Photographic tour of Australia and New Zealand

SARANAC LAKE – Bloomingdale-based author and naturalist Ed Kanze will host a photographic tour of Australia and New Zealand at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 19 at Saranac Village at Will Rogers.

The program will feature 2011 and 2014 Smithsonian Journeys trips on which Kanze served as study leader.

In Australia, the groups begin their explorations in Cairns in tropical northern Queensland. There, bats called flying foxes bivouac along city streets and boats whisk tourists off for snorkeling and diving on the Great Barrier Reef. Travelers also visit an Aboriginal culture center where they received lessons in throwing spears and boomerangs.

In Alice Springs and Uluru, or Ayers Rock, in central Australia, the groups explore Australia’s red-rock center. Three days later they board a plane to Sydney where they enjoy tours of the harbor and the famous Sydney Opera House and walk in the botanical gardens.

After flying a thousand miles across the Tasman Sea to New Zealand’s South Island, the groups move from Christchurch to Mt. Cook and Milford Sound on the South Island. Included is a boat cruise on a fiord, a walk to a lookout point near active glaciers, a meeting with the world’s only alpine parrot and a stop at an organic winery.

The trips wrap up on the North Island, where most of New Zealand’s population lives. After a brief stop in the Wellington airport, where giant Lord of the Rings sculptures loom overhead, the groups land in Rotorua, a hotspot for geothermal activity and a center of Maori culture. Last, after a cave tour and walk in the central North Island bush, comes Auckland. By a rare stroke of luck, the 2014 travelers, in one of the last hours of their trip, got to chat and pose for photographs with New Zealand’s Prime Minister, John Key.

Writer, naturalist, and photographer Kanze is the author of many books, among them “Notes From New Zealand” (1992) and “Kangaroo Dreaming: An Australian Wildlife Odyssey.” He writes the “Wild Side” column for the Adirondack Explorer, contributes frequently to Adirondack Life and writes and narrates a weekly nature podcast for Mountain Lake PBS (mountainlake.org/bn). He runs a nature-focused Adirondack guiding service and will lead walks this July, August, and September on Thursdays at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake. This year brought him to New Zealand for the eighth time and Australia for the fifth.

All interested in this part of the world are encouraged to attend. The program is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Call 518-891-7117 for more information.