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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

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

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

Exciting News from Great Bear Lodge…

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We have just received an email from our friends over in British Columbia, Canada with some fantastic news!!!

They were very excited to announce that they will be replacing their existing lodge with a new building for the 2014 season. They have purchased a large floating lodge with 8 bedrooms upstairs and a large area downstairs that will have a dining room, presentation/relaxing area, dry room and kitchen. Each of the bedrooms has an en-suite bathroom including a shower.
From September 1 to October 9 they will host 16 guests, while for the rest of the season will continue to host 10 guests (May 7 to August 31 and October 10 to October 22). The building is currently in the Port Hardy marina being renovated in the style of a west coast lodge, with a strong emphasis on wood finishes and natural light, and will be completed well before the start of the 2014 season.

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In addition to offering upgraded accommodations for their guests, they want to make sure that the core of the experience at Great Bear Lodge remains the same. They will continue to hire only biologists as guides, provide an excellent staff-to-guest ratio, and make sure that all guests feel like they are welcomed into a family atmosphere. Tom and Marg will continue to live onsite as the hosts and lead guides.

They will continue to generate our electricity through wind, solar, hydroelectricity and a backup generator, just as they do now.

Visit Great Bear Lodge at www.greatbeartours.com

So if you fancy a visit to the Great Bear Lodge or to incorporate it into your bespoke tailor made holiday then please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Pictures courtesy of The Great Bear Lodge.

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Womens World Cup Football in Canada in 2015

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FIFA Women’s World Cup is due to kick off in June 2015 with matches being played in Edmonton, Vancouver, Moncton, Montreal, Ottawa and Winnipeg.

Each of these cities is totally different to the others and a trip that included a day at the Football match could well be a real bonus to a visit to the city chosen and the region generally.

A mixture of the great outdoors, the local culture and watching the best of the world’s women footballers must be a winning combination. The football cities literally cover Canada coast to coast, so whatever your interests or type of scenery that you want to see, then choose one of the 6 destinations.

You could be mixing viewing the polar bears in the flowers of the Hudson Bay area with a game in Winnipeg, Manitoba. How diverse is that?

As with all major sporting events, you need to plan early to avoid disappointment or having to pay over the odds. Please give us a call to put this on your radar for 2015 on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Sea to Sky Gondola – set to open May 2014

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Bridge North – Copyright of Renderings
Today we received the latest Vancouver Tourism newsletter and it had some really exciting news of things to come in 2014. One of the articles was The Sea to Sky Gondola, due to open in May 2014. This would make a great stop en-route on your self drive holiday around Western Canada.

Follow the spectacular scenery along the Sea to Sky highway as you make your way to the Gondola – located 2 km south of Squamish between Vancouver and Whistler, right off of the highway.

The Gondola promises to take you on a 10 minute ride 885m above sea level to the summit with sweeping views over Howe Sound fjord, coastal forest and surrounding mountains.

Viewing platforms at the summit provide the best outstanding views. The 100m long Sky Pilot suspension bridge, adjacent to the Summit Lodge and Gondola station, promises to be a ‘must do’ with plunging views and backdrop falling away over thousands of meters.

From the Summita selection of walking and hiking trails will allow you to escape into nature.

If you would like to incorporate this into your own bespoke tailor made holiday, then for more information please give us a call on 01323 446550 or email info@experienceholidays.co.uk

Some ideas of places you can still visit this year.

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Vicki Tester

 

Costa Rica

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

December is a great time to visit Costa Rica. Here you will find one of South America’s largest cloud forests, Monteverde, with its evergreen canopies, exotic birds, butterflies and a host of other wildlife. There are numerous national parks and wildlife spotting opportunities, waterfalls, rain forests and volcanoes!

There really is so much to see and do here: visit Arenal Volcano, hike through the lava fields, go birdwatching, bathe in the hot springs, zip-lining and trekking through the rainforest.  This is an ideal place for a family holiday, and when you are feeling less adventurous you could spend time on the many beautiful beaches such as the golden sands of Manuel Antonio National Park.  Click here for your Costa Rica Adventure.

Picture Courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

Hawaii, USA

For some winter sun, Hawaii has it all. With its golden sands, turquoise waters and a tropical feel, you could have a very different Christmas this year, spent on the beach!

Take a trip out to see the whales and dolphins. Snorkelling is a popular activity here and a great place for this is the partially submerged volcanic creator off Maui’s southwest coast. Here there is a thriving coral reef with an array of marine life to spot.

On land you could hike Kauai’s forest trails to the hidden waterfalls, or go island hopping on a small plane for more adventure in the glorious winter sunshine.

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Kirk Lee Aeder

Picture courtesy of Island of Hawaii Visitors Bureau (IHVB) Larry Marshall

 

 

Whistler, Canada

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

This very popular ski resort is definitely one for the ski lovers bucket list.  The snow is in abundance throughout the winter months, making the chalets look picturesque, with tree lined streets  and twinkling lights.

There are no end of activities to take part in such as, dog sledding, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and hiking the trails up Blackcomb Mountain stopping off for a fondue dinner at the top.  Or on a Sunday night you can watch skiers and snowboarders pulling tricks with fire for a bit of live entertainment.

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

Picture courtesy of Destination BC – Blake Jorgenson

 

Vietnam

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Our winter is a popular time to visit South East Asia as there is very little rain and the days are sunny.  Stay at one of Vietnams beach resorts, surrounded by tropical rainforest and fishing boats hauled up on the beach, for a bit of relaxation.

See the water lilies and flower fields begin to bloom, which are then picked to decorate the temples and shrines.  Any cultural seeker would love Vietnam. It has a thousand-year-old civilisation and a fascinating history. Wander through the streets of the Hanoi Old Quarter or Hoi An Old Town to get a glimpse of the French architecture mixing with the ancient and modern temples. See one of our Vietnam bespoke itineraries.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Time to start thinking of your next summer holiday…

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Vicki Tester

 

USA and Canada

Everyone’s situation is different as to what they need to think about when booking a holiday. Do you have children at school, are you in a job that restricts you from taking time off when you like?

Early planning is a must to avoid disappointment in these situations. Booking early also means you can take advantage any early booking discounts, which can save significantly sums for your holiday.

We are here to assist you make those plans and to help take the stress out of organising your trip. Once booked you can simply sit back and look forward to a wonderful holiday!

We are experts in the USA and Canada priding ourselves on the fact we have stayed in and visited many of the places we send our clients, helping you to make the best choices. The USA and Canada are well worth booking early in high season and they both offer something for everyone, from big city glamour to small town charm but can have limited availability.

 

USA – first thoughts

For the USA ‘big city glamour’ try the city of Chicago in Midwestern USA, a metropolitan hub for dining, shopping and entertainment. The Magnificent Mile is one of Chicago’s most famous shopping districts, and you’ll find flagship stores — from high street favourites to high fashion stores — along the stretch of shops. Nearby, wander along State Street, where you can visit the original Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s. For boutique shopping, head to Chicago’s 77 neighbourhood, where you’ll find unique, one-of-a-kind items you simply won’t want to leave without.

Chicago is bursting at the seams with theatrical talent. Broadway in Chicago and many Tony Award winning companies bring in big names and blockbuster shows, while more than 200 storefront, experimental and neighbourhood theatres bring you pioneering contemporary performances. Chicago is also a city that loves to laugh —after all Chicago invented improvisation comedy. See where Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Steve Carell performed at world-famous ‘The Second City’. If stand-up comedy is your thing, grab your tickets for The Laugh Factory or Zanies. It is also a hub for all kinds of music and well worth experiencing.

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

Picture courtesy of Peter Ellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm, we would recommend Jackson in Wyoming USA, sitting 15 miles from the Idaho border and approximately 12 miles from the entrance of Grand Teton National Park and 60 miles from the famous Yellowstone National Park. Offering you an adventure holiday exploring the wildlife and immersing in the local culture. You can explore on skis (in winter), mountain bikes, rafts, horse drawn stagecoaches. Add in exquisite cuisine, world-renowned art, and unique shopping to make a holiday to remember.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For Canada some places to consider

For ‘big city glamour’ consider a visit to the vibrant city of Vancouver, British Columbia with its skyline of glass buildings and the surrounding ocean and coastal mountains. Here you can swim from the beach and then go off to explore a mountain all in one day.  This is such a versatile city with so much to do. The city is the largest in British Columba, but manages to hold on to its rustic charm and natural beauty nonetheless. Visitors can enjoy bike riding, shopping, visiting a local museum or just relaxing in Stanley Park. Take the free shuttle service out to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. Originally built in 1889, Capilano Suspension Bridge stretches 450 feet (137m) across and 230 feet (70m) above Capilano River. Cliffwalk is the park’s newest attraction – a cantilevered walkway clinging to the granite cliff high above Capilano Canyon. Treetops Adventure, seven suspension bridges through the evergreens taking you up to 100 feet (30m) above the forest floor, offers a unique squirrel’s eye perspective of the forest. See the jaw-dropping majestic nature of British Columbia unfold as you ascend via aerial tram to the summit of Grouse Mountain. Rising 4,100 feet (1,250 metres) above Vancouver and just 15 minutes from the city’s downtown.

You can dine at a world class restaurant or join a Vancouver foodie tour which allows you to visit a wide variety of highly recommended restaurants trying varied cuisine and enjoying the nightlife. A visit to Granville Island is a must for true foodies looking to sample the best of this coastal city. This gastronomic-focused district offers everything from elegant waterfront restaurants to small ethnic eateries. The Granville Island Public Market is a must see, an indoor market featuring a fascinating assortment of food and produce, displaying handcrafted products and unique gifts.

 

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For small town charm in Canada, we suggest Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan – an attractive town with an underground network of bootlegging tunnels connecting buildings. The tunnels were created in 1908 for a steam system that never happened, but it is rumoured that Al Capone gambled and made deals in them. You can get around this historic town on trolley buses and guided tours, stopping to visit one of the many attractions and museums, or you can simply relax in one of the many spas around the town. Summer in Moose Jaw is always bustling with activities such as Sidewalk Days, Park Art, the Motif Multicultural Festival, Farmers’ Markets, events in Crescent Park and much more.

 

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

Picture courtesy of Tourism Saskatchewan Greg Huszar Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For more information and help with organising and booking your holiday please contact us.

River Boat Cruising with a Difference

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Vicki Tester

 

Many people enjoy the freedom of river and/or canal cruising and the choices to do this are various and different. But for something that is of the beaten track (well for us in the U.K.) would be to consider cruising the Rideau Canal in Canada.

Picture courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

Being over 200 kms long with 49 locks, this canal is the oldest continuously in use canal in North America and is also a World heritage Site. Following the war between Britain and the USA in 1812, the canal was built to ensure that the interior of Canada had access to open water and ultimately the sea without threat from Canada’s neighbour. It was opened in 1832 and is an amazing feat of engineering with sometimes up to 8 locks to overcome the height differences between lakes.

 

John By supervised the work and made the most of the rivers and lakes that cover this amazing region. If you were in a hurry you could probably cruise from Ottawa to Kingston on Lake Ontario in 3 days but was is the rush. Why not take your time and explore the lakes and enjoy the locks – particularly as they are manned. And if you do not want to sail the whole way, that is OK as well. Cruise in your own boat or join a larger cruiser that sales the waterway and has a capacity of 45 guests.

A wonderful way to slow down a holiday to a fascinating part of Canada which would truly add to your experiences whilst here and a great way of getting back to nature.

Picture courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

Picture courtesy of Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership Corporation

 

It is not too late!

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Vicki Tester

 

With the longest day just about to arrive and the true summer weather with us, you may think that it is too late to book a holiday for this year, but you could well be wrong! Many regions still have the capacity to take good numbers of travellers and still feel un-crowded.

Parts of Canada and the USA fit this bill well and do have the option of medium and long haul flights on offer. Atlantic Canada is just 6-7 hours flying time away and offers a huge variety of experiences, scenery and excellent food and wine. Eastern USA also has much to offer and is only a little longer on the plane. September is a particularly good time for these regions, as the fall colours begin to show.

If you are willing to be more adventurous in your destinations and avoid the really popular locations, then you have time to book your holiday for this summer or autumn.

It starts with a call – Contact us / 01323 446550 and you could be on your way.

Picture courtesy of Angie Watson

Picture courtesy of Yvonne Dann

 

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