Friday, December 31, 2010

Garden Route - Cape Town to Port Elizabeth, South Africa

Looking to see the beautiful Coast of South Africa - take a roadtrip from Capetown to Port Elizabeth. This is about 5 to 7 day itinerary and highlights some of the beautiful coast scenery of Southern Africa.

Here but a few highlights on this roadtrip:
  • Hermanus - Go whale watching, horseback riding on the beach, or take a cruise or yacht charter to spot penguins and seals more.
  • Gansbaai - After Kruger National Park, Gansbaai is the second most visited location. Why is that? Its for the Great White Shark viewing! If you are brave enough to go down in a shark cage, you can see these sea predators in Gansbaai.
  • Pearly Beach - If you are looking for the ultimate white sandy beaches to laze around, then Pearly is the spot to go and relax.
  • Agulhas National Park - Go to the mysterious and most southern point of Africa. Explore the graveyard of ships, stunning nature trails and abundance of sealife at this national park.
  • De Hoop Nature Reserve - As part of the Whale Trail, a five hike through stunning coastal wilderness, this 34,000 ha reserve has something for all nature lovers.
  • Riversdale - travel inland to see the famous Sleep Beauty Mountain as well as colourful flora which comes alive during winter months.
  • Stilbaai (Still Bay) - A sleepy town on the southern coast with rich prehistoric history. Still Bay has calm waters for swimming and is an excellent spot for anglers.
  • George - Situated halfway between Capetown and Port Elizabeth, George is a delightful town with a unique history.
  • Goukamma Nature Reserve - See stunning dunes, coastal forest in this popularr nature reserve.
  • Nature's Valley - Also along the Garden Route is Nature's Valley, home to giant native trees, stunning rivers, and unpopulated beaches.
  • Garden Route National Park - Although its a relatively new park, Garden Route National Park has much to offer its visitors. Visit the ancient Tstisikamma Forest, enjoy the lakes, mountains, rivers and ocean - Garden Route National Park has it all.
  • Cape St. Francis - A surfers haven, Cape St Francis was a location in the Surfing Film, Endless Summer

  • Coast of Hermanus

    Dunes, De Hoop Nature Reserve

    View of Cape St. Francis from the Seal Point Lighthouse

    Lighthouse at Cape Agulhas

    Storms River Mouth, Tsitsikamma National Park

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vancouver to Vancouver Island Roadtrip

If you only have a short time to to spend in around the Vancouver area, this is the perfect roadtrip for you. This can be done in about 3 or 4 days and showcases some the best places around Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

Highlights include:

Here's a nice video of some of the Nature you can experience at Vancouver Island.

Here's another great 'homemade' video of a traveller going from Vancouver to Vancouver Island:

Driving Directions from Vancouver / Powell River / Comox / Victoria / Vancouver
  1. Head west on King Edward Ave W toward Columbia St
  2. Take the 3rd right onto Cambie St N
  3. Slight left to stay on Cambie St N
  4. Continue onto Smithe St
  5. Turn right at Seymour St/BC-99 N (signs for British Colombia 99 N/Whistler N/Nanaimo N)Continue to follow Seymour St
  6. Take the 2nd left onto BC-99 N
  7. Take the exit toward North Vancouver/Capilano Canyon/Grouse Mountain
  8. Merge onto Marine Dr
  9. Turn left at Capilano Rd (signs for Capilano Road)
  10. Take the ramp onto Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W
  11. Slight left at Ferry Ramp/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 W
  12. Turn right
  13. Take the Horseshoe Bay, BC - Langdale, BC ferry
  14. Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp
  15. Turn left to stay on Ferry Ramp
  16. Continue onto Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N
  17. Turn left at Stewart Rd/Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N (signs for British Columbia 101 N/Gibsons Sechelt)
  18. Turn right at N Rd/Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N (signs for British Columbia 101 N/Gibsons Sechelt)
  19. Turn right at Gibsons Way/Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 NContinue to follow Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N
  20. Turn left at Sunshine Coast Hwy/Wharf Ave/BC-101 N (signs for Powell River )Continue to follow Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N
  21. Take the Earls Cove, BC - Saltery Bay, BC ferry
  22. Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp
  23. Continue onto Sunshine Coast Hwy/BC-101 N
  24. Turn right at Fairmont St
  25. Fairmont St turns left and becomes Michigan Ave 176 km – about 4 hours 25 mins Powell River, BCCanada
  26. Head south on Michigan Ave toward Egmont St
  27. Take the 1st right onto Egmont St
  28. Turn right at Westview Ave
  29. Continue onto Wharf St
  30. Take the Comox, BC - Powell River, BC ferry
  31. Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp
  32. Continue onto Ellenor Rd
  33. Continue straight onto Anderton Rd
  34. Turn left at Comox Ave
  35. Take the 2nd right onto Church St
  36. Turn left at Beaufort Ave 39
  37. Head northwest on Beaufort Ave toward Church St
  38. Take the 1st right onto Church St
  39. Take the 1st left onto Comox Ave
  40. Turn left at W Island Hwy/BC-19 Alt S
  41. Turn left at Cliffe Ave/W Island Hwy/BC-19 Alt SContinue to follow W Island Hwy/BC-19 Alt S
  42. Turn right at Tsable Rd
  43. Take the 1st left onto Inland Island Hwy/BC-19 S
  44. Turn left at Northfield Rd (signs for Northfield Road)
  45. Turn right at Lancashire Ave 108 km – about 1 hour 30 mins Nanaimo, BCCanada
  46. Head east on Lancashire Ave toward Northfield Rd
  47. Turn left at Northfield Rd
  48. Turn left at Inland Island Hwy/Nanaimo Pkwy/BC-19 S (signs for Victoria)
  49. Take the Trans Canda Highway/BC-1 N ramp to Nanaimo /Cedar Road
  50. Merge onto Inland Island Hwy/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S/BC-19 SContinue to follow Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S
  51. Slight right at Cobble Hill Rd (signs for Cobble Hill Road)
  52. Continue onto Shawnigan Lake Rd
  53. Continue onto Stowood Rd
  54. Continue onto E Shawnigan Lake Rd
  55. Turn right at Island Hwy/Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S (signs for Victoria)Continue to follow Trans-Canada Hwy/BC-1 S
  56. Turn right at Pandora Ave 119 km – about 1 hour 51 mins Victoria, BCCanada
  57. Head west on Pandora Ave toward Broad St
  58. Take the 1st right onto Government St
  59. Turn right at Bay St
  60. Turn left at Blanshard St/Patricia Bay Hwy/BC-17 NContinue to follow Patricia Bay Hwy/BC-17 N
  61. Take the Swartz Bay, BC - Tsawwassen, BC ferry
  62. Continue straight onto Ferry Ramp/BC-17 N
  63. Turn right to stay on Ferry Ramp/BC-17 NContinue to follow BC-17 N
  64. Slight right to stay on BC-17 N
  65. Merge onto BC-99 N via the ramp to Richmond/Vancouver
  66. Take exit 41A for Marine Drive E
  67. Merge onto SW Marine Dr
  68. Turn left at Cambie St N
  69. Turn right at King Edward Ave W E 109 km – about 3 hours 5 mins Vancouver, BC Canada

Brisbane to Bundaberg Australia Roadtrip

Looking to experience the golden sunshine of Queensland, Australia? Take on the open road from Brisbane to Bundaberg!

Story Bridge, Brisbane. Photo By Cyron, Creative Commons

The three day, approximately 650km drive from Brisbane to Bundaberg via back roads is a rewarding one. As the sealed roads open up through Wide Bay and South Burnett you will feel like you’re getting a rare glimpse into the past on this ideal motorhome rental road trip. The road trip will take you from Brisbane to Maleny (approximately 1.75 hours and 94 kilometres), a four hour drive in your campervan rental will then bring you on to Gayndah, and then Bundaberg, which is about 3 hours (260 kilometres) from your second stop. This road trip can include seeing volcanic lava mounds or visiting parks, museums and a cheese factory along the way. To make planning your trip easier, we break down the sightseeing options below.

Wide Bay Highway:

Brisbane to Maleny: Day 1

Maleny Mist, photo by Bjorn Bednarek Creative Commons

Glass House Mountains Montage:

On the first day of your road trip the drive from one city to the next will run you about an hour and forty-five minutes along Bruce Highway. If you exit the highway at Beerwah you can tour The Glass House Park, just northeast of Brisbane. Glimpse Mount Coonowrin or Beerwah and Tibrogargan--the latter two are referred to as the mother and father mountains according to Aboriginal legend--and get a look at cores of extinct volcanoes and both trachyte and rhyolite volcanic plugs in this national park, which opened in 1994. The term Glass House was coined by Captain James Cook in 1770 when he sailed in the Queensland area during his legendary voyage on the HM Bark Endeavour. It is said the shape of the mountains reminded Cook of the large glass furnaces back home in England.

For a look into the pioneer past of the area stop in Landsborough, which boasts everything from a heritage trail and quaint railway station to a Historical Museum. Fifteen minutes on you will find Maleny, where you can experience one of the best panoramic views in Queensland in Mary Cairncross Park. If you appreciate natural beauty and gorgeous views then Maleny isn’t a place you should miss.

Maleny to Gayndah: Day 2

The Big Orange, photo by Baycha Byrne, wikimedia commons
Take Maleny-Kenilworth road north-west through Sunshine Coast towns like Conondale and Witta. If you appreciate a good slice of cheese and sampling local products then make sure to take a bit of time to tour the Kenilworth Cheese Factory and then move on to Queenland’s “Golden City.” Gympie is a wonderful place to stop if you’d like to learn more about the history and culture of the area (try the Timber Museum, Andrew Fischer House and Lighthorse Museum to start).

If you head west on Wide Bay Highway you have your choice of next stops. Kilkivan, once a town that lured settlers with the promise of gold, it now offers a variety of delicacies from lavender to redclaw crayfish, not to mention the town’s renowned olives. A bit further on you’ll find the agricultural area of Murgon where a large amount of produce is grown and the State’s biggest vineyard can be found. If you like to fish you'll want to head to nearby Bjelke-Petersen Dam, and if views are your thing then the top of Boat Mountain (about ten kilometers from the centre of town) should be your destination.

Driving off from Murgon you’ll likely want to stop about four kilometers on in the Aboriginal town of Cherbourg, where you can pick up some great locally made souvenirs and keepsakes including beautifully carved eggs. Your final destination for the day, Gayndah, is nestled in the middle of this area’s Citrus Country and along Burnett River (it can be reached by the Highway also named after the town’s settlers Archer and James Charles Burnett). First settled in the mid-1800s, Gayndah is the oldest town in the state and was once considered as a likely candidate for the capital. Eventually Gayndah lost out to Brisbane because the Burnett River was too shallow to accommodate cargo ships.

When you come in off the highway stop by the Big Orange for some refreshments including a great selection of local coffee, tea and, of course, orange juice. There is also a great selection of unique crafts and gifts that you can purchase. For great views drive your motorhome rental to the top of Duke and Duchess Mountain, where the Thomas and Charles Archer Lookout provides a dazzling panorama of Gayndah below. The Gayndah Windmill provides a bit of history, while a drive down Old Mundubbera Road (open from April to July), or a tour of Ellendale Orchard, will allow you to sample some of the delicious produce the town is famous for.

Gayndah to Bundaberg: Day 3

Bundaberg photo by Jiaran Lau, Creative Commons

Leave Gayndah as you came, via the Burnett Highway, driving towards Mundubberga where you will find the Big Mandarin Caravan Park. This is a great option if you’d like to stay for awhile. From Mundubberga you can sample even more local produce and arrange to visit the nearby Golden Mile Orchard. You can also keep driving for about a half hour after leaving Gayndah, pulling off into Eidsvold, a great place to park your campervan rental and get some fresh air with a stroll through the town’s Historical Complex.

Driving your motorhome rental further down the Burnett Highway you’ll want to turn off at Ceratodus and then head east on Kerwee, which will take you past Mount Perry. A great drive in these parts is Tourist Drive 6, just follow the posted signs to reach the Boolboonda Tunnel. Constructed in the 1880s Boolboonda is the largest unsupported tunnel that exists in the Southern Hemisphere. A little while on the Gin Gin Highway—just about 28 kilometres before reaching Bundaberg--you will come across a unique rock-and-crater formation known as the Mystery Craters.

Bundaberg itself is great for nature lovers, as it offers something for both botanical and animal aficionados. Tour the Botanical Gardens, view the 7-storey Whaling Wall mural that depicts the annual whale migration that occurs in these parts, or get a bit of history at the Bert Hinkler House and Museum.

Nature, fun and history will mix and mingle on your motorhome rental road trip if you decide to make the trek from Brisbane to Bundaberg, two beautiful cities in the Queensland area that offer so much to experience.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Atlanta to Richard Russel Scenic Highway and Brasstown Bald - Georgia USA

view from Brasstown Bald, photo by RealBuried Treasure, Creative Commons

If you live in the foothills of Northern Georgia, you definitely know about this little escape. Although Richard Russel Highway (Highway 348) most popular in autumn, anytime of year is great to take a roadtrip here - even winter if its open (in fact some would argue that on clear winters day you can see the furthest)!

The first itinerary takes you from central Atlanta to Richard Russel Highway, the second one is the Richard Russell Scenic highway itself extended to Georgia's highest mountain, Brasstown Bald. Here you can get awesome views for seemingly hundreds for miles.

View from Richard Russell Highway of Hogpen Gap: Photo Credit Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest website

Atlanta, GA to Richard B. Russel Highway.
  1. Depart SR-154 / Trinity Ave SW toward Washington St SW0.5 mi
  2. Turn left onto Martin St SE0.1 mi
  3. Take ramp right for I-75 North / I-85 North / SR-401 North / SR-403 North / James Wendell George Pkwy / North Expy3.3 mi
  4. Keep left onto I-85 North / SR-403 North21.3 mi
  5. Keep left to stay on I-85 North / SR-403 North7.1 mi
  6. At exit 113, take ramp left for I-985 North / SR-365 North / Atlanta Gainesville Hwy / Lanier Pkwy toward Gainesville23.8 mi
  7. At exit 24, take ramp right for SR-369 West toward Cleveland / Gainesville0.3 mi
  8. Turn left onto SR-369 West / Jesse Jewell Pkwy NE0.6 mi
  9. Turn right onto US-129 North / SR-11 North / Limestone Pkwy NE25.6 mi
  10. Pass BP in 5.3 mi
  11. Turn right onto SR-75 ALT5.9 mi
  12. Turn left onto SR-348 / Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy3.3 mi
  13. 12Arrive at Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy, Helen, GA 30545

Picture of Brasstown Bald, only a few miles from GA 348:

Richard Russel Scenic To Brasstown Bald

1. Take the 1st left onto GA-348 W/Richard B Russell Scenic Hwy 14.0 mi
2. Turn right at State Route 180 6.3 mi
3. Slight left at GA-180 Spur N 5 mi
4. Brasstown Bald Visitors Center

View Larger Map

Video Of Richard B Russell Highway:

More information:
  1. GA 348 on Wikipedia
  2. Byways on Richard B Russel Highway and Brasstown Bald

Auckland to Whatipu Roadtrip - New Zealand

Lets start our first Roadtrip off with a little known gem only 45 minutes from Auckland, New Zealand. When most tourists ask Aucklanders 'Where should I go?' they immediately answer 'Check out the South Island!' While the New Zealand South Island is one of the most beautiful places on the planet, I suspect that locals direct others as far as way as possible from some of there own little treasures.

Whatipu is the northern entrance to Manukau harbour and is made of large dunes and coastal wetlands. You can also surf here at your own risk, just be careful of the riptides. The cliff areas also have some caves worth exploring.

Directions to Whatipu:

1. Head northwest on Victoria St West toward Federal St 150 m
2. Turn left at the 1st cross street onto Hobson St 750 m
3. Take the ramp to North-Western Motorway/Route 16 35 m
4. Keep right at the fork, follow signs for 16/Waitakere/Helensville and merge onto North-Western Motorway/Route 16 5.3 km
5. Take exit 8 for Great North Rd toward 11 350

6. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for Avondale/New Lynn and merge onto Great North Rd 2.4 km
7. Slight left to stay on Great North Rd 2.9 km
8. Turn left at Titirangi Rd 1.6 km
9. Slight left at Old Titirangi Rd 600 m
10. Slight left at Titirangi Rd 2.2 km
11. At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Huia Rd 17.6 km
12. Huia Rd turns slightly right and becomes Whatipu Rd 2.4 km
13. Turn left to stay on Whatipu Rd 4.7 km

One word of warning - the last 5 kilometres are unsealed and should be driven very carefully. If you hire a Motorhome, it probably shouldn't be driven here. This complicated by the fact locals drive this road with reckless abandon and I have personally seen a couple of wrecks happend and had my share of near misses! However, if you drive defensively, this one the best roadtrips to start off your holiday in New Zealand!

Whatipu History:

Here are some links to read a bit more about this great area: