When I think of New Zealand, my mind floods with wonderful images - gazing upon ice-capped mountain ranges, sipping perky sauvignon blancs, gazing at whales escaping the Antarctic winter, meeting friendly people, sharing the Kiwi passion for rugby, enjoying the rich Maori culture, soaking in thermal springs, leaping from bridges attached with a rubber band or simply indulging in the stunning natural beauty.
Qantas and Tourism New Zealand have combined the passionate pursuits of sport and travel into an innovative and exciting competition called The Great Crusade. Entrants have the chance to win one of fifty (yes, 50) two week tours for two around New Zealand travelling in specially decked out campervans (bathed in Wallaby logos and support) combining the Rugby World Cup with visits to a number of New Zealand's iconic locations on both islands. The first convoy of 26 vans appropriately launch from Christchurch that is being rebuilt by its spirited population after the ravages of the recent earthquake.
Last Saturday evening, Qantas (with their sponsorship of the Wallabies) gathered together a group of people including some sporting and travel bloggers (a chance to meet Kaz and Craig from yTRavelBlog and Brooke from Brooke vs. the World among others) with beers and food at a Super 15 rugby game at the Sydney Football Stadium to announce this exciting competition. Four of the campervans gathered around the ground to promote the competition, flyers being given out to the crowd as they flooded into the game.
The contest is big and has quite a few elements to it involving gathering points for doing things such as creating fun and unique video segments capturing your passion for travel and sport (the details are all on The Great Crusade website). Early entrants get a better chance to gather more points so jump in and get started. There are smaller spot prizes along the way. Also I'd suggest following the Twitter hash-tag #greatcrusade.
The judges include no less than Gregor Jordan, the award-winning writer and director of movies such as Two Hands and Buffalo Soldiers who will also join the trip to shoot daily videos of the various activities (and there are far far more activities than rugby matches - the teams only play once every six or seven days).
One enthralling element through the launch evening was to see how a simple germ of an idea has been passionately taken and grown and embellished by various folks (several of whom were at the launch, including the marketing executives at Qantas) into such a huge competition with such a large number of major prizes. Qantas spoke enthusiastically of being more heavily involved with social media and bloggers and the like. I'll watch with interest how this campaign and greater adoption of the newer media grows.
Meanwhile, if you'd love to visit New Zealand as guests of Qantas and join the campervan convoy, sign up at The Great Crusade, read the rules and milk your creative juices to create your first video describing how far you'd go to support your favourite team. After all, they are looking for a fun group of people to share the travel wonders of New Zealand with.
Photo Credits: rugby