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USA: Wine, Desert & Coast Overview
- 2014-01-01 - 2014-12-31
Explore the west coast of America from San Francisco to Seattle
From the arid desert of Death Valley and the blinding lights of Las Vegas to the sun-blessed celebrities of Los Angeles and the towering trees of Sequoia National Park, the United States’ west is incredibly diverse. Meet Native Americans in Nevada, beer lovers in Portland and culinary connoisseurs around the Napa Valley. With a range of activities for foodies, adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike, you will fall in love with the unique culture and exuberant locals of the western states.
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Venture to the foggiest city on America’s west coast, San Francisco. Avoid the hills and opt for a cruisey cable car ride around town. Jump off at Fisherman’s Warf for a festive marketplace experience or continue on to Chinatown and enter the ‘Dragon’s Gate’.
Enter the quaint town of Sonoma and explore California’s premier wine scene. Enjoy the charm of Sonoma Plaza with a picnic or take a wine tasting tour around the scenic local vineyards.
Napa Valley is renowned for its incredible vintages, but there is more than just vino in this booming gastronomic hub. Perhaps catch a live show at the Uptown Theatre or Opera House, otherwise take a stroll around di Rosa, a unique modern art museum with over 2,000 outdoor creations.
Spend some time exploring America’s favourite national park. With thousands of lakes, 250 animal species and over 1,000 km of hiking trails, Yosemite is the perfect place for an active adventure.
Be blown away by America’s highest peaks and deepest canyons all in one place – Sequoia National Park. This park is home to the Giant Forest, with five of the ten largest trees on earth, including the sequoia tree, situated here.
Journey to Death Valley, the hottest and most arid national park in America. Despite its grim name, the area is beautiful and full of life. Spend a day exploring steep sand dunes, volcanic rock craters and bizarre geological phenomena.
Escape the desert heat and unwind in party-hard Vegas. Gamble responsibly indoors, or soak up the sun by the pool during the day. In the evening catch a live show, indulge at an all-you-can-eat buffet or watch a water fountain dance in the moonlight at the Bellagio Hotel.
Saddle up for an adventure at Lake Powell Cowboy Camp. View the dramatic scenery from a boat on the lake or simple relax in a sandstone cave carved by Mother Nature. It is the perfect way to rest and recover after a few days dabbling around Sin City.
Head to Monument Valley for a history lesson on the life and times of the Navajo Tribe. Not only is this the home of the largest Native American reservation in the United States, this site has also been the backdrop for such films as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Forest Gump and Back to the Future III.
Prepare to be amazed by one of America’s most iconic natural sights. At over 28 km wide and 445 km long, there is little wonder why this chasm is called grand. Have the camera ready - as the sun moves across the sky, the changing shadows make for some truly phenomenal photographic opportunities.
Admire Victorian style homes dotted along the streets of Prescott or head to the Sharlot Hall Museum for a lesson in Native American history. In the evening journey to Whiskey Row to see a show and enjoy a local tipple in an area that was once a bustling red-light district.
Choose your own adventure in the ‘City of Angels’. Catch some rays on the green grass of Westwood Memorial, show your strength at Muscle Beach or take some time out at Los Angeles Central Library. L.A. is all about celebrities, so in the evening why not have a ritzy dinner in Beverly Hills or hit a clubbing hot spot.
Lounge on one of Santa Barbara’s beautiful beaches, head out on a coastal walk around a windswept cliff face, explore the gardens of Lotusland or peruse the works found in the Santa Barbara Museum of Art.
Travel to San Luis Obispo by train before exploring the charming streets of America’s happiest city. Enjoy the mild temperatures, exciting art scene and the plethora of outdoor activities on offer around this small town.
Enjoy the sea breeze around the peninsula of Monterey. Opt for a challenging coastal walk for some incredible scenic views, and the chance to do a little whale and bird watching. Otherwise get a little closer to the marine action at Monterey Bay Aquarium where sharks, penguins and sea otters are the main attraction.
Travel back to vibrant San Francisco to check out whatever you missed last time, be it the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz or China Town.
Make the most of another day in sunny San Francisco, perhaps by climbing to the top of Telegraph Hill for a superb view of the city or heading to the Haight district and taking stroll through Golden Gate Park. Be sure to stop by Hippie Hill to spot free-spirited drummers, jugglers and artists working their craft before hopping aboard an overnight train to Eugene.
Explore the multitude of walking trails and green parks that twist throughout this exciting university town. A town that evokes its strong hippy heritage, perhaps peruse the stores of the 5th Street Public Market, sample some local delicacies or hire a bike and pedal out to Skinner Butte to watch the rock-climbers.
For an adventure enthusiast, Bend has it all - fishing, hiking, biking and skiing. Whether down by the river or at the top of a mountain, there is little that is not on offer for those who want to get their heart racing.
Green and gorgeous, Portland is all that is chic, clean and friendly. While here, check out a live band, hang out at a microbrewery (of which there are 31) or take a stroll through Forest Park.
In the Emerald City of Seattle grab a coffee at the original Starbucks and get exploring. At the birthplace of grunge, relax in ultra-hip cafes, innovative art museums and a live music scene that will rock your socks off. Perhaps finish off the trip with a group meal of salmon and beer, a classic Seattle flavour combination.
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