Travel down under with Kiwanis

It’s that time of year again. Time to take flight across the mountains, valleys and oceans to discover a world of beauty, adventure and scenery, the likes of which one might never experience without the aid of the Kiwanis Club of La Cañada’s Travel Adventure series.

This is the 49th year Kiwanis Club of La Cañada has offered the community a way to beat high gas prices and plane fares to experience an about 90-minute mini-vacation, all for the price of an $8 individual or $40 season ticket.

All of the films start at 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays, at the Flintridge Preparatory School auditorium, beginning with the Oct. 25 showing of “Vines Down Under: Wine Regions of Australia & New Zealand.”

This year’s films will visually transport viewers to Alaska, Scotland, the Mediterranean, the Italian island of Corsica, Russia, Jerusalem, and, in the first film, to Australia and New Zealand.

During the various films, which are narrated in person by the filmmakers, travelers will sail the seas; explore the stories and legends of churches, castles, monuments and remnants; walk through vineyards; and experience a recreational vehicle “adventure of a lifetime.”

Pam Feterl, owner of Berkshire Travel and coordinator of the Kiwanis Travel Adventure series, said the films offer armchair travelers an exciting adventure, people who’ve previously been to the film’s locale a chance to look back and reminisce, and future travelers a way to research locations before someday making actual journeys.

“Travel is all about researching the area before you go,” Feterl said. “Anything you can do to watch, read or research the area makes for a better travel experience and helps you make the right choices.”

Feterl said she’s excited about this year’s film choices. “But, I’m excited about travel anyway,” she added.

Travel has been a lifestyle for retired Oregon State University professors and filmmakers Sid and Mary Lee Nolan. In addition to earning doctorates and teaching in their particular fields, raising a family that includes two children and five grandchildren, the couple has extensively traversed the globe and created more than 150 educational programs and six feature-length travel films.

Nolan told the Valley Sun she’s looking forward to visiting La Cañada with her husband this month to share insights into their Australia and New Zealand film. The couple spent five weeks in Australia and made three trips to New Zealand in order to compile research and footage for the film, she said.

Lee said she and her husband learned a lot about wine and vineyards while making the film. “We know a lot more now than we did before,” she added.

“I’m a geographer, so the film is more about the climate and soils conducive to growing different wine and grapes and less about specific wines. This is about what makes a wine region,” she said.

The film’s itinerary begins in Sydney, the cosmopolitan center of Australian life. In addition to journeying to the Hunter Valley, Rutherglen and the Yara Valley, Victoria and Adelaide, the audience will meet winemakers and authorities on Australia’s wines, and catch a glimpse of kangaroos, koalas, and the magnificent scenery of the countryside. Visits across New Zealand also will take the viewer from Auckland to Christchurch.

And, it’s not just about vineyards. The traveler also will experience old-growth forests, as well as a geyser basin, Maori cultural center and a sheep farm.

Nolan grew up in the Ozarks of Missouri and Huntsville, Tex. She met her husband when they were both studying at Louisiana State University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree and a master’s degree in history. She later earned a second master’s degree in anthropology from the University of Texas and a doctorate at Texas A&M.; Nolan earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism at Louisiana University, a master’s in mass communication at the University of Texas and a doctorate in recreation resource development from Texas A&M.;

The couple moved to Corvallis, Ore., in 1973, where they taught until retirement. During vacations, they have made videos and tourism programs for schools and travel companies, Lee said, adding, “We love to travel.”

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