Tour among world's best

Aspiring Adventures co-founder Steve Wilson, with a copy of National Geographic Traveler magazine...
Aspiring Adventures co-founder Steve Wilson, with a copy of National Geographic Traveler magazine, at home in Dunedin this week. Photo by Linda Robertson.
A small Dunedin adventure company is world-famous in Vanuatu.

A 14-day caving, diving, kayaking and trekking tour of Vanuatu by Aspiring Adventures has been selected by National Geographic Traveler magazine as one of its 50 best tours in the world.

The company was the only New Zealand travel business to be recognised in the 2014 annual list.

''As a small Dunedin-based adventure tour operator, we're absolutely astounded with this news. I mean, wow, one of the top 50 in the world,'' company director Steve Wilson said this week.

''For us, it's like winning an Oscar. We're the only New Zealand company to be included in the list.''

The highlight of the company's $US3375 ($NZ3905) ''Vanuatu: The Original Bungee Jumpers'' tour is the traditional naghol ritual on Pentecost Island, in which local people tie vines to their feet and plunge off a tower.

''What's cool about this is it's a recognition of the style of trips we run. We design hiking and biking adventure trips that are immersive in the destination. Hopefully, it will be good for business.''

Mr Wilson established Aspiring Adventures with Peru-based business partner Katy Shorthouse in 2009, to organise tours in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Patagonia, Peru and Vanuatu.

The ninth annual National Geographic Traveler best tours list recognised 2014's ''most authentic, most innovative, most immersive, best-guided and most sustainable tours'', executive editor Norie Quintos said.

''The tours we selected go beyond destination, to add meaning and context. They open the mind to new possibilities, new connections, new ways of thinking.''

The travel magazine is the world's most widely read in its genre, with 14 international editions and more than 8.5 million readers.

Aspiring Adventures features in next month's edition of the magazine.

nigel.benson@odt.co.nz

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