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

Region: Rocky Mountain States

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Yvonne Dann

 

The area encompassing the beautiful US Rocky Mountain States of Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota and into Colorado has its own unique cultural history, combining both the heroic and tragic aspects of the opening up of the American West – from the epic movement of pioneers from east to west to the displacement of a native population. From the Black Hills of South Dakota to Hell’s Canyon in Idaho, from Montana’s breathtaking Glacier National Park to the awesome expanses of Wyoming’s Yellowstone National Park, the area is blessed with an unspoiled and natural scenic beauty.

The Real America

The Wild West

Wild West Story

Yellowstone in Winter

Favourite Road Trips

Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks

Indochina

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With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, Indochina offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people

Summary

Indochina

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Day 3: Siem Reap
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Day 9: Hoi An
Day 11: Hue
Day 13: Hanoi
Day 15: Halong Bay
Day 16: Hanoi

Description

Description

 

Indochina is comprised of three countries in the Far East – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Their geographical location, shared histories and fascinating culture make these three countries the perfect combination for a holiday in the Far East. With iconic historical attractions such as Angkor Wat, stunning coastal areas such as Halong Bay, and the vital lifeline of the Mekong River, this region offers diverse experiences along with a chance to learn about the culture, traditions, and way of life of the people.

Vietnam Airlines now offers a direct flight to Ho Chi Minh City from London Gatwick, making the region more easily accessible. Alternatively, there are plenty of flight options via other Far Eastern gateways – Bangkok being one of the most popular.

The region can be explored independently by the more adventurous traveller, or one can join a small-group tour if preferred. The below independent itinerary provides an example of a comprehensive holiday to the region, but is by no means the only option – there are almost endless possibilities to consider.

Day 1: Arrive Phnom Penh
Arrive into Phnom Penh for a two-night stay. Take time to explore the Royal Palace, the majestic Silver Pagoda, and gain an insight into Khmer history at the National Museum. Visit Tuol Sleng and the Killing Fields, and learn about the Khmer Rouge regime and the legacy this has left.

Day 3: Siem Reap
This morning, depart for Siem Reap by road. Siem Reap is the base for exploring the temples of Angkor, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Over 100 temples are spread over a vast area and the site easily lives up to its status as one of the seven wonders of the forgotten world. Witness sunrise at Angkor Wat and explore some of the many other temples, including the ruins of the tree-covered Ta Prohm. Take a river cruise on Tonle Sap Lake – the second largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the famous floating village, where you’ll see floating houses, a school and even a floating hospital.

Day 6: Luang Prabang
Fly to Luang Prabang for a two-night stay. Luang Prabang is often referred to as the ‘Jewel of Indochina’, and is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan rivers. Watch the ancient ritual of local monks collecting alms, take a boat trip to Pak Ou Caves, or visit stunning Kuang Si Falls. In the evening, visit the vibrant night market.

Day 8: Elephant Explorer
Today, begin a two-day adventure by elephant, providing the opportunity to explore the region and learn about these magnificent creatures.

Take an elephant ride through forests and over hills to the hidden valley of Huay Sae Valley. See the secluded waterfalls and swim in the natural pools. Continue by foot across bamboo bridges, passing waterfalls and dense jungle. Raft down the Nam Khan River, floating slowly downstream passing local farmers and fishermen going about traditional village life, and stopping en route at the Tad Sae waterfall. Stay overnight in a luxury tent

Day 9: Hoi An
Get up early with the magical sunrise atmosphere and trek to the jungle to collect the elephants from their forest home. Together with the Mahouts, the traditional elephant drivers, walk back down to the river for their daily morning bath. Ride bareback on the elephant’s neck, wash it, scrub it and guide it through the river to the camp – an unforgettable experience of a lifetime. Return to Luang Prabang, fly to Danang and transfer to the charming town of Hoi An. Explore traditional houses and temples and see the Japanese Bridge. Relax on the beach, or take a boat trip through ‘Water Coconut Palm Canal’ – a tranquil area little visited by tourists, and learn about the likes of the local fishermen.

Day 11: Hue
Today, your destination is Hue but en route visit the Marble Mountains; an important religious site with a number of imressive caves, temples and viewpoints. Drive the short distance to China Beach with a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim in the South China Sea. Continue on to Danang City to visit the Cham Museum. The Cham people occupied this area of Vietnam from the 2nd to the 17th century and the museum houses the best examples of Cham sculpture anywhere in the world. Complete the drive over the spectacular Hai Van Pass to Hue. Here, relax on the beach or take time to explore the old Citadel.

Day 13: Hanoi
Fly to Hanoi, Vietnam’s capital for a two-night stay. Explore the vibrant Old Quarter and visit the ancient Temple of Literature. Watch a water puppet show or visit the Hanoi Hilton prison.

Day 15: Halong Bay
This morning transfer to Hon Gai, the gateway to Halong Bay. Considered Vietnam’s greatest natural wonder, Halong Bay boasts over 3,000 limestone islands that rise out of the sea to provide a spectacular natural environment. Take an overnight cruise on a wooden junk ship on the bay, exploring fishing villages, islets, and caves and with a chance to swim.

Day 16: Hanoi
Return to Hanoi today for the onward or homeward flight.

More time? Consider adding a cruise along the Mekong River – a great way to see small riverside villages and learn about the local’s traditional way of life. Explore Ho Chi Minh City, see the Cu Chi Tunnels, discover Vientiane – the capital of Laos, or add a beach stay in Thailand.

Photographs courtesy of Travel Indochina and Elephant Village Camp, Laos

Angkor Travel Indochina      elephant explorer camp experience ws      Halong Bay fishing boats ws

Halong Bay junk ws      Phnom Penh Royal Palace ws

 

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Country: Kenya

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Despite recent troubles, Kenya has an unique experience to offer everyone. Yes it is the most popular country for first time “Africa” visitors but it is also a favoured destination for the seasoned safari hand. It lends itself to the “Bush and Beach” holiday and is very popular with honeymooners.

Its Lodges and hotels vary widely in size and there is the added offer of staying on ranches – many of which have reverted to acting as wildlife sanctuaries. A chance to see and get close to wildlife from the back of a horse or on foot makes for an adrenalin making experience second to none.

Kenya is blessed with stunning backdrops – Mount Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya, The Rift Valley and the wide plains of the Masai Mara. Add in a huge variety of wildlife from the semi deserts of the northern frontier to the lush highlands and down to the tropical coast. Nowhere else can you see a million flamingos feeding in the Lake (Nakuru), herds of red dusted elephants (Tsavo), clouds of butterflies in the forest Parks (Aberdares) and the tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra (Masai Mara).

Finish your holiday on the Kenyan beaches, which are rightly famous for their silver sand, great snorkelling, diving and a wonderful place to unwind after the excitement of your safari.

The people are welcoming and appreciate their need for tourism and the benefits it can bring. With over 50 tribes, diversity is a given.

This is an ideal destination for the first time in sub Saharan Africa or for those discerning adventurers willing to seek out what the country has to offer beyond the usual.

All photographs by kind permission of Kenya Tourist Board

Beachbikedow      Hot Air Balloon      Wildebeast Crossing River

 

The Lighthouse Route of Nova Scotia, Canada

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Vicki Tester

 

Region: Atlantic Canada

 

Come and celebrate the timeless romance of the sea, in the stunning scenery of Atlantic Canada. The Lighthouse Route journeys through an unforgettable landscape of coastal beauty and historic charm that has captured the hearts and minds of travellers for generations. Imagine the landscape as it was when Champlain and de Monts first arrived here four centuries ago. Follow shoreline roads past rugged, wave-carved headlands and tranquil, island-studded bays. Discover historic towns and weathered fishing villages where legends of the sea come alive and the rhythm of life moves in harmony with the tides.

The Lighthouse Route follows Nova Scotia’s South Shore, where the past is a part of everyday life. You’ll find it along quiet country roads where ox teams still haul lumber, and coastal villages where fishermen still row wooden dories out to sea. Explore towns like Liverpool, with its privateer legends, and Lunenburg, where a working blacksmith still plies his trade amidst the beautifully preserved buildings of the old town district. And yes, they do have lighthouses, over twenty of them, from the dramatic beauty of the famous lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove to Yarmouth’s towering Cape Forchu light.

This is a wonderful self drive destination, with B&B and small hotels along the way to make your journey special. The owners of these places will be more than happy to suggest places to visit locally and where to enjoy the local produce. Summer is the key time to go but late spring and early autumn are also well worth considering.

Call or email us for more information on tailor made holidays to Canada: Tel: 01323 446550 or Email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Shelburne on Nova Scotia's Lighthouse Route

Picture courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism Culture and Heritage

Lunenburg waterfront on Nova Scotia's Lighthouse Route

Picture courtesy of Nova Scotia Tourism Culture and Heritage

New South Wales (NSW)

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This itinerary combines Sydney with beautiful countryside and a popular wine region.

Summary

New South Wales

The chequered past of this state has evolved into the cosmopolitan city of Sydney and state of New South Wales that we know today.  Thankfully most accommodation these days has an en-suite bathroom and the bars on the windows have been removed!

Day 1: Sydney

Day 4: Port Stephens

Day 6: Hunter Valley

Day 8: Blue Mountains

Day 10: Sydney

 

 

Description

Description

The states of Australia are often combined into one itinerary, but here we explore a few ideas for New South Wales alone.  You might be surprised at just how much there is outside Sydney.

Day 1: Sydney
Welcome to Sydney where we suggest at least 3 nights in a central hotel. Start off with a harbour cruise; this will give you your bearings whilst enjoying your morning coffee or cocktail. Agility permitting, the Bridge Climb is highly recommended.

Sydney 3 nights

Day 4: Port Stephens
Collect a hire car and head for the coast and on to Port Stephens for a 2 night stay. Port Stephens is comprised of a scattering of seaside villages with white sandy beaches and a resident population of over 140 bottlenose dolphins. Between late May and July, and between September and November, whales can be found in the area as they migrate north and return south. Explore Tomaree National Park from here.

Port Stephens 2 nights

Day 6: Hunter Valley
Just under an hour away and nestled amongst the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges in the heart of the Hunter vineyards is Hunter Valley Gardens, one of Australia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you’re a lover of wine and great food, an enthusiast of natural beauty and wildlife, or a keen golfer, the Hunter Valley has it all.

Hunter Valley 2 nights

Day 8: Blue Mountains
Today your destination is the Blue Mountains; the characteristic blue haze that envelopes the sandstone cliffs and valleys of this beautiful area is said to come from the oil suspended in the atmosphere from the ubiquitous eucalyptus trees. The Blue Mountains are indeed blue, at least when seen from a distance. The overall effect with the warm sandstone cliffs and the dull green eucalyptus is uniquely Australian, and the subject of many an artist’s work. The extraordinary vertical cliffs, innumerable waterfalls, suspended lookouts and quaint walking tracks make it an ideal destination for bushwalkers and hikers, as well as the more adrenalin-addicted who like to go canyoning or rock climbing.

Blue Mountains 2 nights

Day 10: Sydney
Return to Sydney to continue your Australia trip. Here are 3 suggestions…

  • Fly from Sydney airport to another region
  • Drive one of the Sydney – Melbourne Touring Routes down to Melbourne, via the Coastal Drive or inland (including Canberra) on the Heritage Route
  • Spend a few days in luxury on Lord Howe Island, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful and unspoilt Pacific Islands

Photographs Copyright Australia Tourism

Blue Mountains Jamieson Valley      5.0.2

 

NSW      Sydney; Aerial

Little Gems

Little Gems

Use the ferries to explore Sydney Harbour – they are cheap, accessible and regular.  Not only will you meet Aussies going about their daily business, but you’ll also get the best views of the city skyline, the Opera House and the Bridge, to name but a few.

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‘Everyone should visit Sydney once in their life and New Years Eve in Sydney is like no other that I have every experienced’

Upcoming series on BBC about the Galapagos Islands

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Vicki Tester

 

BBC1 Thurs 3rd April – 9PM

If you ever thought about travelling to the World famous Galapagos Island, then make sure you watch the 3 part documentary starting on the BBC1 this Thursday at 9pm. Headed up as “The Cauldron of Life” it should wet your appetite for bringing forward your plans to make that promised trip to Galapagos.

While talking about programmes coming up, The BBC series on the amazing hotels is featuring Mashpi Lodge in the Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador, one that we use for those travellers wanting to explore Ecuador further. This is going out on the 03 April and will give you a real taste of what to expect in this unique environment.

To make your own holiday to these amazing Ecuador and Galapagos Islands happen, just give us a call (01323 446550) or email us on info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Lizard in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Giant Tortoise in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

 

 

 

Baby Croc in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Blue Footed Booby in Galapagos

Picture courtesy of Mr & Mrs Brisland

Country: New Zealand

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Self Drive Holidays in New Zealand

A country of wild mountains, rugged glaciers, deserted beaches, stunning lakes, boiling mud pools and rolling farmland, New Zealand is a photographer’s dream with fantastic scenery around almost every corner. Couple this with friendly people, a laid back way of life, and a fascinating culture and you have the key ingredients to a fantastic tailor made or bespoke holiday.

Comprised of two main islands – aptly named North Island and South Island, as well as a number of smaller islands, the most famous of these being Stewart Island, New Zealand is roughly the size of Britain, but with a population of only 4.5 million – meaning plenty of space away from crowds, and plenty of unspoilt beautiful highlights.

Whether you have a keen interest in tramping, kayaking, mountain biking, wildlife, wine tasting or simply enjoy driving the open road, New Zealand has so much to offer. ‘Aotearoa’, is the traditional Maori name for New Zealand, and a vital element of any visit to the country is to learn of the Maori culture – perhaps best known for the ‘Haka’ but with so much more to learn than this alone.

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

Country: Australia

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Australia – Tailor made holidays and adventure travel

Variety, variety, variety… in terrain, weather and experiences – that is Australia and here a destination that truly offers something for everyone. Cosmopolitan cities with world-class culture, shopping, cuisine and wines, Outback adventure, Tropical Rain Forests, Unesco World Heritage sites, Coral Reef’s … the list goes on and on.

Sit back and enjoy a coach tour, or experience one of the world’s great train journeys – the legendary Ghan from Adelaide to Darwin, or the Indian Pacific from Perth to Sydney across the Nullabor Desert.

Self-drive by car or camper/motorhome giving you complete flexibility and freedom or venture off the beaten track with a 4WD. Whether this is your first exploration, or a return visit, Australia has so much to offer. Explore with us each State in turn. Fit a bit of each into your itinerary, or given the time, see each region properly – click into each for further guidance.

Angie's pic

Photo courtesy of Angie Watson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sydney

Credit Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

United States of America – USA

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USA – Self Drive Holidays in the USA

Here, we’ve picked the very best Driving holidays in America.

From the crystal glaciers in Alaska, to the mighty Colorado River as it carves its way through the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Bryce Canyon. From untouched Oregon to New England in the Fall. From the rugged coastline of Maine to the beautiful Carolinas and Virginia. Combine these with a city break to Boston, New York, San Francisco, or Las Vegas.

The biggest, the deepest, and the most colourful — Self drive holidays in America and Alaska will capture your imagination, your sense of adventure, the cowboy in you, the retail therapist, the photographer. We can create that special driving holiday in America you’ve only dreamed possible.

 

USA & Alaska holidays stars and stripes flag

Credit Peter Ellis

 

USA & Alaska Holidays Mount Rushmore

Credit Peter Ellis

 

Gastronomic Tour of Nova Scotia

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With over 500 festivals celebrating its rich diverse culture, dramatic beautiful scenery, outdoor adventure, a fascinating maritime history, warm hospitality and a superb gastronomic reputation, Nova Scotia is the perfect fly drive destination.

Summary

Gastronomic Tour of Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia, one of the four Atlantic Canada provinces, is perfectly located to make full use of the abundance of marine life around it. Add to this numerous restaurants and cafe’s, with excellent menu’s and wine lists and a simple self drive tour turns into a gastronomic experience.

Day 1: Halifax
Day 3: Lunenburg
Day 6: Antigonish
Day 6: Mabou
Day 7: Cabot Trail
Day 8: Baddeck

Day 9: Louisbourg
Day 11: Charlos Cove
Day 12: Depart Halifax

Description

Description

Day 1: Halifax
Fly in to Halifax and the start of your gastronomic tour of this fascinating region. While sampling your first meals, why not get involved in the lively music scene of Halifax which is truly diverse. Two days of exploring the city – not forgetting to visit the oldest Farmers Market in Canada.
Halifax 2 nights

Day 3: Lunenburg
Pick up your vehicle and set off along the Lighthouse Route along the South Shore stopping to visit some along the way. Have lunch at pretty Peggy’s Cove before continuing to Lunenburg for a two night stay. Lunenberg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and here, enjoy the fruits of the sea and land. Nova Scotia is famous for its fresh quality food. Why not join the Cooking School based here to hone your skills and watch masters at work!
Lunenburg 2 nights

Day 6: Antigonish
Head due East to your next destination Antigonish, perhaps stopping at the University town of Wolfville with its excellent cafes and restaurants. If time allows, consider visiting one of the many vineyards in this area. You will be amazed at the rise/fall of the sea in the Bay of Fundy up to 46 feet – one of the biggest in the world.
Antigonish 1 night

Day 6: Mabou
Cross the Causeway to Cape Breton island – the further end of Nova Scotia province and follow the Ceilidh Trail for an overnight stay at Mabou. In early October this area comes alive with the sound of music as the Celtic Colours Festival takes over the whole area. Some of the freshest and tastiest fruits of the sea can be found in little pubs and restaurants in this region.
Mabou 1 night

Day 7: Cabot Trail
As you continue north east, the Ceilidh Trail joins the Cabot Trail – you are on your way to one of the most spectacular drives in Canada
Cabot Trail 1 night

Day 8: Baddeck
Complete the Cabot Trail to Baddeck and take time to relax and explore the cultural life that is centred on the Bras d’Or Lakes of Cape Breton Island.

Baddeck 1 night

Day 9: Louisbourg

Continue on to the National Historic Site of Louisbourg and stay in the pretty seaside town.  Use the full day to drive to Louisbourg and explore the historic town that helped shape the history of the region – with a little more time, include this as a three night stop.

Louisbourg 2 nights

Day 11: Charlos Cove
Return to the mainland, now joining the Marine Drive, for your final night stay at Charlos Cove. Time for a final gourmet meal and splendid accommodation before you think about packing for the last time and heading home.
Charlos Cove 1 night

Day 12: Depart Halifax
Back to Halifax for your return journey home or to continue your adventure …

All photographs by kind permission of Nova Scotia Tourism

NS Musicians in Mabou      NS Peggy's Cove      NS Skyline Trail

Little Gems

Little Gems

Cape Breton Island, linked to the mainland of Nova Scotia by the Canso Causeway is a must.  Plan your visit to coincide with the Fall colours and the Celtic Colours music festival.  Plan carefully though as some of the visitor attractions close at or about Canadian Thanksgiving!

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