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