Program photograph
Upcoming Programs:
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Exploring Australia and New Zealand

March 9 – 29, 2013
Faculty: Fred Diehl, U.Va. Professor of Biology Emeritus
Price: $7,895 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Los Angeles

$8,395 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Washington D.C.


Registration is Open

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Come experience the magnificent natural wonders and dynamic cultures of the “lands down under” with Cavalier Travels! On this 21-day exploration, see Sydney, Cairns, Alice Springs, Ayers Rock, Queenstown, and Auckland. Ride aboard the vintage Kuranda steam train, descend to Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park via the gondolas of Skyrail, enjoy a day-long excursion to swim, snorkel and view the Great Barrier Reef.  Embark on an Aboriginal “dreamtime” tour to learn about their ancient culture.  Watch the sunset over the fabled sandstone monolith at Ayers Rock.  Tour Sydney, visit the iconic Opera House and enjoy dinner on the waterfront, with excellent seafood and beautiful harbor views.  Fly to New Zealand and explore scenic Mt. Cook National Park, watch sheep dogs in action and spend three days in Queenstown – New Zealand’s “adventure capital,” including a cruise on the breathtaking fjords of Milford Sound. Visit Te Puia Thermal Reserve and the Maori Cultural Center for a traditional hangi dinner and.  See the unique glowworms illuminate underground grottoes at the Ruakuri Caves. Land only is not available on this program.

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Program Highlights

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Hilton Los Angeles Airport (for guests choosing this option pre- and/or post-tour)

Adjacent to the Los Angeles airport with complimentary 24-hour shuttle service, the Hilton offers several restaurants, bar, Internet access, fitness center, swimming pool, and four whirlpool spas.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee maker, TV, and phone.

Pullman Reef Hotel Casino

Located in the heart of Cairns overlooking Trinity Bay, the 128-room Pullman Reef Hotel Casino offers three restaurants, a café, and three bars; Internet access; laundry and dry cleaning services; health club with hot tub, spa, and massage; rooftop swimming pool; and casino.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Crowne Plaza Hotel

Adjacent to the Alice Springs Golf Course and a 10-minute walk to “Alice’s” major sights, the Crowne Plaza offers two restaurants and a bar, fully equipped gym, tennis courts, sauna and whirlpool, outdoor pool, Internet access, and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, TV, and phone.  Please note that while the Crowne Plaza Hotel is one of the best in Alice Springs, it may not meet the standards of the other hotels on your tour.

Voyages Sails in the Desert

Uluru National Park
Part of the Voyages Ayers Rock Resorts complex, Sails in the Desert celebrates Aboriginal heritage and culture through its décor and the on-site Mulgara Gallery of native art and crafts.  Hotel amenities include an outdoor pool, spacious grounds, several restaurants and bars, Internet access, and dry cleaning and laundry services, while the greater resort complex offers a host of amenities, from five additional swimming pools and two tennis courts to a shopping complex, hair salon, and Visitors’ Center.  A free shuttle bus operates continuously around the property.  Spacious air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, private balcony or verandah, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Sir Stamford at Circular Quay

Sir Stamford at Circular Quay stands in the heart of Sydney on historic Macquarie Street and in close proximity to the Opera House, Royal Botanic Gardens, and Sydney Harbour.  Built in the late 1800s, the hotel features 18th-century Louis XV and Georgian antiques.  Amenities include a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning services, fitness center, sundeck, sauna, and outdoor heated pool.  Comfortable guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, television, mini-bar, safe, and phone.

The Hermitage Hotel

Located inside Mt. Cook National Park, the newly refurbished Hermitage Hotel offers a range of options for enjoying the park, from hiking to flight seeing.  The hotel, which is part of the Aoraki Mount Cook Village of several hotels, has two restaurants, café, and lounge; Internet access; gift shop featuring native Maori crafts; and laundry facilities.  Guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, TV, and phone.

Hotel St. Moritz, Queenstown

Nestled on a hillside overlooking Queenstown’s breathtaking lake and mountains, the alpine-lodge style Hotel St. Moritz is located just a few minutes’ walk from prime dining and shopping areas.  Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, Internet access, laundry and dry cleaning facilities, fitness center, sauna, and spa.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, coffee- and tea-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

Regent of Rotorua

The newly refurbished Regent of Rotorua is a boutique-style accommodation located in the center of Rotorua, close to the city’s restaurants and pedestrian shopping street.  Hotel amenities include a restaurant and bar, mini fitness center and spa, heated outdoor pool, indoor thermal mineral pool, and Internet access.  Each of the 15 air-conditioned guest rooms have mini-bar, in-room safe, coffee- and tea-making facilities, microwave, TV, phone, and luxury linens and robes.

Stamford Plaza Auckland (also used for Optional Post-Tour Extension)

Stamford Plaza sits in the heart of Auckland’s central business district just one block from Waitemata Harbour and a few minutes’ walk to the High Street shopping district, Sky City casino, and DFS Galleria duty-free shopping center.  The hotel features three restaurants and a bar; gift shop; fitness center with pool, Jacuzzi, sauna, and gym; Internet access; and laundry and dry cleaning services.  Air-conditioned guest rooms have private bath with hair dryer, in-room safe, tea- and coffee-making facilities, mini-bar, TV, and phone.

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30 meals: 18 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 8 dinners

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Fred Diehl, Professor of Biology Emeritus
Fred Diehl is an emeritus faculty member in the Department of Biology at the University of Virginia and has over 30 years' experience teaching biology at all levels. His research and teaching interests are mainly in the areas of zoology, developmental biology, ecology and marine sciences, with a specialization in invertebrate biology. Whenever possible, field experiences and laboratories have been important components of his courses, and he is a firm believer in learning from direct observation and first-hand exposure to nature. His proudest accomplishment as a faculty member at the University of Virginia is having taught a variety of courses to over 25,000 undergraduate students. Fred has lead past Cavalier Travels trips to Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Belize and the Galápagos Islands.

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Days 1-2March 9 & 10
Depart U.S. for Cairns, Australia

Day 3March 11
Arrive Cairns 
This afternoon we arrive in Cairns, gateway to Australia’s Far North and the Great Barrier Reef.  We transfer to our hotel where tonight we enjoy a briefing and welcome dinner.  Pullman Reef Hotel Casino, (D)

Day 4March 12
After an orientation tour of Cairns we board an historic century-old railway for the thrilling 1½-hour journey through 15 tunnels and dense tropical rainforest, over 40 bridges, past spectacular waterfalls, and over steep ravines to the picturesque mountain village of Kuranda.  After time to wander through Kuranda’s shops and markets showcasing Aboriginal handicrafts, we descend via the gondolas of Skyrail, at 4.7 miles the world’s longest gondola cableway.  Gliding just feet above the rainforest canopy, we enjoy spectacular 360-degree views.  We disembark at Tjapukai Aboriginal Culture Park, which celebrates the culture of the rainforest people of Tropical North Queensland and ranks as Australia’s premier Aboriginal cultural attraction.  Here we enjoy a performance that illustrates Aboriginal culture from its beginnings through to the future.  There’s time for lunch on your own before returning to our hotel late this afternoon.  Dinner tonight is on your own.  (B)

Day 5March 13
Great Barrier Reef 
This morning we board a boat for a day-long excursion to the Great Barrier Reef.  This collection of more than 2,800 coral reefs is a Natural World Heritage Area that runs along the coast of Queensland for more than 1,250 miles – making it the longest living reef in the world.  The Great Barrier Reef is a true wonder of nature, with literally thousands of species of fish and coral, some at depths of just 10 to 15 feet below the surface.  We sail to Michaelmas Cay, where we can swim, snorkel, and view the reef from an air-conditioned, semi-submersible vessel.  The Cay is a protected seabird sanctuary playing host to more than 20,000 migratory seabirds; it ranks as one of the most important nesting sites in the Southern Hemisphere and where you can join in an optional guided birding tour.  Please remember that the Great Barrier Reef is a delicate living organism, protected by law.  Visitors are asked to avoid touching the coral; not to pick up or touch any reef creatures (for your protection as well as the reef’s); and to keep the water clean.  Lunch today is aboard ship; dinner tonight is on your own.  (B, L)

Day 6March 14
Cairns/Alice Springs  
We enjoy a morning flight to Alice Springs, capital of Australia’s Outback situated in the country’s exact center.  Upon arrival we visit several highlights of “The Alice,” including the ANZAC (Australia and New Zealand Army Corps) Hill Monument to soldiers who fought in both World Wars; the Royal Flying Doctors Service, which covers an area greater than the size of Western Europe; and School of the Air, which provides schooling to widely scattered Outback children.  Tonight we enjoy a traditional “bush” dinner, relaxing around a campfire as an entertainer performs Aussie ballads and points out constellations of the southern sky.  Crowne Plaza, (B, D)

Day 7March 15
Alice Springs  
This morning we embark on an Aboriginal “dreamtime” tour, where we learn about this ancient culture in a natural bush setting and meet Walpiri tribespeople in their camp.  Then we explore the Outback, including Simpsons Gap, a prominent waterhole and Aboriginal spiritual site; and Standley Chasm, a natural gap in the sandstone slopes that rise 242 feet on either side.  Here at the landmark honoring the first schoolteacher in Alice Springs, we enjoy a picnic lunch and see the sheer rock walls aglow in reflected sunlight.  As we’ll walk on a dirt trail for about 20 minutes to reach the chasm, you’ll want to be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes.  We return to our hotel late this afternoon, where the remainder of the day and evening is at leisure.  Dinner tonight is on your own.  (B, L)

Day 8March 16
Alice Springs/Ayers Rock (Uluru)
We depart this morning by motorcoach for Ayers Rock (known as Uluru in the native Aboriginal tradition), reaching our hotel early this afternoon.  After time to relax and have lunch on our own, we set out for Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site that is the traditional land of the Anangu Aboriginal peoples.  The park also is home to the unusual Olgas rock formations, where we take a walking tour, and Uluru (Ayers Rock).  Late today we watch the sun set over this fabled sandstone monolith that rises to a height of 1,114 feet above the flat plain.  We return to our hotel in time for dinner on your own.  Sails in the Desert, (B)

Day 9March 17
Ayers Rock (Uluru)/Sydney
This morning we tour the base of fabled Uluru before visiting the museum here.  Mid-day we fly to Sydney, arriving late afternoon.  We take a brief orientation walk of the Circular Quay and Rocks area surrounding our hotel, then are free for dinner on our own in this most cosmopolitan of cities.  Sir Stamford at Circular Quay, (B)

Day 10March 18
Today we tour Sydney, capital of New South Wales and Australia’s oldest English-inhabited city.  We see the lush Botanical Gardens, stop for great views from Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair, then drive through Darling Harbour, the city’s commercial center.  Then we head to the exclusive suburbs of Double, Rose, and Watson’s bays for more stunning views, this time of the Pacific Ocean.  We continue on to famed Bondi Beach then return to Circular Quay where we board a catamaran for a sail around Sydney Harbour, enjoying a buffet lunch along with commentary about this magnificent natural waterway.  After disembarking we return to our hotel mid-afternoon and have the opportunity to attend a presentation on opals, if we wish (Australia produces some 97% of the world’s opals).  Dinner tonight is on your own and Sydney has a wonderful selection of restaurants featuring cuisine of all types, from seafood to steak houses; Italian to Indian – and virtually every ethnicity in between.  (B, L)

Day 11March 19
This morning we visit Koala Park Sanctuary, where koalas roam free in the 10-acre grounds of rainforest, eucalyptus groves, and native gardens – along with kangaroo, dingo, wallaby, and a variety of native birds.  From here we head out for a drive along Sydney’s Northern Beaches, a string of 18 stunning playgrounds surrounded by a national park.  We stop in the fashionable beachfront suburb of Manly for some free time and lunch on our own before returning to Sydney.  After returning to our hotel mid-afternoon the remainder of the day is at leisure.  Lunch and dinner today are on your own.  (B)

Day 12March 20
On this morning's excursion we tour Sydney's iconic Opera House, the country's premier performing arts venue and home to Opera Australia, Sydney Theater Company, and Sydney Symphony Orchestra, among other groups.  Then the remainder of the day is free for independent exploration and lunch on your own.  You may wish to visit the Taronga Zoo, accessible by boat from the Circular Quay; tour the Sydney Aquarium, one of the world's best; or stroll along Macquarie Street, one of Sydney's most elegant thoroughfares. Tonight we enjoy dinner together in the popular Rocks district at the Waterfront Restaurant, with excellent seafood and beautiful harbor views.  (B, D)

Day 13March 21
Sydney/Christchurch/Mount Cook National Park, New Zealand
This morning we fly to Christchurch, New Zealand, where we board a coach for the drive to Mount Cook.  We reach our hotel located inside stunning Mount Cook National Park in the Southern Alps in time for dinner together.  The Hermitage, (B, D)

Day 14March 22
Mount Cook
New Zealand’s great alpine preserve of turquoise lakes and snow-topped mountains (and a UNESCO World Heritage park), Mount Cook National Park boasts 19 peaks reaching over 9,842 feet.  Mt. Cook itself (Aoraki in native Maori), stands as New Zealand’s highest peak at 12,316 feet.  And the Southern Alps, which run the length of the country’s South Island, boast more than 158 named peaks, with 140 of them measuring more than 6,500 feet.

This morning’s tour of Mount Cook Village and environs includes a visit to the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine Centre, which showcases the region and its people, and where we see a 3D planetarium movie about the region.  Both educational and entertaining, the center also comprises the Hillary Gallery commemorating Sir Edmund’s achievements, including the first ascent of Mount Cook’s difficult South face – where he trained for his monumental summiting of Mount Everest.  After time in the village for lunch on your own, we return to our hotel in the heart of the national park where the afternoon is at leisure for independent exploration in this breathtaking swath of nature.  You may choose to venture out on one of several hiking trails; shop for locally made crafts; or simply relax and enjoy the stunning alpine scenery surrounding you.  Or, you may wish to take an optional scenic flight over the majestic Southern Alps (weather permitting and at additional cost).  We dine together tonight at our hotel. (B, D)

Day 15March 23
Mount Cook/Queenstown
This morning we continue on to Queenstown, stopping along the way in historic Arrowtown for lunch on our own before a visit to the famed Kawarau Bridge Bungy, the world’s first bungy operation open to the public.  Mid-afternoon we reach Queenstown, New Zealand’s “adventure capital” blessed with a supremely scenic location nestled between the jagged Remarkables mountains and glacial Lake Wakatipu.  Tonight we enjoy dinner together at the hotel.  Hotel St. Moritz Queenstown, (B, D)

Day 16March 24
Queenstown/Milford Sound 
Early today we leave Queenstown by motorcoach as we embark on a full-day excursion through stunning alpine scenery to Fjordland National Park and Milford Sound, described by Rudyard Kipling as the “eighth wonder of the world.”  It is, quite simply, glorious.  Formed by giant glaciers that receded long ago, glassine Milford Sound boasts vertical cliffs that rise thousands of feet from the sea.  Milford Sound is also massive:  it measures 10 miles long and 1½ miles wide at its broadest point.  We admire this spectacle of nature on a 2½ -hour nature cruise past cascading waterfalls, rainforest, sheer rock walls, and such landmarks as 5,560-foot Mitre Peak, which dominates the pristine waterway.  We enjoy lunch on board then later have the opportunity to return to Queenstown on an optional scenic flight (weather permitting and at additional cost).  Those not wishing to take the scenic flight will return to Queenstown by motorcoach early this evening.  Dinner tonight is on your own in Queenstown.  (B, L)

Day 17March 25
This morning is free to enjoy Queenstown as you wish.  From bungy-jumping, river rafting, and kayaking to wineries, art galleries, and arts trails, activities abound.  Your tour director will be happy to help you plan your time; lunch is on your own.  This afternoon we take a boat across Lake Wakatipu to Walter Peak High Country Farm for an up-close look at New Zealand farming.  We tour the farmyard and have an opportunity to feed the sheep and deer, followed by traditional high country afternoon tea at the homestead.  Afterward we visit the shearing shed to watch the farm dogs rounding up sheep and the farmer shear one.  You have the chance to try spinning wool before we board our boat for the trip back across the lake to Queenstown.  We return to our hotel early this evening; tonight dinner is on your own.  (B)

Day 18March 26
We depart this morning for the flight to Rotorua, spiritual home of New Zealand's native Maori people and also home to dramatic geysers, bubbling mud pools, and thermal hot springs. We reach Rotorua in time for lunch on your own then embark on a tour featuring the government gardens and the acclaimed Rotorua Museum of Art & History.  Located in the historic Bath House, the museum showcases the region's cultural and geological heritage.  Dinner tonight is on your own; our hotel is centrally located and dining options abound.  Regent of Rotorua, (B)

Day 19March 27
This morning and early afternoon are free for independent exploration.  You'll find a host of activities available, from bathing in the thermal hot springs to river rafting.  Late this afternoon we visit the Te Puia Thermal Reserve and Maori Cultural Center for a traditional hangi dinner and performance.  A time-honored Maori cooking technique, hangi involves covering food in an earthen pit filled with hot rocks, allowing it to steam and cook in its own juices.  (B, D)

Day 20March 28
On our way to Auckland this morning we stop at Ruakuri Caves, where we enjoy a guided subterranean experience of elaborate limestone formations, hidden waterfalls, underground rivers, glowworms, and sacred Maori sites.  Our tour begins with a spiral descent from ground level via an incredible drum entrance and walkway then continues through the underground grotto for one mile.  Following our tour, we resume the journey to Auckland, arriving mid-afternoon in the “City of Sails.”  Boasting a beautiful natural setting atop 48 volcanic hills, Auckland is New Zealand’s largest city.  Upon arrival we enjoy a panoramic city tour featuring Auckland Harbour and the America’s Cup Village.  Tonight we celebrate our journey at a farewell dinner.  Stamford Plaza, (B, D)

Day 21March 29
Depart for U.S. 
Very early this morning we transfer to the Auckland airport for the flight to Los Angeles (via Sydney or Brisbane), where we connect with our return flights home.  (B)


We will do our best to adhere to our printed itinerary.  Occasionally, though, unexpected obstacles, or opportunities, may arise that will force us to deviate from the itinerary as written.  We would ask you to be open-minded and flexible should we vary the itinerary slightly. 

For Those Who Purchase Business Class Air

A reminder that your Business Class seating applies only to your Trans-Pacific flights between the U.S. and Australia and return from New Zealand to the U.S.; it does not apply to any flights in the U.S. or to internal flights included on the tour.

For Guests Taking Odysseys Unlimited’s

Days 21-22March 29-30
No need to transfer anywhere:  you’re right at home for the next two nights at Stamford Plaza Hotel, your base for exploring Auckland to your heart’s delight.  Options abound in this vibrant city with a Polynesian influence and plentiful outdoor activities.  You may wish to visit the Auckland Museum, which preserves the cultural and social history of Auckland; the Naval Museum housing medals, ships, and other historical naval artifacts; or the Maritime Museum with numerous exhibits devoted to New Zealand boating and yachting.  Stamford Plaza Hotel, (Breakfast daily)

Day 23March 31
Return to U.S.
Early this morning we transfer to the Auckland airport for the flight to Los Angeles (via Sydney or Brisbane), where we connect with our return flights home.  (B)

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Program Fees

Price: $7,895 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Los Angeles.

$8,395 per person, double occupancy, air inclusive from Washington D.C.

Single Supplement: $2,195

Price Includes:

Does Not Include:

Optional Post-Tour Extension: AUCKLAND – ON YOUR OWN (3 days/2 nights) includes 2 nights’ accommodations at Stamford Plaza Hotel (Superior First Class); 2 meals: 2 breakfasts; Transfer to airport.

Extension Price: $245;
Ext. Single Supplement: $175

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $500 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final payment is due 95 days prior to departure. (December 4, 2012)

Deposits can be made via MasterCard, Visa, or American Express, or by check made out to “Odyssesys Unlimited, Inc.”

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Please read this information carefully, as a payment of a $500 deposit per person represents your acceptance of the following Terms and Conditions.

Payment Schedule: A deposit of $500 per person confirms your reservation. The balance of your invoice is due 95 days (December 4, 2012) before departure.

Cancellation and Refunds: If you must cancel your trip, the effective date of cancellation will be upon our receipt of your written notification. Refunds for cancellations are subject to the following per person charges: Cancel 95 days or more before departure: $200 charge; Cancel 94-65 days before departure: 25% of tour price; Cancel 64-45 days before departure: 50% of tour price; Cancel 44-30 days before departure: 75% of tour price; Cancel 29-0 days before departure: No refund. If a guest makes any changes within 94 and 30 days prior to departure to either their departure city and/or the optional post-tour extension, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. will apply a $100 per person administrative fee, in addition to any fees or penalties imposed by third parties. No changes are allowed within 30 days of departure. Upon reservation you must provide your full legal name as it appears on your passport, your date of birth and gender. In the event an airline ticket is issued with incorrect information you have provided, you will be responsible for charges associated with the ticket’s reissue.

Responsibility: The liability of the University of Virginia, as sponsor, and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc., as tour operator, is strictly limited. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. purchase transportation, hotel accommodations, restaurant and other services from independent suppliers not under our control. We serve only as agents for these suppliers in securing tour arrangements, and therefore will not accept responsibility for wrongful, negligent, or arbitrary acts or omissions of these independent contractors, their employees, agents, servants or representatives. The University of Virginia and Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. are not liable for injury, damage, loss, accident, or delay that may be caused by events not within our control, including without limitation, acts of terrorism, war, strikes, the defect of any vehicle, or the negligence or default of any third party. All coupons, receipts, and tickets issued are subject to the terms and conditions specified by the air carriers, cruise line, and other independent suppliers. We will make every effort to operate our tours as planned, but we reserve the right to make itinerary changes as necessary. If unforeseen circumstances require us to change a hotel, we will select alternative accommodations of the same or better quality. If you choose to make your own air arrangements, Odysseys Unlimited, Inc. shall not have any liability for any loss resulting from cancellation of this tour or changes in this tour. Health and

Medical Issues: We request that you be in good health to participate in an Odysseys Unlimited tour. There is a considerable amount of walking, and you must be able to get on and off motorcoaches and boats on your own. If you require the use of a wheelchair or have other personal needs, you must be accompanied by a companion who will assist you. We reserve the right to remove anyone whose physical or mental condition, in our opinion, compromises the operation of the tour or detracts from the enjoyment or safety of the other passengers. In that event, Odysseys Unlimited and the University of Virginia assume no financial responsibility for any unused portion of the tour.

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