See Floriade in Full Bloom With Peppers and Mantra down under

August 23, 2014 on 1:04 pm | In Australia, New South Wales, Outdoors, Sydney | Comments Off

Peppers Gallery Hotel and Mantra on Northbourne have created ‘blooming marvellous’ packages for one of Canberra’s iconic events – Floriade.

Australia’s biggest celebration of Spring showcasing one million flowers in bloom throughout Canberra’s Commonwealth Park, Floriade is a free event now in its 27th year and runs for 30 days from 13 September to 12 October, including a spectacular Nightfest from 24-28 September.

Peppers Gallery Hotel – the newest addition to the Peppers hotel network – has a special offer including accommodation in a Deluxe Room, a cheese tasting platter on arrival, breakfast for two, late checkout to 12 midday and packet of seeds for inspiration at home from $239* per night. Visit or phone 1300 987 600 for bookings.

Peppers Gallery Hotel Canberra is an award-winning 80 room boutique hotel with the renowned onsite Bicicletta Italian restaurant a favourite amongst Canberra’s emerging dining scene. As the name suggests, the hotel boasts an elegant interior design showcasing an eclectic gallery of emerging and established artworks.

Mantra on Northbourne is also offering a special package from $179* per night (valid Thursday-Monday) including a bottle of wine and chocolates on arrival, buffet breakfast for two and late checkout of 12 midday. Visit  or phone 13 15 17 for bookings.

Located just one block from the CBD, Mantra on Northbourne is a short stroll from major attractions such as Parliament House, the War Memorial and the National Gallery, and only a few metres from the city’s thriving dining precinct.

*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale until 12/10/14. Valid for travel from 12/09/14 until 13/10/14. Block out dates, minimum stay and surcharges may apply. Mantra on Northbourne offer valid Thursday-Monday only.

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The Australian Garden Show Sydney Returns This Spring

August 23, 2014 on 12:48 pm | In Australia, New South Wales, Outdoors, Sydney | Comments Off

Officially marking the start of the spring floral and garden event season, The Australian Garden Show Sydney celebrates Australia’s love of gardens and outdoor spaces with a stylish and unique event hosted by some of the world’s leading horticulturalists and garden enthusiasts. Held over four days from Thursday 4 September to Sunday 7 September 2014 at Centennial Park, The Australian Garden Show Sydney offers something for all garden lovers.

Show goers that book early will enjoy discounted tickets when pre-purchased online, with groups of 10 or more enjoying even greater savings. Families can take advantage of free entry for all children under 15 and can also experience the newly created aMaze exploratory garden designed just for the kids.

The Australian Garden Show Sydney will feature ambassadors who are all leaders and innovators in their fields. Gardening legend Don Bourke joins Indira Naidoo, Angus Stewart, Myles Baldwin and from the UK international ambassador, Andrew Fisher Tomlin. The show has more than doubled this year and on display there will be dozens of gardens covering a variety of styles from inspirational gardens, large-scale custom-built installations, to backyard city gardens and balcony gardens.

The Australian Garden Show celebrates Sydney as the creative hub of Australia and the Asia Pacific region and will feature the best of Australian garden design and living architectural talent with creative installations, floral artistry, horticulture, lighting artistry and landscape design on display.

One of the shows highlights is a garden talk from renowned TV personality and author of My Edible Garden, Indira Naidoo. Indira kick started the urban gardening movement in Sydney and turned her tiny, inner city balcony into a veggie patch. Indira will give advice on how to utilise small inner-city spaces and tips to grow food no matter how small the space.

“I’m thrilled to be involved in the Australian Garden Show Sydney again this year after the huge success of its inaugural year. I hope the balcony garden I am designing for this year’s Balcony Garden exhibit will inspire more urban dwellers to start their own garden no matter how small their space. My balcony is filled year-round with the fragrance of fresh herbs, ripening tomatoes, edible flowers and salad greens,” said Indira Naidoo, Australian Garden Show Sydney Ambassador.

If you are in town for the Australian Garden Show, immerse yourself in some of the best gardens Sydney and the surrounding area has to offer:

Royal Botanic Gardens and the Domain, is an oasis of 30 hectares in the heart of the city. Wrapped around the edge of Sydney Harbour, the Gardens is positioned in one of Sydney’s most spectacular spots with views to Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. Established in 1816, the gardens are home to a wide variety of Australian and overseas plants.

The Grounds of Alexandria is an inner-city, sustainable speciality coffee outfit and cafe in a heritage-listed warehouse transformed into a micro-farm with olive trees, vegetable patches, roaming poultry, a bakery and resident horticulturalist. Every last Saturday in the month, you can shop and sample the fresh produce at The Grounds Markets.

On the north shore, picnic in Wendy Whiteley’s Secret Garden in Lavender Bay, take in the delightful Lex and Ruby Graham Gardens and their touching story at Cremorne Point, and discover the almost-secret Swain Gardens in Killara.

Entering The Chinese Garden of Friendship is like walking backwards in time to the quiet solitude of ancient Chinese architecture. The garden combines the elements of water, plants, stone and architecture. Running water, cool lagoons and large colourful fish makes it an idyllic place to rest and recuperate.

Just outside of Sydney, the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mt Tomah is the highest botanic garden in Australia and is home to a world class collection of plants from the cooler southern hemisphere. Thanks to its cool and tranquil environment, the Blue Mountains is the perfect place to grow plants from cooler regions of the world.

To pre-purchase tickets and for more information on The Australian Garden Show Sydney go to

For more information on Sydney and New South Wales, visit or

To access the image library and download images go to

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Get Outdoors in Scotland

August 10, 2014 on 11:25 am | In Adventure Travel, London, Outdoors, Scotland, United Kingdom | Comments Off

Edinburgh, Scotland – A strikingly beautiful country filled with a rich sporting history and an abundance of natural resources to explore, Scotland lends itself to outdoor adventures of all types. What better way to celebrate what VisitScotland, the official tourism office for the country, has coined the “Year of Homecoming” than to get out and experience some of Scotland’s most unique, exhilarating and historic outdoor activities? Whether travelers are looking for relaxed pursuits like golf and road biking or the all-out adrenaline rush that comes with gorge scrambling and off-road driving, Connoisseurs Scotland properties offer a pursuit to fit any guest’s passion.

Located in the Scottish Highlands at the foot of Liathach Mountain and the shores of Upper Loch Torridon, The Torridon hotel is a natural fit for travelers seeking unique outdoor adventures on both water and land. Gorge scrambling—unquestionably one of the most thrilling adventures offered at The Torridon—is a uniquely British pursuit that involves traveling through a steep sided gorge, following the course of the river or lake by various ways and means. This can involve sliding or swimming down rapids, floating down fast-flowing chutes and waves, climbing beside waterfalls and, of course, jumping off adrenalin-pumping ledges into deep pool. A trained gorge guide outfits guests with buoyancy aids, wetsuits, wet socks and helmets. Full- and half- day excursions are available for adults and children over the age of 10.
The coastal area around the highlands of Scotland provides a bountiful wilderness larder, with an abundance of food to be found for those who know where and what to look for. The Torridon’s coastal foraging trip takes guests on exploration of the coastline searching out edible foods like mussels, cockles, winkles, whelks and several varieties of seaweed including egg wrack and gut weed, which despite the off-putting name is delicious when fried in hot oil. Guides discuss their uses and show guests how to pick them in a responsible way before constructing a fire one shore to prepare the food. This excursion not only educates guests on the “how-to” of coastal foraging, but also exposes them to the history and roots of foraging in the area. Full and half day excursions are available.

Opportunities to try traditional Scottish “country pursuits” abound at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire. Hunting enthusiasts and dog lovers alike will want to experience Gleneagles’ Gundog School, the first of its kind in the world. Working with the school’s own Labrador Retrievers, guests learn how to handle a trained gundog, beginning with basic obedience and simple retrieves. The more advanced Fieldcraft Lessons teach guests handle a dog over a rustic agility course, with ‘pheasant flushes,’ ‘rising duck’ and ‘rabbit retrieves’ over rustic obstacles and in water. This unique school takes its inspiration from Scotland’s great sporting heritage, where Labradors, spaniels and other breeds have, for many centuries, accompanied sportsmen and women in the field. A variety of packages and lessons are available.

For travelers who want to leave the hotel’s manicured lawns behind and test their skills behind the wheel, Gleneagles’ Off-Road Driving School offers an adrenaline rush in addition to a tour of Perthshire’s beautiful countryside. At one of two nearby off-road driving facilities, guests will learn four-wheel driving techniques such as hill climbs, controlled descents, wading and traversing slopes, as well as general vehicle handling over rough or wet terrain. For those who wish to let someone else take the wheel, a half-day “Scenic Safari” takes guests to a remote hill farm, where they can climb, via Land Rovers, high into the hills to experience the wild beauty of the heather uplands and the magnificent vistas which are the quintessence of Scotland. Other outdoor adventures available at Gleneagles include road cycling, falconry, fishing, hot air ballooning and shooting.

Exploring the wild beauty of the picturesque Southwestern region of Scotland should be at the top of the list for guests at Knockinaam Lodge in Dumfries & Galloway. This region, famed for its stunning landscapes and rugged coastline, lends itself to bike riding. A plethora of off-road trails guarantee to get guests’ pulses racing, while miles of quiet country roads lead to local pubs, historic sites and bustling market towns. The only museum in Scotland totally devoted to the history of cycling, Drumlanrig Castle, is located nearby and houses a magnificent collection of bikes dating from the nineteenth century to the present day. Bikes are available to rent nearby the hotel.

For those who want to keep both feet on the ground, the countryside surrounding Knockinaam Lodge is ideal for walking and hiking. More than 1,300 miles of marked trails take visitors along coastal and forest trails, through open moorland or in and around towns. Nearby Galloway Forest Park encapsulates 24 named peaks above 2000 feet, with ranges such as the Rhins of Kells, the Minnigaff Hills, the Awful Hand and the Dungeon Hills. The Merrick, rising up above Loch Trool, is Dumfries & Galloway’s highest peak at 2,765 feet, and forms the ‘forefingers’ of the Awful Hand range. On a clear day, views from the top of the Merrick include some Highland ranges, Northern Ireland, Isle of Man and the Lake District. Other outdoor activities available at Knockinaam Lodge include clay pigeon shooting, fishing and golf.

Connoisseurs Scotland’s collection of 28 luxury accommodations also includes city-center properties; country house hotels; exclusive-use properties; Scotland’s only destination health spa, Stobo Castle; the ultimate luxury train, The Royal Scotsman; and the only cruise ship in the world with a Royal Warrant from HM The Queen, The Hebridean Princess. Seven of the members boast Michelin-starred restaurants, including the only two-starred restaurant in Scotland, which is found at Gleneagles. Information on Connoisseurs Scotland, its member resorts, partners and special offers can be found at

In addition travelers can download the Luxury Scotland app, which provides news and offers from members, onto their iPhones or Droids.

ExperiencePlus! celebrates friendly bike community events

July 21, 2014 on 12:41 pm | In Outdoors | Comments Off

June 25th was Bike to Work Day in Colorado where ExperiencePlus! has its world headquarters based in Fort Collins. Colorado celebrates Bike Month in June rather than May (with fewer chances of snow storms). The Colorado office staff gear up each year for their favorite bike month activity, co-hosting the Bike to Work Day breakfast station at 250 E. Mountain Ave in partnership with the Fort Collins Food Co-Op and the Bohemian Foundation. This year they offered healthy and tasty vegan and gluten-free granola with a variety of non-dairy milk options while mingling with over 400 hungry riders including many ExperiencePlus! tour alumni donning an assortment of their prized-jerseys.

ExperiencePlus! offers tours in 22 countries. For further details on all tours and itineraries, please visit  or .

Get outdoors for summer fun in Asheville, NC, at Navitat Canopy Adventures‏

July 10, 2014 on 7:04 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors, The South | Comments Off

Looking for a fun escape this summer? You’ll find it at NAVITAT CANOPY ADVENTURES, a high-adventure zipline canopy tour in the cool, beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina and minutes from the vibrant city of Asheville.

All new this summer at NAVITAT is the Blue Ridge Experience, an unprecedented ridge-to-ridge tour featuring the longest and some of the highest ziplines in the Southeast. Tour highlights include:

-Side-by-side racing-style ziplines that stretch across an expansive mountain valley.

-Ziplines at heights more than 350 feet off the ground, nearly three-quarters of a mile long and as fast as 60 mph.

-Panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and long-range vistas to the west and north into Tennessee.

-Three scenic hikes through diverse Southern Appalachian forest.

NAVITAT is a perfect adventure for nature lovers, thrill seekers and active families who are visiting Asheville. This beautiful city is home to thriving arts, entertainment, culinary and craft brew scenes, and the surrounding mountains are full of outdoor adventures — from mountain biking, hiking, rock climbing and camping, to river tubing and whitewater rafting.

For a look at NAVITAT’s Blue Ridge Experience tour, check out our video.

As you look for new destinations and new outdoor adventures to cover this summer for Jetsetters Magazine, we hope you’ll consider featuring NAVITAT’s new Blue Ridge Experience tour and Asheville.

RootsRated Introduces it’s New Mobile App

July 2, 2014 on 10:29 am | In Adventure Travel, Beachbooker, Cabinweb, Outdoors | Comments Off

Chattanooga, TN – RootsRated, the online resource for “where to go outdoors,” has introduced its new RootsRated mobile app for iPhone. Flooded with helpful reviews and inspiring photography, the RootsRated app sources local grassroots knowledge to offer the most up-to-date, verified information on the best outdoor adventures. RootsRated is currently sharing local knowledge on roughly 4,000 adventures in 61 U.S. cities.

“People don’t want to waste time researching where to go outside. They want to get outside – now,” says Fynn Glover, founder of RootsRated. “Our app makes it easy to discover memorable outdoor adventures. Because our content is written by local experts, RootsRated visitors can trust that the reviews are accurate and timely.”

The RootsRated mobile app and website ask the visitor two simple questions: where are you and what do you want to do outdoors?Detailed RootsRated reviews and directions then identify a city’s very best outdoor experiences: where to hike, climb, trail run, cycle, and paddle – even where to grab a bite or drink afterward.

RootsRated app for iPhone provides:

Expert grassroots content
Efficient filtering (activity, location and difficulty level)
Intuitive navigation
Clean aesthetic
Inspiring images
User interaction (“completed adventures” and “bucket list”)

“With solid recommendations from outdoor veterans, RootsRated will quickly mature into an indispensable resource for travelers and locals alike,” says Dustin Clark, outdoor industry veteran and digital marketing consultant. “Since time immemorial, any outdoor adventure has been a mix of skill, knowledge, passion and gear. RootsRated is merging all elements into a simple, sleek interface that’s easy to access on-the-go.”

10 of This Summer’s Best Outdoor Adventure Packages

June 9, 2014 on 1:15 pm | In Adventure Travel, Germany, Outdoors, Southwest, Switzerland, USA | Comments Off


Alsol Hotels & Resorts

Guests can take advantage of Alsol Luxury Village’s “Luxury, Sun & Adventure” package in balmy Cap Cana, Dominican Republic. From June 1 – September 30, adventurers will enjoy: an All Under the Sun Program, complete with gourmet al la carte meals and an unlimited selection of domestic and imported drinks; an off-road Adventure Buggies Experience Tour, with a stop at beautiful Juanillo beach, where travelers explore and follow a trail, leading to a spectacular turquoise lagoon 37m deep at its deepest point; 5 nights in one of Alsol Luxury Village’s luxury suites (which recently received a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor), and round trip transfers to/from the hotel to the tours. Starts at $1,065 per person based on double occupancy. For booking, use code “LSA” at  email  or dial 1-809-562-9191.

Biras Creek Resort

Guests at Biras Creek Resort have the unique opportunity to explore all the sights and sounds of the British Virgin Islands by spending two days of their visit sailing aboard a luxurious yacht by booking the “BVI Sail Away” package this summer. The package features five-night accommodations in a Garden, Ocean or Grand Suite at Biras, two-night accommodations in the master cabin aboard the Crystal Clear classic sailing schooner, a personal captain and cook who will provide all meals and beverages at sea, and three daily meals provided for two while on land. Rates start at $814 per night (plus tax and service charge). For more information, visit .

Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort

With proximity to both San Jose del Cabo and Cabo San Lucas, Hilton Los Cabos Beach & Golf Resort provides direct access to Mexican-infused summer adventure tours, such as the popular Outback & Camel Safari. When not hitting the beach (the hotel sits along one of Cabo’s only swimmable beaches!), guests can enjoy a safari nature walk through the pristine desert landscape followed by a breathtaking camel ride along a private beach. After working up an appetite, a local ranch provides guests with a spread of authentic Mexican cuisine. On the way back to the hotel, adventurers can relish in a desert ride in a signature Mercedes-Benz Unimog 4×4 truck, capping off the adventure with a lively tasting of the finest tequilas Mexico has to offer. Adults: $99, Children: $70


Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts

Inspired by the 2014 Oscar and BAFTA award-winning Italian film “La Grande Bellezza” (The Great Beauty) by Paolo Sorrentino, Rome Cavalieri, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts launched an exclusive tour inviting guests to explore the magnificent, undiscovered locations throughout the Eternal City featured in the film. Led by the hotel’s resident art historian, Alexandra Massini, the full-day excursion engages guests with a morning filled with visits to the Fontana dell’Acqua Paola on the Janiculum Hill and Donato Bramante’s Tempietto within the courtyard at San Pietro in Montorio. Participants are then driven to Trastevere and walk across the Ponte Sisto, what some consider the most beautiful bridge in the city. From there, guests can walk to and marvel at the Palazzo Spada, Piazza Farnese and along the cobblestones of the historic Via Giulia lined with Renaissance palaces and hidden courtyards.

Only through Rome Cavalieri’s “Great Beauty” tour can guests visit the private apartments of the palace of the Marquis Sacchetti and enjoy a private reception at the home of Marchioness Violante Guerrieri Gonzaga, where the Marchioness herself will prepare a meal special for the visitors on the rooftop terrace of Palazzo Taverna with stunning 360º views of the historic city center. After an optional lunch (ranging from aperitifs to a seated feast), guests will discover the Piazza Navona, Villa Medici with an exclusive tour of the gardens, drive along the Via Veneto and stop on a terrace overlooking the Colosseum. The evening concludes with a visit to the grand baths of an ancient Caracalla, and a drive up the Aventine Hill to discover a surprise view from a keyhole.

The tour for a group of five begins at €1,345 EUR ($1,858 USD). For individuals and groups smaller than five, pricing varies based upon customization of tour elements, mode of transportation and lunch options. Given the exclusivity of the tour, guests must book 10-14 days in advance. If lunch is desired, guests should allow three weeks advance booking. For additional details, pricing or to book the experience, please contact Concierge at +39 06 3509 2040,  or visit

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

Visit VBT at  or call  800-245-3868

VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations offers 51 deluxe, small group bicycling and walking tours in 26 different countries, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru and the United States. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities and on-tour vehicle support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations. All itineraries invite travelers into local homes for a one-of-a-kind experience with the people who live there and share the culture.

Below are two examples from VBT:

Lake Constance: Germany, Austria & Switzerland – 10 days from only $3,595 including international airfare.

Travelers will discover soaring, snow-capped peaks and a vast glistening lake. Pedal along paved roads with Lake Constance at the forefront. Charming villages and lakeside retreats offer up a hearty welcome. Swim in hot springs and explore fertile farmland and vineyards, offering delicious ingredients and fruitful wine. Discover the rich, intertwined history of a trio of nations.

Highlights include:

Taste organic fruit brandy and Germany’s famed beer.
Learn the history behind this lake connecting three countries.
Marvel at the magnificent Romanesque churches of Reichenau.
Cycle three countries on an organized network of bike paths.
Cruise across Lake Constance aboard a ferry with breathtaking views.
Waltz through the riotous array of flowers on the Island of Mainau.

Holland and Belgium Bike & Barge Brussels – 12 days from only $3,895 including international airfare.

In the lands of medieval and natural splendor, rustic windmills dot a dreamy countryside, simple ways are defined by the flow of the sea and a rich mercantile tradition created powerful nations. To get to the heart of it all travel along wistful waterways at the most leisurely pace and cycle along tranquil paths to storybook villages and chat with locals.

Highlights include:

Exploring the medieval wonders of Bruges with a local guide.
Unpack just once, then cruise for seven nights by private canal barge.
Experience the countryside up close, as only a barge-and-bike tour allows.
Travel as the locals do—along easy bike paths.
Enjoy a guided tour of Ghent.
Visiting a local family in their fishing-village home.
Kinderdijk’s windmills, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Taste authentic Belgian beer.


Finger Lakes Region

As one of the country’s top wine producing regions known for its Rieslings, Gewurztraminer and Ice Wine and a leader in the passionate farm-to-table movement, the Finger Lakes region offers a plethora of culinary aspects for all to enjoy. Many wineries are included on wine trails surrounding Seneca, Cayuga, Canandaigua and Keuka lakes with regularly scheduled events, trail-wide tasting passports, locavore restaurants and scenic views, a true Finger Lakes wine and food experience can be found here. Two examples include:

Finger Lakes Murder Mystery Wine Tour

Wine and mystery lovers alike with relish in this a one-of-a-kind wine tour which offers a taste of Ithaca’s premier wines all the while being neck deep in solving a mysterious murder. On the “In the Distill of the Night” tour, guests have the choice to join as a detective, or for those brave of heart, as a suspect in the crime itself, all while visiting two of Ithaca’s famous wineries, Six Mile Creek and Ports of New York. The monthly tour runs from 1:00 pm – 6:00 pm, departing from La Tourelle Resort & Spa, Ithaca. Travelers can enjoy the experience for $120/person inclusive of pre-tour wine reception at La Tourelle, wine tastings at two wineries, vineyard/cellar tour at Six Mile Creek, port-making and wine museum tour at Ports of NY, post-tour reception at La Tourelle. Accommodation packages are available at La Tourelle Resort & Spa.,

Annual Apple Tasting Tour

Apple taste testing is one way to learn the differences in apples including taste, texture and scent. Each stop on the apple tasting tour is as unique as is the taste and texture of apples. Besides apples, the tour also includes stops at three Wayne County wineries. Travelers can plan on tasting a variety of wines including some amazing fruit wines. Visitors can call (800) 527-6510 for a map for this self-guided tour.

Bateaux New York

Cruising from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan, European-inspired Bateaux New York is an all glass dining vessel offering gracious service, fantastic meals, and 360 degree views while cruising by some of New York City’s most renowned landmarks like the Empire State Building, The Entrepid, The Colgate Clock, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, World Center Trade Site and More. Delivering creative plated cuisine for lunch and dinner and a decadent Champagne brunch, the vessel also has two outdoor decks offering wide-open views of Manhattan, perfect for a breezy summertime tour of the city.

Spirit of New Jersey and Sprit of New York

High energy Spirit Cruises offer lunch and dinner cruises complete with buffet-style dining, dancing, and spectacular views alongside and interactive DJ who will point out New York City’s greatest landmarks while not spinning beats. Departing from Chelsea Piers in Manhattan and Lincoln Harbor in Weehawken, NJ, both vessels also offer festive climate-controlled outdoor lounge decks with comfy seating to take in the NYC skyline while sipping a cocktail in summertime. The Empire State Building, The Entrepid, The Colgate Clock, Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, World Center Trade Site are just some of the sights cruisers will see on board.

Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa

At The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, guests can enjoy an array of Lowcountry adventure excursions from a kayaking tour to journeying through the area’s massive live oaks via Zip Line Hilton Head. For the history buffs, guests can tour the “undeveloped” side of this historic sea island where they’ll visit numerous fascinating historic places on Daufuskie Island – accessible by boat only. In addition, the waters surrounding Hilton Head Island are home year-round to a large and active population of wild Atlantic Bottlenose Dolphin so guests can explore the back waters and magical remote islands and come close to dolphins. This tour is scheduled around optimal tides for access to remote and undeveloped locations that make the Lowcountry unique. Guests can tour The Pinckney Island National Wildlife Refuge via bike, which is a 4,053-acre refuge where they can check out the local wildlife from alligators and turtles to white-tailed deer and Nine-banded armadillos to the ever-popular bottlenose dolphin.

The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa in Tucson, Arizona

According to a recent study by the Adventure Travel Trade Association and George Washington University, adventure travel spending in North America, Europe and South America is on the rise. With this in mind, The Westin La Paloma Resort & Spa gears up this summer for adventure abound with three Sonoran Desert packages: spelunking (aka cave exploring!), hiking on Sabino Canyon and four wheeling through the desert. Travelers can take advantage of nightly rates starting at $289 nightly from now through Sept. 30th.

· “Spelunking for Two” package: By venturing 135 feet underground and a quarter mile into the mountainside, adventurers can explore the inside of Colossal Cave, a natural 320+ million year old limestone formation. This guided tour of middle earth is complete with transportation, hard hats and lights. When booking, note the CAVING rate code.

· “Jeep Adventure for Two” package: Take a breather by fusing nature with speed for “four wheeling” in the Sonoran Desert. This rugged jeep excursion whisks pairs through the beautiful desert region of the Tortolita Mountains brimming with deer, jackrabbits and javelina among other wildlife. Complete with a short botanical nature walk and live critter demonstration, the 4-Wheel experience offers an up close and personal look at some of the desert’s prime inhabitants. When booking, reference the 4WHEEL rate code.

· “Hiking for Two” package: Outdoorsy lovers are encouraged to experience the awe of the Sonoran Desert during a 90 minute hiking adventure on Sabino Canyon. The venture includes an open air tram ride, 45 minute narrated tour, panoramic views, plentiful photo opportunities and a 90 minute hiking adventure complete with guide. When booking, reference the HIKING rate code.

To book, please refer readers to visit or call (888) 627-7201. Please note that additional nights can be added by booking a room rate of only $99 nightly. Packages are subject to availability and not inclusive of taxes and resort fees. Photos can be downloaded at the following link:

HOLLYFORD launches new Two Day hiking product

June 1, 2014 on 9:42 am | In Adventure Travel, New Zealand, Outdoors, Pacific Islands | Comments Off

After the busiest season in its history, Hollyford Track guided walks is launching a new product for the 2014-15 season. The two-day ‘Ocean to Alps’ departure using the stunning Martins Bay Lodge is an exclusive guided walk for small group tours.

Ocean to Alps trips will only be offered to travel trade, with group sizes set at a minimum of six and a maximum of 16 people. The trip includes a helicopter flight in, comfortable accommodation in a fully-catered private wilderness lodge, a jet boat trip and, of course, walking with specialist and experienced guides to bring the forest, coastal areas and personalities of the Hollyford to life.

“This product will enable the operator to have a more flexible cancellation policy than the existing three-day trip,” according to Hollyford Track marketing manager Nigel Kerr.

“A huge ‘plus’ is the chance to stay in the Martins Bay private Wilderness Lodge which includes twin-share bedding, hot showers, great cuisine and a warm and spacious lounge. It’s the perfect place to view those stunning Fiordland sunsets.

“We’ve also scheduled the trips so that customers on the longer Three Day Guided Wilderness trips will never meet the two-day customers walking in the opposite direction, as the Hollyford’s isolation and the fact that guests never meet another person on the walk is a very frequently mentioned ‘plus’ in guest surveys.”

David Hurst, group account manager at Ngai Tahu Tourism which operates the Hollyford Track, said initial feedback from the few operators he had talked to pre-TRENZ had been “really positive”.

“This exclusive guide, lodge and a wilderness experience that only takes two days means it can easily fit into existing itineraries,” he said. “We have quite a few appointments at TRENZ that are in direct response to the Ocean to Alps product.”

Adventure Cycling Launches 5th Annual U.S. Bicycle Route System Campaign

May 7, 2014 on 8:43 am | In Adventure Travel, Outdoors | Comments Off

Annual fundraiser kicks off to support creation of the largest official cycling network in the world

Missoula, MT— For the fifth year in a row, Adventure Cycling is kicking off its celebration of National Bike Month by launching a month-long U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) fundraising campaign, Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. Thanks in part to more than $270,000 raised over the last four years by this spring event, 5,973 miles of U.S. Bicycle Routes (USBR) have been designated, with thousands more to come.

This year, Adventure Cycling plans to raise $125,000 by May 31. “Last fall, we celebrated with our partners as new U.S. Bicycle Routes were designated in Tennessee and Maryland,” said Adventure Cycling’s Executive Director Jim Sayer. “The momentum from those designations has inspired other states to pursue USBR development.” Presently, more than 40 states are working on U.S. Bicycle Routes.

Adventure Cycling provides staff support for development of the U.S. Bicycle Route System, which is a project of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

A powerful voice in the transportation sector, its primary goal is to foster the development of an integrated national transportation system.

Performance Bicycle - Where Great Rides Begin!
“Cycling is a wonderful way to discover America, get to work, and promote physical fitness,” said Bud Wright, executive director of AASHTO. “The goal of the USBRS is to connect communities of all types — urban, suburban, and rural — through a network of cycling facilities that everyone can use. We’re proud of this effort.

This marks the fifth consecutive year that AASHTO has supported the U.S. Bicycle Route System’s annual fundraising campaign.”

During the USBRS campaign a year ago, AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering designated U.S. Bicycle Routes in two states: a new section of USBR 45 in Minnesota which completes the 700+ mile route along the Mississippi River Trail, and USBR 76 in Missouri, which follows the TransAmerica Trail.

The committee also approved realignments for USBR 76 in Kentucky. Last fall, AASHTO designated USBR 23 in Tennessee and USBR 50 in Maryland. Presently, 12 states have designated U.S. Bicycle Routes.

This month, at its spring conference in Providence, Rhode Island, AASHTO is expected to designate routes through five more states: USBR 1 in Massachusetts, USBR 50 in the District of Columbia and Ohio, USBR 36 and 37 in Illinois, and USBR 10 in Washington.

These designations will bring the number of states with designated routes to a total of 16 along with Washington, DC.

“Every year, more and more state and local agencies and non-profits are finding ways to collaborate on this incredible project to create the largest official bike route network in the world,” commented Ginny Sullivan, Director of Travel Initiatives at Adventure Cycling and coordinator of the USBRS project. “We are seeing USBRS progress take hold in local communities and spread across state lines. It’s exciting to watch the network grow and be a part of the process.”

Another key element of this year’s USBRS campaign is that foundation and individual donors have pledged $40,000 in matching funds to encourage first-time and past donors to support work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System.

The 2014 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign is sponsored by Planet Bike, Primal Wear,Ortlieb USA, Bike Tours Direct, Sun Bicycles, and Team Estrogen. In-kind sponsors include Beer & Bike Tours, Bike2Power, BikeFlights, Bike Touring News, Cygolite, Detours, Growler Cage, Nutcase,Park Tool, Thunder Island Brewing, and Velo Orange.

The U.S. Bicycle Route System is supported in part by grants from the Tawani Foundation, Lazar Foundation, the SRAM Cycling Fund, and Climate Ride.

Gardens Of South And West Wales Release 2014 Events Calendar

March 29, 2014 on 9:15 am | In London, Outdoors, United Kingdom, Wales | Comments Off

ONE HISTORIC GARDEN presents a fabulous calendar of events at our seven restored and revitalised gardens in South and West Wales – from the famous Daffodil Season and Bluebell Walks, to a pop-up restaurant in a castle on Mother’s Day and night-time bat and moth spotting. We have over 80 special events to tempt lovers of the great outdoors – not to mention seven restored parks, gardens and woodlands to rediscover.

In South and West Wales, seven historic gardens, parks and woodlands have been given a great regeneration boost by the European Regional Development Fund through Visit Wales and the Welsh Government. Each of the properties has a wonderful events programme for 2014 (a sample of which can be found below). A full list of all events at the seven properties can be found on the Events page of the One Historic Garden website.

Aberglasney Gardens – here the unique cloister garden and rare parapet wall, hidden for centuries, were restored 16 years ago. Now the magnificent Georgian mansion has been brought back to life and is host to a series of delightful exhibitions and events. Don’t miss the ancient yew tunnel and the fantastical Ninfarium where tropical plants grow among the ruined walls of the central courtyard of the mansion.

Event: Early March to mid-May – Daffodil Season

Follow the beautiful daffodil trail through the garden – there are more varieties to see than ever. A glorious experience to enjoy from early March onwards.

At Bryngarw Country Park the elegant 18th-century country house nestles in 113 acres of woods and fields. Now it is home to an amazing selection of wildlife from bats, birds and butterflies to the more bashful polecat, nuthatch and dipper. Highly skilled rangers offer fascinating bush craft courses such as foraging and den building.

Event: 22nd-23rd March 2014 – Ranger Skills Weekend

Learn traditional rangers’ skills like campfire cooking, wild food foraging and using a trail camera to capture the activities of resident mammals.

Colby Woodland Garden is a haven for woodland play and encourages families with children to come and enjoy the natural attractions. There are no `Keep off the Grass’ signs here, just rope swings and stepping stones across the streams. Historically, Colby was famed for the anthracite mined in its small woodland pits – a fuel favoured by Queen Victoria for its ‘smoke-free’ quality.

Event: late Spring – Bluebell Walks at Colby Woodland

Few sights quicken the heart like masses of bluebells – and the upper West-wood at Colby is a picture in late spring.

Dylan Thomas spent his childhood playing in Cwmdonkin Park, recalling “that park grew up with me”. As the centenary of his birth is celebrated this year, the park that inspired Wales’ favourite modern poet to write many of his poems has been fully restored, with new interpretation panels installed.

Event: 6th September 2014 – Green Fuse Festival in Cwmdonkin Park

The Friends of Cwmdonkin Park, Elysium Gallery and the City and County of Swansea present a day of acoustic music, poetry, storytelling, promenading theatre and multi-activity art workshops. This free event brings the legacy of Dylan Thomas to families and adults in a park that was his ‘…world within the world’.

Margam Country Park may now host film crews from around the world but its fairytale castellated mansion and 1,000 acres of land tell an 800-year story featuring monastic ruins, a restored exotic orangery and citrus house, and an ancient walled kitchen garden on its way to being brought back to life.

Event: 30th March 2014 – Mothering Sunday Lunch

Tuck into a Tudor-style banquet in the castle in the ‘pop up restaurant’ by local chef Justin Rees. There’s a champagne and canapé reception on arrival – what a treat for mum!

Penllergare Valley Woods are undergoing one of the more dramatic transformations after being left in disarray and disrepair for some decades. A team of dedicated volunteers is painstakingly uncovering and restoring the 250-acre “edge of wilderness” valley and its amazing terraces and waterfalls built by early photographer John Dillwyn Llewelyn. The Penllergare Observatory, from which one of the earliest photos of the moon was taken, will also be restored in 2014.

Event: 3rd May 2014 – Bat and Moth night-time walk

Find out about bats and moths of the River Llan and Penllergare Valley Woods on this night-time walk/talk with The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales and The Penllergare Trust. Includes setting a moth trap.

Scolton Manor in Pembrokeshire persuades you to step back in time to the life of a Victorian country squire. The large walled garden is undergoing extensive restoration with an exotic ‘hot’ pineapple house already up and working. The ‘Honey Kitchen’ where honey from the estate is processed and bottled is buzzing, and the new museum store and viewing barn for the agricultural collection is underway.

Event: 29th June 2014 – Race for Life

Take on a 5k Race for Life – run, walk or dance your way through the scenic route. Also bring family and friends for support: there will be stalls, face painting, bouncy castles and other entertainment.

Discover lots more adventures, days out and special events in our natural playgrounds at

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