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Published on Apr 23, 2011
from diary We pulled in Mount Cook National Park and spotted the thirty odd buildings of the townsite. Lights glowed in the lengthening shadows, highlighting an enormous hotel, the Hermitage (Aoraki) lite like a passenger liner, ten stories high. We booked a disabled room for $90.00. “You’re lucky,” the receptionist told us. “We have five such rooms but four are booked already to a tour of disabled Americans” We met the group at dinner, mostly elderly folk from Alaska, Texas and other such origins. Rod Gothe and Andy Huesing, who were the directors, were both paraplegics in quickie wheelchairs like mine. “We met on a street corner in Cairns in 1993 and Andy and I got talking. I’m from Melbourne and Andy lives in San Diego. The idea hit us. Why don’t we run tours for disabled folk from the US to Australia and New Zealand? We called ourselves Neverland Tours found a good market. We run three tours a year, about fifteen clients, with this one being an eighteen day tour of NZ for $3,500.00 US.” “Who goes?” I asked. “Many elderly people with mobility problems, who use four wheel gopher cars. They have the time and money. Tomorrow we’re doing a helicopter trip around Mt Cook, and treks along tracks made for bicycles. Would you like to join us?”