Jun
28
2016

5 great self-drive journeys beyond Dallas

By Texas / United States /

Explore Dallas and beyond with these five great self-drive journey ideas. Hire a car from Dallas Airport and choose between a range of fantastic destinations, from Houston to Palo Duro.

Houston

Houston is only a four-hour drive from Dallas along l-45 S. It’s a very easy drive within a day, but if you’re willing to take your time and soak up as much southern culture as you can, it’s well worth stopping at a few towns along the way.  One of them should be the charming Tyler, which is the home of the annual Texas Rose Festival. Once you arrive in Houston, you’ll be blown away by the famous Johnson Space Centre and the city’s vibrant live entertainment scene.

Big Bend National Park

Drive seven and a half hours south west of Dallas to arrive at Big Bend National Park. This is a breathtaking region, full of dramatic mountains, rivers and desert. In this case the destination really is the prize! However, make sure you still take the time to enjoy the journey there. While driving along l-20 W, stop over at Midland. Here, you will enjoy entertaining yet educational activities by visiting museums and the l-20 Wildlife Preserve.

Austin

Austin should be high on your must-visit list while in the United States. Austin is home to countless adventures for thrill-seekers, from bike riding and zip lining to some incredible tours for foodies. It’s only three and a half hours south of Dallas, making it a great destination to stopover for only one or two nights if you’re pushed for time. On the way down, you should check out impressive cities like Waco and Georgetown, which are full of beautiful Victorian architecture.

Fort Worth

Drive only 40 minutes west of Dallas and you’ll stumble upon Fort Worth. It’s known internationally as the ‘City of Cowboys and Culture’. So if you love Western movies about cowboys, then this is the town for you! There are plenty of shops and restaurants nestled in the famous Fort Worth Stockyards National Historic District. Get a real taste of a hard day’s work in the south by witnessing the district’s cattle drives, which run twice a day. Because Fort Worth is only a short drive from Dallas, you’ll easily be there and back within a day!

Palo Duro Canyon

Travel six hours north west of Dallas and not far from Amarillo (worth a stopover just for its famous Big Taxan Steak Ranch) is Palo Duro. It’s the country’s second largest canyon and it’s definitely worth admiring. At Palo Duro you can explore the canyons on horseback, by bike, car or even put on your walking shoes and hike it. While travelling along US-298 N to get here, make the time to stop by the enchanting Wichita Falls to break up the drive.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jun
26
2016

Six ways to enjoy an escape to Sorrento

By Australia / Melbourne / Victoria /

HOLIDAYS hot spots in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula don’t get much more glam than stylish Sorrento, about an hour and a half drive in your Melbourne rental car from Melbourne’s CBD and wedged in between Portsea and Rye.

But you don’t have to be a high flyer to live it up in Sorrento, a beachside haven with cosmopolitan cafes, shopping strip and beautiful boulevard to explore. Here are six ways to make it all happen.

STAY: And the winner is Sorrento Holiday Accommodation at www.sorrentoholidayaccommodation.com.au where you have a choice of two absolute gems – The Erlandsen Entertainer sleeping 16 and the Sorrento Avenue option sleeping 12. Both have the aim of suiting two families who can share a holiday together. The bigger option is a classic 5 star Sorrento beachhouse (100m from the beach!) sleeping up to 16 adults and additional trundles for two children. There are three living zones – this is a whole lot of house focussed on a great entertaining courtyard with a mid sized pool to cool off in with solar heating. There is stunning outdoor furniture to watch pool swimmers have fun. Dine on the outdoor table after cooking on the gas Webber. For other options think about Hotel Sorrento in Hotham Road for anything from around $190 a night or a luxury BnB like Eastcliff Cottage in the historical district and only minutes from the local golf club.

PLAY: Speaking of golf clubs, Sorrento Golf Club is a beauty with its rolling hills. One problem is if you’re a visitor (not a member) you’ll have to fork out $120 for a round of 18. Other activities to enjoy are the beautiful beach walks (and FREE) on the front beach and stunning back beach for splendid sunsets and plenty of rock pools. Sorrento Museum is worth an hour or so to check out the history of the area which includes shipwrecks, horse-drawn carts and the old steam train that roared through town. Manyung Gallery is always chock-full of terrific work by local artists.

EAT: For breakfast, lunch or dinner head for an authentic Italian experience at Itali.co where the accents are thick and the food sensational – cured meats, Italian cheeses, great pizza, salsas, gnocci, calzone, ravioli … yum. Oh yes, the coffee is the best in town, too. For Asian, try Chopstix Asian Bar (which has home delivery, by the way) in the main street with great munchies like Shanghai dumplings and chicken satay bites, while mains include noodle dishes like pad thai, Singapore noodles, as well as rice dishes, soups, salads and great numbers for “little people” such as Teriyaki noodles with hicekn and colourful veggies.

WATCH: With a feel of yesteryear and great mod cons for quality movie watching, Peninsula Cinemas is a great way to spend a night after a bite out on the town. This one’s a long-running picture house screening new releases, plus recordings of opera and theatre productions.

RIDE: Get your motor running and your adrenalin pumping with a scenic ride from the back of a late model solo or sidecar Harley Davidson as you are chauffeured around the Mornington Peninsula with Andy’s Harley Rides.

SWIM: Beautiful beaches means Sorrento swimming and lazing in the sun is a breeze. But go a step further, take the plunge and do something different like swimming with dolphins. Moonraker Seal and Dolphin Swim Tours is a snorkel adventure like no other. Bottlenose dolphins and naughty Australian Fur Seals join in the action for what is an unforgettable experience.

SCOTT PODMORE

Also try One Hour From Melbourne: 5 Amazing Things To Do or Dive Into Heavenly Hot Springs

Jun
22
2016

10 upcoming events in South Australia you can’t miss

By Adelaide / Australia / South Australia /

Who’s up for some fun in South Australia in coming months? Start planning your holiday with these great upcoming events, book your Adelaide car rental and prepare for a blast in late Winter and Spring.

SALA Festival
1-31 August, statewide

The South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival is the largest visual arts festival in Australia. Its extensive state-wide program of visual arts involves more than 3000 artists and 500 venues that celebrate the diverse talents of South Australian artists. Don’t miss your chance to journey through some of this year’s best collections, held in various places and spaces to support the very best of visual art in the state.
www.salainc.com.au

Barossa Gourmet Weekend
2–4 September, Barossa

The Barossa is among the world’s great gastronomic playgrounds, renowned for its wine, fresh seasonal produce, beautiful landscapes and easy-going lifestyle. Maggie Beer’s Farm Shop always a big hit, as too a spate of cellar doors and beautiful eateries.  The Barossa Gourmet Weekend is a three-day celebration of the region’s food and wine culture and features long lunches, sumptuous dinners, wine masterclasses, winery days and workshops.
www.barossagourmet.com

Royal Adelaide Show
2–11 September, Adelaide

The Royal Adelaide Show is the longest running and largest community event on South Australia’s calendar. It is an action-packed event for the whole family and includes carnival rides and attractions, as well as handicraft, produce, livestock, animal shows, and much more! The show’s celebrations go off with a bang thanks to a nightly fireworks display.
www.theshow.com.au

OzAsia Festival
17 September–2 October, Adelaide

The fortnight-long OzAsia Festival features performances, events and exhibitions celebrating the artistic and cultural ties between Australia and Asia.
www.ozasiafestival.com.au

Ceduna OysterFest
30 September–2 October, Eyre Peninsula

The Ceduna Oysterfest is Australia’s largest oyster festival. Ceduna comes alive with entertainment for all ages, and an abundance of oysters on offer. OysterFest will delight taste buds and surpass expectations with a celebration worthy of its colourful past.
www.ceduna.net

Coonawarra Cabernet Celebrations
1–31 October, Limestone Coast

The Coonawarra Cabernet Weekend is rated one of the top events in South Australia and it’s not to be missed! Choose from more than 30 exciting events and exclusive tastings at Coonawarra’s outstanding cellar doors. The weekend will be filled with great food, sensational wine, live music and once in a life time experiences for you to indulge in. Come and meet the locals, share in the community spirit and open your eyes to life under the big sky.
www.coonawarra.org

Renmark Rose Festival
15–24 October, Riverland

If you are a rose or garden lover you will thoroughly enjoy the Rose Festival in Renmark. Treat yourself to this delightful display of nature through the festival’s program including open gardens, activities, shows and demonstrations that will enthuse and enchant all who attend.
www.renmarkroses.com

Adelaide Fashion Festival
October, Adelaide

The Adelaide Fashion Festival showcases modern, innovative and relevant fashion from established and emerging designers. It celebrates what’s special about South Australia – its creativity and design – while expanding the state’s fashion industry locally, nationally and internationally.
www.adelaidefashionfestival.com.au

CheeseFest
October, Adelaide

CheeseFest is a celebration of Australian specialty cheeses. Cheese lovers will enjoy every element of the festival – sampling, cooking, cheese making demonstrations and master classes – while overlooking the picturesque Rymill Park in Adelaide.
www.cheesefest.com.au

Australian International 3 Day Event
3–6 November, Adelaide

The Australian International 3 Day event is Australia’s premier equestrian competition and Adelaide is delighted to host the three days of dressage, show jumping and cross country in its city parklands. This event is unique to the world as it is the only one staged in the heart of a busy city.
www.australian3de.com.au

Also try Four Great Things To Do In South Australia or Five Things To Do Near McLaren Vale

SCOTT PODMORE

 

Jun
20
2016

5 ways to play in Houston

By United States /

During your next visit to Texas, make sure you stop over in Houston. Pick up your hire car from Houston Airport. Then just make your way to these exciting destinations.

Space Center Houston (pictured)
This is Houston’s most popular attraction for international tourists. The Space Center houses a collection of 400 artefacts from space. This includes spacecraft and the largest public display of moon rocks. You’ll also learn about the country’s fascinating space history and the technological advances. You can also take a behind-the-scenes look at NASA with the Level Nine Tour.

Houston Arboretum and Nature Centre
This 155-acre nature sanctuary teaches you about past and current efforts to protect the city’s native animals and plants. The non-profit sanctuary offers free interactive exhibits. There are also several trails, which are perfect for nature lovers. Learn about how the developing city is threatening the survival of endangered animals, and discover how you can help protect them.

Houston Zoo
Admire more than 6,000 animals at Houston Zoo. You’ll come across animals from all corners of the globe – from chimpanzees and rhinos to jaguars and tortoises. Other highlights include the red panda exhibit and live shows for children. The zoo is also home to the beautiful, rare okapi giraffe, which is only found in Central Africa’s remote rainforests. This is a must-see during your trip to Houston.

Kemah Boardwalk
The Kemah Boardwalk is only a short drive from downtown Houston and sits along the gorgeous Galveston Bay. This exciting destination has everything you need – rides, shops, music and live entertainment in the summertime. Jump on board a thrilling roller coaster, or admire the city views from the top of the ferris wheel. The double-decker carousel is always a hit with the kids.

Gerald D Hines Waterwall Park

This feature sits adjacent to The Galleria and is surrounded by magnificent oak trees. It’s a beautiful 64-foot fountain, which is known as the “horseshoe of rushing water”. Every minute, 11,000 gallons of water flow down this towering work of art. It was designed by Philip Johnson and John Burgee more than 20 years ago. Today, it’s still a popular spot for couples – and many proposals are made here!

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jun
17
2016

4 places to park your motorhome near Denver

By United States /

Denver is one of America’s most exciting destinations. Colorado’s capital city has many exciting arts, culture and sports attractions. It’s also surrounded by a beautiful landscape of snow-capped mountains.

When you book your next trip to the city and hire a motorhome from Denver Airport and park it at one of these camping grounds.

Moraine Park Campground
This campground is set amongst pine forest in the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountain National Park (pictured), which is just over 100km from Denver. Many people head out here for a day trip in the summertime, but it’s a shame to not spend at least a night or two in this beautiful wilderness. For about $20 a night, you’ll have access to incredible views 2,4800m above sea level. It’s the national park’s only year-round campground.

Lakeside Caravan Park
The name says all you need to know about the location of this caravan park. Except, the exciting thing is you’re amongst five tranquil fishing lakes! This means you’ll find peace and quiet no matter which direction you set off in. The site offers hire boats and various water sports. If that’s not entertainment enough for you, then be glad to know the park even has its own cinema and WiFi.

Buena Vista Koa
The view that’s waiting for you at this campsite will leave you breathless. Wake up each morning to a panorama of five 4,000 metre high peaks. You’ll be able to park your motorhome only a short distance from the Arkansas River, which weaves its way through these scenic valleys. Enjoy a range out outdoor activities, including hiking trails, visiting ghost towns and rafting.

Rainbow Lakes Campground
About two hours from Denver is the breathtakingly beautiful Rainbow Lakes Campground. You’ll find many campers making the most of this seriously under-rated site. The surrounding peaks offer some of the best hiking in the country, but just make sure you’re well-prepared. The moderate Rainbow Lake Trail also showcases postcard perfect views.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jun
14
2016
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Campervanning ideas in Alice Springs and surrounds

By Australia / Northern Territory /

Experience Alice Springs with a campervan. It’s the easiest way to explore Australia’s Red Centre. Stunning desert landscapes, rock formations and colourful sunsets are right here in the middle of Australia.

Make sure you check out our list of things to do in Alice Springs and surrounds before you leave for your holiday.

When you arrive in town, pick up a hire campervan at Alice Springs Airport then start driving to one of these caravan parks nearby.

Heritage Caravan Park
Heritage Caravan Park is nestled among the beautiful MacDonnell Ranges. The caravan park is situated close to many of Alice Springs’ famous attractions, making Heritage Caravan Park the perfect base for your stay in Central Australia. Apart from its great atmosphere, the caravan park is also pet friendly and even comes with a self-service dog wash!

Ayers Rock Campground
This campground is  just 15km from Central Australia’s greatest attraction, Uluru. It’s also an ideal base from which to explore the Ulutu-Kata Tjuta National Park if you want more from your trip to Ayers Rock. Ayers Rock Campground also offers a free shuttle service to help you get around Ayers Rock Resort. There are also many free daily activities, including garden walks and Indigenous bush tours.

Kings Canyon Caravan Park and Campground
Staying at Kings Canyon Holiday Park puts you right in the middle of the Red Centre’s panoramic scenes. The incredible views of the canyon range are unforgettable, and will become vivid memories once you return home. It’s a friendly and relaxed holiday park where you can unwind after a long day in the outback heat.

BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park (pictured)
This is one of the Northern Territory’s most awarded tourist parks. The BIG4 MacDonnell Range Holiday Park is known for its picturesque surrounds and tranquil environment. It also boasts all the modern facilities you need to make your stay comfortable. Guests at the park always look forward to its famous Pancake Breakfast every Sunday.

Gemtree Caravan and Tourist Park
Gemtree Caravan and Tourist Park is the gateway to Central Australia’s gemfields. It’s hailed as a true oasis just north of the East MacDonnell Ranges. It’s quiet, spacious and has everything you need for a comfortable stay. Relax around a campfire in a spectacular bush setting under the stars after a day of fossicking. There’s also a 3.5km self-guided nature trail for avid bushwalkers and birdwatchers.

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jun
10
2016
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5 wild Cairns adventures for kids in a campervan

By Cairns / Queensland /

Cairns is the perfect place to explore in a campervan with the kids. Hire a campervan from Cairns Airport. You can also hire a vehicle from Port Douglas. Begin your wild adventure by visiting these five incredible places.

Kuranda Butterfly Sanctuary
The butterfly sanctuary in Kuranda is Australia’s biggest butterfly farm. It’s also home to the country’s largest walk-through aviary. Step inside and you’ll be surrounded by about 1500 butterflies. Spot these beautiful insects in all colours, including the magnificent, bright blue Ulysses. Make sure you wear bright clothes and they won’t stop landing on you!

Snorkelling at Green Island, off Cairns
Hope on a short boat trip from Cairns and you’ll be amazed by the beauty of Green Island. It’s the ideal place for those who want to give snorkeling a try but are uncomfortable with heading further out on the Great Barrier Reef. Make sure you check out the coral gardens close to the pier – that’s where you’ll find some of the most colourful corals on the island.

Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventures
This award-winning attraction is located 40 minutes north of Cairns. Hartley’s Creek Crocodile Adventures has more than 2km of pathways that weave around five distinct wildlife areas. Visit cassowaries, walk amongst baby wallabies and watch a live crocodile feeding show. Also book a boat tour through Hartley’s Lagoon, which will get you nice and close to these wild monsters!

Fishing at Palm Cove Jetty
If you’re after a quite, relaxing afternoon then look no further than Palm Cove. This sandy beach is the perfect place to spend time with the family. Grab some rods and bait and any food you might need to keep you going. It’s only a short walk to the end of the Palm Cove Jetty, where you can set yourself up for the day. You’re bound to get some great catches, not to mention you’ll admire the idyllic scenery surrounding you for hours.

Crystal Cascades
Crystal Cascades is one of the most popular waterfalls for Cairns locals. Luckily, many tourists still don’t know about this natural wonder! This waterhole is hidden by rainforest and a short walk, all located only about 20 minutes from Cairns CBD. It has several different plunge pools and is a quiet spot for a nice picnic on a weekend.

Also try Cairns to Cape York for a great driving holiday up north or our Cairns City Guide

BRIANNA PIAZZA

Jun
08
2016
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Wellington in winter – 4 great things to do

By New Zealand / Wellington /

Are you looking for a winter holiday in New Zealand? Discover Wellington and its amazing attractions. Check out this list of the most popular things to do in Wellington if you want to ride cable cars and take a Lord of the Rings tour.

But you can also add some other great attractions. Just hire a car from Wellington Airport and check out the list below.

ZEALANDIA Sanctuary
Just a few minutes from downtown Wellington is a whole new world. ZEALANDIA is home to the country’s most unique wildlife. Venture into the beautiful Sanctuary Valley to spot geckos, playful forest parrots called kaka and many other animals. You can also tour ZEALANDIA at night. This will get you closer to nocturnal animals, such as endangered little spotted kiwis.

Weta Cave
Travel behind the scenes at Weta Cave. A guided tour of the Weta Workshop teaches you about the skills and creativity required to perfect this art. Come close to sculptures of famous characters from your favourite childhood movies. You’ll also get to watch videos about the artists who created them.

Space Place at Carter Observatory
The Carter Observatory is at the top of Wellington’s Cable Car attraction. This world-class site has many multi-media galleries. The virtual space journeys teach you about the latest advancements in astronomy. You’ll also learn about early Maori navigation techniques, as you study the night skies. It’s a fun and interactive experience. It’s bound to inspire the family.

Northern Explorer Train
Take a trip on the Northern Explorer Train when you leave Wellington for Auckland. You’ll pass snow-blanketed mountains and rolling green hills. There are also gorgeous country towns and coasts. The rugged terrain is beautiful. You’ll pass spectacular volcanic mountains and stunning river gorges in the Tongariro National Park. This journey won’t disappoint.

BRIANNA PIAZZA