I’ve booked our internal flight in New Zealand. We’re flying from Dunedin all the way to Rotorua. So that means we are going to be seeing the far south of the country and the far north and missing out the whole of the middle. In the south we hope to see Queenstown, Wanaka, Milford Sound and Dunedin. In the north we are going to see Rotorua and then head to Auckland via the Coromandel peninsula. We knew we wouldn’t be able to see it all in the 13 days we have available, so this seems the best way to maximize the sightseeing and minimize the travelling time.
We’re flying Air New Zealand. If you’re looking for internal flights I recommend using Expedia.co.nz, as they can get the cheap domestic flight offers on Air New Zealand that are not available outside the country.
So I finally booked the internal flights in Brazil. I was originally going to book them with GOL, but in the end the TAM flights came in at about the same price and with more civilized flight times. So I went for those instead. Plus I could book them through a UK based website (ended up using lastminute.com), so at least I can phone someone here if there is a problem.
Yes, it looks like we are going to visit the Pantanal, although it was a bit of a struggle to find a good tour guide at a reasonable price. We’ve got a reservation with the Jaguar Eco Reserve for a 4 night/5 day visit including boat trips, fishing for piranhas, walking and maybe spotting those big cats if we’re lucky… I’m really excited! Coincidentally there was an article in the Independent on Saturday on Brazilian eco tourism which mentions Eduardo, who we’ve been corresponding with by email.
It’s not been easy to sort this out. First off we contacted Julinho of Pantanal Trackers who gets great reviews everywhere online. But unfortunately he was fully booked for August – obviously his reputation goes before him. He put us in contact with his cousin, who was also busy when we were hoping to be there. He put us in contact with someone else, who was also busy, at which point we gave up on that line of enquiry. We had also been in contact with Pantanal Nature who also get good reviews online. They had an offer, but it seemed a bit expensive even if we opted for camping. Last night we found that Eduardo offered transport and activities alongside accommodation and food, so we sent him an email, not expecting a quick response (it says they try to respond within a week!) but he got straight back with a good price of 500 USD per night for the family, all inclusive. So we’ve reserved it. Now we need to buy ourselves some flights from Rio and then on to Salvador….