National Parks, Scenic Driving Tours and the Great Outdoors

For over thirty years we’ve been offering North American self drive tours which encompass the great outdoors and below you will see a selection of these, plus a couple of ideas for South America. Each can be tailor made to fit your interests; budget and the time you have available. The majority of these we have experienced ourselves, so feel free to call and chat over them.

Here are a few ideas-

Alaska & Yukon

Canadian Rockies

Canyonlands of Arizona, Utah and Nevada

The Galapagos Islands

MOAB

New England

The Pacific Northwest – Olympic Peninsula and Vancouver Island

South America- Iguassu; Peru and Bolivia

Virginia- Shenandoah National Park & Colonial Williamsburg

Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks

Yosemite National Park & Pacific Coast Highway

 

Olympic National Park and the Pacific Northwest, family adventure- Aug 18

A good start, dead trendy Seattle; then west to the coast at Moclips; a couple of days circling the beautiful Olympic National Park; ferry across to Victoria on Vancouver Island; then up country to the rugged Pacific coast at Tofino, bear watching and lots of adventure; back across the island and the ferry to just north of  Vancouver; took the The Sea to Sky Highway; Whistler Resort for a few days R&R by the pool, riding the ski lifts and charging downhill on Mountain bikes; a day peddling around Vancouver; cross the border then an hour and a half open mouthed on the Boeing Factory tour, plus some outlet shopping before home.

Andrew, Phoebe, just wanted to say a massive thank you for organising such a great trip! We arrived back this morning wrestling with jet lag but still buzzing about the trip.  The itinerary was perfect, the highlight for me was Tofino – if only the water was a bit warmer…  Some how I managed to take over 200 videos and 1600 photos..!  Think some editing is in order…The cogs are whirring now for the next trip..! Best Andy & Julia

South America, post retirement a two month celebration- Jan 18

Into Buenos Aires; with a quick dash around Uruguay; then to the continent’s southern tip, with a luxury  ‘Discover Patagonia’ cruise from Usuaia to Punta Arenas; an expedition trek into Torre del Paine Nat Pk, Chile; then roughing it a bit on the scenic Navimag ferry up the Pacific Coast from Puerto Natales to Puerto Montt, Chile;  a few days on Castro/Chiloe Island; self drive tour of  the famous Carreterra Austral Highway; hop north to The Atacama Desert; Bolivia’s Uyunu Salt Flats; cross the Andies by coach to Salta in Argentina; the scenic railroad Tren A las Nubes; a spot of wine tasting in Mendoza with the last tango in Buenos Aires.

Many thanks for your welcome home message.  We have arrived home safely this morning after a wonderful trip.  I am giving some feedback below, in case it is of use to your future clients.  If any of your clients would like a more detailed assessment, then do shout.  Nigel may well give his own feedback, but this is mine! All of the arrangements that you made worked without a hitch.  So thank you so much for that.  Everything went smoothly, all our bookings were expecting us, and everything went to plan as you had arranged.  Thank you! Annie-Marie and Nigel

Great Ocean Road, Australia- Oct 17

The Great Ocean Road was built by the returning  ANZAC troops after the Great War. It should not be compared to California’s Pacific Coast Highway, as it’s nearer South Africa’s Garden Route in character. It links varying scenery; National Parks; charming seaside towns and ports; a bit of history; shipwrecks, wildlife and for the finale, plenty wineries around Adelaide. This client took four days/ three nights for a relaxed trip, plus a few extra days with relatives on Kangaroo Island.

Hi Andrew, Happy to report that everything went well – so thanks to Liana and yourself for organising it all. Overall a real success for us and we would certainly go back when we have a month or two to do the job properly, but probably to a different part. If you have any questions about anything in particular, please ask! Best wishes Margaret

Alaska and The Yukon, a monster of a trip- Jul 15

A two month long family trip as part of a client’s summer sabbatical. Starting in Juneau then taking The Alaska Marina Highway up the Lynd Canal to the Historic Skagway and staying in Alice’s Room, at a former Victorian brothel. Scenic railroad winding its way up the White Pass to Whitehorse. A few day in a remote cabin near Haines Junction with a daylong guided trek and scenic air tour over Mount Logan and the St Elias Icefields, which included a glacier landing. Northwards on the Alaska and Taylor Highways via Tok and Chicken to the Canadian border, then onwards to Dawson City. A few days to explore the hub of Klondike Gold Rush, visiting a dredge, a spot of gold panning and the Day’s of 98 music hall. Then the long slog west back via Tok for Copper Center and Citinia. A side trip by light aircraft to Kennicot, to see the copper mines and a guided trek including camping on the Root Glacier overnight. Then to Valdez for the very scenic ferry across Prince William sound to Whittier and Wasilla. A day trip then on a bear viewing air tour. Finally flying out of Alaska for British Columbia, with a few days in Vancouver. Next was crossing to Vancouver Island for the rugged Pacific Coast at Tofino. Returning back to the mainland and up the Sea to Sky Highway for Whistler. A full six days here, much of it charging downhill on mountain bikes for some of the party and relaxing pool side for the rest.

The trip was really great.  Thanks for looking at my Blog and commenting.  I still need to finish off with a Mauritius post.  As for the Alaska/Yukon leg that really worked well.  I would definitely recommend doing it that way round .  The scenery just gets more and more spectacular as one travels from Skagway to Whitehorse then Dawson etc.  Skagway is a bit “Disney” with hindsight with every other shop being a jewelers, apparently owned by the Cruise companies.  The Yukon Canadians were quite disparaging about Skagway.  But of course when we arrived there at the start of our Alaska/Yukon tour we thought it was great. We really enjoyed staying at Kathleen Lake even though the accommodation was a little basic, or maybe because it was basic.  We really enjoyed Haines Junction; salmon barbeque and live music at the Pantry on Friday evening and all the walks we did in Kluane with Brent.  Highlights? Very difficult to say, because it was such a spectrum of experiences, but if pushed I would have to say the hike on the glacier and over-night camp at Kennicott.What would I have done differently?  With hindsight I would have stayed longer at Tofino.  We really loved Whistler and had a great time; that is my sort of playground.  Thank you again for your help.  We are looking forward to our next adventure.  Best regards, Jonathan

Better than the Inca Trail, plus Lake Titicaca, Peru & Bolivia- May 15

Peru, but rather than the usual crowded and very restricted Inca Trail, our clients being keen walkers elected instead to do The Salkantay Trek from The Scared Valley to Machu Picchu. Being reasonably near, we persuaded them to also visit Lake Titicaca and stay on one of Bolivia’s islands. There was also a stop-over in South Beach Miami on the way home.

Well – what an amazing trip!  The Salkantay Trek in Peru was absolutely breathtaking, we had a brilliant guide and a great group.  It was certainly a challenge but an incredible 5 days which we will remember for a long time.  It was good advice to acclimatise for 3 days in Cusco first because Helen had some mild altitude sickness, just a bad headache really, on days 2-3.  But we were both fit and well in time for the trek! We enjoyed seeing the lake and surroundings, certainly a very special place.  Think we just had bad luck with the guide! Miami was very hot indeed and we enjoyed a couple of brilliant bars and a great dinner when we arrived and did the typical British thing of staying on the beach too long the next day and got rather sunburnt!! Thank you again for your huge help in organising this trip for us.  Without your advice we wouldn’t have known where to start!  It was a truly incredible trip – we didn’t want to return to UK! Greg & Helen

Australia & New Zealand, despite the bush fires– Jan 13

Just to say that we got back safely from Australia/NZ a couple of hours ago, after a wonderful holiday. Everything went exactly according to plan, which given that we had 10 flights, 11 different accommodations and 3 separate car hires is saying something! Thank you once again for all your help in organising it for us. Best regards Kevin & Jenny

Ash clouds, Bariloche Airport closures- Jan 12

We had clients on a remote and wild walking holiday, visiting Torres del Paine National Park and other parts of Patagonia and the Chilean Lake District. Their exit airport was Bariloche, which had closed due to volcanic ash and a refurbishment that seemed to be without an end. There were over half a dozen changes and re-issues required with services in total flux, they having been routed to both Neuquen and Esquel at differing times. We were sporadically in contact with the clients, reissuing their tickets, keeping them informing of the numerous alterations and advising on how to get to the new departure airports.

The trip was excellent and all the flights worked well. Thanks for all your help. It will likely be New Zealand or Tasmania next year. Best wishes Nigel. 

Earthquake Christchurch, New Zealand – Feb 11

We had clients on a campervan tour of New Zealand, who were due to drop the van off at a depot in Christchurch, but fortunately they were a day away when the quake hit. We were able to liaise with the depot and also advise the client on this and the airport’s temporary closure.

Thanks for all your help – it is great that you have kept an eye on things during the night shift. Thinks getting back to normal here now- so we can get internet access, etc and there’s more info about roads being open or closed etc. We are now only an hour from the Kea office and it looks like pretty certain our flights will be OK. Thanks again – and yes, the holiday has been absolutely fantastic. Best regards Sue and Tim 

New Zealand- May 08

We had a superb time in Hong Kong and New Zealand, everything you organised worked like a dream. Thank you so very much. We thought it would be a once-in-a-lifetime trip, but now we want to go back. We can highly recommend Blanket Bay and Kauri Cliffs-they were amazing! Best wishes Helen and James