• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton
    Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Have you considered Western Australia?

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Posted by:

Kirsty Saunders

 

With 12,500 km’s of stunning coastline, 550 species of birds, 12,000 species of wildflowers, and just a little short of 2 million people, Western Australia is a destination in its own right, and without a doubt, Australia’s best kept secret.  With the Indian Ocean lapping the western shores, and the Southern Ocean to the South, the state of Western Australia quite literally smothers the western end of the vast country of Australia.  Perth is the gateway, the major city, and home to a large number of the total population of WA (1.4 million actually which doesn’t leave many for the rest of the State!).

View of the city from Kings Park. Photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Perth has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild, wet winters. It is the sunniest capital city in Australia! Perth is a modern city with a good choice of internationally recognised hotels and apartments. The shopping is good, the city is clean and friendly, and the surrounding wine regions stunning. It boasts the scenic Swan river with its famous black swans, nearby hectares of natural bushland in Kings Park, beautiful beaches, whales, dolphins and the little Quokka on Rottnest Island (a protected nature reserve). It is not too difficult to see why Perth is a popular lifestyle city.

Rottnest Island – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Quokka – Photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Perth is the hub, the starting point to explore the rest of Western Australia, and whilst it is possible to visit several places of interest outside Perth on a day trip – for some of these places the distances are huge, with day excursions leaving early in the morning and returning late in the evening.

As far as day trips are concerned once you have cruised along the Swan river to Fremantle and spent a day or two at Rottnest Island, you could consider a trip to Rockingham. Here you can swim with the wild dolphins with or visit as a spectator to see these beautiful animals in their natural environment. They are not fed or made to perform, they simply come because they enjoy human interaction.

If you hire a car, not too far outside the city you can visit Yanchep National Park, where you can enjoy nature-based activities, you will find caves, the Koala boardwalk (home to a colony of Koalas), and a tree adventure park for the kids, with ziplines and rope walks. You are also likely to see wild black cockatoos as well as other parrots and possibly kangaroos too!

A venture out to the famous Cottesloe beach is another day trip to consider. This pretty beach looking out across the Indian ocean boasts beautiful white sand and numerous cafes and bars. In the evening enjoy beautiful sunsets and watch the Rainbow Lorikeets as they come in their hundreds to roost in the pine trees.

Another suggestion is a trip out to the Pinnacles. This will be a long day but worth it. The Pinnacles are limestone formations found within an otherworldly desert landscape in Nambung National Park. An extraordinary site and a great photographic opportunity! You could make this a stop en route if you were driving along the west coast.

The Pinnacles – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

South of Perth will take you into the Margaret River wine regions of the south west, well worth exploring. There are day trips available if you are using Perth as your base, or you could stop by for a few days. A must see for any visitor to the Margaret River region is Busselton with its heritage listed Jetty. The longest wooden-piled jetty in the Southern Hemisphere it extends over Geographe Bay for 1.8 kilometres. You can take a leisurely train ride down the jetty to the underwater observatory at the end, where you can experience one of Australia’s greatest artificial reefs. Bunbury is also a great place to stop with its basalt rock formations and where bottlenose dolphins visit close to the shore.

Busselton Jetty – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

If you continue around the south western tip of Australia, the point where the Indian Ocean meets the Southern Ocean,  you would discover the beautiful rugged coastline of Albany and its natural wonders ‘The Gap’ and the ‘Natural Bridge’. The first European settlement in Western Australia, see Albany’s colonial architecture and the historic whaling station – now a museum.

The Natural Bridge – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Albany – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Whilst you are in this region visit Denmark with its wineries, and the remarkable Treetop Walk  ‘valley of the giants’  in Walpole -Nornalup National Park. The Ariel walkway is 40 metres above the ground amongst the canopy of huge Red Tingle and Karri trees, which are unique to this area.

Tree Top Walk – photo courtesy of Nick Walker

Whilst you are in this neck of the woods we can recommend another wonderful way to spend your day, which is to take an Eco cruise boat trip around the secluded inlets of Walpole and Nornulup. This wilderness is a very special place, a naturalist’s paradise and a real hidden gem.

Continuing along the southern coast of WA, you will reach Esperance. Here you will find beaches amongst the finest and whitest anywhere in the world. Offshore, Fur Seals and Sealions shelter on the islands of the Recherche Archipelago. You can take a scenic flight to see the surreal ‘pink’ lake Hillier on Middle Island.

Esperance – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Heading inland from Perth, head to the Outback town of Kalgoorlie. Originally founded during the gold rush of the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, this little town has thrived and continues to mine the precious ore from the Super Pit.  Make sure you take the drive up to the viewing platform for views of one of the biggest holes you will ever see!!

Wave Rock – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

Or by taking a different route inland discover the little town of Hyden, famous for the Wave Rock!  You could combine the two if you made it part of a self-drive route.

If you drive North from Perth, along this remote coast, you will eventually reach Kalbarri (which would take over 6 hours). You can drive through the Kalbarri National Park and see the spectacular Murchison Gorges and take the opportunity to go on a river cruise on the Murchison River. Kalbarri is a delightfully unpretentious fishing village at the mouth of the River, with several simple but wholesome restaurants. As with each community on this route, the locals are genuine, friendly, welcoming and very typically Australian – proud of their country and their heritage without any brashness. Drive to Shark Bay from here and the dolphins at Monkey Mia.  Shark Bay is another gem; pristine coastline, dolphins and dugongs by the dozen and a delightful lack of tourists.

Monkey Mia – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

It’s another 5 hours drive from here to Ningaloo Reef via Coral Bay.  Coral Bay is a remote and secluded treasure, and second only to the Great Barrier Reef itself. This area is not inundated with tourists and it does not have a huge choice of international resorts and accommodation and but there are some excellent fish restaurants!

Ningaloo Reef – photo courtesy of Tourism Australia

The bay itself is contained within the Ningaloo Reef which offers it perfect protection from the ocean outside.  Here, glass bottomed boats take you to view the coral, whilst longer expeditions will take you further afield, skilfully negotiating the narrow channels through the reef. The Ningaloo Reef is little brother to the Great Barrier Reef.  Closer into the shore, it is easily accessible to all. 500 species of fish are to be found here, plus sharks, enormous manta rays, turtles and dugongs – there is always something to see:

March to May – Coral spawning

March to June – Whale Sharks

June to November – Manta Ray

June/July to October/November – Humpback Whales

November to March – Turtle nesting and hatching.

However long you plan to stay here will probably not be long enough. You could fly to Exmouth in order to visit Coral Bay and Ningaloo Reef if you weren’t planning on driving.

Finally, another destination that you must consider is The Kimberleys, three times the size of England straddling the states of Western Australia and Northern Territories, The Kimberleys offer a perfect location for ‘getting away from it all’ – literally!!  Broome is the major gateway to this region of canyons and gorges and freshwater swimming holes.  Plan the timing of your visit carefully, avoiding the cyclone season when many roads are impassable due to flooding.  Out of the cyclone season, the adventurous traveller will find gorges and rock formations to rival those anywhere in the world. Consider a small group escorted tour here, using 4WD vehicles and a mixture of camping and motel accommodation – this area will leave an indelible mark on your memory. A visit to this region would certainly involve an internal flight, either directly from Perth or from another location during your travels around Western Australia.

There are many options for exploring WA and if you want to see it all, a combination of driving and air would be best.

Contact us to help you put together your tailor-made Western Australia itinerary.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Wyoming..

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

If your someone who likes space with peace and amazing scenery, then this state’s vast size and low population which could allow each person living in Wyoming to have 111 acres all to themselves could be your perfect get away. Here are 10 places to get you started…………..

 

Lander – Hiking, mountain biking, fishing and world-class climbing await in this secluded mountain town along Wyoming’s Wind River Range. Most of Lander’s outdoor fun can be found in Sinks Canyon State Park a beautiful park with a natural phenomenon known as The Sinks. Jump on one of the 500+ area climbing routes or explore the park’s stunning scenery via trail.

Wind River Canyon Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Star Valley – Wyoming’s Star Valley is a community of 12 towns that span a 45 mile stretch of valley nestled against the Salt River Mountain Range – just one hour south of Grand Teton National Park. This often-overlooked part of the state is also one of the most beautiful, with rolling hills, snow-capped mountains and rushing rivers serving as the backdrop to your outdoor adventures.

Saratoga – For the ultimate mountain rejuvenation, head to Saratoga and take a soak in the hot springs. Hobo Hot Springs features several free pools, including a few along the North Platte River. Make your way to nearby Medicine Bow National Forest to hike along the Snowy Mountain Range.

Hot Springs Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Sundance – Break away from the stresses of modern technology in the place where the Sundance Kid got his name. This Western town is located in the heart of the Black Hills, offering plenty of trails for the enjoyment of hikers, horseback riders and off-road vehicle enthusiasts alike. Explore Devils Tower America’s first national monument by hiking around its mile-long base or climbing up its 900-foot face.

Alcova – Technically part of Casper, Wyoming, Alcova is an unincorporated town near Fremont Canyon that offers rest, rejuvenation and adventure on the water. Get away from the noise of everyday life by staying at a campsite along the canyon’s Alcova or Pathfinder reservoirs; or book a rustic cabin in the town of Alcova. Rent a pontoon boat, kayak, stand-up paddleboard or water toy of your choosing at Alcova Resort and spend your days gazing at the canyon’s towering walls from its refreshing blue shores. Grab your fishing pole and cast a line into Alcova Reservoir, or try your luck at fly fishing on the nearby Platte River. Rock climbing, hiking and mountain biking offer even more fun on shore.

Seminoe Alcova Wyoming Backway Cedit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Guernsey – Step off the grid and into a time when the West was a new frontier. Just south of Guernsey you will find remnants of travel from those heading West on the Oregon Trail during the mid-1800s. See the Oregon Trial ruts – the tracks worn into sandstone from pioneer wagons – some of which are now five feet deep. Then head to Register Cliff to find names carved into rock wall by emigrants passing through. Continue your deep dive into history with a trip to Fort Laramie, a national historic site that transformed from a fur trading outpost to a military post protecting westward travellers from local American Indian tribes.

Fort Laramie NHS Buildings Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Fort Laramie NHS Barracks Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lovell – This quaint town in northern Wyoming offers a doorway to both Western history and outdoor adventure. Spot wild horses at the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center, discover ancient American Indian History at Medicine Wheel National Historic Landmark or stroll through downtown Lovell, known for its beautiful rose gardens. While in town, take a few days to explore the nearby Bighorn Lake and Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area, an area that spans into Montana and features stunning, 1,000-foot-tall canyon walls carved by the Bighorn River.

Medicine Wheel Credit: Wyoming Office of Tourism

Green River – Discover southwest Wyoming’s beautiful buttes and other worldly rock formations in the area surrounding Green River. Toss your phones aside as you search for wildlife at the beautiful Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, where moose, pronghorn and over 200 species of birds can be spotted year-round. Or drive the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop for the chance to see members of the area herd, which consists of about 1,500 wild horses. Drive the Flaming Gorge-Green River Basin Scenic Byway for breath taking views of Green River and Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area, leaving ample time to stop and explore.

 

Buffalo – Tucked just east of Wyoming’s Bighorn Mountains, Buffalo offers a wide range of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed during any season. Take a hike in Cloud Peak Wilderness, cast a line in Clear Creek or saddle up for an hourly, daily or overnight horseback trip at one of several nearby ranches. When the snow starts falling, hit the slopes at Meadowlark Ski Lodge or snowmobile pristine trails in the Bighorns. For a touch of Wild West adventure, step back in time at the Historic Occidental Hotel, where infamous guests such as Butch Cassidy and Calamity Jane once stayed. Then venture down to Hole-in-the-Wall near Kaycee to get a first-hand look at one of the West’s best outlaw hideouts.

Buffalo Occidental Hotel Credit: Buffalo, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce

Dubois – Located near both the Wind River and Absaroka mountain ranges, you can hike to the peaceful Lake Louise or challenge yourself with a hike up Whiskey Mountain, both of which aren’t far from Wyoming’s tallest mountain at 13,809 feet: Gannett Peak. During the winter months, head west to Falls Campground or Deception Creek to snowshoe or cross-country ski. These areas are protected from snowmobilers, allowing you to have a quiet experience on pristine snow.

Coastal Pacific Rolls Again!

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

It’s the news we’ve been waiting for – the Coastal Pacific train on New Zealand’s South Island is set to recommence operations from the beginning of December! This scenic rail route operates between Picton and Christchurch, and connects perfectly with the ferry between the north and south islands of New Zealand.

If arriving by ferry from Wellington, Picton is the first place visitors will come to – with a stunning journey through the Queen Charlotte Sound on the approach. Here, explore the wine regions of Blenheim and Marlborough, and take time to discover Abel Tasman National Park with its crescent shaped beaches and lush greenery. Kayaking, sailing, cycling and walking are just a few of the activities awaiting visitors to the region.

From Picton, board the Coastal Pacific train – the rail route wends its way down the east coast of the island, and stops in Kaikoura along the way. At this point, it’s possible to stop for a night or two – Kaikoura is best known for its whale watching and the albatross found here. The earthquakes of 2016 have meant an enforced regeneration of parts of the town, and it is ready to welcome visitors once again.

 

Picture courtesy of KiwiRail

The rail route continues to Christchurch. This is another place that has seen earthquake enforced regeneration and the locals here have taken advantage of the chance to make improvements along the way. Alongside traditional attractions such as the botanic gardens, the tram and punting along the river, visitors can head to the unique Cardboard Cathedral and the Quake City Museum – both icons of the recent history of the city.

From Christchurch, it’s possible to connect to another of New Zealand’s iconic rail journeys – the Tranz Alpine. This rail route cuts a path through the Southern Alps from east to west, briefly stopping in alpine Arthur’s Pass before continuing to Greymouth on the coast.

These trains provide a chance to experience New Zealand’s scenery from a different perspective, and can dovetail perfectly with sections of self-drive during a New Zealand holiday. For more information, please contact us.

 

Picture courtesy of KiwiRail

Picture courtesy of KiwiRail

Kenya Railways – Nairobi to Mombasa or Vice Versa

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, launched the revitalised/ new Standard Gauged Railway between Nairobi and Mombasa last week. This has cut the travelling time to just over 4 hours for the trip and with prices set at US$9-00 for economy class and US$30 for First Class this has become a real alternative to flying or buses.

There are plans to include a Business class carriage as well but these have yet to be delivered from China.

 

Kenya Lion

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

This gives travellers another option for travel between thee two popular cities but you could also use the train for access to Tsavo East and West National Parks and the Taita Hills with the train stopping at Voi and Mtito Andei. Providing the service is maintained this is another way to see this beautiful country without the experience of some of the rough roads.

For expert advice on your tailor made holiday to Kenya call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Kenya

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Destinations Show, Olympia

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 


Photograph by kind permission of UnCruise Adventures

Don’t forget we will be at Destinations Show at Olympia, London, on February 02, 03, 04 and 05. Find us on Stand AC32 which we are sharing with the American company Uncruise Adventures. Most of the team will be there over the 4 days and would love to see a friendly face or two. This is one of the biggest travel shows in the U.K and a great place to find new destinations and experiences that would suit you. If you have a particular place in mind for your holiday next year (or the year after) give us a call to book an appointment with our team expert for that part of the world. However we will be very pleased to see you as and when you are free.

For your free tickets to Destinations Show, please go to: http://www.destinationsshow.com/london/form/registration  and then type in MSC97 in the appropriate place.

We look forward to seeing you at either event.

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Sydney and Melbourne are two cities that often feature on the wish list for a visit to Australia. Whilst the cities can be linked with a flight or rail journey, if time allows we suggest driving between the two – taking time to explore the beautiful scenery along the way.

Summary

Sydney to Melbourne Coastal Drive

Sydney and Melbourne are two cities that often feature on the wish list for a visit to Australia. Whilst the cities can be linked with a flight or rail journey, if time allows we suggest driving between the two – taking time to explore the beautiful scenery along the way.

There are two key routes to choose between – the Coastal Drive and the Heritage Drive. In description, we have suggested an itinerary for the Coastal Drive.

Description

Description

Day 1: Sydney

With its compact city centre and efficient public transport, Sydney is an easily accessible city with many of the main attractions close by. Enjoy a morning harbour cruise, a concert at the Opera House and blow away the cobwebs doing the Bridge Climb. Visit Bondi Beach and watch the surfers on the waves, shop in Paddington’s markets, enjoy a stroll around the Rocks and Circular Quay, or head out to glamorous Double Bay for designer shopping.

Three nights Sydney

Day 4: Wollongong

Take the stunning Grand Pacific Drive down the coast today. Starting south of Sydney at the entrance of the Royal National Park, this drive passes through picturesque seaside villages, coastal rainforests and the iconic Sea Cliff Bridge. With plenty of un-crowded beaches, a relaxed café culture and a plethora of activities on offer, Wollongong is a great place to stop along the way.

Two nights Wollongong 

Day 6: Jervis Bay

The Grand Pacific Drive continues south, through Shell harbour and Kiama before ending in Shoalhaven. Continue on to Jervis Bay – this is a beautiful marine park with stunning white sand beaches. Dolphin watching cruises are popular here, and you may be lucky enough to see migrating humpback and southern right whales (June/July and September to November).

Two nights Jervis Bay 

Day 8: Narooma

Continue down the coast to Narooma – from here explore Bateman’s Marine Park, or visit the Montague Island Nature Reserve and view the wildlife there – shearwaters, little penguins and fur seals.

One night Narooma

Day 9: Mallacoota

Crossing into Victoria today, for an overnight stay in the pretty coastal town of Mallacoota. Explore Croajingolong National Park and the many walking trails in the region. Gypsy Point is well worth a visit – a beautiful peninsula home to plenty of kangaroos.

One night Mallacoota 

Day 10: Lakes Entrance

Continue along the coast to Lakes Entrance. This is located on the edge of Ninety Mile Beach, where the Gippsland Lakes meets the Southern Ocean. Boating is a key activity of the area – take a cruise on the lakes, or enjoy some of the amazing fresh seafood that this region is known for. Explore the quaint seaside village of Metung and try your hand at fishing.

Two nights Lakes Entrance

Day 12: Wilsons Promontory

Drive towards Wilsons Promontory today. This park is a haven for native wildlife and has a plethora of walking trails. It’s the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria, and is home to kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and emus amongst others.

Two nights Wilsons Prom 

Day 14: Phillip Island

Drive on to Phillip Island today. Here, see the little penguins as they come ashore at dusk, or explore some of the islands many cycle and walking trails. Phillip Island is also home to fur seals at certain times of the year, as well as koalas.

One night Phillip Island

Day 15: Melbourne

Complete the drive to Melbourne today. A free tram service circles around the edge of the Central Business District, enabling easy access to many attractions. Take in a sporting event at the Telstra Dome – a sliding roof here means there are no stoppages for rain. For an interesting dinner, try The Tram Car Restaurant, which tours the suburb of St Kilda with an excellent meal (remembering to hold onto your wine glass as the tram passes over the points)! Take a tour out to Pin Oak Court, the home of Neighbours’ Ramsey Street, or enjoy an adventurous city tour by Harley Davidson motorbike. Visit the Eureka Tower, which has a viewing platform 88 floors up, as well as The Edge – a cubed glass room which projects out from the building allowing you the view straight down.

Three nights Melbourne

Day 18: Depart Melbourne

Depart Melbourne today, for the onward or homeward journey.

Sydney Opera House Credit Tourism Australia

Sydney Opera House Credit Tourism Australia

 Jervis Bay, NSW, Credit Jarvis Bay Kayaks - Tourism Australia

Jervis Bay, NSW, Credit Jarvis Bay Kayaks – Tourism Australia

Beach at Wilsons Promontory, VIC Credit Hamish Ta-me, Tourism Australia

Beach at Wilsons Promontory, VIC Credit Hamish Ta-me, Tourism Australia

Kitty Miller Bay, Phillip Island, VIC Credit David Hannah - Tourism Australia

Kitty Miller Bay, Phillip Island, VIC Credit David Hannah – Tourism Australia

Koala Phillip Island, VIC Credit Ross Holmberg - Tourism Australia

Koala Phillip Island, VIC Credit Ross Holmberg – Tourism Australia

Wilsons Promontory; Coastlines Credit Jeff Drewitz - Tourism Australia

Wilsons Promontory; Coastlines Credit Jeff Drewitz – Tourism Australia

Phillip Island Credit Tourism Australia

Phillip Island Credit Tourism Australia

Australia's Coastal Wilderness Credit Sorrel Wilby - Tourism Australia

Australia’s Coastal Wilderness Credit Sorrel Wilby – Tourism Australia

Skyline, Melbourne, VIC Credit Cameron Ernst - Tourism Australia

Skyline, Melbourne, VIC Credit Cameron Ernst – Tourism Australia

St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC Credit Roberto Seba - Tourism Australia

St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC Credit Roberto Seba – Tourism Australia

St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC Credit Roberto Seba - Tourism Australia

St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC Credit Roberto Seba – Tourism Australia

Little Gems

Little Gems

Why not experience the exhilaration of a helicopter flight.  See Sydney’s most famous landmarks bathed in the glow of the setting sun above the glistening waters of Maroubra Beach and tracking north over the water at 500 feet for approximately  25 min.

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Belmond Andean Explorer – Peru

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

Belmond have announced the arrival of an incredible new train journey in Peru – launching in May 2017 the Andean Explorer could be a fantastic addition to your holiday in the region.

 A carefully curated selection of four journeys will include ‘Peruvian Highlands’, a two night, three day journey departing from Cusco to Puno, where guests will be able to visit the remote villages and floating islands on Lake Titicaca, and then onwards to Arequipa, including a chance to stop and explore Colca Canyon, the realm of the condor. A shorter option, fully inclusive of all meals, an open bar and scheduled excursions, will be the ‘Spirit of the Andes’ journey, crossing the Altiplano between Cuzco and Lake Titicaca.  

Picture copyright to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture copyright to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Richard James Taylor

Picture credited to Belmond – Richard James Taylor

Inside the train you will be met by personal luxury cabins where you can relax along your journey, a lounge car for you to relax with friends and family, two dining rooms serving locally sourced ingredients from the Peruvian Andes and an observation car with an open deck so you can make the most of the ever changing landscape.

 

 

 

 If you would like to find out more or add this glorious train journey to your own bespoke, tailor made itinerary then please contact us on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

 

Picture copyright Belmont - Inge Moore

Picture copyright to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited to Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

 

Picture credited Belmond - Inge Moore

Picture credited to Belmond – Inge Moore

Book now for New England

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

New England is perhaps most famous for the wonderful colours of its fall foliage; forests of maple trees don their autumn mantle of reds and gold in the transition from summer to the snows of the winter months.  However, a visit to the New England States of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and Connecticut has far more to commend it than simply experiencing Mother Nature’s awesome autumn splendour.  Well known for its variety of accommodation from the small B&B’s, to Inns and larger luxury properties, as well as the sandy beaches of Cape Cod, the more rugged scenery of the Maine coastline dotted with colourful lighthouses and the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont, there is something for everyone in New England.  We can help you tailor your plans to fit the time you have available, your expectations and budget.  We pride ourselves on helping you achieve your dreams, not simply selling you a holiday.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click here for our itinerary ideas:- New England 

If you would like to see the amazing fall colours this year then you need to book soon or alternatively start thinking about making this part of your next years holiday.  Please contact us to help make your bespoke, tailor made holiday really special and one to remember – Tel: 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

 

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Top Tips for Queensland, Australia

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Credit Angie Watson

Credit Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve detailed below our top tips for visitors to Queensland – a useful guide for those thinking about a future holiday.

  • Allow plenty of time! The state covers a vast area so if you’re limited on time, choose one or two regions and explore them thoroughly. For example, it would be easy to spend two weeks just exploring the areas surrounding Brisbane.

 

  • Northern Queensland has a tropical climate and two seasons – wet and dry. We recommend travelling in the dry season, between May and October. This also avoids the box jellyfish season too.

 

  • Southern Queensland has four seasons – but prides itself on the fact that it usually receives 300 sunny days a year! This part of the state is a year-round destination.

 

  • Take a cruise to the Great Barrier Reef by small yacht – with limited passenger numbers you’ll have a more individual experience of this Wonder of the World.

 

  • Go whale watching! From August until October, humpback whales can be found off the Fraser Coast as they nurture their young, play and socialise.

 

  • For an idyllic end to a Queensland trip, include stay on one of the many beautiful islands of the Great Barrier Reef or the Whitsundays – there are options to suit most budgets.

 

  • Whilst we’d usually suggest visitors self-drive in Queensland, if you’re not keen or not able to do so, consider taking the Spirit of Queensland train between Cairns and Brisbane – you can stop en route for stays in plenty of places of interest.

 

  • Search for wildlife! The state is not only home to the Great Barrier Reef, but also has plenty of land creatures to see, from koalas and kangaroos to platypus. crocodiles and the elusive cassowary. We can suggest the right places to give you the best chance of seeing the wildlife.

 

  • For a true outback experience, take the ‘Spirit of the Outback’ train to Longreach, home of cattle stations, the Qantas Founders Museum and Stockman’s Hall of Fame.

 

For more information, and for assistance planning a holiday to Queensland, call us on 01323 446550, email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk or see our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk.

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

Picture Credit Tourism & Events Queensland

 

Credit Angie Watson

Credit Angie Watson

Great Rail Journeys of the World

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Posted by:

Vicki Tester

 

We are often asked what and where is the best rail journey in the world? So in answer to this we have detailed below some of our must do Great Rail Journeys of the World:

  • Consider the luxury rail experience offered by the Eastern and Oriental Express, operating between Singapore and Bangkok and taking two or three nights depending on the direction of travel. Enjoy vistas of tea plantations, rolling farmland, colonial cities and historic temples.
  • Take a rail journey in Vietnam, from the bustling city of Hanoi to the village of Sapa, located in the mountains overlooking spectacular views of the Ta Van valley’s terraced rice fields. The train operates overnight in both directions.
  • Think about the super-fast Shinkansen ‘Bullet Train’ in Japan. There are a number of routes on offer, but no trip to Japan is complete without at least one trip in the iconic Bullet Train.
Picture courtesy of JNTO

Picture courtesy of JNTO

 There are three iconic rail journeys available in New Zealand, one on the North Island, and two on the South.

  • On the North Island, the Northern Explorer runs from Auckland to Wellington through diverse countryside comprising of rolling farmland, towering viaducts and beautiful hidden valleys.
  • On the South Island, the Tranz Alpine train runs from Christchurch in the east to Greymouth in the west through stunning scenery. A stop is made in the small mountain town of Arthur’s Pass, where a stay enables a closer inspection of this Alpine region.  The Coastal Pacific runs from Picton (tying in perfectly with the ferry from Wellington on the NorthIsland)  south to Christchurch. This rail journey stops in Kaikoura en route, where a stay gives the opportunity to take a whale watching cruise.

 

  • An impressive and popular rail journey on the Devil’s Nose section of railway in Ecuador could be a part of your holiday itinerary.  Named Devil’s Nose due to the many deaths amongst workers as well as difficulty of building it, the route connects the Alausi and Sibambe stations taking a stunning trip down the rocky slopes of the Andes through breath-taking scenery.
  • Board the tourist train in Peru taking you on a journey through the Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley of the Incas, to the marvellous mountaintop ruins of Machu Picchu.
  • One of the more popular rail routes is the Coast Starlight which takes you along the west coast between Seattle and Los Angeles stopping in Portland along the way. Why not take a day out of your itinerary to treat yourself by taking a trip on the Napa Valley Wine Train where you can relax on-board the exquisitely restored vintage rail cars and experience fine dining service, multiple course meals and the stunning Napa Valley scenery. Most people see the Grand Canyon from the skies but since 1901 the Grand Canyon Railway has been taking people right through the heart of this amazing place and you could be one of them, you’ll feel like you’re travelling back in time. For something a little different during your visit to Colorado why not travel along the 45 miles of 3 foot narrow gauge track on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railway which has been running since 1881. However long your journey is travelling by rail is a definite must do during your USA holiday.
Picture courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

Picture courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

  • The most famous rail journey in Canada has to be the Rocky Mountaineer. With a variety of routes available you can spend a couple of days or a couple of weeks on board. One of the more popular routes is the Journey through the Clouds which takes you between Vancouver and Jasper with an overnight stop in Kamloops. With different grades of      service available this is a must no matter how big or small your budget is. If you want to travel the width of Canada in comfort and without missing the scenery as you concentrate on driving then take a ride on The Canadian. In the space of four nights and three days, you’ll get to see the lakes in Northern Ontario, the lush boreal forest, the western Prairies, and the magnificent Rocky Mountains as you travel between historical Quebec and modern Toronto.
  • Australia has some of the most iconic rail journeys in the world. There isn’t enough room here to talk about them all but here are some to whet your appetite. The Indian Pacific gets its name because it covers 4352km between Perth on the Indian Ocean and Sydney on the Pacific Ocean. The whole journey takes three nights, although you can break it up with a stop in Adelaide. You’ll travel through a variety of landscapes from towns and cities to the desert like Nullarbour Plain, from the outback to the forest of the Blue Mountains. So we’ve taken you East and West, but what if you want to go North and South? Named after the Afghan Cameleers who travelled this route, the Ghan will take between Darwin in the North to Adelaide in the South going straight through the centre of Australia. If it’s just a day on a train that you would prefer then a trip on the Kuranda Scenic Railway is perfect. It was built between 1882 and 1891 and is made up of 15 hand made tunnels and 37 bridges taking you from Cairns into the Barron Gorge National Park on your way to Karunda, known as the village in the rainforest.

 

  • Africa has a wealth of train experiences that cover the whole spectrum from world leader to leaving a lot to desire.  Rovos Rail has exciting itineraries that stretch from Pretoria, in South Africa through all their southern neighbouring countries and even a trip to Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. Where possible they travel during the day. The Blue Train is another South African luxury train that travels from Johannesburg to Durban and Cape Town or vice versa.
Picture courtesy of SA Tourism

Picture courtesy of SA Tourism

For further information, and for assistance planning your next bespoke, tailor made holiday which could incorporate one of these great rail journeys, please call us on 01323 446550, email us at  info@experienceholidays.co.uk 

 

 

 

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