Audley has introduced Karelia, north of St Petersburg, to its Russian programme. Traditionally a simple stop on a river cruise from Moscow to St Petersburg, Audley’s specialists see huge potential in the area and now offer it as an option on itineraries in the region.

Clients will stay in Petrozavodsk – Audley’s specialists recommend the Frigate Hotel. This boutique hotel is on the shores of Lake Onega, Europe’s second largest lake, and offers guests delicious meals at the finest fish restaurant in Karelia which is conveniently on site.

Highlights in the region include Kizhi island and UNESCO site Kizhi Pogost. Kizhi Island is at the centre of Lake Onega and home to the open-air Museum of Cultural History and Architecture. Populated from the 16th century to the 1950s, the abandoned island now boasts an impressive collection of restored traditional log buildings – the bell tower and two churches towards the southern end of the island are known as Kizhi Pogost and were declared a world heritage site in 1990.

Also recommended by Audley’s Russia specialists is a day trip to Valaam Island, an archipelago in Ladoga Lake which is home to a 14th century monastery. The trip also includes a stop at Kinerma, honoured in 2016 with its spot on the list of the most beautiful villages in Russia.

Audley recommends two days in Karelia and the destination is best suited to inclusion on itineraries based around Moscow and St Petersburg.

Unspoilt, rugged views on Japan’s San’In Coast

New for Audley in Japan is the San’In Coast – an area relatively untouched by tourists and man in general – impressive when so much of Japan’s coastline is man-made. It is found bordering the Sea of Japan, 1.5 hours flight or six hours on a train from Tokyo. It is an area very popular with domestic visitors, but international tourists are yet to discover its charm – making it the ideal destination for Audley to offer on its tailor-made tours. The vista is a relatively unspoilt, rugged coastline. Visitors to the region experience an older, more traditional Japan. Time here is well spent exploring the coastline as well as visiting the religious shrines, quaint villages, castle towns and abandoned silver mines. To relax after a long day, a visit to the healing waters of the hot spring resort of Tamatsukuri Onsen is a must, as is taking some time to enjoy the calm of the white sand and turquoise water beaches.

Audley recommends no less than four days in San’in and the destination is best suited to inclusion on itineraries focusing on Central Japan, Shikoku or Kyushu, and start from £4,200 for 12 days.

Explore California’s Channel Islands

New for Audley’s USA programme is a trip to the Channel Islands National Park, found off the coast of Southern California. Only accessible by boat, the national park is made up of five islands which boast a unique collection of animals and plants. The Santa Rosa Island subspecies of the Torrey Pine, for example, is one of the rarest pine trees in the world and the island is also home to the endemic island fox. The islands play an important role archeologically and paleontologically, with remains of an ancient endemic species (a pygmy mammoth) found. Marine life is also a reason to visit - in spring and summer blue whales are frequent visitors to the waters off the islands.

A trip to California’s Channel Islands is available on tailor-made tours to California, which cost from £2,680 per person for 11 days.

Enjoy British Columbia’s stunning scenery from a Cessna

Visitors to British Columbia in Canada can now sign up for Audley’s ‘Wings and Waterfalls Tour’, a 45-minute flight in a Cessna 182 Skyplane II over Wells Gray Provincial Park. Sights include snow-capped mountains, ancient volcanoes, white-water rivers, hidden lakes and mountain pastures – something Audley’s Canada specialists say is not to be missed.

The Wings and Waterfalls Tour can be added to any British Columbia itinerary, which cost from £1,520 per person for eight days.

Authentic Ecuador, far from the beaten track

Last but not least is Audley’s latest addition in South America - the indigenous community of San Rafael, two hours south east of the town of Riobamba. Tourism in this part of Ecuador is extremely limited and Audley’s new experience gives its clients unique access that can’t be booked elsewhere.

Visitors to San Rafael are greeted with fantastic views of the Sangay Volcano and surrounding valleys before being welcomed into a project established to reintroduce the native alpaca to communities in the Paramo highlands with the goal of generating a sustainable source of income for the women of these communities. The trip is a unique opportunity to visit an authentic indigenous village which has had little outside influence on its culture. Visitors interact with locals who wear their traditional clothing (on a daily basis, rather than for the benefit of visiting tour groups) and practice the customs and beliefs of their ancestors. A highlight of the visit is seeing the alpacas in their mountain top farm, with the Sangay Volcano rising up as a backdrop. For guests who want to stay a little longer, an overnight stay in the community can be arranged.

This authentic experience can be included on itineraries visiting Riobamba, which cost from £5,815 per person for 13 days.

Notes to editors

All sample itinerary prices include international flights and transfers. Accommodation is based on two sharing unless stated otherwise. For more information please visit www.audleytravel.com or call 01993 838000.

About Audley Travel

Audley Travel offers tailor-made trips to over 80 countries across the world. Each trip is designed by a destination specialist who knows the country in great detail, having lived there or explored it many times. Each trip is designed specifically for a client, based on their tastes, interests and budget but with a common commitment to quality and to showing clients the highlights of a destination in a different light, and introducing them to places and experiences that others might miss. For more information on all of Audley’s tailor-made trips, please visit www.audleytravel.com.