Sunday, November 13, 2011

Colorado Great Dunes Road Trip

South Central Colorado is a beautiful region. Lakes, mountains and valleys are plentiful in the area, and a road trip is the best way to see it. This suggested 2-day itinerary will allow you to see the best of the area, with time to take it all in.

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Start your trip at Colorado Springs, a city of natural beauty and cowboy beginnings. Visit the Pioneer Museum downtown to hear of Colorado's first European settlers. Go to the garden of the Gods, where amazing natural sandstone formations tower imposingly, surrounded by a city park.

Garden of the Gods
by John Fowler Flickr Creative Commons

Make your way through the charming town of Green Mountain Falls to the reservoir of 11 Mile State Park, a spot for fishing, hiking, sailing and swimming. Continue on through some more amazing scenery- the route shown on the map goes off the beaten track onto Co Road 185. Just off this is the amazing San Isabel National Forest, with 19 peaks over 14,000 feet and several crystal lakes. There are several campgrounds which you can find out more about here, so stay the night here and enjoy a good night's sleep surrounded by the beauty of Colorado!

San Isabel National Forest
by paulshaffner Flickr Creative Commons

Next along the route is the town of Salida, where you can get a drink and sit overlooking the Arkansas River. After Salida and several other small midwest towns, always fun to stop in, there is the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Truly a sight to see, this park has the tallest sand dunes in North America. Some rise 230 metres from the floor of the San Luis Valley. The Park is home to not only the dunes but a diverse range of landscapes- tundra, lakes and stream and pine forests. Pinyon Flats Campground near the Visitors Centre has RV sites available.

Great Sand Dunes National Park
by Larry Lamsa Flickr Creative Commons

Have a look here for great deals on USA RV rental!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Queentown To Te Anau - 2 hours of Roadtrip Heaven

For those who are looking to holiday to New Zealand, the drive from Queenstown to Te Anau is an absolute must. Its just over 2 hours, but I would suggest driving slow and enjoying it as much as possible! Here is an excellent video of the reverse drive (Te Anau to Queenstown):

For a virtual Queenstown to Te Anau Roadtrip, click here. Below are driving directions from Queenstown:
  1. Head northwest toward Ballarat St 52 m
  2. Exit the roundabout onto Stanley St 0.4 km
  3. Continue straight onto Frankton Rd 5.8 km
  4. At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit onto Kawarau Rd
  5. Go through 1 roundabout 1.6 km
  6. Continue onto Kingston Rd 38.4 km
  7. Continue onto Kingston-Garston Hwy 17.6 km
  8. Continue onto Garston-Athol Hwy 11.6 km
  9. Continue straight onto Athol-Five Rivers Hwy 17.3 km
  10. Turn right onto Mossburn Five Rivers Rd/State Highway 97 (signs for Te Anau/Milford Sound)19.7 km
  11. Turn right onto Mossburn-Lumsden Hwy 0.4 km
  12. Continue onto Te Anau-Mossburn Hwy 57.2 km
  13. Continue onto Luxmore Drive 0.7 km
  14. Turn right onto Bowen St 0.1 km
  15. Take the 1st left onto Pop Andrew Drive 0.4 km
  16. Take the 2nd left onto Te Anau-Milford Hwy 0.2 km
  17. Turn right onto Milford Cres5 m

Click here for nz campervan pick up locations and visit Campervan Hire New Zealand Sale Finder for great campervan rental deals!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Finger Lakes Roadtrip

Eleven is not a finger too many when it comes to the beautiful Finger Lakes of Upstate New York. When seen from a plane, the long, narrow, roughly parallel lakes are reminiscent of outstretched fingers on a pair of hands; when seen up close, they are breathtaking.

Owasco lake
Photo by Lida Rose, Flickr

Aside from their natural beauty, the lakes are a water-sport playground, offering endless opportunities for fishing, swimming, canoeing, sailing, motor boating, water skiing and anything else you can think of.

In the surrounding area, you’ll find parks, waterfalls, farms, ski resorts, museums, historic sites and plenty of opportunities for shopping, dining and entertainment.

And let’s not forget the wineries. Finger Lakes is New York’s largest wine-producing region, and is well known for its world-class Riesling.

Take a road trip around the two main lakes to discover some of what Finger Lakes has to offer.

Day 1

Starting in Elmira, check out the National Soaring Museum, the only museum in the United States focused on the history of motorless flight.

Head northeast up to Ithaca, where you’ll find the fascinating Sciencenter, a place to “Look, Touch, Listen and Discover”.

Next, take a short diversion back the way you came and up Cliff Street/Trumansburg Road to Museum of the Earth, a significant find for budding palaeontologists!

Head back around the east side of Cayuga Lake, north up to Auburn. Get a bite to eat at one of the many restaurants, then head west down Arterial W/Clark Street Road to Finger Lakes Drive In, where you can catch a movie under the stars! (The drive-in is open between late April and early/mid October.)

Go back and stay the night in Auburn.

Day 2

Head west along State Highway 20 to the top of Cayuga Lake, where you’ll find Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. This is a bird watcher’s paradise, but also home to various mammals, reptiles and amphibians.

Bird at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge
Photo by Lida Rose, Flickr

Get back on Highway 20 and travel southwest to Geneva. Time to sit back, relax and take a scenic trip on the Finger Lakes Railway or a cruise on Seneca Lake!

Finger Lakes Railway
Photo by Mike Roqué, Flickr

Further along Highway 20, at the top of Canandaigua Lake, you’ll find Roseland Waterpark, a great place to cool off if you’re travelling during summer.

Roseland Waterpark
Photo by visit~fingerlakes, Flickr

There are plenty of accommodation options for staying the night in Canandaigua.

Day 3

A tour of Finger Lakes wouldn’t be complete without tasting the work of some of its 100-plus (many award-winning) wineries. So, before you leave Canandaigua, experience their wine trail.

Head south and then east on State Highway 364, and at Penn Yan, turn right onto Liberty Street, which becomes Highway 14A. Travel all the way down to Watkins Glen.

If you’re a petrolhead, you’ll find your happy place at The Glen, a racing track hosting all kinds of motor-sport mayhem.

If screaming cars and petrol fumes are not your thing, visit in July when Watkins Glen hosts the Finger Lakes Wine Festival.

Time to head home.

As you can see, Finger Lakes has something for everyone, and this road trip’s just a taster!

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Los Angeles - Joshua Tree Roadtrip

If you live in, or are visiting, Los Angeles and have had your fill of “the entertainment capital of the world”, you might like to hit the road and head for somewhere completely different.

Just three hours away (in a straight line) is Joshua Tree National Park, a desert paradise, alive with unique flora and fauna, brimming with surreal landscapes and perfect for outdoor activities, such as camping, hiking, rock climbing and four-wheel driving.

Not so fast, though. There are many interesting places to visit along the way, so why not slow down and spend a few days getting there.

Day 1

Before you completely detox from the city, head southeast, on Santa Ana Freeway, to Anaheim and spend the day at Disneyland or Knotts Berry Farm. Stay the night at one of the many on-site hotels, or the nearby Anaheim Resort RV Park.

Photo by jrayfarm1980, Flickr

Day 2

Head north on Orange Freeway to Diamond Bar. Depending on the time of year, enjoy the Winter Snow Fest, Candy Cane Craft Fair, Concerts in the Park, Movies Under the Stars or one of their other special events.

Get back on Pomona Freeway and head east.
For aviation buffs, stop at Chino and check out Planes of Fame and Yanks Air Museum.

Planes of Fame
Photo by sandy.redding, Flickr

Next, travel on to Fairmount Park in Riverside, where you can have a picnic, play a game of tennis, rent a pedal boat or do some fishing.
Then, head back west along Mission Boulevard, and catch a movie at Rubidoux Drive-In Theatre!

Riverside has plenty of accommodation options, so you can stay the night there.

Day 3

Get back on the Pomona Freeway, which becomes Moreno Valley Freeway, and head southeast.

Stop at Moreno Valley for a game of golf (there are three courses to choose from), a horse ride or to let the kids spend some energy at one of the many playgrounds. And if you’ve brought your dog along for the trip, make sure you visit Hound Town!

Keep driving along Moreno Valley Freeway until you reach the interchange at Beaumont. Take the exit that leads onto Interstate 10. Keep going till you reach Cabazon, where you’ll find Cabazon Dinosaurs. Be prepared to be overshadowed!

Cabazon Dinosaurs
Photo by amanderbear, Flickr

Get back on the Interstate and, just past White Water, take exit 117 to merge round onto Twentynine Palms Highway (remember the Robert Plant song?).

Drive up a way, turn right into Pierson Boulevard and stop at Desert Hot Springs. Relax and enjoy a hot mineral-water spa at one of the many resorts. Stay for the night.

Day 4

We’ve left the best till last.

Head down Palm Drive and get back onto Interstate 10 (heading southeast). Take exit 168, and turn left onto Cottonwood Spring Road, which becomes El Dorado Mine Road/Pinto Basin Road. (It will take about an hour-and-a-half to get from Desert Hot Springs to here.)

Head on up into Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Tree
Photo by henrikj, Flickr

(Look anything like the cover of a certain U2 album?)

Spend the day being blown away by the landscape, the wildlife and the many outdoor activities available.

Make sure you zip round to the city — don’t worry; this is not LA—at some stage, too. There you’ll find great food, beautiful gift shops, art galleries and a National Park Visitors Centre.

Then drive back up to the park to do some stargazing at night. Stay in the camping ground, while you’re at it.

And when you’ve had your fill of desert life, head on back to LA to discover some new things there!

Los Angeles Theatre
Photo by darylfurr, Flickr

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Roadtrip Shenadoah Valley

Named after the river that winds most of the way through it, Shenandoah Valley (also known as “Daughter of the Stars”) is a place of scenic beauty and spectacular natural landmarks.

Shenandoah Valley
Photo by jpmueller99, Flickr

A key area of conflict in the American Civil War, Shenandoah Valley offers many opportunities—in the form of trails, marked historic sites and re-enactments—to reflect on its history and the significance of the fierce battles that finally put an end to slavery.

Although you could travel from Salem to Winchester in about three hours, you would miss many of the unique and memorable experiences Shenandoah has to offer.

Slow down, take in the surroundings and enjoy a three-day road trip.

Day 1

Starting in Salem, get onto Interstate Highway 81 and head northeast to Buchanan. There, you can walk the famous Buchanan Swinging Bridge (parts of which date back to 1851!), explore some less-familiar Civil War sites, watch a movie at Botetourt County’s oldest standing theatre and browse through antique stores and art galleries on Buchanan’s historic Main Street.

For a bridge on a grander scale, head a bit further up the highway and visit The Natural Bridge, “20 stories of solid rock, carved by the fingers of nature”.

Natural Bridge
Photo by mikemac29, Flickr

Next, drive for just over an hour up to Grottoes, and stop in at Grand Caverns, America’s oldest show cave. Explore rooms with names such as Persian Palace, Grand Ball Room and Dante’s Inferno! And if you’re there in September, stay and enjoy the annual bluegrass festival!

Bed down in Grottoes for the night.

Day 2

If you’re travelling on a Saturday, make your next stop Broadway for the Farmers Market, where you can buy fresh local produce, baking, coffee and crafts.
Next, head up and across to Luray, and lose yourself in The Garden Maze. There are more caverns here, if you didn’t get your fill at Grand Caverns; or you could visit the Car and Carriage Caravan Museum or the Singing Tower.

The Garden Maze
Photo by sd, Flickr

Keep travelling northeast till you reach Middletown. Witness a re-enactment of The Battle of Cedar Creek, or a Moonlight tour of Hupp’s Hill, then find a place to settle in for the night. Maybe the Battle of Cedar Creek Campground?

Day 3
Drive a short distance northeast to White Post, and prepare to meet some prehistoric wildlife at Dinosaur Land!

Dinosaur Land
Photo by marc.benton, Flickr

If you’re in White Post in October, don’t miss the Historic Long Branch Hot Air Balloon Wine and Music Festival.

Historic Long Branch Festival
Photo by Rick Collier, Flickr

Finally, check out the beautiful town of Winchester, where you can visit George Washington’s Office Museum, Wilson’s Wild Animal Park or Rocking S Ranch (for some horse riding). And if you’re there in late April/early May, the Winchester-Frederick County comes alive with The Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. It’s a huge event, with over 250,000 people attending each year!

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival
Photo by M.V. Jantzen, Flickr

View Directions to Front Royal, VA, United States in a larger map

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

50 Best Roadtrips by National Geographic

National Geographic did a superb article on 50 of the best roadtrips around the world. You can forgive National Geographic for making most of the roadtrips in the USA (they are an American Nonprofit afterall!) - the photos and locations are fantastic! Here is the complete list:

  1. Alaska's Seward Highway
  2. Amalfi Coast, Italy
  3. Back Roads of Provence, France
  4. Banff and Jasper Parks, Canada
  5. Big Island, Hawaii
  6. The Black Hills of South Dakota
  7. The Blues Highway, Tennessee and Mississippi
  8. The Borderlands of Texas
  9. Bourbon Trail, Kentucky
  10. Brandywine Valley, Pennsylvania and Delaware
  11. British Columbia, Canada
  12. California’s Pacific Coast Highway
  13. Cape Breton, Nova Scotia
  14. Cape Cod, Massachusetts
  15. Cascade Lakes, Oregon
  16. Cherohala Skyway, Tennessee and North Carolina
  17. Cornwall, England
  18. Creole Country, Louisiana
  19. Dalton Highway, Alaska
  20. Florida Keys
  21. The Flower Route, Netherlands
  22. Forgotten Florida
  23. Ghost Towns of Colorado
  24. Hallowed Ground, Virginia and Pennsylvania
  25. Hill Country, Texas
  26. Hudson Valley, New York
  27. The James River, Virginia
  28. Low Country, South Carolina and Georgia
  29. Manitoba, Canada
  30. Maui's Hana Coast
  31. Montreal, Canada
  32. Mount Hood, Oregon
  33. Navajo and Hopi Lands, Arizona
  34. Nebraska's Pioneer Trail
  35. The New Old West, Arizona
  36. New York’s Finger Lakes
  37. New Zealand’s North Island
  38. North Carolina’s Outer Banks
  39. Northern Mississippi River
  40. The Olympic Peninsula, Washington
  41. The Ozarks, Arkansas
  42. Pirate Route, Jamaica
  43. Rocky Mountains of Colorado and Wyoming
  44. San Luis Valley, Colorado
  45. The Santa Barbara Loop, California
  46. The Sawtooths, Idaho
  47. Shipwreck Coast, Michigan
  48. The Southwest's Four Corners
  49. Vermont Cheese Trail
  50. The Wild West, Kansas

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Raglan to Kawhia Campervan Road Trip

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See 3 of the West Coast Harbours on this drive which takes only a day but takes in so much!

Day 1.
For such a small town, Raglan is famous the world over- and that's no exaggeration. If you don't surf, you are not likely to have heard of it but for the surfing community, Raglan is one of the world's Meccas.

Raglan Town
by Jun Kaneko Flickr Creative Commons

Tucked inside Raglan Harbour, it is a bustling but laid back beachside town which is perfect for a chilled-out holiday. There are many artists and artisans with wares on display, opportunities for outdoor sports such as mountain biking, paragliding, horseback riding among others, and of course the beach! Sheltered swimming spots inside the harbour and big waves on the coast.

For the surfers, the action happens on the coast outside the harbour- Manu Bay is famous for it's long left-hand surf break, and there are also waves to be caught at Whale Bay and other beaches along that coast.

From Raglan, head out south on Main Road and then turn into Maungatawhiri road until you can turn right onto Te Mata Road, the Te Papatapu Road. These aren't main highways, but a scenic route and will take you past the beautiful Aotea Harbour where you can stop for coffee from your camper kitchen and enjoy the view!

Turn right when you get to Kauroa-Kawhia Road, also called Raglan Road, and follow the signs into Kawhia.

Kawhia Wharf
by asgw Flickr creative Commons

Kawhia is a great spot to visit if you are interested in Maori History- it is the final landing place of the great Tainui Waka (ocean-going canoe) which is buried there, with stones to mark it's bow and stern. To find out more about this, you can visit the Kawhia Museum/Information Centre located on the waterfront in the town.

by Phillip Capper Flickr Creative Commons

A well-kept secret is the natural hot springs on one of the ocean-facing beaches just outside of Kawhia- go at low tide and bring a spade for a hot soak on the beach!

Kawhia Camping Ground has power sites available for your campervan, as does Kawhia Beachside S-cape.

Happy travelling! For New Zealand Campervan Hire, click here.

Mystic to Stamford-the Connecticut Coast by RV

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A straight trip from, Mystic on the northeast end of the Connecticut coast to Stamford on the southwest end will only take you around 2 hours- but there are too many interesting things to see along the way to just drive on through! I have extended it into a 2-day trip which will take in the best of the coast and the Long Island Sound. This is a great trip for those interested in maritime history!

Day 1.
Mystic is best known as an historical seaport, and the Mystic Seaport is the USA's leading maritime museum.

Mystic Seaport
by AMOC Flickr Creative Commons

Mystic also boasts a picturesque Olde Village and some leading casinos, so make sure you have seen all this little town has to offer before you make a move.

Head out of Mystic on Allyn Street and get onto the I-95 S which will take you down the coast.

New London is not far from Mystic. Once a busy whaling port, it is now home to the United States Coastguard Academy., and is a pretty town with a lot of history.

Also along the way is Hammonasset State Park, Connecticut's largest shoreline State Park, and has over 2 miles of beaches for visitors to enjoy. So, if you would like to get out of your RV and get some fresh air, this is a great place to do it.

Hammonasset State Park
by Eugene Peretz Flickr Creative Commons

Once you have had your fill of nature, New Haven is the next place along the road. There is an RV Park, Totoket RV Park which is 15 minutes out of the city.

Day 2.
New Haven's biggest claim to fame is that it is home to Ivy League school Yale University. It's gothic architecture and history make the campus very much worth a visit. The city is one of America's oldest, settled by Puritans in the 17th century and was carefully planned, with a grid of streets downtown at the centre of which is the Town Green.

Yale Campus in winter
by Adam Jones Flickr Creative Commons

The culinary highlight of New Haven is New Haven-Style pizza, a Neapolitan pizza also known as 'apizza.' The two main apizzerias in town, Pepe's and Sally's, are in fierce competition and each has it's loyal customers. It is probably necessary that you try both so you can make up your own mind!

Sally's Apizza
by stu_spivack Flickr Creative Commons

The next town along, Milford, hosts the oyster festival once a year on the third saturday of August- so if you are in the area around that time, try to plan your trip to coincide with that- if you like shellfish. Long Island Sound is known to be rich in shellfish.

You will pass through a few more places along the road- Bridgeport was home to famous circus promoter P.T. Barnum, and Norwalk also holds an oyster festival later in the year, so if you miss out on the one in Milford you might be able to catch this one!

Stamford is proud of it's economic soundness and low crime rate. It also boasts many parks and beaches along it's shoreline- for example, Cummings Park, which includes a beach, baseball fields, tennis and basketball courts, restrooms and a cafe.

For those staying in Stamford, the sights and sounds of the Big Apple are a short train ride away.

For RV rental, take a look here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dargaville to Kaitaia New Zealand

For those who want to see the far north of New Zealand, a road trip from Dargaville to Kaitaia is a great idea- particularly with a loop thrown in to see the Hokianga Harbour and Opononi.

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Day 1.
Dargaville, a town of about 5,000 on the Wairoa River north of Auckland, is a great base for seeing some of the wild outdoors in the area- particularly the Kauri Coast, an area of forests which has some of New Zealand's largest Kauri trees, inlcuding the great Tane Mahuta, a famously huge Kauri specimen.

Baylys Beach, 13km from the township, is a small community which is the gateway to Ripiro Beach, the longest driveable beach in the country. Baylys Beach is a centre for beach activities such as surfing, land yachting, quad biking and others.

Once you have seen Dargaville and surrounds, make your way up the Kauri Coast on State Highway 12 to the Kai Iwi Lakes, along Omamari the Kai Iwi Lakes Roads. These lakes are a beautiful spot to spend a few hours or a night- there are camping sites at the lakes, but no powered sites so you must be prepared to rough it a little! Alternatively, there is a Top Ten Holiday Park called the Kauri Coast Holiday Park a bit further up SH12.

Kai Iwi Lakes
by Sids1 Flickr Creative Commons

The Kai Iwi Lakes are an idyllic spot for swimming, fishing, kayaking or just relaxing!

Day 2.

Now, continue northwards on State Highway 12. A good place to stop is Opononi, a seaside town on the shore of the Hokianga Harbour famous for being frequented in the summer of 1955-56 by
Opo the friendly dolphin. There is a statue and gravesite outside the town hall in her memory. Opononi is a great place to swim or even pop across the harbour to the huge sand dunes on the North Head.

Continua along SH12 until Rawene road, which goes into Rawene where you can take a car ferry across the Hokianga Harbour to cut quite a distance off your journey. Kohukohu, Rakautapu, Paponga, Birdwood and Kaitaia-Awaroa roads will lead you the rest of the way through some stunning scenery.

Kaitaia scenery
by Wendy Schotsmans Flickr Creative Commons

Kaitaia is the last major settlement before Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand. On average, it is the warmest place in the country. It is also where a lot of ancient kauri is extracted and manufactured into various things- so if you would like to get your hands on some beautiful furniture or giftware made from 45,ooo year old logs, definitely visit the Ancient Kauri Kingdom. You can also visit 90 mile beach from here, and walk the Kaitaia Walkway through some stunning native forest.

So, see a bit of the west coast of Northland.. for camper hire in New Zealand, click here!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Russel to Coopers Beach New Zealand Road Trip

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A trip from Russell to Cooper's Beach in New Zealand will showcase 2 of Northland's breathtaking Bays- the Bay of Islands and Doubtless Bay.

Day 1.

View of Russell from the water
by Anne-Lise Heinrichs Flickr Creative Commons

Russell used to be known as the "Hellhole of the Pacific" as it was notorious for lawlessness, prostitution and drunkenness as a major trade centre between the Europeans and Maori. Nowadays, it is a peaceful and picturesque seaside town, and on first glance does not seem significant enough to have recieved such a reputation! However, a trip to Russell museum will disabuse you of this notion- although small today, Russell, once named Kororareka, was at one point the country's capital and it's flagpole was behind the Flagstaff War in 1845.

If you have seen all that Russell can offer, it's time to get on the road. Many people take the car ferry from Russell to Opua and head north from there, as it is a significant detour to drive around by land. It is a good option as it operates every 20 minutes or so, takes 10 minutes to cross, and is $10 for a car and driver plus $1 per passenger.

Off the ferry, take Paihia road until it joins with State Highway 1 at Kawakawa, and then on to State Highway 10 towards Kerikeri and Mangonui.

Kerikeri is a nice place to stay for the night, and boasts a "Top Ten Holiday Park" which is great for campervanners. It also has New Zealand's oldest building that still stands, the Stone Store. For those with a sweet tooth, handmade chocolate boutique Makana Confections is worth a visit!

Day 2.

Onwards and upwards along State Highway 10 to Coopers Beach in Doubtless bay. As it is not far from Kerikeri, you will have plenty of time to see some of Doubtless Bay's delights. Lunch at the Mangonui Fish Shop, on Mangonui Harbour, is a must- they have by reputation some of the best fish and chips in New Zealand, and as any kiwi will tell you, that is not a claim to be taken lightly!

Famed Mangonui Fish Shop
by Phillip Capper Flickr Creative Commons

Coopers Beach is next along the highway, and is a pohutakawa-fringed beach which is safe for swimming. The town, slightly back from the beach, has a small shopping centre with hairdresser, superette, butcher, medical centre, hardware store, pharmacy and restaurants.

Cable Bay, a pretty bay with orangey-pink sand is just over the hill from Coopers.

The Karikari Peninsula encloses Doubtless Bay and it's views are best taken in with a glass of wine in hand, sitting outside the Karikari Estate Winery. It also has a Top Ten Holiday Park.

View from Karikari Estate
by TobiasPMP Flickr Creative Commons

See the Bays with a campervan hire!

Boston to Cape Cod Road Trip

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Boston to the Cape is a trip many make each year, often by ferry to Provincetown. But renting an RV and making a leisurely road trip of it is a great way to see a bit of the New England scenery and make yourself a cup of tea along the way. The drive can take anywhere from 1-3 hours, depending on traffic and where in the cape you would like to end up, and it is a great way for visitors to the area to really see Massachusetts.

Day 1.

Boston Common
by redjar Flickr Creative Commons

Have you already seen the sites of Boston? One of the best ways to get acquainted with the city is to walk the 2.5 mile long Freedom Trail, which leads you past 16 historical sites significant to the nation. Many of Boston's top places to visit are on this trail, so it comes highly recommended! You can take guided tours also, and learn a lot about New England's rich history.

New England Scenery
by Doug Kerr Flickr Creative Commons

Once you have seen Boston, you are ready to head for the Cape! I-93 heading south will take you out of Boston, and then follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims (although I doubt they drove on freeways) along the pilgrim's highway, also known as MA-3.

Take your time on the drive- there are places to see, such as Plymouth, the site of the first colony founded by the pilgrims. America's Hometown! As well as the obvious historical interest, Plymouth has 9 public beaches, the biggest one, Plymouth Beach, is a barrier beach guarding Plymouth Harbour.

You could stay here in Plymouth if the history takes your fancy- or, why not carry on to Sandwich, the first town across the Cape Cod Canal? To get there, change to the MA-6 just before the canal.

Day 2.

Today you continue along the Cape, and make sure you take the time to see all there is to see- wildlife sanctuaries, State Parks, beaches. Why not play a game of golf? Bayberry Hills Golf Course is just off the MA-6 on West Yarmouth Road. If you like fishing, there are not only great saltwater fishing spots but hundreds of ponds on the Cape to fish to your heart's content.

Further up the Cape, there are the ocean-facing beaches- Coast Guard Beach is on the USA's top ten beaches list, and for less crowds there are Marconi Beach and Cahoon Hollow.

So, take your pick of what to do on the way up the Cape- those are of course only a few activities and places that may be of interest.

Provincetown, MA
by Harvey Barrison Flickr Creative Commons

Provincetown is a great place to finish your road trip- right on the end of the Cape, this town continues the Pilgrim theme by being the first place they landed in the New World, before carrying on to Plymouth. The town is know known for it's resident artists, it's beaches and it's popularity amongst the gay community. Although a bustling destination, it retains the feel of it's fishing village roots, and most people explore on foot- hotels, restaurants, shops, galleries, cafes and nightlife hotspots are clustered together on Commercial Street downtown. It is also the capital of Whale Watching on the East Coast!

To start your road trip, click here for Boston RV Rental!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Bordeaux to Toulouse to Montpellier Roadtrip

On this route you’ll pass though some places which you’ve probably heard of, big clue…smell, and parts of it are going to cause great hilarity, but as you’re old enough to drive you should be more adult about places with funny names; you’ll see.

Place de la Comédie, Montpellier
Photo by Fritz Geller-Grimm (wikimedia commons)

Day 1.
You’ve visited the Musée d'Aquitaine and the Porte des Salinières, and now its time to leave Bordeaux and the west coast for Montpellier. Take the D10 which roughly follows the same route as the Autoroute until Langon. On your left will be the vineyards of Bordeaux and on your right, the forest of Landes; admire the countryside from your vantage point inside your motorhome rental or campervan hire. Along the way there are some great viewpoints, and then you will arrive at the first stop. This is where you will have to take a picture of the town sign, Condom, you can’t miss it there’s always a huge queue of grinning tourists. Now, if you are from a part of the world where the word condom isn’t used for a form of contraception then you won’t find this in the least bit funny, but for those that do, there are lots of jokes which could have been written in! There isn’t really a lot to se in Condom, but the cathedral and the Museum of Contraception are worth popping into, it’s also where the beautiful liqueur Armagnac is produced, free sample anyone?

Onwards to the climax of the day! Well not quite next you pass through a very smelly place…….Cologne. Unfortunately Eau De Cologne originated from Germany and not here, but it all adds interest, a bit like eye spy on a long journey. This part of the route has some serious twists and turns, but take your time and you’ll arrive in Toulouse in high spirits.

Day 2.
Today is a day for exploring the sights and delights of Toulouse, the Pink City. Take a boat tour on the River Garonne or the Canal Du Midi; visit the Romanesque Basilica of St. Sernin; the biggest in the western world, or other buildings such as the Albi or the Capitole, the magnificent Town Hall and theatre. If you’ve been to Toulouse before, or want to stay out of the city nearby Carcassone is only 70 km’s away. The UNESCO walled city is very beautiful with its castle and old bridge.

Saint Pierre Cathedral, Montpellier
Photo by Vpe (wikimedia commons)

Day 3
It’s another twisting and turning road, the N126/D162, but its all about the journey and the scenery today, if you want to get to Montpelier quickly then take the A61. You’re halfway point is in the middle of the Parc Naturel Du Haut-Languedoc, and around Courniou there are some excellent walking trails and caves such as the Grotte de la Deveze. This really is a beautiful route and if you enjoy walking you may prefer to stay in one of the small villages en route so that you can explore the area a little more.

Finally, you arrive in Montpellier where you can explore the city by bike or tram, but leave your motorhome rental or campervan hire outside the city and travel in because the centre is pedestrianised and the traffic jams are terrible.

Montpellier to Marseille to Nice Roadtrip

The journey between Montpellier and Nice is only a short one, but it’s very different to the forests and mountains further north, here you will pass many Étang or lakes, and you’ll also notice a difference in the temperature, cuisine, and the buildings. So, jump in and enjoy your motorhome rental or campervan hire trip between Montpellier to Nice

View of the "Petit Nice" on the Corniche, Marseille Photo by Jddmano (wikimedia commons)

Day 1.
Leave Montpellier heading west on the N113, after Vauvert you will start to notice the lakes start to come into view. If you need a quick stretch of your legs stop off at St-Gilles if you’re into architecture, or you’re a stonemason, you’ll enjoy the façade of the Church of St Giles an abbey dating back to the 12th Century, if not there are some nice patisseries where you can stock up!

The next major port of call will be the charming city of Arles with its Roman amphitheatre. The site dates back to the first century BC and was capable of seating 20,000 spectators who spent their Saturday afternoons watching chariot races and hand-to-hand combat. The next part of your route the N568 is long and straight, but a word of warning there are also speed cameras and the Gendarmerie get pretty cross if you speed. At the end of this very straight road are the Marseille Port Information Centre and the small village of Fos-sur-Mer with its 14th century castle and Romanesque church. Make a point of stopping off, as the views from the ramparts are beautiful. That’s it for the side roads, now you join the A55 towards Marseille.

The area around the coast is filled with places to park up a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle for the night and you’ll have plenty of choice between the city itself, or one of the nearby towns such as L’Estaque; popular with the artist Cezanne for its natural harbour and old village.

Day 2
You need at least a day to explore the sights of Marseille, more if you can spare it. European Capital of Culture for 2013, the city has some wonderful old sights such as the Viuex Port where you cross the harbour in an old wooden ferryboat, don’t worry it’s perfectly safe, and where you can buy fresh fish for your barbecue. Perhaps you would prefer a train trip, or a tour of the Notre Dame de la Gare which is the landmark of the city, but probably best of all is to just walk around the street and get hopelessly lost.

The Opera House, Marseille
Photo by Mrlopez2681 (wikimedia commons)

Day 3
Enough of getting lost, today you need to get to Nice. Take the A560 out of the city and you’ll soon be in the forest and higher ground with some excellent vistas. As soon as you see the signs for Frejus and Cannes, you know you’re getting close; you may even want to stop off for the night or have a look round at the extravagant marinas with all those yachts and fast cars. This route takes you on the Autoroute, but if you have all the time in the world the coastal route is a lovely option.

Of course once you reach Nice its not that much further to Monte-Carlo, did you pack your tuxedo?

Paris to Marseille via Lyon Roadtrip

When you travel from the chic boutiques of Paris to the sunny port of Marseille you notice an enormous difference, in not only the weather, but the architecture and way of life too. If you took the Autoroute and blasted your way to the south you could get there pretty quickly, but you would certainly sacrifice visiting some pretty towns and villages along the way. This route gives you the best of both worlds, a few toll roads where the surroundings aren’t quite so interesting, and a few twisting and turning smaller roads, to test those driving skills and check out the best bits of this part of the country on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday.

Panorama of Marseille Photo by Tabletpc2 (wikimedia commons)

Day 1.
The first stop of the day is the historical city of Auxerre. The first part of the journey from Paris is one of those Autoroute moments just to get you out of the city and well on way to the best bits of the route, it should take you around two hours. Auxerre is in Burgundy so if you enjoy wine you’ll probably be very excited at this moment, if not, it’s a small city so park up and explore some wonderful architecture, cathedral, churches, squares, and museums.

The next part of the route has some hills and ‘bends’, but the drive through the forest and along the River Cure is well worth it. The riverbank is a good place to enjoy a typical French lunch and if you’ve got time the Grottes d’Arcy or caves of d’Arcy, have the second largest collection of cave paintings in Europe. Now you have a choice head towards the city of Avallon and stay overnight, or if you want to visit a pretty hilltop village take a detour onto the D951 to Vezelay, home to the greatest Gothic cathedral in the province and magnificent views to boot.

Day 2.
Leave Avallon this morning for Lyon. Another possibly detour first thing is a trip to Beaune which succeeded Dijon as the capital of the Dutchy of Burgundy. The centre is charming and the perfect place to pick up some ‘real’ French delicacies and some incredible wines; you might even stay all day. The route on the N9 follows the Autoroute, it’s long, straight, and without the tolls, but beware of the speed cameras. There are lots of towns and villages along the route which also follows the River Saône, giving you a great choice for one of those all-important picnic opportunities. Even better, within twenty minutes of Mâcon there are some excellent Beaujolais wineries. When you’re ready, continue along the very straight D306 all the way to Lyon, but leave the motorhome rental or campervan hire outside the city, the parking is appalling.

Lyon, with the old city in the foreground
Photo by Calips (wikimedia commons)

Day 3.
No driving today, instead spend your time exploring France’s third largest city. Even if cities aren’t your thing, the UNESCO World Heritage Site might just change your mind. Second only to Venice, Vieux Lyon has the largest Renaissance area in Europe, with its cathedral, gardens, and Traboules (corridors which link two streets through a building), then there are the excellent shops, restaurants, bars………

Day 4
Today is not much of a sight seeing day, its three hours to Marseille the majority of it on the A7 passing by Avignon….Avignon, you’ve got to stop. Avignon is a major city in Provence, with Le Palais des Papes or the Palace of Popes, which is the world's largest Gothic building. Once you’ve had your fill of Gothic architecture get your fill of food at the Place Pie, a covered market which is highly recommended, then its back on the road again for the biggest Mediterranean port of the Provence, and don’t forget to try the La Bouillabaisse de Marseille, its wonderful.

Paris to Nantes via Tours Roadtrip

The inland areas of France used to be overlooked in favour of the seaside resorts, now the Loire valley is just as popular due its wonderful Château, mouth-watering cuisine, and delightful sparking wines. This route assumes you’re already spent a fair amount of time in Paris, have done all those important tourist sights, and discovered the delights of the périphérique (hopefully not in your motorhome rental or campervan hire), and now you’re ready to move on to some open roads and pleasant countryside.

Pont Wilson, Tours
Photo by Tango7174 (wikimedia commons)

Day 1.

Head south from the city towards Chartres, this is the scenic route, you could opt to take the A10, but that would mean you would miss out on the first stop, Château de Maintenon. It should take around an hour and a half to get to the château which dates back to 1509 and incorporates an ancient castle. Built on the banks of the River Eure, the chateau isn’t the biggest you’ll encounter on your trip, but very nice none the less.

Back on the road towards Chartres and as you’re going to be driving right through the centre, and you’re bound to be hungry; you can’t stop and not visit at least one of the city’s attractions. The most dominating feature of the city is La Cathédrale Notre Dame de Chartres with the most extensive collection of stained glass in the world, or if that sort of thing doesn’t interest you, just walk around the city and admire the half-timbered houses on your way down to the river.

From here hit the N10, not literally, for just over an hour before taking the much smaller D910 towards Tours (with a silent S) your stopover for the night or two.

Day 2
Leave you motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle on site today and hire a bike to explore the area. The city is a small one and at the heart of the ‘Loire à Velo’ project which means its relatively safe, no crazy motorists to contend with! The city is where Joan of Arc had her armour made, a natty souvenir if you can find a replica piece, or perhaps visit the castle, cathedral, or stroll along the river; its all about the atmosphere.

Town Hall and Place Jean Jaurès, Tours
Photo by Tango7174 (wikimedia commons)

Day 3
Armour safely stowed away its time to head for Nantes, but not before you do a bit of a detour. You cannot visit the Loire Valley and not take a trip to Saumur and its truly magnificent château, not to mention its wine.

Château de Saumur overlooks the River Loire and was once the residence of the Dukes of Anjou. There are some beautiful interiors; it also has a magnificent display of equestrian items. After you’ve spent a couple of hours looking round, leave the town in search of some of the vineyards and buy a bottle to enjoy later.

The last part of your journey towards Nantes is quick and painless, unless you don’t agree with paying tolls in which case it will take a little longer. Take the A11 and then the A811 and in less than an hour you’ll be in Nantes home of the Porte St-Pierre, Cathédrale Saint Pierre, and The Jules Verne Museum.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Darwin to Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks RV Road Trip

Explore Australia’s Outback and Northern Territory on a road trip that takes you from the bustling port city of Darwin to the expansive Kakadu National Park. On your way back to Darwin stop in small towns like Pine Creek and Adelaide River before enjoying the natural beauty, waterfalls and clear waters of Litchfield National Park.


  • The vibrant port city of Darwin

  • Mindil Beach

  • Doctor’s Gully and Aquascene

  • Kakadu National Park

  • Pine Creek

  • Adelaide River

  • Litchfield National Park

Day 1 to 2 – Darwin

The port city of Darwin is also a university town with a vibe that is at once laidback and industrious. A city with a rich Aboriginal history, it is also a place where a large part of its population only settled in the last half century, most being people who visited and never left. While Darwin has seen its share of hardship (namely Japanese bombing during WWII and several devastating cyclones), it is also a place where you’ll find a ton to enjoy.

Darwin is known as the Outback Capital of Australia, but if you’re expecting nothing but dust and open plains you’ll be surprised. The city is small but quite cosmopolitan with bustling restaurants and trendy cafes, lots of shopping, and a casino located on the beach. Sites here include the Chinese Temple, the World War II Oil Storage Tunnels located below the Esplanade, the tourist friendly Wharf Precinct, and historical buildings like the 19th century Brown's Mart and the Old Town Hall Ruins.

For outdoor lovers there are also great places to visit including Mindil Beach and its markets, Bicentennial Park and the sliver of rainforest left in Darwin. While there walk along the boardwalk in the Doctor's Gully to get to Aquascene, a very popular attraction where you can look at and feed fish during high tide.

Day 3 – Darwin to Kakadu

The drive from Darwin to Kakadu National Park will take you approximately three hours, depending on the stops you choose to make. Along the way you can take some time at the popular swimming destination of Berry Springs and the Territory Wildlife Park—with its Wetland, Woodland and Monsoon Vine Forest Zones—located here. The small town of Humpty Doo, famous for its mangos and agricultural experiments, is also an option. Shop, grab a bite and take a photo with the town’s Boxing Crocodile before continuing on to Kakadu National Park to spend the night.

Day 4 – Kakadu National Park

The amount of time spent in the park, of course, is entirely up to you. A sprawling 19,800 square kilometres, Kakadu National Park offers some impressive sights including the Twin Falls at Arnhem, Warradjan Aboriginal Centre and the Yellow Water Billabong in Cooina, Bowali Visitor Centre near Jabiru (which also has a crocodile-shaped hotel), and the Gulom Plunge Pool, which is located close to the Kakadu Highway. The park’s art galleries are also very popular attractions.

Day 5 – Kakadu to Litchfield National Park

About 250 kilometres from Kakadu you’ll come across Pine Creek, a very interesting town full of history and notable architecture. An ideal stop between Kakadu and Litchfield National Parks this town is located right off of Stuart Highway. Continue on to Litchfield or make another stop at Adelaide River to sample the local specialty: barramundi fish. Stay over at a hotel on the River or make your way to Litchfield instead.

Day 6 – Litchfield National Park

Litchfield National Park covers a gorgeous area filled with beautiful waterfalls, clear plunge pools and the natural vegetation associated with the Northern Territory. Visit the Lost City, full of interesting sandstone rock formations, or Wangi Falls. You can hike, picnic, explore and even swim, as crocodiles are apparently less of a threat here than in other places in the area. Once you’ve had your fill of Litchfield a 70 kilometre drive will have you back in Darwin where you started.

Adelaide to Yulara RV Road Trip

This road trip through the Australian Outback will bring you from the bustling port city of Adelaide to Yulara and the world famous Ayers Rock. The drive is approximately 18 hours and makes for a wonderful trip when broken up into smaller chunks with stops at the charming towns in between.


  • Enjoy the cosmopolitan charms of Adelaide

  • The beaches of Glenelg, Henley and Semaphore

  • Ayers Rock

  • Mount Olga

Day 1 to 2 – Adelaide

Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, is one of those vibrant cities that draws tourists because of the wide variety of sights and activities it offers. For a look at the past and a dose of Adelaide culture, visit the North Terrace with its museums and galleries, and then enjoy some people watching at the chic cafes in this area. Great shopping can be found at Adelaide Central Market or Rundle Mall, while wine lovers will definitely want to check out the National Wine Centre. Take the time to explore Adelaide’s Botanic Gardens, the perfect place to spend a sunny afternoon or enjoy a picnic.

Of course, no trip to Adelaide would be complete without hitting the beach: Glenelg, Henley and Semaphore are popular destinations.

Day 3: Port Pirie

Leave Adelaide and drive to Port Pirie, “the City of Friendly People.” This bustling port city is perfect for lazing on the beach, fishing, boating or sampling some delicious, fresh seafood. The streets of Port Pirie are lined with historical buildings, bustling shops and great restaurants, not to mention galleries and museums. Some great stops in Port Pirie include Solomontown Beach, the National Trust Museum located in the Old Railway Station, the Regional Art Gallery and Memorial Park.

Day 4: Woomera

Leave Port Pirie and begin the approximately 3 hour drive to Woomera. Along the way you may want to stop in Port Germein to see Australia’s longest jetty or take a break in Port Augusta. The closer one gets to Woomera the deeper into the Australian Outback they are and this town is a welcome place to stop amidst the desert landscape. Golf, swim, explore the parks and gardens, or dine in one of the town’s restaurants or clubs; in Woomera what you do is really up to you.

Day 5: Coober Pedy

About 4 hours from Woomera you’ll find Coober Pedy, the “Opal Capital of the World.” This town of about 3,500 also boasts over 45 different nationalities and unique underground accommodations (above ground options are also available). Explore opal mines, underground houses and churches, and also do some above ground shopping. If you like you can also visit Tallaringa Conservation Park, about 100 km west from Coober Pedy and slightly off your prescribed route, which is situated on the edge of the Great Victoria Desert.

Day 6 -7: Yulara

If you get up early you’ll be energized for the eight-hour-plus drive to Yulara and can make refueling stops for both car and body in towns like Marla. Yulara draws tons of tourists each year, eager to tour nearby Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park where Ayers Rock (Uluru) and Mount Olga (Kata Tjuta) are located. Ayers Rock is a World Heritage Site that is considered sacred ground by the Aborigionals of the area. Visitors can tour the sandstone formation, as well as its caves, waterholes and ancient wall art.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Drive from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon RV Road Trip

A road trip from Seattle to Portland promises lush greenery, breathtaking scenery, great sights and a laidback good time. While the drive between the cities clocks in at just under three hours you can take your time, stopping along the way in places like Tacoma and Olympia, to make the most of your Washington-Oregon road trip.


  • Seattle Space Needle

  • Pike Place Market

  • Point Defiance Park

  • Tacoma’s Union Station

  • The Olympic Flight Museum

  • The Capitol Museum

  • Millersylvania State Park and Deep Lake

  • Lan Su Chinese Garden

  • Portland Art Museum

Day 1 to 2 – Seattle

Enjoy the lush beauty and laidback culture of Seattle before starting out on your road trip. Visit the world famous Space Needle, ride ferries, and explore gorgeous green spaces, like Kerry or Lincoln Parks. To get a great view of the city ride to the top of the Bank of America Tower or Smith Tower, and spend the day enjoying Pike Place Market, the Museum of Flight or Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. Want some great food while you’re in town? One restaurant to try is the Pink Door.

Day 3 – Tacoma and Olympia

On your way to Portland stop in the cities of Tacoma and Olympia, each of which offers a different experience and great things to do. In the port city of Tacoma attractions include Union Station, a historic building now open for public tours, and the scenic Point Defiance Park. The Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum and the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium are great family-friendly activities.

In Olympia you can choose between visiting the Olympic Flight Museum, the Capitol Museum, Monarch Sculpture Park or the Red Wind Casino—or see them all! Nature lovers can also explore Priest Point Park or Millersylvania State Park (including the popular Deep Lake). Where you stop along the way—and where you spend the night—is up to you, although you can easily be in Portland by nightfall depending on how many activities you have scheduled.

Day 4 – Portland

Portland is a vibrant city filled with a variety of different attractions depending on your preferences. Want to indulge in some tax-free shopping and great cafes? Portland delivers. Want a bit more of an educational tour of the city? Try stops like the International Rose Test Garden, Oregon Science Museum and the Oregon Zoo. A fun option is Lan Su Chinese Garden, built in the style of an authentic Ming Dynasty garden. Portland also has a great Art Museum and Pittock Mansion, nestled in the West Hills above Portland, the gorgeous house is open to public tours.

Courtesy of