• Sydney Australia - credit Jackie Appleton

Special Occasion – Safari and Truly Secluded Beach

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When you want to mark a special occasion by going somewhere that is both spectacular and unusual then this could well be for you. A mixture of a safari in an area that is still not often visited and then a week in a lagoon of your own – well shared with just a handful of other discerning travellers.
Your adventure starts when you arrive in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania where you are met and taken to your small plane that flies you down to the Selous National Park. As you come in to land you will have a stunning view of the pods of hippos in the Rufiji River and possibly elephant moving towards the river for a drink. When I went last year, we had to buzz the landing strip to persuade the impala that it was our turn to use the strip. Your accommodation has a view over the river which in itself will have its own entertainment as the different animals come down to drink and the crocs haul out to sun themselves. During your 4 nights stay here you will have the choice of game drives in a 4×4, guided bush walks, sundowners either in the bush or on the river and boat trips to Stiegler’s Gorge (with a picnic breakfast if you like). If you want a bit more activity, you could try your hand at fishing but put the crocs back.
Fly back to Dar and then connect to your flight to Pemba. Most of the rest of the travellers will be heading for Zanzibar but you will fly on from there to the island of Pemba, famous for producing most of the world’s cloves. You will truly be away from the crowds. Here your stay for the next 7 nights either on the beach or up on a hill overlooking the lagoon (and catching any cooling breezes). With a maximum of 34 guests and a beach over 4 kilometres long you really can have a romantic and secluded stay. The food is fresh with most of the vegetables being grown by the local villagers, who would be very happy to see you. Seeing a white face is still a bit of a novelty. Nor are the meals just served in the restaurant – it could be on the pier, by the pool or just the two of you at your bungalow.
If you need some exercise then consider an unguided mangrove canoe safari, snorkelling from the beach or around an island reserve, windsurfing and a Dhow sunset cruise.
All this for about £4000 plus your flights. Whether it is a honeymoon, special occasion or just a wonderful get away holiday different from the rest, then this is a must.
Please contact me on 01323 446550 or email peter@experienceholidays.co.uk

Pictures courtesy of Fundu Lagoon

Australia’s True Outback

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Picture ta1072186P courtesy of Tourism Australia

Picture a place where temperatures regularly reach 50° Celsius in summer, and where rain is cherished but rare. Now picture the inhabitants of this area finding the perfect way to keep cool – by living, shopping and working underground, and here you have it – the town of Coober Pedy!

Located in South Australia’s outback, around half way between Adelaide and Alice Springs, surrounded by desert, Coober Pedy offers a chance to experience an unique region of this vast country, whilst staying in the world’s only underground international hotel – the Desert Cave Hotel.

The town is famous for being home to some of the finest opals, and one can even try ‘noodling’ for opals themselves! Other attractions in the area include the spectacular Painted Desert – best explored by four-wheel drive tour, along with remote farm stations, isolated townships and outback wildlife.

One of the most popular ways of reaching Coober Pedy is via the Ghan Train from either Adelaide or Alice Springs – this train service is not only an iconic Aussie experience, but also offers a lifeline for the many remote communities in the outback. Alternatively, Coober Pedy works well as part of an adventurous self-drive itinerary, taking in Kangaroo Island, the Clare Valley, and the Flinders Ranges. If time is short, consider flying in and out – although do ensure you allow enough time here to truly appreciate the region.

Coober Pedy is often missed out of itineraries due to its remote location, but it is this that makes it so fascinating – learning how the locals have adapted to the harsh conditions.

For more information on how this may be incorporated into a wider Australian bespoke tailor made holiday, please call our office on 01323 446550, email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk or pop into our office in Hailsham, East Sussex.

Australia’s Gawler Ranges

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Picture copyright Tourism Australia

If wildlife viewing is a priority for your holiday to Australia, consider taking a small group tour of the Gawler Ranges and surrounding region in South Australia. In the Gawler Ranges, three species of kangaroo can be seen, along with emus and over 100 species of birds. See the salt pan of Lake Gairdner, see wildflowers in spring, and stunning landscapes and vegetation year round. In Baird Bay, swim with a resident colony of sealions – these playful mammals love interaction, as well as bottle nose dolphins. Close to Port Lincoln, visit a colony of wild koalas, and from Port Lincoln itself, take an opportunity to go shark cage diving.

This whole region is very much ‘off the beaten track’ and as such is a chance to experience authentic Australia at its best – with friendly locals, fantastic scenery and a diverse range of wildlife.

Why not finish this experience with a trip over to Kangaroo Island – one third of the island is protected as conservation or National Park, and much of the island is still in its natural state – almost untouched wilderness. With seals, koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, goannas, penguins and birds, the wildlife watching opportunities are plentiful on this diverse island.

Adelaide is the gateway to the region, and is reached by a number of international flights, as well as plenty of local flights.

South Australia works well as a stand alone itinerary, but can also be easily incorporated into a wider Australian holiday – for more information and ideas to make your bespoke tailor made holiday please give us a call on 01323 446550, email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk or pop into our office in Hailsham.

We look forward to helping you make your Australian dream become a reality!

Special Occasions (2) – Oman, a Desert Adventure and Pemba Island, Tanzania

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If you read the earlier blog about special occasions then the latter part of this one may seem a bit familiar but you cannot have too much of a wonderful location.
For inspirations for that special anniversary or honeymoon destination or just a very different destination, then consider the following. It is a mixture of the romance of the Omani desert and the sheer pleasure of a secluded and bespoke Indian Ocean Beach.
The start of your adventure has you flying down to Oman and being met by your driver once you have cleared customs. You will drive to The Chedi Muscat hotel overlooking the Gulf of Oman. Your stay here is for 3 nights to unwind and put you in the right frame of mind for the rest of your holiday. Muscat is well worth exploring and the hotel has 21 acres of landscaped gardens to help you relax. Your stay here is on a bed and breakfast basis and the two restaurant in the hotel complex offer a wide range of local, regional and international dishes.
On day 4 you will be met by your driver and guide for the next part of the adventure. You set off along the coast before turning inland along the Wadi Al Amerat and then across the Eastern Hajar Mountains, all on gravel roads. Then into the Wadi Tayeen. You will have the chance to visit ancient villages along the way and savour the stunning views and wild country. You will have 2 nights of luxury camping in the Wahiba Desert in your private camp and with your own chef.
Return to Muscat in good time to catch your flight to Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania. Catch the connecting flight to Pemba Island, where you will be met and driven to Fundu Lagoon. Your stay here for the next 6 nights in a hillside room (cooler when the breeze blows and with the best views) on a full board basis.
Also included are the in house wine, spirits, beers and soft drinks. On the activity side, your stay includes unguided mangrove canoe safaris, Dhow sunset cruise and all non motorised water based activities such as windsurfing.
All meals are included and the staff like to ring the changes when serving dinner. It could be by the pool, on the jetty or you could arrange for it to be a private meal at your bungalow.
All of this at a cost from £3,350 per person excluding flights.
This is a really different mix of holiday – adventure, luxury and totally different destinations.
To find out more please give us a call and we can help make your bespoke tailor made holiday – Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Experience Small Town USA at its best – the Capital Regions

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Few areas of the United States are as packed with history as the Capital Region. From the early American settlements of Colonial Williamsburg Virginia, to the first black president to live in the USA White House, the region has continuously played witness to the nation’s defining moments. Encompassing Washington DC and the states of Maryland and Virginia, a road trip around the area makes for a perfect summer or autumn holiday.
Whilst the big cities and monuments may be one of the main attractions, the region’s small towns are the heart and soul of the Capital Region. Stroll through charming downtown districts, relax in luxury, uncover interesting history and revel in unspoiled nature at one or more of these hidden gems.
Here are just 10 of these Small Towns – some or all of which can be incorporated into your trip
1 Frederick, Maryland
Named one of the top 25 “Small Art Cities” in the USA, Frederick is the historic and cultural hub from which highways fan out like the spokes of a wagon wheel, connecting Main Street communities, wineries, orchards and inspirational attractions. Guided walking tours show off historic sites and intriguing architecture, while rounding out the scene are specialty shops and critically acclaimed restaurants.
2 Cambridge, Maryland
“The Heart of the Chesapeake Bay” is home of the Dorchester Centre for the Arts. But history reigns in the birthplace of abolitionist hero Harriet Tubman. Walk in her footsteps along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway, and check for upcoming events commemorating the 100th anniversary of her death in 1913.
3 Ellicott City, Maryland
Among the Olde English stone homes and rolling hillsides of Ellicott City is the nation’s oldest surviving railroad station. The Baltimore & Ohio Railroad Museum is a must-see for train and history enthusiasts alike. Stay in one of the characterful inns or bed-and-breakfasts, and be sure to check out the neighbourhood pubs.
4 St. Michaels, Maryland
This charming port town is full of pre-Colonial influence, historic homes and maritime fun. Boat, sail, fish or tour the town’s lighthouses. Take a romantic horse-drawn carriage ride, stopping to sample the boutique wines from St. Michaels Winery.
5 Hagerstown, Maryland
Enjoy everything from pristine mountain views to live theatre and symphony performances to shopping the designer brands of Hagerstown Premium Outlets®. Nearby, visit historic Antietam National Battlefield, Fort Frederick State Park and Washington Monument State Park.
6 Leesburg, Virginia
Located just 20 minutes from Dulles International Airport, Leesburg, founded in 1758, offers not only historic architecture and attractions but also specialty shops, art galleries, and great dining. The charming town is home to several of Virginia’s award-winning wineries.
7 Abingdon, Virginia
This town along the Blue Ridge Highlands dates back to frontier times, and the old stone streets are preserved. Take a ghost tour through the circa-1779 homes, visit The Barter Theatre (the official state theatre of Virginia) and explore stunning Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway.
8 Washington, Virginia
First surveyed by a young George Washington, this peaceful hamlet is filled with B&Bs and rolling countryside. The Geneva Welch Gallery is a reputable shrine to fine art.
9 Cape Charles, Virginia
Marinas, fishing spots and parks such as Eastern Shore National Wildlife Refuge make up this haven for maritime living. Adventurous types can try Kite boarding and food lovers can visit the locally inspired waterfront restaurants and farmers markets.
10 Lynchburg, Virginia
America’s roots extend to Lynchburg, home of the Old City Cemetery which dates back to the Civil War. Nearby are Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, the new Museum of the Confederacy at Appomattox and Poplar Forest, the woodland retreat of Thomas Jefferson. Explore the town’s seven architectural districts.

Interested? – take a look at our sample itinerary on our website then contact us and we will assist with your travel plans to this fascinating area – call 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

All photographs courtesy of capitalregionusa.org

Motorhomes in Australia

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Making Tracks cr Tourism Australia Copyright



Cape Tribulation cr Australia Tourism Copyright

Immensely popular in Australia, motor home holidays provide the flexibility to stay as longer in the places you enjoy, and less in the places you don’t – you could amend your itinerary due to the weather conditions, or due to advice you pick up from locals along the way. Imagine going for a swim in the crystal clear waters off the coast of Australia, relaxing on the white sandy beach then returning to your vehicle for a hot shower before you continue on your journey, perhaps to have a barbeque whilst watching the sunset.

Motor homes work well for those not keen on a set schedule, and can be a great deal of fun for families, or those who like to camp. The key when hiring a motor home is to book a vehicle with plenty of space – for two passengers, consider a vehicle that can take four. This not only allows for storage space, but makes a more comfortable place to relax.

With motor home depots located in many major cities in Australia, there are plenty of possible routes to explore – from coast to outback, from rainforest to cities. There are campsites almost everywhere – most with plenty of facilities and in great locations.

A common misconception is that a holiday by motor home is cheaper than with a hire car and accommodation – this is not necessarily the case – so our advice is to choose a motor home because of the experience it offers, rather than as a cost saving exercise. For a varied holiday, consider combining some time in a motor home exploring one region, with a hire car and accommodation in other regions.

There are a number of excellent offers on at the moment for motor homes in Australia for travel this year (prior to 15th December) with both Apollo and their low-cost brand Cheapa Campa – for more information please call us on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk We can discuss your travel plans and how a motor home might work for part of (or all of) your bespoke tailor made holiday.

The Kimberley Season is here!

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Picture copyright of North Star Cruises

The monsoon is losing its thunder!

Majestic falls, swollen billabongs and ravenous barramundi are left

The rainforest is lush and birds of every colour are calling in
raucous harmony!

After months of darkened skies and pounding rains – The Kimberley is
renewed and waiting for you!

This is where it all started – this is what we are most famous

This is where we live – the Kimberley is our backyard and nobody knows it

Only we can go where we go, only we can fly above the splendour and
only we can do it all in comfort and style!
The TRUE NORTH is on her way back to Broome and soon the adventure
will begin all-over again!

But don’t miss-out – only a handful of cabins are still available.

If seeing the Kimberley on the magnificent TRUE NORTH is
something that you have always wanted to do – don’t wait a moment

To select your itinerary please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Tour of Alaska’s Cuisine

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Copyright TravelAlaska.Com

There are really good reasons to go to Alaska – all the year round. The stunning scenery, the types of bears, the highest mountain in the USA, the wildlife and birdlife, the Northern Lights and the Iditerode. But where you aware that Alaska has one of the highest densities of restaurants or eateries per capita the the US?
It is not just about fine dining in smart restaurants but includes all levels of eating establishments and all kinds of recipes. The diverse background of Alaskans has lead to an array of influences in the food on offer, ensuring that you have plenty of choice.
It would be tempting to think that Alaskan cuisine is based on the harvest from the sea and this is a big factor when looking at the menu. However you would be surprised at how much food is home grown. During the summer most reasonable sized towns and cities have a number of Farmer’s Markets offering home grown vegetables, fruit, cheese, meats, fresh (very) seafood, honey and ice cream every weekend. And if you really want to ensure your food is super fresh, many of the farms in Fairbanks, Matanuska Susitna Valley and on the Kenai Peninsula offer pick you own fruit and vegetables.
You will be very pleasantly surprised at the high quality of the cooking even out in the remote lodges in the Parks and in the wilderness. A wonderful way to end a hard day kayaking, whale watching, hiking or wildlife tracking is with a gourmet meal and a view to remember. Or even be tempted to sign up for cookery classes while staying at one these lodges to learn how to make the most of the Alaskan provender.
There are nearly 20 breweries spread across Alaska to help you celebrate the never ending midnight sun or the long hours beneath the northern lights. Should you be in Alaska in October you could join the Alaska Railroad’s Annual Great Alaska Beer Train to the outstanding views to Turnagain Arm.
Or a bottle of Alaskan wine made from mountain berries may well suit your meal and then take home a souvenir bottle of vodka, whiskey or gin made with water from an iceberg that has just broken off a glacier.
If you mouth is watering or you want to explore Alaska and all that it has offer, then contact us on: Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Making more of the Rockies in Canada

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Copyright Chilcotin Hoildays

Just driving through the Rockies is an experience, but there is so much more that you could be doing. What about leaving the vehicle for a few days of hiking through the Chilcotin Mountains either with a guide or for the more adventurous heading out on a self guided trek.
Each guided trip is geared to the ability of those taking part and also take in to account your budget, hiking skills and your interests. Whether you want to see the amazing array of meadow flowers or the wildlife will determine the route that you take. As you head up on the ridges and valleys into a pure nature experience you have the benefit of all your camping equipment, food and your heavy luggage following you on a Mountain Cayuse horse. This leaves you free to enjoy the flowers, the trail and the wildlife and take those much admired photos.
Your guide are all professionally trained and have a huge amount of local knowledge and history to tell you. With a past that includes the gold rush and the Indians of the areas, there is much to learn.
For the more independent traveller, you can elect to go on a self guided hike – all you have to do is book the campsites you want to visit and then load your provisions on to the pack horses provided.
While here why not combine your hike with one of the other activities – gold panning, horse riding, wildlife viewing, target shooting, archery and axe throwing are just some of the other attractions while staying on a real ranch.
For the fishermen there is the chance to fish for rainbow trout in lakes that are so remote that you either have to walk, ride or float plane in to them. With the average trout being 2lbs and the big ones weighing in at 5lbs you will have a good fight on your hands.
This is still a wildlife area with good numbers of grizzlies, black bears, deer, wolves, bighorn sheep and mountain goats. Mix these with a host of birds and a carpet of wild flowers and you have plenty to keep you occupied.
Please contact us for the fuller details on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: info@experienceholidays.co.uk

On Board the American Queen Steamboat

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Picture Copyright American Queen Steamboat Company

Jackie has just got back from a tour of the south of the USA following the music – look out for her blog and new page on the website coming soon – and while she was there she visited the American Queen Steamboat and loved it.
This Steamboat is a genuine paddle wheeler that sails the American mid west river system throughout the year, heading south during the winter. Some of the places it visits are; Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, St. Paul, St Louise, Memphis and New Orleans. Cruising on this steamboat must be one of the American “must do” trips. Their food has just won a Best on Board award confirming their saying that “the food alone is worth the trip”.
The boat and the furniture reflect the hey day of the paddle staemer era, taking you back in time but still keeping the advantages of our own age.
So if you are thinking of exploring the south or mid USA, why not think about booking a week aboard this iconic vessel. As you would expect, the entertainment reflects the region – jazz, blues, six piece orchestra and lectures covering the culture and history of the journey and vessel. They also include beer and wine with your dinner!
A piece of American history on the go and at a cost from $250 per day it is a great way to relax and keep moving.
To learn more about the American Queen Steamboat please give Jackie a call on Tel: 01323 446550 or email: jackie@experienceholidays.co.uk

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