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The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant is the largest single-day parade in the southern hemisphere, the second biggest in the world (behind the famous Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City), and the largest Christmas Parade in the world. It is officially recognised as a "heritage icon" by the National Trust of Australia and a "state institution" by the Government of South Australia. The pageant takes place in the Adelaide city centre, along a 3.35 km (2 mi) route.
In 1896, Mr Edward Waterfield Hayward established the Christmas fantasy world of the 'Magic Cave' to provide a joyful community Christmas experience. Thirty-seven years later during the Great Depression in 1933 the first Christmas Pageant was held to escort Father Christmas to the Magic Cave. 200,000 spectators came to watch that first Pageant, which featured eight floats and four bands and ran for around 40 minutes. The event now thrills over 320,000 excited parade-goers and a television audience with 85 sets and 1,700 volunteers, including some 63 floats, 15 bands, 164 clowns, dancing groups, and walking performers, all culminating in the arrival of Father Christmas.
The main tour runs from November 10, 2020 through November 20, 2020. This is an 8 night trip (the other nights are consumed by air travel and crossing the International Date Line) with 3 nights in Adelaide, 2 nights in Melbourne, and 3 nights in Sydney. An optional 9-night New Zealand extension is available, returning home November 29. The National Pharmacies Christmas Pageant takes place on Saturday November 14, 2020.
Performances other than the Christmas Pageant are still TBD. We are reasonably confident that we can arrange a standstill performance outside the Sydney Opera House - a lively, beautiful location on Circular Quay that always has a vibrant crowd. As usual, we will look for other good performance opportunities during the tour, including New Zealand if we have enough people taking the extension to form a viable band.
Non-performer family and guests are welcome to join the trip. Pricing for non-performers is the same as for TBGO band associates. However, non-performers are not eligible to receive discounts or subsidies for travel offered to band associates.
Sightseeing highlights of the Australia Tour include koalas and fairy penguins at Phillip Island, a harbour tour of Sydney, the spectacular scenery of Blue Mountains National Park and the Jamieson Valley (Australia's Grand Canyon) including the world's steepest passenger train, and a visit to Sydney Olympic Park. The detailed itinerary of the Australia Tour is available here.
Sightseeing highlights on the New Zealand Extension include travel through New Zealand's Southern Alps aboard the TranzAlpine train, a jet-boat safari along the Dart River, the majesstic waterfalls of Milford Sound, a visit to Hobbiton in J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-earth, the geothermal pools of Wai O Topu, and Wiatomo Glowworm Caves. The detailed itinerary of the New Zealand Extension Tour is available here.
The TBGO travel packages are offered as a streamlined way for Band Associates to participate in the Australia trip. As always, you may elect to forego the packages and make all your own travel arrangements. Please be aware that if you choose to make all your own arrangements you are responsible for your own ground transportation, including transportation to and from performances.
Because of the complexity of the trip, the land portions of the travel packages are offered as "all or nothing"; i.e., we will not subset or otherwise modify the land portions of the Australia Tour and New Zealand Extension. For example: You cannot take the Australia Tour as far as Melbourne and then fly home. (To be more precise: You can do that, but you still have to pay for the entire Australia Tour Land Package, including the portions you skipped). Note that the various planned sightseeing events, attractions, etc. will not be offered for sale and cannot be reserved separately.
However, if you wish to extend the trip on either end, Tom can work with you on additional arrangements; more on that below.
Your total tour package is comprised of several components:
Details of each trip component follow. (You can jump directly to a specific section by clicking the links above.)
After all the trip expenses have been detailed, we turn to travel subsidies available to TBGO band associates. Subsidies avilable to reduce travel costs include:
The standard rooming arrangement for the Australia Tour Land Package is a Double room (i.e., two persons in a room). Single supplement is available at additional charge. Triple and Quad rooms are available; however, we do not recommend these options as the cost saving is relatively modest. If you do elect a Triple or Quad room, you MUST have a VERIFIED rooming list of all persons in the room prior to signup as per standard TBGO rooming policy.
Pricing for the Australia Tour Land Package varies depending on the number of people who sign up for it. This is because we have fixed-cost resources (motor coaches, guides, etc) that are amortized across the number of people who sign up. Generally, the price of the land package decreases as the number of travelers increases as shown below. Based on the data we've seen during preliminary surveys, we estimate that slightly over 100 travelers will sign up for the Australia Tour Land Package.
|Australia Tour Land Package|
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|Australia Tour Land Package Payment Schedule (Per Person)|
|First Deposit:||$550.00||At Signup|
|Second Deposit:||$400.00||Feb 21, 2020|
|Third Deposit:||$400.00||May 20, 2020|
|Final Payment:||Balance Due||Aug 21, 2020|
The standard rooming arrangement for the New Zealand Extension Land Package is a Double room (i.e., two persons in a room). Single supplement is available at additional charge. Triple rooms are available; however, we do not recommend this option as the cost saving is relatively modest. Quad rooms are not available for the New Zealand Extension Land Package. If you do elect a Triple, you MUST have a VERIFIED rooming list of all persons in the room prior to signup as per standard TBGO rooming policy.
Pricing for the New Zealand Extension Land Package varies depending on the number of people who sign up for it. This is because we have fixed-cost resources (motor coaches, guides, etc) that are amortized across the number of people who sign up. Generally, the price of the land package decreases as the number of travelers increases as shown below. Based on the data we've seen during preliminary surveys, we estimate that around 50-60 travelers will sign up for the New Zealand Extension Land Package.
|New Zealand Extension Land Package|
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New Zealand Extension Land Package Payment Schedule (Per Person)
Deposits are IN ADDITION TO Australia Tour Land Package Deposits
|First Deposit:||$450.00||At Signup|
|Second Deposit:||$400.00||Jan 21, 2020|
|Third Deposit:||$400.00||Apr 21, 2020|
|Final Payment:||Balance Due||Jul 24, 2020|
If you prefer, you can choose to reserve a Land Package and make your own air travel arrangements. This allows you to use a preferred carrier; purchase tickets using mileage program miles; depart at a different time of day; search for other attractive pricing options, etc.
Please be aware that airport and hotel transfers described throughout the itineraries for both the TBGO Australia Tour and the New Zealand Extension will be based upon the flight on which the majority of the group is traveling. If you book your own air travel using other flight times and/or dates, you are responsible for providing your own transportation to and from the hotel.
Estimated prices in the tables below use Portland as the Departure City, but you can fly from other cities and will be on the same international flights as those departing from Portland. Contact Tom for Air Package price adjustments for your Departure City.
Travelers who book an Air Travel Package for the standard Australia Tour without the New Zealand Extension will have these flights on Qantas Airlines and Alaska Airlines (Qantas U.S. partner):
Travelers who book an Air Travel Package for the standard Australia Tour with the New Zealand Extension will have these flights on Qantas Airlines and Alaska Airlines (Qantas U.S. partner):
If you have an Alaska Airlines frequent flyer number, please provide it during signup (there will be a slot for it).
Please note any dietary meal needs for your flights during signup.
There are four classes of service to select from. These brief descriptions are excerpted from the Qantas website; click here for photos and additional details of each service class.
|Air Package ESTIMATED Pricing from PDX|
|Australia Tour with
New Zealand Extension
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New Zealand travelers also need a one-way flight from Queenstown to Auckland (not included in Air Travel Package prices shown above). Because it is intimately tied in with the remainder of our New Zealand tour, this one-way ticket will be acquired by the tour operator for all persons traveling on the New Zealand Extension. For budgeting purposes, the estimated cost of Economy Class for this segment is $225.00.
|Queenstown-Auckland ESTIMATED Pricing|
A VALID U.S. PASSPORT is required for travel. You may NOT use a U.S. Passport Card, birth certificate, or similar documentation -- a Passport is required. Your passport must be valid for AT LEAST SIX MONTHS BEYOND YOUR RETURN DATE TO THE U.S. If you do not hold a passport or your passport is not up to date, you should acquire one or renew it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to avoid issues later on. See the TBGO Passport Information page for detailed information on applying for a first passport or renewing an expiring passport.
Remember to KEEP YOUR PASSPORT WITH YOU WHEN YOU BOARD THE PLANE -- DON'T PACK IT IN YOUR LUGGAGE!!!
Visas are required to enter both Australia and New Zealand; see the table for cost of each visa. Tom will handle the process of obtaining visas for all travelers who reserve TBGO land packages; To do so, he'll need a copy of the photo page of your passport (we'll let you know when and how to provide it).
IF YOU ARE USING A PASSPORT FROM A COUNTRY OTHER THAN THE U.S.a please let Tom know as soon as possible because you may have different visa requirements.
|Cost of Visas|
|Nation||Cost Per Person|
It is in TBGO's best interests to field a large, balanced band at major events. The Board also believes that being able to participate in major events is an important positive part of the "TBGO experience". To enable us to field a large band and reduce the total cost of travel for band associates to more affordable levels, the band will partially subsidize travel costs via the band fund in three ways as subsequently detailed.
Non-performer guests are not eligible for the EBD, Travel Awards, or other subsidies provided to band associates.
An Early Booking Discount (EBD) of $500.00 is available to all TBGO band associates (musicians, auxiliary unit members, and support staff) who have performed regularly with the band before September 20, 2019 and who sign up for the Australia trip (with or without the New Zealand Extension) by October 31, 2019. The EBD will be applied at the time of your final trip payment.
The Early Booking Discount is not available to friends and family traveling with the band. While we're delighted to welcome new performers to join TBGO for this trip, the EBD is not available to band associates starting their TBGO affiliation after September 20, 2019.
The TBGO band fund will cover the cost of the required Australian visa ($25.00) for all TBGO band associates who are performers for this trip.
Friends and family members traveling with the band are not eligible for the Australia Visa Subsidy. All travelers (including band associates) who elect the New Zealand Extension are responsible for the cost of the New Zealand visa.
Band associates requiring assistance beyond the EBD and Australia Visa Subsidy may apply for Travel Awards via the Travel Assistance Program (TAP). Prospective applicants are referred to the online Travel Assistance Program (TAP) Details for more information about the intent of TBGO's TAP program and its selection process. Non-Performers (e.g., family members) are not eligible for Travel Awards. Travel Awards are not available for travelers electing the New Zealand Extension, Air Upgrades, or other upgrades that may be offered. Rooming arrangements for Travel Award Recipients are typically Double rooms (2 persons per room); however, the TBGO Board may require other arrangements at its discretion to create the most cost-effective solutions for the band fund.
Based on the data from the Australia pricing survey, we anticipate that a larger-than-usual number of TBGO band associates may apply for Travel Awards. It is our goal to take as many Performers as possible on the trip. We have reserved a substantial budget for Travel Awards and expect to make a significant number of Awards. However, be aware that applying for a Travel Award does not guarantee that a Award will be approved.
For the Australia trip, here's how Travel Awards will work. Travel Awards will apply to the cost of the Australia Land Package. Your Proposed Travel Budget is the amount you propose to pay for the Australia Land Package. If your Travel Award is approved, your cost for the Australia Land Package will be your Proposed Travel Budget and the band fund will pay for the remainder of the package. The minimum Proposed Travel Budget is $500.
Performers who require a degree of financial assistance with the trip are urged to consider applying for a Travel Award. As we've said many times, it allows TBGO to field a better band and all of you helped earn the money in the band's travel fund. At the same time, the Board respectfully requests that you elect the highest Proposed Travel Budget that you can realistically afford given your financial situation; this will help us approve Awards for the largest possible number of applicants. We also request that you evaluate your own health situation before applying for a Travel Award; it is counter-productive for the band to allocate Awards to those who are unable to perform as expected.
Travel Award recipients may purchase Travel Insurance if desired. Price of the insurance is based on the full cost of the trip and is paid by the Travel Award recipient. If a Travel Award recipient incurs a Trip Cancellation event that results in an award from the insurance company, the Travel Award recipient is expected to reimburse TBGO for TBGO's portion of the cost of the trip.
To apply for a Travel Award, sign up for the trip via Survey Monkey using the normal signup survey link. During the Survey Monkey signup, you will be asked if you wish to apply for a Travel Award. If yes, you'll be asked for your Proposed Travel Budget, which is the amount you propose to pay for the Australia Land Package.
Travel Award applicants will be notified of the status of their application shortly after the Travel Award signup period closes. The status of each Travel Award application will be determined before the applicant's travel deposit is charged (i.e., we will not charge the travel deposit to your credit card if the Travel Award is not granted).
DUE DATE FOR TRAVEL AWARD APPLICATIONS:
The due date to apply for a Travel Award is END OF DAY, SUNDAY OCTOBER 20, 2019.
There are multiple options available for land and air travel for both the Australia Tour and New Zealand Extension. The many combinations make it hard to create a "price options" table showing all the possibilities. As a result, here's how you should compute your estimated cost for the trip.
If you are not applying for a Travel Award:
If you are applying for a Travel Award:
It's important that you be in reasonably good health to handle the demands of this trip. You must be able to get on/off the motor coaches in reasonable fashion and there will be some walking. Those not in good health can cause delays each day on the tour and hold things up for the rest of the tour participants. Should you fall in this category you may need to strongly re-evaluate if a trip as such is for you. Alternatively, you may need to bring along someone with you (family or caregiver) to insure you have someone who can assist you each and every day to avoid becoming a burden to other travelers. Getting through airports is yet another area to consider since it entails getting through security and walking long distances to immigration and flight gates. Being aware of these expectations and your limitations, and then making thoughtful choices will ensure that we can provide a great experience for everyone.
As noted earlier, the Land Packages are "all or nothing" and will not be altered. However, if you want to arrive early, stay longer, or visit additional places, Tom can work with you on your ideal trip. If you want to break the long 15-hour flight into more manageable chunks, he's got ideas for that too.
If you'd like to explore changes in the trip, please fill in the TBGO Australia Tour Deviation Request Form and email to Tom. He'll arrange an in-person meeting with you to learn about and discuss your travel ideas.
TBGO travel packages (like so many travel packages everywhere) are non-refundable. To protect yourself in case of problems that prevent or interrupt your travel, you may wish to consider purchasing travel insurance.
Many people do not understand the value of travel insurance until certain things happen, such as having to cancel their trip due to illness, injury, or death to themselves or immediate family members. Travel insurance also protects you should you need to change travel plans because a family member develops health issues. Another reason for having travel coverage is that many countries around the world that have socialized medicine don't want to be stuck with medical costs you may have accrued and don't have the means to pay for it. Yet another reason is that Medicare does not cover you outside the USA, including traveling to Canada or Mexico or taking a cruise. Click here for a more in-depth explanation of the benefits of travel insurance, including plan options and example costs.
IMPORTANT: To be sure you are fully covered, especially for pre-existing reasons, you must purchase your travel insurance within 21 days of your travel deposit (best to do it at the time you are making your trip deposit so that way you know you have it handled). You will be offered an opportunity to purchase travel insurance when filling out the Survey Monkey sign-up for the trip.
A valid U.S. Passport is required. You may NOT use a U.S. Passport Card, birth certificate, or similar documentation -- a Passport is required and the valid date must extend at least SIX MONTHS beyond your return date to the U.S. If you do not hold a passport or your passport is not up to date, you should acquire one or renew it AS SOON AS POSSIBLE to avoid issues later on. See the TBGO Passport Information page for detailed information on applying for a first passport or renewing an expiring passport.
Keep your passport WITH YOU WHEN YOU BOARD THE PLANE -- DON'T PACK IT IN YOUR LUGGAGE!!!
Use the link below to sign up for the "Australia Down Under" trip. This is the Final Signup; it commits you to making the trip. ALL PAYPMENTS ARE NON-REFUNDABLE.
You will need to know the following: