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

 

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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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

Winter Photography in Bryce Canyon Country

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Vicki Tester

 

Capture stunning winter photographs of iconic spots  throughout Bryce Canyon Country 

Snow-Covered Hoodoos 

Capture the largest collection of hoodoos in the world at Bryce Canyon. These rock formations invaded Bryce Canyon 40 million years ago and are always changing because of frost-wedging in the winter, so your snowy photograph will become a part of history.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Panguitch Lake

Whether you are looking up or down, frozen Panguitch Lake in Bryce Canyon Country offers beautiful scenery and great photograph opportunities. The snow and ice create an additional texture and color.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

Winterized Arches

Arches like this one have been forming for millions of years in Bryce Canyon. Arches are always changing and eroding from wind, snow and ice. But your winter photograph will capture their beauty and always stay the same.

Picture courtesy of Bryce Canyon Country

If you are a keen photographer or just like visiting amazing places then please contact us for more ideas to help put your bespoke holiday together – Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

You can also visit www.brycecanyoncountry.com

Destinations Show, Olympia

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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.

Why not visit Eastern Québec by Snowmobile?

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Vicki Tester

 

In the maritime regions of Québec it will soon be winter with snowy snowmobile trails! Have you ever considered taking a snowmobile vacation in Gaspésie, Côte-Nord or Bas-Saint-Laurent? Then take a look at the list which is sure to make you want to plan your next snowmobile adventure in Québec. 

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

  1. Heavy Snowfall and Excellent Trials – The maritime regions of Québec are renowned for their heavy snowfall, which makes for excellent trail conditions. Snowmobile trails are also well maintained thanks to the tireless efforts of local snowmobile clubs, which take care of signage and grooming.
  2. The St. Lawrence Seaway – One of the attractions of the regions is the proximity of the St. Lawrence. Whether you ride the trails of Côte-Nord, Bas-Saint-Laurent or Gaspésie, you will have many opportunities to admire exceptional views of this frozen seaway and be amazed by its size!
  3. Percé Rock – An iconic landmark in Gaspésie, Percé Rock is an impressive sight in the winter. To access the lookout where you can admire this natural arch, take the local trail in Percé from Trans-Québec trail #3. You are sure to appreciate the view!
  4. The world’s highest snowmobile bridge – If you visit Côte-Nord, you’ll want to cross the highest snowmobile bridge in the world, which spans the Manicouagan River. The bridge is 213 metres (700 feet) long and 28 metres (90 feet) high.
  5. Chic-Choc Mountains – Snowmobilers riding the trail that runs along the Chic-Chocs in Gaspésie can admire superb views of this mountain chain. This trail is part of the Chic-Chocs–Forillon Loop, which begins in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts.
  6. Loop ride options –  Bas-Saint-Laurent offers endless ride opportunities for snowmobilers. You can easily pick a home base and then enjoy day trips every day, returning to your hotel in the evenings for delicious dinners. This is a great way to explore a different sector every day!
  7. Matane–Baie-Comeau/Godbout ferry – Crossing the St. Lawrence with your snowmobile is a unique experience. Take the St. Lawrence Tour and hop on the MV F.-A.-Gauthier ferry (Matane to Baie-Comeau or Godbout). During the crossing, enjoy the magnificent view while taking advantage of onboard amenities such as the restaurant, bar and lounge areas.
  8. Lower North Shore – Have you heard of the White Trail? This unique snow road offers an exciting way to discover the villages and people of the Lower North Shore, which is not accessible by any other road. Note that this is an expert trail; if you have never done this type of expedition before, you must travel with a guide.
  9. A wide range of services – The maritime regions of Québec have long been a dream destination for snowmobilers. Consequently, they offer a wide range of lodging options, good restaurants and other services that are easily accessible from the snowmobile trails.
  10. A warm welcome – A snowmobile trip in the maritime regions of Québec is also an opportunity to interact with the people who live in these regions. Known for enjoying the good things in life, the residents you will meet, as well as service staff, will be happy to give you tips and share their favourite spots with.

 If this sounds like an experience you would like to make part of your bespoke holiday to Canada and the maritime regions of Québec then please contact us and let us help you make the most of your time there.

Call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

 

Picture courtesy of  Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Picture courtesy of Le Quebec Maritime/Studio Du Ruisseau

Don’t be a Fool to miss the Fall – Your 5 must do’s

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Vicki Tester

 

Fall is a fabulous time to visit the Capital Region USA. Throughout the already scenic Blue Ridge Mountains and the valleys below, the landscape morphs into a kaleidoscope of colour. The fall harvest begins at farms and vineyards across Maryland and Virginia and is celebrated at festivals and events throughout the region. And the cooler weather brings a variety of outdoor festivals where visitors can experience authentic American culture. Here are five top experiences you should seek out on your autumn holiday to America’s Capital Region.

Take a Scenic Drive

Rent a car and follow one of the region’s National Scenic Byways to view the spectacular fall foliage. Skyline Drive, part of Shenandoah National Park, runs 105 miles along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and features numerous overlooks where you can pull over, take in the view and capture some stunning vacation photos. Once outside the park, the drive meets the Blue   Ridge Parkway which continues another 217 miles through the mountains of Virginia. Known as the “road that built a nation”, Maryland’s Historic National Road passes through the mountains of western Maryland, travelling through small towns and historic sites along the way. Discover more scenic fall drives in Virginia and Maryland.

Fall scenics along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

Fall scenics along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Virginia Tourism Corporation, www.Virginia.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Skyline Drive - Credited to Virginia Tourism Corporation

Skyline Drive – Credited to Virginia Tourism Corporation

 

 

Taste the Harvest

Celebrate the harvest at farms and wineries throughout the region. Virginia Wine Month is celebrated in October and features wine festivals and special events at wineries, restaurants and retailers throughout the state. Taste one of the region’s specialties in its peak season during the Urbanna Oyster Festival in Virginia or the St. Mary’s Oyster Festival in Maryland. Harvest celebrations include the Suffolk Peanut Festival. Washington DC hosts several food festivals in the fall including Capital Food Fight and Taste of DC.

Have Fun on the Farm

Enjoy the crisp autumn air while having some old fashion fun as farms throughout the region host fall festivals featuring corn mazes, pumpkin patches, apple picking, hayrides and more. Check out all of the corn mazes and pumpkin patches in Virginia and in Maryland, look to Bowles Farm, Butler’s Orchard, Cove Run, Forrest Hall and Warrington Farm for fall fun.

Charlottesville-Vineyards-Credit Charlottesville-Albemarle-Convention-Visitors-Bureau.jpg

Charlottesville-Vineyards-Credit Charlottesville-Albemarle-Convention-Visitors-Bureau.jpg

Cheer on Favourite Teams

Fall kicks off the season for many of America’s favourite sports – particularly football. Fans pack the stadiums and sports bars, cheering on their favourite teams. See the regional hometown teams in action at Fed Ex Field, home to the Washington Redskins or M&T Bank Stadium, home to the Baltimore Ravens. Head to the VerizonCenter in DC to catch a hockey game with the Washington Capitals or a basketball game with the Washington Wizards. Steeplechase races are also prevalent throughout the fall. Checkout the Montpelier Hunt Races or the International Gold Cup in Virginia and the Shawan Downs Legacy Chase and the Jim McKay Maryland Million Day in Maryland.  

Get Cultured

Enjoy the fall weather while experiencing the culture of the region at one of many outdoor festivals and events.  Explore DC’s diverse neighbourhoods during the H Street Festival or Walking Town DC, an event featuring more than 50 free, guided walking tours throughout the city. Hosted in the scenic waterfront town of Easton, Maryland, the Waterfowl Festival celebrates the wide variety of waterfowl species in the Chesapeake Bay region with retriever, birds of prey, and fly fishing demonstrations, miniature decoy paintings, calling contests and more. The Virginia State Fair features animals and agriculture exhibits along with live music, shows, arts and crafts, a midway filled with games and rides, and lots of traditional fair foods. 

Picture courtesy of CapitalRegionUSA.Org

Picture courtesy of CapitalRegionUSA.Org

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jefferson Memorial - Credit CapitalRegionUSA.Org

Jefferson Memorial – Credit CapitalRegionUSA.Org

 

 

 

 

To start planning you bespoke holiday to the USA to see the fall next year then please contact us so we can put your plans into actions and help make the most out of your holiday with our expert advice – Please call us on 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Canada takes over the TV this week

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Vicki Tester

 

This week the BBC are showing a few series which are all based in Canada showing what a fabulous place North America really is and certainly not to be missed.

We hope you caught Dan Snow last Sunday night with Operation Gold Rush in the Yukon. More jaw dropping scenery to follow next Sunday night (21.00 BBC2) in part 2.

Arctic Live started Tuesday on BBC 2 from 20.00 – 21.00 live from Churchill and continues on Wednesday and Thursday with Kate Humble, Simon Reeve and Gordon Buchanan.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2016/44/arctic-live-1

Finally if this is all too highbrow for you we have Buble at the BBC on Thursday BBC1 at 20.00. This will be similar to the show Graham Norton did with Adele last year which had over 4.5 million viewers.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081vcx0

Include Cape Cod In Your New England Trip

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Vicki Tester

 

One of our favorite little B&B boutique hotels ‘The Platinum Pebble’ in Cape Cod, New England, USA have written the following article about being on Cape Cod –

The best place to stay on Cape Cod means different things to different travelers.  Why are you traveling and what do you enjoy on holiday?  For us, the best place to stay is where we have the best access to explore our new surroundings.  We live like a local in our travels and soak up as much as we can as we discover the best of where we happen to be.  Harwich drew us like a bonfire with its central Cape location, direct access to the beach and bike trails, farm to table restaurants, almost everything is walkable, and Provincetown is the same distance as Falmouth so we can easily explore the entire Cape.  Now our goal is to bring it to our Guests via customized itineraries so your vacation is everything it should be.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Two of our favorite places to visit on the Cape are Provincetown and Falmouth but, the distance between the two is a couple hours…more in High Season.  When we first came to Cape Cod we chose Harwich because it opens up both sides of the Cape without too much wasted travel time in between.  For us, the decision was easy because we like to see it all!  As an unintended consequence we found that Harwich is also about the same distance to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket with drive and ferry time considered.  For travelers searching for the best place to stay on Cape Cod, it’s about making this a vacation of your dreams…what is important to you is what defines where you should be.

To decide on the best place to stay on Cape Cod, access and walkability were high on our list.   Harwich has it all and we have discovered that having very little time to spend enjoying the best place on Earth (as Innkeepers) we are glad to have easy access to nearly everything when we do get a breather.

For more information on making Cape Cod part of your bespoke tailor made holiday to the USA then please give us a call on 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

Getting more from your trip to New York City

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Vicki Tester

 

There is plenty to do in New York City from shopping along some of the most famous streets in the world, going to the top of iconic skyscrapers, heading across the river to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty to browsing through all the various markets. The attractions are legion but if you are willing to travel a short distance out then there is even more to offer.

Join a tour, drive yourself or take the train and taxi to the following attractions which are just a couple of hours away from downtown NY. Overlooking the Hudson River is the home of Franklin D. Roosevelt and a guided tour and tour of the garden will leave you far more knowledgeable about this historic President. The first presidential library is located here and gives you details of this particular era. Just a short drive further along brings you to the Vanderbilt Mansion. Full of stunning art, furniture and surrounded by national parkland, you soon understand why they lived here.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

While in this area why not visit the Culinary Institute of America where students will give you a guided tour of the facilities and finish of dining at one of four restaurants found here. The food is excellent, as you would expect, and the prices very reasonable.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

To stretch your legs, head to Poughkeepsie and the New York State Park found here. One of the key attractions is the world’s longest elevated pedestrian bridge. This crosses over the Hudson River and is over 2 kms long.

For those interested in history (and flying) then make your way to Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome which is home to a huge collection of 1900 – 1939 aeroplanes, cars, motorcycles and their memorabilia. From June to October there is an air show every weekend (weather permitting) with vintage aircrafts flying including WW1 German Fokker planes. For those intrepid enough, you can take to the skies in a biplane ride any day of the week.

A wonderful way to see this beautiful and interesting part of New York State.

We are a call away!

For more information please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

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