Day 15 – 18/09/2010 – To the sea to the sea! I have been having some serious withdrawals since we last saw the ocean as we flew over it on our way to Canada from New Zealand over 10 months ago. I have never lived so far from the ocean considering that you can only get a maximum of 150 km from the ocean anywhere in New Zealand. It was great being back near it again. However, to get there we first had to spend the day driving across the width of New Brunswick to Nova Scotia. We left Riviere-du-Loup Walmart (they are all the same even if they are in a cool little town) and unfortunately that was it. We did come across a pretty cool sign as we entered Nova Scotia though and had to take a picture just for my lighthouse fanatic Mum.
Day 16 – 19/09/2010 – Another town, another Walmart sleepover. Adela is starting to get pretty sick of not having showers every day. Had our brekky at Port Hood Beach and took some great coastal photos along the way after Inverness to Joe’s Scarecrow Theatre. What the hell. This guy has basically dressed up over 100 scarecrows in various outfits and poses. Extremely creepy if you drove past at night time but quite funny to break up the drive during the day.
MOOSE. And not just one but two! A male, who had a massive rack of antlers and a smaller, but still humongous female. They were about 20m away off the small path we were on. The male was too busy trying to get the females attention to be bothered by us while the female just wanted to be left alone and have lunch. Kind of typical behaviour I think…
DAY 17 – 20/09/2010 – A super stormy day today with strong winds and some rain. Was cool driving along the coastline though up to Bay St Lawrence, a cute fishing town with heavy seas. We had planned on camping up at the northern most point at Meat Cove camp ground and were glad that we had decided not to once we got there. The sites were overlooking the ocean right above the cliffs and the wind was howling in. Pretty sure we would’ve been blown away overnight.
The local bridge had just been semi-repaired after previous storms had knocked it out a week ago. A bit hair raising as we drove across but it held. Since it was the first day of the Moose hunting season and we were located on the edge of the national park we also decided not to go for a walk up into the bush as planned. The hunters were hooning around on their quad bikes up into the forest. Spotted a lighthouse in Neil’s harbour so had to get the obligatory photos for Mum again. I must say I am starting to become a fan myself and could imagine walking up the creaking stairs to light the lamp each night to guide the ships in to the harbour safely. Pity its all automated now!
Found a short walk at Ingonish Peninsular and trekked out for an hour on there. We were playing the fun silence game (see week 2) again for this part but cheered up when we spotted the seals playing in the stormy surf at the end of the peninsular.
Onwards to Louisbourg, which used to be one of the main ports in North America and home of the first lighthouse in Canada. Bonus! The National Louisbourg Fortress is also located on the point which we decided to head to tomorrow with our Parks Canada passes we had given to us by Adela’s parents back in Jasper. That evening we were invited by the locals to a local fiddler… Not quite sure what to expect we headed to the town hall and were pleasantly surprised and was luckily not at all what we had in mind. We forgot her name but the woman was the stand-out as she rocked all the oldies, and us, playing traditional Celtic music. Two other guys were on the guitar and piano as well and they had little backup tap dancers and the works. Was pretty cool experience and one of the highlights of the entire trip. And to make it even better they had cookies and a tea break at half-time. Although I couldn’t participate in that as I was breaking into our car to get the locked keys out of it with a coat hanger in the pouring rain. Managed to get them out and catch the second half of the show. All in all a great evening.
KM travelled = 271 km.
Spending = $12 (food), $26 (camping), $33 (fiddling show) = $71 total.
Day 18 – 21/09/2010 – We were woken early in the morning with severe gusts of 80 km/hr and were thankful we weren’t in a tent. Headed out to the 1700’s styled Louisbourg Fortress and National Historic Site which is the largest rebuilt fortress in North America. So far they have only built 1/5th of it as well. What is awesome about the site is that all the employees are dressed in period costumes and act the part of their ancestors. You can imagine how hard it would have been in those days and Adela especially liked learning about the soldiers lives, especially the hierarchy systems they had in place between Officers and general footmen. They can’t have been all that crash-hot though at being soldiers as they lost the fortress twice to the British invaders who gave it back to the French after the first time.
They had freshly baked bread for $2 a loaf so we mowed into that for lunch along with a big bowl of chilli in one of the local themed taverns as it was still howling outside. We couldn’t afford the ritzy tavern where the Officer’s were hanging out.
Huge surf was coming in through the harbour entrance by this stage so we had to drive to the site of the first lighthouse to check it out. Spectacular surf and spray coming up over the rocks and it made me really miss being back at the Mount surfing in New Zealand. Would loved to spend more time in the old fishing village but as per usual we felt pressed for time and had so much more to see along the East Coast of Nova Scotia.
KM travelled = 293 km.
Spending = $13 (lunch), $67 (petrol), $21 (supplies) = $101 total.
Day 19 – 22/09/2010 – We had been planning on going for a surf or a sea kayak along the East Coast but it was still way too windy. However it was not too cold to stop at Taylor Head Provincial Park and have my first ever swim in the North Atlantic Ocean. Holy testicles it was freezing! Excuse the language but it really was. Jumped on the bikes to warm up but most of the trails were poorly maintained so unfortunately we didn’t get too far.
Checked out the surf conditions at Lawrencetown beach which is widely known as one of the best surfing spots in North America. Even though it was freezing and super windy I again wished I had my surfboard with me. Its another regret, just like in Montreal, that I missed out on.
We camped at Glen Margaret just along from the most photographed lighthouse in the world at Peggy’s Cove. Not sure how we had come to be following the lighthouse trail but we managed to see an absolutely stunning sunset at Peggy’s Cove all topped off with scrumptious clam chowder for dinner. No surprises that my favourite of the day was swimming in the ocean while Adela’s was dinner.
KM Travelled = 544 km.
Spending = $23 (petrol), $20 (camp ground), ($30 dinner) = $73 total.
Day 20 – 23/09/2010 – We started the morning back down at Peggy’s Cove (not actually sure how it got its name) as it was a beautiful blue sky morning and we wanted to get some more pictures of the lighthouse and fishing village. Very quaint.
Halifax was only a short drive down the coast and we felt like we needed to see some civilisation and Adela was hanging out for a Latte. I stumbled across a secondhand book store and picked up a few more to read. The only pain with the car was that we had to park under street lights most nights if we wanted read as it was dark by 8pm and we only had a small wind-up torch that would last 2 minutes before dimming slowly and needing rewinding again. A bit of pain when you are in the middle of an epic book or a juicy tale. We jumped on the trusty bikes down to the historic district and on to St Marys Cathedral Basilica. Still not as good as the Basilica in Montreal and I don’t think we will see a better one until we are travelling in Europe.
Visited Pier 21 which is where all the immigrants first arrived in Canada. Although most of the waterfronts in North America are way nicer than any in New Zealand, including Wellington waterfront which I love to bits, all the water is pretty scummy so it detracts from the niceness. Definitely a shame. Last stop in Halifax was the maritime museum with a really moving exhibit on the Titanic as Halifax was one of the closest ports to the Titanic at the time the distress call was made so a lot of history involved there. Also some amazing wooden boats and a bit on the Halifax bomb disaster. We sure love to learn.
KM Travelled 178 km.
Spending = $68 (petrol), $9 (parking and showers), $8 (books), $18 (museum) = $103 total.
Day 21 – 24/09/2010 – One of the amazing features, and I really do mean amazing, are the tides in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and Newbrunswick. The tides reach insane levels of variation with an extreme range of 16.3m! The boats will often be left high and dry on the shoreline when the tide goes out and as you can see, the docks are on massive stilts.
So we spent most of the day in Truro as we waited to watch the tidal bore come roaring up the channel. It basically results from the Bay of Fundy narrowing and the tides just being pushed higher and higher. When its big enough you can actually surf it and I had been looking forward to seeing this the whole trip across Canada. Unfortunately it was only 30 cm high this time but so powerful and you wouldn’t be able to standup against it.
Drove on to Cape Chignecto but again couldn’t again kayak due to the poor and misty weather so settled on another lighthouse journey at Cape D’Or. Spotted a small black bear up on the rocks but decided not to get any closer after living near them in Jasper all year. Tonight ended up being our last night in Canada until we returned to Vancouver in a few weeks’ time on the opposite side of the country. We are really looking forward to getting into America and checking out New York for 5 days.
KM Travelled = 197 km.
Spending = $33 (food), $30 (camp ground) = $63 total.
Week 3 KM Travelled = 2,679 km total.
Week 3 Spending = $628.00 total.
5 Great Reasons To Visit Miss Liberty
Visiting the Statue of Liberty is easily one of the most popular activities among the 60 million or so travelers who make their way to New York City annually. In fact, 4.5 million tourists per year make their way through Upper New York Harbor to this iconic, towering statue that stands on Liberty Island. That’s more than most other tourist stops in NYC and in the whole USA.
But why is seeing the Statue of Liberty up close and personal so popular? And what are five good reasons why you should pay Miss Liberty a visit? Well, I’m glad you asked.
1. The Ferry Ride
When you go on the Liberty Cruise to Liberty Island, you will find that the incredible views you catch of the NYC skyline and the gentle breeze off the bay on the way over are an experience in their own right. Just hop on the ferry for free at Battery Park at the tail end of Manhattan, and you’ll be over to Miss Liberty in a matter of minutes: but they are truly scenic minutes that you’ll remember for years to come.
2. It’s a Great Deal
Yes, you heard that right. You can take a ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty 100% for free. And you can often set up your tickets at the same time you buy NYC bus tour tickets online. The bus can drop you off at Battery Park, and the boat can take it from there. You will have to pay a small fee to get inside the statue, and a little more, plus a months-ahead reservation to get a view from the crown. That can all be done with foresight and a modest expense, but just going to see the statue is free (and the rest is a great deal.)
3. A History Lesson
For history buffs, and for everyone else with an ounce of inquisitiveness about the history and the significance of a 151 foot tall piece of copper standing on an equally tall pedestal, learning about the Statue of Liberty’s history is worthwhile. On Liberty Island, you can go on an audio or personally guided tour of all things related to the origin and history of this iconic symbol of New York City and of American Liberty.
4. The Rest of the Island
Besides the statue herself, Liberty Island also offers a sculpture garden, the Statue of Liberty Museum Store, the Crown Cafe (not actually located in the crown), and an impressive view of old glory at Flagpole Plaza. The photo-ops abound, and there is enough to keep you occupied for hours on this island of freedom.
5. The Island Next Door
It’s easy to get over from Liberty Island to Ellis Island, which in very, very close by. You ride there directly and on the same ferry, still for free. The immigration museum on Ellis Island tells the story of how many decades of immigrants flooded into the US through the Ellis Island immigration station. Sometimes that history is a cause for pride, other times there was discrimination; but anyone interested in how we became this “melting pot” should take the time to visit Ellis, along with Miss Liberty.
Planning That Trip to Los Angeles
Visiting Los Angeles for the first time can be both thrilling and utterly overwhelming. The sheer size of the metropolitan area makes it hard to grasp, even if you are from a big city yourself. This can make it hard to decide where to go and what to do. For the best enjoyment of your trip, some forward planning is key and here are some tips to help you.
LAX is the most famous airport in the city but this also means it is the busiest – and it is certainly busy. Traffic is a nightmare and it is quite a distance from the majority of the main destinations in the city and surrounding areas. There are alternatives, you can fly into Burbank Bob Hope Airport, for example. Smaller, it still accommodates most major airline and rental car companies. You can also hop on the Metrolink across the street to get around the city. It is closer to everything from Hollywood to downtown LA and even the L.A. Zoo than LAX.
Getting around the city
Hiring a car is a popular way to get around when you are in Los Angeles, as long as you are prepared for the sheer number of people on the roads. Think hard about the type of vehicle that you want – you might need a sedan or SUV if there are a few of your or a lot of gear.
Also look at the type of rental agreement on offer – does it have a penalty for being late to pick up or drop off? Are there restrictions about who can drive? Don’t forget to consider the insurance in the package as well. The risk for crime, theft and uninsured motorists will vary by zip code so if you find yourself driving through or spending time in a riskier neighborhood, consider this when looking at insurance options.
Where to stay
Again, there are hundreds or possibly thousands of options about where to stay in Los Angeles. Do some research before you book anything – look at the reviews for the place and also read about the neighborhood the hotel is in. Consider how easy it is to get to public transport if you aren’t hiring a car. Or what kind of drive time will you face from the hotel to the spots you want to visit? If it takes you half the day to reach the sites, then choosing a cheaper hotel out of the city will have backfired on you.
5 Tips to Make the Most of Your Trip to Niagara Falls
Known as the Honeymoon Capital of the World, Niagara Falls is one of the most breathtaking destinations in North America. Nowadays, there’s so much more to see and do in and around Niagara Falls then just the Falls themselves. Here’s what you need to know to make the most of your trip, so you can come home without regrets.
1) Visit the Falls on Both Sides of the Border
Niagara Falls is located on the border between the U.S. and Canada. The famous view of the Falls that can be seen in stock photos and on postcards is to be had on the Canadian side of Falls, but there’s a lot to be said for the American side, too. While the Falls are surrounded by a bustling community on the Canadian side, complete with grand hotels, botanic gardens, and midway attractions, the American side of the Falls is a state-protected park – the oldest in the country. Here, you can enjoy wooded hiking trails on Goat Island, as well as cliff-side paths that bring visitors within an arm’s length of the Falls.
2) Pack Rain Gear
This may go without saying, but you’re going to get wet when you visit the Falls. Whether you choose to a boat tour on the Maid of the Mist (in the U.S.) or the Hornblower Niagara Cruise (in Canada), or a walk through the Cave of the Winds or Journey Behind the Falls, you’re going to be well within splashing distance of the raging water. Bring rain ponchos, a waterproof bag for your electronics, and dry shoes and socks so you can change after your tour.
3) Research Accommodation in Advance
There are Niagara Falls hotels for every budget, especially on the Canadian side of the Falls, but it’s worth doing some research ahead of time to make sure you’re getting the most out of your accommodation. If, for example, you were hoping to camp in Niagara Falls State Park to save on accommodation, you may be disappointed to learn that there’s no camping at Niagara Falls State Park – you’ll have to drive about 25 minutes away to Four Mile Creek State Park for that. But, if you’re interested in hotel accommodation in Niagara Falls, Canada, it’s worth booking directly with a Fallside hotel to get the best views, and access to nearby downtown amenities like the Fallsview Indoor Water Park.
4) Don’t Miss Downtown
There are lots of great attractions in downtown Niagara Falls that you won’t want to miss during your visit. Whether you’re in the U.S. or Canada, you’ll find quirky bars and restaurants and, especially on the Canadian side, lots of kitschy fun. Hit up the Clifton Hills district where you can enjoy the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Museum, Louis Tussaud’s Waxworks, the Great Canadian Midway, year-round haunted houses, and no less than three mini-golf courses.
5) See the Countryside
The area around Niagara Falls is home to quaint Canadian small towns, historic sites, and hidden-gem vineyards. Take a few extra days to explore the surrounding countryside. Go to Old Fort Niagara on the American side of the border, or Fort George on the Canadian side, where you can learn about the roles both nations played in the War of 1812, see artillery and musket demonstrations, and learn more about the conditions under which soldiers lived and fought here. Don’t miss Niagara-on-the-Lake, a romantic lakeside town full of bed-and-breakfasts and home to some stunning lakeside views. If you like wine, you’ll find tiny vineyards dotted all over the countryside on both sides of the border. You’ll find that vineyards here are more welcoming, and less pretentious, than those in some more famous wine regions.
With all the attractions in and around Niagara Falls, you might find you need more than one trip to take it all in. Whether you’re interested in cheesy good times, touring North America’s most famous falls, or exploring sleepy towns and vineyards in the surrounding countryside, there’s something for you in the Niagara Falls area. Make your trip to Niagara Falls a good time for the whole family – or a romantic weekend getaway, whichever you prefer.
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
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