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Variety New Zealand And World Expeditions Team Up For Thailand Cycle Challenge

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Article – Meet Vanessa

Meet Vanessa – she’s a Hawke’s Bay local who stepped out of her comfort zone and raised money for deserving Kiwi kids to get their very own bikes – all while exploring stunning Cambodia on two wheels.

This year, Kiwis of all ages and abilities have the chance to take the trip of a lifetime cycling through beautiful Thailand to raise money for bikes for kids in our own backyard.

Variety – the Children’s Charity has an exciting partnership with one of the world’s leading travel companies, World Expeditions. This year we’re looking for an eager crew to take the ‘path less travelled’ and explore Thailand on two wheels.

Best of all, by  booking to go on the trip, all participants will be contributing to Variety’s Bikes for Kids programme which provides deserving and disadvantaged children with the freedom and independence of owning their very own bike.

Vanessa Hatton, a Hawke’s Bay local went on last year’s Cycle Challenge to Cambodia. She was a little apprehensive at first, but as soon as she turned up to meet the group at the airport, she knew she was going to have a great time:

“In July last year I undertook the adventure of a lifetime, I went to Cambodia as part of a Variety fundraiser for ‘Bikes for Kids’. When I first heard about the trip I was fairly hesitant as I hadn’t done a lot of biking and I wasn’t sure if I would be fit enough.

I was also a little apprehensive of going on my own, I had travelled extensively in my youth but I hadn’t travelled alone for over twenty years which was a little scary. After talking with my family we decided that it would be a great adventure and I should go ahead with it.

I set up my fundraising page with help from Variety and had such great support from friends and family that I was able to raise enough funds for nine bikes. 

I dusted off my own bike and started doing some short training trips, and found that I really enjoyed cycling and managed to fit in two to three rides a week. 

The day we left for Cambodia my apprehension grew as I knew nobody else on the trip and I was hoping I wouldn’t be the only female travelling on her own.  However when we all meet at Auckland airport to headed off on our trip, I was pleasantly surprised.

Our group consisted of around 20 people and the ages were from late 20s to mid-70s, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to travel with, everyone mingled and made the effort to interact with each other.”

Vanessa says that they were well looked after along the way:

“The cycling started off with a bang as we cycled around Phnom Penh City but we were well cared for by our guides.  There was always a bus following behind us in case anyone felt they needed a break, a van with a trailer to carry the bikes, a mechanic for any repairs and two fantastic guides. 

The trip was amazing; we visited many cities including the ruins in Siem Reap, floating villages and the Killing Fields. 

The trip was incredibly well organised and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a challenge as well as a way to help give back to Kiwi kids, I would really encourage them to sign up for the next Variety Cycle Challenge to Thailand, you won’t regret it.”

On this year’s trip to Thailand, participants will enjoy eight days of moderate-level cycling, suitable for all ages and abilities.

The Variety 2016 Thailand Cycle Challenge

Trip Dates:    29 August – 10 September 2016

Duration:       11 nights, 12 days

Group size:    Maximum 20

Trip highlights: 

  • Discover the vibrant markets and warm hospitality of Thailand
  • Explore Bangkok, seeing the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun and Royal Barge Museum
  • Visit the bizarre temple of Phurt Udom Pol, Kamalulislam mosque, Nong Chok and a local women’s co-operative
  • Visit the colourful Waroros Markets, Royal Flora Gardens and Wat Umong “monastery with tunnels”
  • Experience the traditional villages and tribes of Northern Thailand
  • Kayak in Mae Ngat Dam
  • Tantalize your taste buds as you learn the secrets of cooking Thai cuisine
  • Traditional Hmong dancing and BBQ dinner
  • Muay Thai Camp and introduction to basic self-defence

Cost: $5,690 per person includes a $500 donation to Variety’s Bikes for Kids Programme, flights ex Auckland (other cities available on request), most meals, and all cycling equipment.

Cycling: Eight days cycling covering around 400kms, usually averaging 30–50kms per day.

A maximum of 20 places are available on the Thailand Cycle Challenge, so be quick to reserve your space.

To find out more, download a booking form and itinerary here, or contact


Find out more about this exciting trip here

Background Note: 

Variety – the Children’s Charity is a champion for Kiwi kids; and with 1 in 3 New Zealand children growing up in deprivation our work is essential. Every year we help over 13,000 local children to have brighter futures.

Variety offers Kiwi kids and their families’ targeted, flexible support to meet their specific needs. We help by providing the basic necessities, much-needed medical equipment, life-changing mobility needs, and innovative educational initiatives.

Variety works alongside schools, community agencies and healthcare professionals, tackling child deprivation so that one by one, Kiwi kids who urgently need our life-changing assistance are set up to reach their full potential in life.

Variety is a registered charity with the New Zealand Charities Commission (CC24039), making donations tax refundable.

Our Vision

Helping New Zealand’s sick, disabled and disadvantaged children reach their full potential.

Our Purpose

To raise and distribute funds to children in need of basic necessities, vital medical equipment, life-changing mobility needs and essential learning opportunities.

Our Values

  • Community focused 
  • Outcomes oriented 
  • Caring 
  • Inclusive 
  • Entertaining  
  • Innovative 
  • Responsive 
  • Humble 
  • Accountable

{Source: Variety New Zealand-Media Relations}

[Photo credits-featured image: The beach of Poda island with long-tail boats, Krabi, Thailand. – By kallerna – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

[Intext photos: inserted by (credits embedded)]


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