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The Expert in Baby Boomer Travel

Travel Copywriter

New Zealand

Aly during filming of Red Dirt Road Trip video in Alice Springs. Photo by Amy Shields

One of the great pleasures of writing a travel blog is that I get to hear from travel lovers all over the world.

Recently I got an email from Aly Cook, a singer/songwriter (and baby boomer) from New Zealand who is particularly well known in Australia. Her music — including three albums and a raft of  number one country hits in Australia — combines country with rock, blues, and soul influences.

Among many other awards, she was named New Zealand Female Country Artist of the Year in 2012 and has been nominated five times for that honor.

Aly lives in the town of Nelson, New Zealand, nestled on Tasman Bay on the north coast of the South Island. (Before visiting Nelson some years ago, I had never heard of it. Talk about… Continue reading

Waterfalls empty into beautiful Milford Sound on New Zealand’s south island. Photo by Jade Chan

Among our far-flung correspondents is Jade Chan, who writes for The Star, an English-language newspaper in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Jade was on vacation in New Zealand just days and hours before that country — as well as Malaysia and Australia (where she had to transit) — severely limited travel to combat the coronavirus threat.  Getting home was something of a trial — “I was ‘saved by the bell,'” as she puts it — but at least she wasn’t stranded for weeks on a cruise ship.

I’ll let Jade take it from here (note that a somewhat different version of this piece originally appeared in The Star).

By Jade Chan

My family had planned for a holiday in New Zealand more than half a year ago, and departed for the Land of the… Continue reading

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand's South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

Gorgeous Milford Sound on New Zealand’s South Island. Photo by Clark Norton

New Zealand is one of my favorite destinations.

I’ve hiked along the Milford Track and through Abel Tasman National Park, marveled at gorgeous valleys and mountains that served as dramatic backdrops for the “Lord of the Rings” saga, made my way through an eerie glowworm cave, cruised through ice blue narrow passages of Milford Sound, enjoyed the urban amenities of Auckland and Wellington, and dined on lamb, lamb, and more lamb (though there’s much more to the diverse Kiwi cuisine — I just like lamb).

The country consists of three main islands: North, South, and Stewart (the latter is much smaller), and climate can range from warm and tropical in the north to cold and wintry in the south. Don’t forget that the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, so beautiful Fjordland in the far south can… Continue reading

Milford Sound is one of Zealandia's top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Milford Sound is one of Zealandia’s top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

You may have read recently that a group of eminent geologists now believe there is a land mass that should be regarded as the earth’s eighth continent, based on scientific studies of the nature of its continental crust.

They’ve dubbed it Zealandia, partially because it includes the island nation of New Zealand in the western Pacific.

The term “Zealandia” was actually coined back in 1995 to describe a number of islands in the region (of which New Zealand’s three main islands are the largest) and what were believed to be submerged fragments of  continental crust that broke off from Australia in  the distant past.

Now the evidence is that Zealandia is all one big piece stretching from north of Antarctica almost all the way to the east coast of Oz.  That would make… Continue reading

New Zealand's fabulous scenery makes it an inspiring place to hike. Photo by Clark Norton

New Zealand’s fabulous scenery makes it an inspiring place to hike. Photo by Clark Norton

Along with Switzerland, New Zealand is my favorite place to hike.

The “tracks,” as hiking trails are known there, lead along mountain ridges, lakes, and rivers and through valleys and rainforests. The scenery is, well, choose your cliche: spectacular, breathtaking, unforgettable.

Some of the tracks are relatively easy, while others can literally take your breath away.

A Kiwi-owned company, New Zealand Trails, makes it easy for baby boomers — about two-thirds of its customers are in the 49 to 67 boomer age range — to experience several of the tracks as well as other South Island highlights, such as a train journey across the Southern Alps, a glowworm cave, a kayak trip through a coastal lagoon, a scenic helicopter ride, a lake cruise, and a boat trip across Milford Sound.

Hiking trails include a… Continue reading

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand's top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

Milford Sound is one of New Zealand’s top attractions. Photo by Clark Norton

I was surprised to read a few days ago that Tourism New Zealand — the organization charged with luring travelers to kiwi land and making their visits more enjoyable — has just launched its first mobile app.

Called “Essential New Zealand,” the new app can be downloaded for free and used to access travel advice throughout the country without having to have a WiFi connection.

Among its current features you’ll find:

The top 10 New Zealand experiences;

“must-do” experiences for 26 regions and many popular locations;

photos, descriptions and prices for hundreds of activities and attractions;

contact details and detailed map locations for activities and information centers;

and ways to plan, save and share your favorite activities.

More features are planned for future versions.

Smartphone usage is reported to have increased by 28 percent in New Zealand… Continue reading

New Zealand's Southern Alps

New Zealand’s Southern Alps — photo by Clark Norton

A 2010 AARP survey of U.S. baby boomers turning 65 in 2011 caught my eye. According to its findings, those responding picked “travel” more than any other answer when asked what their “major ambition for the next five years” would be. “Travel” topped such categories as “improve health,” “retire,” “improve finances,” “improve housing/home projects,” “enjoy relationships with family and friends” and “relocate.”

Surveys show that boomers want to travel far and wide as well. Australia and New Zealand top wish lists, followed by Europe, and then by North American locations. Asia, Africa, the Antarctic and other exotic spots also attract many boomers.

Boomers are active travelers, willing to spend their money on adventurous, educational and creative forms of travel. Tour agencies, tourism bureaus, resorts and lodges, cruise lines, and other travel companies take heed – if you overlook boomers, you’re… Continue reading






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According to government and private surveys:

  • Leading-edge baby boomers (born between 1946 and 1955) and seniors account for four out of every five dollars spent on luxury travel today.
  • Roughly half the consumer spending money in the U.S.--more than $2 trillion--is in the hands of leading-edge baby boomers and seniors.
  • Baby boomers (born 1946-1964) travel more than any other age group.
  • When asked what they would most like to spend their money on, baby boomers answered “travel” more than any other category, including improving their health or finances.

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