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Australia’s North West

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Picture Cable Beach – Copyright Tourism Australia

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Picture Bungle Bungles – Copyright Tourism Australia
We just had an interesting newsletter from Tourism Western Australia regarding the north west region of this stunning state – below is a snippet.

Australia’s North West is one of the world’s last true wilderness areas and home to the Kimberley – the inspiration for ‘Australia’ the movie, released in 2008.

The seaside town of Broome forms the southern gateway to this spectacular region and offers up breathtaking Cable Beach – a 22km stretch of soft white sand and warm turquoise waters. From Broome, venture into red-earth country and experience an authentic Aussie outback adventure by four wheel drive, take a scenic flight over extraordinary rock formations and magnificent waterfalls, or cruise through the inland waterways that permeate the region. Amongst the North West’s many highlights, is the magnificent Bungle Bungle Range and this year marks the 30th anniversary of its discovery.

Until 1983, when it was accidentally stumbled upon by a film crew, only the local Djaru and Kija people knew of the existence of the Bungle Bungles. Now a World Heritage-listed site its fame has reached far and wide. The Purnululu National Park, a nearly 2,500 square kilometre adventure playground that is home to the Bungle Bungles, is accessed via the Kimberley’s Great Northern Highway.

Popular sites in the park, such as the narrow, 1,000m long Echidna Chasm and the overhanging natural amphitheatre of Cathedral Gorge can be easily accessed on foot. You may also encounter some of the 130 bird species found here and unique native animals, including the nailtail wallaby and short-eared rock wallaby.

Alternatively, you can take in the park’s abundant natural wonders, including the distinctive beehive-like domes of the Bungle Bungles, from the air; local operators in Halls Creek and Kununurra offer ‘flightseeing’ tours by both light plane and helicopter. The park, which is open from April until November, is accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles only.

For more information on the region and how this can be incorporated into a wider bespoke tailor made Australia holiday, please call our office on 01323 446550, email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Christchurch – Two Years on from the Earthquake

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Two years on from the earthquake that struck Christchurch, venue and hotel capacity is bouncing back and the tourism industry is eying the future with confidence.
Despite some parts of Christchurch’s city centre still being closed off because of demolition work, more than 4,300 accommodation rooms are now available in the city (including hotels, motel and backpacker accommodation), with another 600 due to be added by the end of the year.
With construction soon to start on the new three kilometre Avon River Park and the planning of new retail and hospitality precincts well advanced, Christchurch will soon become one of the best small cities in the world. We have every reason to be optimistic about what the future holds.
Here is just some of the exciting progress and happenings going on in Christchurch now:-

  • Christchurch Gondola re-opens – After two years of renovations one of Christchurch’s most loved attractions, the Gondola, re-opened to the public on Monday 25 March 2013.
  • Quake City Exhibition Open – Quake City is a multi-media attraction that tells the stories of the Christchurch and Canterbury earthquakes. The attraction serves to engage, inform and educate visitors on the seismic events that have ruptured the region since they began on 4 September 2010. The exhibition opened on Friday 15th February.
  • New Regent Street opening soon – Christchurch’s iconic Spanish Mission Style New Regent Street is gearing up to welcome visitors and locals in just 2 weeks time.
  • Date Set for Christchurch Cordon To Go – The last remaining fences surrounding Christchurch’s quake-hit inner city will soon disappear. The date has been set for the cordon to go on June 28.
  • Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch Prepares for Re-opening – Visitors to Christchurch will be able to see the rebuild of the city from its very heart when the centrally located Rendezvous Hotel Christchurch re-opens on May 1. Also the Heritage Christchurch will be reopening is doors, The Old Government Building (OGB) wing is to formally reopen in August 2013.
  • Alps2 Ocean Aoraki Mt Cook to Omarama Opening – Tourism Waitaki announced the official opening of the Aoraki Mt Cook to Omarama sections of the Alps 2 Ocean Cycle Trail. The opening marked a special occasion to celebrate the four year planning process involved in setting up the trail.

For more information or to incorporate a visit to Christchurch within your bespoke, tailor made holiday please contact one of our New Zealand specialist on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

See our link for an itinerary idea – http://www.experienceholidays.co.uk/index.asp?pgid=199

Macquarie Island and New Zealand sub-Antarctic Wildlife Adventure

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Orion – Courtesy of Orion Expedition Cruises

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Sub – Antartic Islands – Courtesy of Orion Expedition Cruises

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Milford Sound – Courtesy of Orion Expedition Cruises

How do you fancy a once in a lifetime trip to Macquarie Island and New Zealand sub-Antarctic Wildlife Adventure Dunedin to Christchurch – 28th February 2014 – 14 Nights

This adventure takes us from New Zealand’s South Island through to the remote sub-Antarctic Islands. Calling at: Dunedin, Milford Sound, Dusky & Doubtful Sounds, Stewart Island, Snares Islands, Auckland Islands, Campbell Island, Macquarie Island & Christchurch.
Isolated, windswept and beautiful, New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Islands are unique and irreplaceable. The UNESCO rates these ‘the most diverse and extensive of all sub-Antarctic archipelagos’, and awarded them World Heritage status in 1998. This expedition is for a fortunate few as only 500 visitors a year are permitted to visit New Zealand’s sub-Antarctic Islands and 1,000 to Australia’s Macquarie Island. Macquarie Island has been described as one of the wonder spots of the world and rivals South Georgia in its magnificence, scenic diversity and prolific wildlife. The island was designated a wildlife sanctuary in 1933 and a World Heritage site in 1997. These sub-Antarctic Island groups are a paradise for birders and photographers. They are blessed with the most significant populations of many species, such as the southern royal albatross, the yellow-eyed penguin, king penguin, royal penguin, rock hopper penguin, erect-crested penguin, gentoo penguin and the New Zealand sea lion. There are 126 bird species in total, including 40 seabirds, five of which breed nowhere else in the world. This is a rare opportunity to see these fragile island groups with the help of expedition leaders who will enhance your experience with their knowledge. Orion is considered one of the finest and best equipped ships in the world to bring you the experience of these remote islands – the Galapagos of New Zealand and Australia.

I you would like more information about this lifetime trip or to incorporate it into your bespoke tailor made holiday with more great ideas, then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

News from Tweedsmuir Park Lodge – In the Great Bear Rain Forest

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Grizzly Bear – Copyright of Tweedsmuir Park Lodge

Spectacular for wildlife, here’s a few snipets of their latest news……………………………………………………..

We have great news – due to popular demand, we’ve extended our season until the end of October! It’s a great month to come to Bella Coola, see why below.

Great Reasons To Visit In October:-

Grizzly Bears! – September is not the only month with great bear viewing: October is too! The bears are fattening up before going into hibernation. In October, grizzlies seem to frequent our lower lodge lawn more often than during other months in order to graze on the glover mixed amongst the grass.

Fly-Fishing! – September and October are the best months to catch Coho (aka Silver) Salmon. Even if you are an absolute beginner, we encourage you to give fishing a try! We can supply every piece of fishing equipment : from cast & fly rods, to lures, boots and waders. Our guides will show you the best spots.

Beautiful Autumn Colours! – The contrast is amazing: lush, green lawns, with deciduous trees displaying every variation of green, yellow, orange and red you can imagine…..and sometimes there might be a backdrop of white when the mountain tops receive their first dustings of snow.

Mild Temperatures! – In October the summer heat is long gone and winter’s frigid temperatures haven’t arrived just yet.

Great Reasons To Visit In June & July

Early summer is also a great time to visit the Bella Coola valley with milder temperatures and less holiday traffic. Here’s some more great reasons to stay with us in June and July (oh yeah, June has low season rates too!).

Fishing! – If you are a fisherman or interested in the salmon ecology on the coast, this is the time for Chinook/Spring salmon!

Babies! – Early summer is the time for young wild animals to take their first steps out of their den or nest. Black bear cubs as small as 4 pounds scamper around their mum, ducklings float in a single file chirping. Grizzlies can be seen at this time of year, just not as frequently as in October. They haven’t been long out of hibernation and will be on the look out for food!

For more information on making any of the above experiences part of your bespoke, tailor made holiday then please contact us at Experience Holidays on – 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Thunder on the Plains: 48th Annual Buffalo Roundup South Dakota

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Badlands

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Mount Deadwood

Witness one of the true spectacles of America’s Wild West…

The American bison, or buffalo, is an iconic creature native to the grasslands of North America. This majestic beast was on the verge of extinction in the 19th century, but has seen a resurgence in recent decades. Historically, the animal played an essential role in the lives of the Lakota (Sioux), who relied on the buffalo for food, clothing and shelter. Today, large numbers of buffalo can be found in areas of South Dakota.

Located in the Black Hills of south western South Dakota, Custer State Park is the second-largest state park in the United States (71,000 acres). The park is home to one of the largest publicly-owned buffalo herds in the world. Nearly 1,300 bison roam freely throughout the park and are often viewed along the 18-mile Wildlife Loop Road. Sightings of pronghorn antelope, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, deer, elk, wild turkeys, and friendly burros are also common on this stretch of road.
Each September, Custer State Park holds the Buffalo Roundup (this year’s event is on 27 September), an annual event at which park staff round up the buffalo and herd them into corrals. The roundup is the first step in preparing part of the herd for auction. Once the herd is in the corrals, spectators can watch park staff sort, brand, test and select certain animals for the fall sale. The majority are released back onto the grasslands of Custer State Park. The roundup is conducted to keep the bison population in check with the available grassland.

And whilst you are in the area visit some of South Dakota boasts other world-renowned attractions including:-

  • Crazy Horse Memorial, the world’s largest sculpture in progress – each year, Crazy Horse Memorial holds an annual Volksmarch, in which the public is invited to hike to the arm of the memorial – this years event is on 29 and 30 September
  • Mount Rushmore National Monument, a short 15-minute drive from Crazy Horse Memorial.
  • Two of the world’s premier caves, Jewel Cave National Monument and Wind Cave National Park
  • The Old West town of Deadwood in the northernBlack Hills
  • Badlands National Park

Combine you holiday to South Dakota, with the neighbouring states of Wyoming, Montana or Colorado. We will help you put together the perfect Wild West holiday.

Click on one of the links below for itinerary ideas
The Wild West
A Western Adventure
or visit our website www.experienceholidays.co.uk

All photographs courtesy of South Dakota Department of Tourism

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South Dakota Department of Tourism

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South Dakota Department of Tourism Mount Rushmore

Cape to Cairo – but in stages

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Kind permission of Rovos Rail Tours – Montagu Pass

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Kind permission of Rovos Rail Tours – Victoria Falls

If you are one of those adventurers that wanted to travel the length of Africa but only have two weeks to spare at the moment, then we have a suggestion for you.
Consider doing the trip in stages and also in style.
Join Rovos rail departing from Cape Town on the 26th June, one of the world’s most luxurious trains for a journey of a lifetime. This is more than just a train journey, much more like an excursion into Africa with different experiences along the way. Over the next two weeks you will wend your way through South Africa, stopping to explore Pretoria and spend a couple of nights in a game lodge in the Madikwe Park for closer encounters with the wildlife before heading through Botswana and in to Zimbabwe.
Along the trip you will have the chance to learn of the history of the places you visit from an onboard historian.
One of the highlights will be your time at the Victoria Falls where you have a 2 night stay in a hotel. Cruise on the Zambezi for a sunset view and another day to explore the Falls and all that goes on around you, such as walking with lions, helicopter ride over the Falls or river rafting.
From here you head through Zambia and in to Tanzania with stops to see the Chisimba Falls. The train travels through the famous Selous National Park before arriving at your destination – Dar es Salaam.
Alternatively you can do the reverse of the journey departing on the 15th. July.
So you will have achieved half of your ambition and you can come back another year to finish the trip.
There are a few places left on each of these trips but they will go fast – so give us a call soon on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

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Kind permission of Rovos Rail Tours – Dining Car

More than New York City

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Dr Franks Winery NYS

I have just returned from a trip to New York State, exploring a number of areas of this diverse region. Whilst a visit to New York City is on the bucket list for many of us, few realize that there is far more to the state than the city alone. Yes, the city is home to iconic buildings, world-renowned attractions and of course fantastic shopping.

But head away from the city and discover a very different combination of attractions and experiences – which can be considered as either an ‘add-on’ to a stay in the city, or a whole self-drive itinerary for two or three weeks.

LONG ISLAND is easily accessible from the city by train or by car, and is home to sandy beaches, an eclectic collection of mansions from the gilded age of the early 1900’s and a wealth of villages and towns worth a visit.

North of the city, head into the HUDSON VALLEY – with rich, fertile farmland, plenty of history (many of the wealthy residents of the city had mansions in the area – many of which can be explored today), as well as unique accommodation opportunities in lighthouses close to the Hudson River.

From the Hudson Valley, head west through Oneida County, exploring the ‘off the beaten track’ towns and villages that dot the shore of LAKE ONEIDA – SYLVAN BEACH offers a step back in time with its traditional amusement park, laid-back way of life and some of the friendliest people you could hope to meet. Not forgetting that the beach is fantastic, and the swimming safe in the freshwater lake.

On to the FINGER LAKES region – perhaps best known for its wineries, but also great for plenty of outdoor activities, numerous State Parks (such as Letchworth State Park, considered the ‘Grand Canyon of the East’), and picturesque villages and towns. A highlight in the area is the Corning Museum of Glass – the largest of its kind in the world, it would be easy to spend almost an entire day there. Nearby ROCHESTER offers easy access to the Erie Canal, as well as a number of cultural and historical attractions.

Further west comes the US side of NIAGARA FALLS – perhaps best viewed from the renowned ‘Maid of the Mist’, but also from a series of vantage points throughout the State Park. Not far from Niagara Falls lies the city of BUFFALO – a safe and inviting city with plenty on offer – with boutique shops and cafes, fantastic art galleries and important presidential history just a few of the attractions here.

The above regions are parts of the state that I visited, but are by no means the only options. Consider adding time in the CATSKILL MOUNTAINS – a popular weekend haunt for city-dwellers, and home to Lookout Mountain, or discover the ADIRONDACKS – a vast wilderness with a plethora of outdoor activities on offer. The THOUSAND ISLANDS offer plenty of water based options in an incredibly scenic setting and are well worth considering.

For more information on these and further ideas, please call our office on 01323 446550 or email us at info@experienceholidays.co.uk and we can work with you to put together an itinerary to suit your preferences and requirements.

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Niagara Falls

Take the journey …

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Monticello home of President Thomas Jefferson

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US Capital at dusk

For anyone with more than a passing interest in US history, the “Journey Through Hallowed Ground National Heritage Area” is a must. This 180 mile long, 75 mile wide area which stretches from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia, is recognized as holding more American history than any other region in the country. With literally 1000’s of historical sites including 9 Presidential Homes, 18 National and State Parks, 57 Historic Towns and Villages and 100’s of Civil War Battlefields, you will have the chance to walk in the footsteps of Revolutionary and Civil War soldiers, abolitionists and freedom seekers, passing through scenic landscapes.

Historical highlights of the area include:-

  • Gettysburg National Military Park
  • Antietam National Military Park
  • Harpers FerryNational Historical Park
  • Manassas National Battlefield
  • President James Madison’s home in Montpelier
  • President Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello

Contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk for information about how to make this historically rich journey a part of your holiday to the Capital Regions of the States; encompassing Washington DC and the states of Maryland and Virginia, a road trip to this area makes for a perfect late summer or autumn holiday.

View our sample itinerary to the area

Photographs courtesy Capital Region USA (capitalregionusa.org)

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Blue Ridge Parkway

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Manassas National Battlefield

Spring is in the air!……..

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Chilcotin Ranch

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Chilcotin Holidays – Spruce Lake
We have just had Chilcotin Holidays newsletter in and thought we would like to share with you all the exciting things happening out there now…….

You can feel the change of season all around. Temperatures are rising, the snow is melting, the creeks are getting bigger day by day and the bears are waking up. Soon all of the bears will have come out of their winter hibernation and roam the trails again.

The horses are full of energy and getting ready to go up in the mountains.

The first group to participate in the Guide School arrive at the end of April. During their two weeks they will be learning how to shoe, pack horses and improve leadership skills. They will also gain knowledge about wildlife habits and many other skills necessary for being a professional guide.

If you also feel the call of adventure and haven’t planned your next vacation yet, Chilcotin Holidays have some exciting adventures waiting for you. Besides riding to the top of the beautiful Chilcotin Mountains you will be able to explore nature by hiking or mountain biking or viewing Grizzly Bears.

No matter what interests you have, the team at Chilcotin Holidays Guest Ranch will be able to customize exactly the right package to meet your interests. Chilcotin Holidays Guest Ranch will guarantee you an unforgettable experience in the Wilderness of Canada.

Adventures in Spring and Summer

Horse Pack Trip – from mid June to October, 4,7 or 10 days trip

Grizzly Viewing – in May, June & September, 4 and 7 days trip

Wildlife viewing – Their grizzly bear viewing and game safaris offer you wildlife viewing at its best. With your guides you will not only be able to view Wolf, Mountain Lions, Moose or Eagles but also Bighorn Sheep, Grizzly Bears and Black Bears.

Camp based Wildlife Viewing – from mid June to October, 7 days trip

Hiking Trip – from mid May to October, 4 and 7 days trip

Fishing Trip – from April to October, 4 day trip

Ranch Mountain Biking – from May to October

Interested in a Ranch Stay combined with the adventure of seeing the Chilcotin Mountains Wildlife?

For more information please contact us on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk – this is an experience you will never forget.

Pictures courtesy of Chilcotin Guest Ranch.

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Grizzly and 4 Cubs – Chilcotin Holidays

Well I’m standing on a corner in Winslow, Arizona…

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… such a fine sight to see, it’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me.

Immortalised in song by Jackson Browne and the Eagles, every year thousands of people stand on the corner in Winslow, Arizona, to have their photo taken. Well I just had to do it on my recent trip to Western USA.

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Just one of the highlights of a fabulous road trip encompassing some of the best parts of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

On the back of the trip, we have put together a new itinerary, perfect for a late summer or spring road trip.

Road Trip through the iconic South West

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