||This article appears to be written like an advertisement. (December 2009)|
|Country of origin||New Zealand|
|No. of episodes||38 (As of July 31, 2009)|
|Running time||60 minutes
|Original airing||2003 - present|
Intrepid Journeys is a New Zealand television series, which screens on TV ONE. Making its debut in 2003, the show focuses on New Zealand "celebrities" who travel over to exotic countries to see the country's history, culture and people. It is a multi-award-winning travel series. It is not a “Survivor” style manufactured “challenge” show. It is about meeting real challenges in the real world, travelling to lesser-known places and then getting around the way locals do… by foot, bus and camel.
Aside from being physically challenging, Intrepid Journeys also acts as a conduit to other cultures and countries that may otherwise only be seen on the news when all hell is breaking loose. This series is a chance to get past stereotypes, myths and bad press, to get out into the real world and experience life challenging and changing travel.
Across each hour-long episode, Intrepid Journeys follows a celebrity traveller for two weeks in a rough and ready destination. The appeal of the show is two-fold. Aside from seeing a personality rise to a real challenge, there is also the chance to gather real working knowledge and understanding of places, lives, events and happenings foreign to Western culture.
Although they are celebrity travellers, they travel and live as the locals do - ride bumpy local buses with chickens and goats, stay in ethnic villages and eat traditional food which stretches the palate. As a result, they are able to reflect on what is special about their lives in a Western and privileged world.
Travel shows tend towards luxury, spa and beach breaks while Intrepid Journeys gravitates towards countries with interesting and troubled pasts and presents. Destinations include Libya, Borneo, Iran, Uganda, Myanmar, Tibet, Madagascar, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Cuba, Vietnam, Ecuador and Mali.
Series one (2003)
Actor Peter Elliott has done very little travel anywhere let alone to somewhere like Africa. Dealing with fears about bugs, diseases and big animals was just the start of getting to grips with Kenya for Elliott. He runs the gauntlet in Nairobi, otherwise known as Nairobbery, attempting to beat the statistics and not get mugged. Elliott spends the night with a Maasai tribe and joins them in their traditional jumping ceremony. But Kenya would not be Kenya without wildlife and Elliott also gets to enjoy the spoils of four of Kenya’s best game parks packed with elephants, crocodiles, lions, rhinos, hippopotamus, giraffe and zebra
Chef and celebrity foodie, Peta Mathias attempts 12 days in a country where the food is worse than ordinary. There are 250 varieties of potato in this South American country and Mathias may just get to taste them all since they are pretty much all there is to eat. The food is not the only challenge. Mathias braves an altitude of 5,000 metres and shivers though -21 degrees. She is also fortunate enough to sample Bolivia’s famous white powder, the salt created on the spectacular salt plains.
Actor Robyn Malcolm finds trekking in 36 degree heat and 90 percent humidity in the Northern reaches of Vietnam more confronting than she ever anticipated. Malcolm experiences traditional life in the hill tribes. She visits the Vinh Moc tunnels and war sites that claimed millions of lives. Vietnam dished up hardships and challenges, physically and emotionally, but Malcolm, a former luxury travel fan, could not help but be won over by the courage of the people and the spirit of the country
Comedian Pio Terei is fond of a good roast of beef and in India, that is off limits big time. For a committed meat eater, this comedic actor makes a good fist of going vegetarian while rowing down the Ganges and exploring the cultural riches of Northern India. His efforts are rewarded with sightings of dolphins and dead bodies. Terei must also brave first hand experience of the way the Maharajahs lived and close encounters with a camel.
Former politician Michael Laws has been able to talk himself out of many sticky situations. In Ecuador, Laws finds his silver tongue is tied thanks to the fact everyone speaks Spanish, a language he can barely speak a word of. He has to survive an excursion into the Amazon, a chose shave with jungle hallucinogenic and the spells of a local witch doctor. Laws visits a town officially closed by the local government because of the threat from an erupting volcano and lives to tell the tale.
Hellambu trek Lord of the Rings actor, Craig Parker treks into the foothills of the Himalayas losing his cool while desperate to get warm. Parker travelled through traditional Nepalese villages carrying his worldly possessions on his back. Seven days of trekking took him higher than Mt Cook. However, despite Parker’s valiant ascent, Sir Edmund Hillary’s mountaineering crown is under no threat.
Egypt has pyramids capable of taking the words out of talk-show host Marcus Lush’s mouth. A trip to this country would not be complete without visiting the pyramids but from there on it is off the beaten track with thanks to a felucca on the Nile and falafels and camels on dry land. It is the kind of adventure that Lush will be dining out on for years to come.
Series two (2004)
Radio talk-show host, Kerre Woodham visits Angkor Watt and surrounding ruins – finding rubbish amongst the ruins invites comment of the West’s legacy versus that which she is walking amongst. Woodham sees the remains of the Khmer Rouge torture centre, S21, which was built inside a former school and visits what remains of the Killing Fields meeting children from a nearby school.
|9||Danielle Cormack||Syria, Jordan
Actor Danielle Cormack spends a night in the desert of Wadi Rum, where Lawrence of Arabia was filmed. She visits Bedouins living and farming in the desert in traditional nomadic style and stays in a traditional desert tent where her dinner is cooked in an underground oven. Cormack is also invited into the house of a group of Syrian women. Over coffee, there is a chance to learn something of the communal life of five generations of this family. The Grandmother wears the traditional hand tattoos while her Granddaughter speaks English and wears western style clothing along with her headscarf. Cormack sees the ruins of Petra and then goes to the village the government forced those who used to live in among the ruins to go to. She goes inside the house of the local Sheik, meets his wife, sees her kitchen and is asked to be his 8th wife despite him being in his 80’s.
Rebel Mayor Tim Shadbolt gets to see the work done at an endangered turtle project – seeing a turtle lay her eggs on the beach at night and watching a group of hatchlings set free. Shadbolt also stays in the jungle overnight and helps with an eco-project assisting with jungle re-forestation – necessary due to the decimation of the environment due to Palm Oil plantations.
Due to a lack of land (or an ability to afford it) people have made homes on the reeds that grow in Lake Titicaca, a high altitude lake in Peru. They have become known as Reed People. Comedian Ewen Gilmore helps them move their basic house to allow for more reeds to be laid down. The inhabitants still wear local dress but have access to power through solar panels! Gilmore also visits an Incan cemetery where ancient mummies are on display in open pits and marvels at the ancient stonework of Macchu Picchu.
Newsreader Paul Henry demonstrates how hard it is to climb in thin air accompanied by a traditional Sherpa guide. The guide demonstrates a wonderful singing voice while Paul struggles to catch his breath. Once there, he talks to one of Base Camp’s permanent residents about what is happening with tourists coming up the mountain.
|13||Karen Hay||East Timor
Writer Karen Hay finds the former war-torn East Timor is slowly rebuilding. Life is far from ordinary in the villages, highlands and coastal towns with strange forms of illicit gambling, playing Russian Roulette on nearly impassable roads and tracking crocodiles. Hay also finds former generals keen to share their stories of dark times and hopes for a better future.
Comedian Jon Gadsby finds Myanmar (formerly Burma) a haunting and moving country. From the Number two Monk at the Inle Lakes to Shue Shue Min, a local village girl who helps him in his hour of need and Joe the fisherman who shows him how to row with your feet and the local fishing method using baskets and spears, the people of Myanmar show how the strength of the ordinary is truly extraordinary.
Reporter Hugh Sundae spends an uncomfortable night on the floor of a Ger, a traditional communal wool-lined tent with a local Mongolian family. Despite being in -20 degrees at times, the locals continue to wear traditional dress and live in this nomadic way… though they now have TV thanks to a satellite dish and solar panel! Communication is not possible through language but Hugh makes a connection through farming familiarity - with milking the goat and riding a yak bareback. Sundae also gets to hear Mongolian throat singers first hand.
Actor Katie Wolfe sails on the Yangtze River which is being flooded, as the world’s largest dam project nears completion. The process is forcing people out of their homes. She walks amongst a huge city deserted as it has been evacuated and will soon go underwater visiting a place the Chinese consider their spiritual equivalent of Cape Reinga but discovers it is more like a fairground.
The Guatemalans practise pagan worship in many forms. The cleansing interior designer Donald Grant Sunderland is brave enough to participate in is traditional one, conducted in Spanish, which appeals to St Maximon. The ceremony involves offerings to an effigy and a Shamanic recitation followed with the spitting of alcohol as a physical cleansing. The cleansing has surprisingly physical repercussions, which may be coincidence, real or the work of some contaminated Lima beans.
Series three (2005)
Musician Andrew Fagan packs his bags and a few homemade toy boats to share with the locals in this land of many islands. On the road he tries rickshaw driving, attends a ritualistic animal sacrifice and visits a cock fighting meet – the sport was banned but is allowed for spiritual cleansings and other traditional purposes.
Musician Dave Dobbyn wanders the medina of the ancient city of Fez, a world heritage site where not a great deal has changed for 500 years. Dobbyn spends time in the harsh environment of the desert and learns to ride a camel.
|20||Marcus Lush||Trans-Siberia (Russia)
Talk show host Marcus Lush rides the historic Trans-Siberian railway, one third of the way around the globe, crossing several time zones and discovers this isn’t just a tourist train, it is the only practical way for Russians to get to Vladivostok as there are no roads.
Radio talk show host Kim Hill finds she is at home in the country of cigars and old cars, rumba and the revolution. She meets a group of dancers who are worshippers of the Hoodoo religion and is invited to their Sunday worship and a roadtrip to The Bay of Pigs with Lola and her aging wheels ends up being the kind of trip that changes your perspective on everything.
Playwright Roger Hall treks into the jungle of Uganda to see the endangered gorillas who live protected in a wild habitat but are still likely to be extinct within ten years. Braving bad roads he rafts the Nile and Grade 5 rapids, finds elephants in the game parks and a not so quiet strength at church on Sunday.
Actor and star of Whale Rider, Rawiri Paratene visits a country where you simply have to dance. From the ravages of volcanos and revolution he finds the road to recovery is a long one. On a personal note, Paratene attempts to climb a volcano and although he doesn’t quite make it to the summit he finds a spiritual connection to that leaves him in awe of the country and environment
McLeod’s Daughters actor, Lisa Chappell finds the jungle in Malaysia potentially a snake-filled nightmare. This 5-star traveller tries to rise to the challenge of backpacking but finds hard beds, trekking and bugs a bit too much to bear.
Series four (2006)
Newscaster Bernadine Oliver-Kerby travels to the former war-torn area her brother served in as a peacekeeper, sees the still all to obvious ravages in the form of minefields and ruined buildings and on the brighter side, joins in a traditional Croatian dance and is then put through a ceremony that happens before locals wed.
Fashion designer Trelise Cooper finds inspiration watching traditional rug weavers restore ancient carpets but finds the wind is taken out of her sails while hot-air ballooning over Cappadoccia and having to scale a mountainside in the dark.
Miriama Smith visits a village near the border of Tibet. She joins a local family for lunch and tastes the local yak butter tea. She treks the epic and inspiring Tiger Leaping Gorge and finds a doctor, the quirky Dr Ho, with an impressive reputation and array of alternative treatments.
Sports commentator, John McBeth has a very close call with drugs officers at the border but makes in through to see the highest waterfall in the world, the ravages of old-fashioned mining and what appears to be a plethora of contenders for the title of Miss Venezuela.
|29||Chris Knox||South India (India)
Songwriter Chris Knox explores the Backwaters, Ayervedic healing and traditional village life in Southern India.
|30||Jeff Wilson||Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria
Former All Black Jeff Wilson gets a lesson in traditional horseback archery from a Hungarian horseman, visits the home of Dracula and an oppressively golden palace and finds an All Black fan on the train who takes him home to meet Mum and Dad.
Series five (2007)
Actor Jeremy Wells explores Tripoli's ancient medina, dines in traditional Berber settlements, journeys through the Jebel Nafusa highlands, and rides an angry camel. He drives to the desert border of Algeria to show Ahmed Zaoui a glimpse of his homeland, wanders the ruins of Leptis Magna, and views the impressive theatre of Sabratha while embracing the Arab custom of 'hand-holding' between men.
|32||John Tamihere||China, Pakistan
Rebel politician John Tamihere begins his experience away at the Chinese Kashgar's Sunday market. He then travels across the Khunjareb Pass admiring the mountains from Karimabad. He is blown away as he drives the Karakoram Highway, and peeks into Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass whilst holding an AK-47 and shooting some rounds. As John visits the giant mosques of Islamabad and the palace city of Lahore, he marvels at how a lad from West Auckland can end up so far away from home.
|33||Suzanne Paul||China, Vietnam
Entrepreneur Suzanne Paul takes on the wilds of rural Asia. She tackles noisy Hanoi, catches some downtime in sleepy Halong Bay and shops up a storm in some local villages.
Broadcaster Mary Lambie haggles over a Persian rug, ponders life in Persepolis, drops into an Iranian wedding, and gets dirty with Nomads on her travels in Iran.
Radio presenter and former politician John Banks heads to the stunning mountains, beautiful rainforest, idyllic beaches and endangered lemurs of Madagascar.
Fresh off the back of an All Black tour, Anton Oliver jets his way from the UK to trek through Nepal, one of the most beautiful places on Earth. He discovers not all men are created equal when meeting the men of the hills who seem confounded by his size, yet their strength leaves Oliver speechless.
Comedian and self-confessed shambolic traveller, Te Radar, travels to Mali and the legendary Timbuktu, celebrating life and music at the 'Festival au Desert'. Along the way he does battle with a scorpion, a scarf that bleeds purple dye all over him, and sand. The chance to get his future read by a local wiseman doesn’t go entirely to plan but unlike many other travellers to this epic and mythical region, he does survive to tell the tale.
Series six (2008)
|39||Shane Cortese||Sri Lanka|
|44||Glen Osborne||Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan|
Series seven (2009)
|49||Judy Bailey||Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay|
|50||Anika Moa||Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras|
Series eight (2011)
|53||Tamati Coffey||Arabian Peninsula|
|56||Simon Gault||Turkey, Iran|
|57||Keisha Castle-Hughes||Tanzania, Kenya and Zanzibar|
Series nine (2012)
|61||Annie Crummer||Peru and Bolivia|
|63||Pamela Stephenson-Connolly||Papua New Guinea|