I thought it might be a good idea to focus on holidaying in the USA, With the Aussie dollar now buying around $1.05US
For some reason, Aussies don’t seem to be taking advantage of the great exchange rate between our dollar and the greenback to head across the Pacific, and I can’t really understand why.
I have holidayed in the US on numerous occasions and have visited both the east coast and the west coast and parts in between, and I have always found the Americans you meet to be extremely welcoming, friendly and helpful – and the scenery and experiences America has to offer the visitor are truly awe inspiring.
Let’s start with Hawaii – most people think only of Waikiki when they think Hawaii, but the 50th state has a lot more to offer than a mediocre beach ringed with high-rise hotels (and I will admit that is what Waikiki is). One of my best memories of Hawaii was being able to stand a few feet away from molten lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean. I can’t think of anywhere else in the world this is so accessible.
And I have visited Gallipoli and the war memorials and trenches around Villers-Bretonneux where Aussie soldiers fought and died, but I was just as moved by my visit to the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbour. Standing on the walkway and looking down at the submerged ship was an unforgettable experience.
Most people when they think of holidaying in the USA think Disneyland and Hollywood, and I guess no visit would be complete without at least touching on these two icons.
Los Angeles isn’t my cup of tea, but my visit to Disneyland is still something I remember with a smile on my face (unlike some visits to so-called tourist attractions in other places around the world). I didn’t go on many rides (two, I think, was about my limit) but I did stand for hours and watch the Disney Parade, and I have half an album full of photos of Snow White, Mickey and all the other Disney characters marching by.
A visit to the Grand Canyon (at least once in your lifetime, if not twice – just to tell yourself it really IS that magnificent) is a must when heading to the US. No picture I have ever seen (and that includes the 150 I have in that same photo album!) truly depicts this amazing phenomenon the way it is when you are standing on its edge. The saying “You’ve got to see it to believe it” describes this American icon perfectly. But it’s not just the Canyon; the scenery all around is spectacular, with a favourite of mine being Monument Valley with all those great rock formations seen in so many Clint Eastwood and John Wayne westerns.
And then there are all the amazingly different National Parks to visit in the States. Too many to mention here; all I will say is that Yellowstone and Yosemite are two of our favourites.
I’ve mentioned before in a previous column that New York City would have to be my favourite city in the world, and I know there are other people reading this column and shouting, “No! What about Paris, or Moscow or London?” And I love all of those, but to me New York is special. I can’t really describe it and explain properly why I think this, so all I can say is –“Go and make your own mind up”, but make sure you give it enough time – 2 or 3 days won’t do it justice.
And while you’re over that side of the country, then pop down and visit Washington (another truly great American city, with amazing sights, building and memorials) and pop up to Boston and dive into a bit of American history. But don’t just tie yourself to the cities, spend time travelling though the north eastern states of Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to see some lovely scenery and get lost in American history.
That’s about all the room I have this month, and I haven’t even talked about the southern states of Florida or Louisiana and all they have to offer, or that last frontier, Alaska.
All I will say is, if you’re not sure where to go for your next holiday and you haven’t been before, then give the US a go – with the Aussie dollar the way it is, you can’t pick a better time.
So come in and see me, and we can discuss your next holiday.