Road Trip

Exploring Australia’s North West – The Ultimate 20 Day Road Trip Itinerary

Australia’s North West region is as vast as it is interesting, with deep gorges, pristine beaches, unbeatable snorkeling, an abundance of wildlife and a pink lake it’s easy to spend weeks discovering all that Western Australia has to offer. If you are thinking of visiting Western Australia I have put together the perfect 20-day itinerary so you can maximize your time while discovering all the hidden gems you may not know about. Firstly, I would like to kick off with some facts and things you must know before heading out on a road trip in Australia. 

Important Must Read

  • Always carry supplies. Australia only has a population of 23 million people and is almost the same size as the United States. This means that there is a lot of places with nothing for miles, that includes food, water, gas (petrol) stations, and accommodation. You will therefore need to plan accordingly, ALWAYS carry water and food with you in your car, you never know when you might break down (I rescued 6 people this year who’s cars had overheated, only a few had supplies). Always fill up with gas (petrol) when you see a station, even if you have half a tank, you don’t know when the next one will be. 
  • Watch out for the wildlife. The Wildlife in Australia can be quite unpredictable, on this road trip you will encounter, Kangaroos, Emu’s, Goats, Cows and the odd Camel. You need to be cautious when driving and if you can avoid driving at sunrise, sunset and night time as this is when the animals are more active and harder to spot. 
  • Cell service (mobile phone coverage). The only coverage you will get in the outback is with the main country carrier Telstra, I recommend getting a Sim Card as you never know when you might need to call for help. They are not expensive and prepaid plans are very reasonable. 
  • Road side assistance. If you are planning to buy a car for this road trip, remember to join the RAC (https://rac.com.au/) they will assist in a breakdown and cover a huge amount of the towing costs. Alternatively if you are planning to rent a car make sure you check their policy a lot do not let you take the car out of the metropolitan area. 

Now that you are prepared for your road trip let’s get into the itinerary. 

Day 1 to 3: Perth to Kalbarri (517km, 6 Hours)

Day 1: Nambung National Park & Pink Lake

The drive from Perth to Kalbarri is an easy one and quite scenic, you will see the landscape change from commercial to residential and finally to farm land and bush. Be sure to stop at the Nambung National Park which is home to “The Pinnacles”, the park is located near the town of Cervantes and is well sign posted. There are three theories as to how the Pinnacles were formed but no one knows for sure. 

 The Pinnacles - Western Australia

The Pinnacles - Western Australia

 The Pinnacles - Western Australia

The Pinnacles - Western Australia

Just before you arrive in Kalbarri you will pass Hutt Lagoon which is must see in the region. Also known as Pink Lake, about 450 hectares is used to cultivate algae from which Beta-Carotene is extracted. Beta-Carotene is used as a natural dye in food, it is also a rich source of Vitamin A and the reason the lake changes color. I have visited this lake on three occasions to find it three different colors, see for yourself. 

 Pink Lake, Hutt Lagoon - Western Australia

Pink Lake, Hutt Lagoon - Western Australia

 Fanta Lake some would say!

Fanta Lake some would say!

Day 2: Kalbarri National Park 

The Kalbarri National Park offers a diverse range of natural landscapes for visitors to enjoy including, Nature’s Window (a natural rock arch that frames the river perfectly), Z-Bend (a breathtaking view of the park looking down a gorge that plunges to the river below), Hawk’s Head (the name says it all, it’s a rock formation that looks like a hawk’s head), and Ross Graham Lookout (this trail will take you to the tranquil rivers edge, and if you’re lucky past some lazing kangaroos). 

 Natures Window - Western Australia

Natures Window - Western Australia

 Kangaroos in the Gorge - Western Australia

Kangaroos in the Gorge - Western Australia

 Kalbarri National Park - Western Australia

Kalbarri National Park - Western Australia

Day 3: Kalbarri National Park Continued

Your second day in Kalbarri will be spent exploring the National Park Cost line including, the Coastal Cliffs (which extend 13km south of town), Red Bluff (which offers panoramic ocean views and a great spot for spotting marine creatures), Mushroom Rock Walk Trail (varied geological formations that look amazing at sunrise and sunset), Pot Alley (follow a rocky path to the bottom and explore a secret beach), Eagle Gorge (enjoy the look out or walk down into the gorge where you will discover another secret beach devoid of people), Island Rock and Natural Bridge (as the name suggests it’s a Natural Bridge carved by the eroding ocean over time). 

 Just hanging around Kalbarri

Just hanging around Kalbarri

Day 4 to 5: Kalbarri to Monkey Mia (390km, 4 Hours)

Next up is Monkey Mia and the main attraction are the bottlenose dolphins who have been living close to shore for fifty years. Here you can see the resident dolphins and if you are lucky enough, hand them a fish during their morning feedings. You can also book a boat tour which will take you to see tiger sharks, dugons and sea turtles. You can choose to stay at the resort which is quite expensive, alternatively you can stay in Denham a town close by. 

 Feeding the Dolphins in Monkey Mia - Western Australia

Feeding the Dolphins in Monkey Mia - Western Australia

While you’re in the area be sure to stop at Shell Beach which is made up entirely of cockrill shells, but don't worry they aren't painful to walk on. While you won’t visit this beach for a swim, it tends to be quite shallow and high in salt, you will enjoy walking along the shore line and seeing the millions of shells that make up the beach.

 Shell Beach - Western Australia

Shell Beach - Western Australia

 All the tiny shells on Shell Beach - Western Australia

All the tiny shells on Shell Beach - Western Australia

Another great stop on the way is to view the Stromatolites of Shark Bay. The stromatolites may just look like rocks but they are significant because they represent a major stage in the Earth’s evolutionary history. Although they are only 3,000 years old the bacteria inside them is similar to forms found on earth more than 3.5 billion years ago. 

 Stromatolites, Shark-Bay - Western Australia

Stromatolites, Shark-Bay - Western Australia

Day 6 to 8: Monkey Mia to Coral Bay (569km, 6 Hours)

Leaving Monkey Mia you will head further north to Coral Bay, a small coastal town with limited accommodation so it’s important to book early if you want to visit. That being said Coral Bay lives up to its name and showcases some of the largest pieces of hard coral I have ever seen. It is Australia’s only fringing reef and in contrast to most reefs it starts right at the water’s edge. The entire bay is filled with coral and marine life so you don't have to swim far to get up close and personal with a range of sea creatures. As visibility is dependent on conditions you will want a few days here to ensure you get the best snorkeling experience. 

 Coral Bay - Western Australia

Coral Bay - Western Australia

Day 9 to 13: Coral Bay to Exmouth (150km, 1.5 Hours)

Your next destination will be Exmouth which is my favorite spot in Western Australia. You won’t be short for things to see and do here, however it’s important to keep in mind that a lot of the attractions are located 64km or an hour drive away. 

Day 9: Turquoise Bay

Arguably the best beach in Western Australia Turquoise Bay is located in the Cape Rage National Park, an hour from Exmouth. As the name would suggest the water is the most vibrant turquoise color and will not disappoint traveler’s year round. Turquoise Bay is unique as it not only boasts beautiful water and clean white sand but it is also an amazing spot for snorkeling. Launching yourself from the beach you don't have to swim far to encounter some of the most magnificent sea life imaginable. In only 2 days I swam with 5 reef sharks, 3 sea turtles, stingrays and hundreds of fish.

 Turquoise Bay - Western Australia

Turquoise Bay - Western Australia

 Fish feeding time Turquoise Bay - Western Australia

Fish feeding time Turquoise Bay - Western Australia

Day 10: Whale Shark Tour

If you are visiting Exmouth during the Whale Shark Season (March – September) you must book a tour to swim with the gentle giants. The whale shark is the world's largest living fish, however, very little is still known about the biology and ecology of the whale shark. Swimming with them is the most wonderful experience and I couldn’t recommended Ningaloo Whale Shark Tours enough, the crew was amazing and made sure everyone swam with the shark. 
Recommended: https://www.ningaloowhalesharks.com/

 Swimming with the Whale Sharks - Western Australia

Swimming with the Whale Sharks - Western Australia

 When they let you drive the boat!

When they let you drive the boat!

Day 11: Discovering Australia’s Cape Range National Park

Heading down Charles Knife Road you will drive up a hill to a wonderful look with sweeping views of the ocean and plunging views of the gorge below.   

 Cape Range National Park - Western Australia

Cape Range National Park - Western Australia

In the late afternoon head up to Vlaming Head Lighthouse and watch the sun set over the Indian Ocean, the view is unbeatable. 


Day 12: Kayaking in Yardie Creek

If you are feeling a little adventurous, hire a kayak in town and head down to Yardie Creek to kayak through the gorge. Keep an eye out for the local Rock Wallabies that live on the cliffs. You can also take the kayaks out to sea with booeys set up for you to tie to while you snorkel on the reef. 

 Kayaking Yardie Creek - Western Australia

Kayaking Yardie Creek - Western Australia

 Rock Wallaby - Western Australia

Rock Wallaby - Western Australia

Day 13: The Beach & Turtles Hatching

Exmouth has so many amazing beaches to choose from in the Cape Range National Park, take the day to explore all that’s on offer in this amazing piece of paradise. 

 Snorkeling with the sea turtles - Western Australia

Snorkeling with the sea turtles - Western Australia

 Just relaxing - Western Australia

Just relaxing - Western Australia

If you happen to be visiting between January and March be sure to head to the beach and see if you spot any baby green and loggerhead turtles hatching. Ask the locals which beaches they are nesting this year as they tend to know. 

 Watch these babies hatch on shore and scurry to the ocean!

Watch these babies hatch on shore and scurry to the ocean!

Day 14 to 17: Exmouth to Karajini (647km 8 Hours)

Day 14: Driving

It will take a full day to drive from Exmouth to Karajini, sit back and enjoy the ever changing scenery as you leave the coastal area and enter the Australian Outback. 

Day 15: Mount Bruce & Joffre Gorge

Looking for a challenge? Then Mount Bruce is for you. Offering spectacular views , Mount Bruce is the second tallest peak in Western Australia and known by the Aboriginal people as Punurrunha. To get to the summit (which is worth every step for the views) it’s a Class 5, 9km, 5 hour return trip. Be sure to start the hike early in the morning when temperatures are mild and carry lots of water with you. 

Mount-Bruce-Karajini
 Half Way - That view though

Half Way - That view though

Head back to the lodge after your hike and cool off, in the late afternoon head over to Joffrey Gorge for a swim and relax. 


Day 16: Hancock Gorge, Dales Gorge, Fortescue Falls & Fern Pool

In the morning drive over to the Hancock Gorge trail head and take a journey to the 'center of the Earth' down this steep and narrow gorge. The trail is only 1.5 kilometers and is a 3 hour return journey. 

 Hancock Gorge - Western Australia

Hancock Gorge - Western Australia

 Kermits Pool, Hancock Gorge - Western Austrlia

Kermits Pool, Hancock Gorge - Western Austrlia

 Walking through the Gorge to Kermits Pool - Western Australia

Walking through the Gorge to Kermits Pool - Western Australia

After a delightful dip in the Hancock Gorge head over to Fortescue Falls and Fern Pool. As you descend through the changing vegetation the views of the only permeant waterfall are magnificent. Just a short distance from the falls, you can swim the spring fed Fern Pool. 

 Circular Pool, Karajini - Western Australia

Circular Pool, Karajini - Western Australia

 Fern Pool, Karajini - Western Australia 

Fern Pool, Karajini - Western Australia 

 Fortescue Falls, Karajini - Western Australia

Fortescue Falls, Karajini - Western Australia

Day 17: Kalamina Gorge

Kalamina Gorge is the easiest to access and the shallowest of Karijini's gorges. There’s a short return walk into the gorge's shaded pool or you can walk within the gorge along the waterline and enjoy the ever changing rock formations.  


If you are planning to visit, then the Karajini Eco Retreat and Campground is your only choice for accommodation. The Karajini Eco Retreat is environmentally friendly and surrounded by pristine bushland is in the heart of the world class Karijini National Park. I stayed here for 4 nights and it was amazing, they take glamping to a whole new level. I would highly recommend this as a totally unique and once in a life time experience. 
Recommended: http://www.karijiniecoretreat.com.au/

 Karajini Eco Lodge - Western Australia

Karajini Eco Lodge - Western Australia

 Karajini Eco Lodge

Karajini Eco Lodge

Day 18 to 20: Karajini to Perth (1446km, 16 Hours)

This concludes your 20-day road trip into Australia’s rugged North West. It’s a long drive back to Perth so I suggest breaking it up over a few days and taking the time to stop at any of the spots that really captured your heart. I stopped in Coral Bay again as the conditions the first time were terrible. Where ever you stay on the trip home you will have a great time!  

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The Ultimate 10 Day Iceland Itinerary

Iceland is only 103,001 km² or roughly the size of Kentucky so it’s hard to comprehend how it fits so many amazing sites into such a compact space. That being said the land of fire and ice will not disappoint, with a population of 300,000 there is a lot of wild places still left to discover. 
I spent 10 days in Iceland and I wouldn’t recommend spending any less time here, unless you are willing to miss quite a few amazing sites. That being said it’s not a cheap country to visit, you will absolutely need to hire a car, 4WD is preferable, to save money you can camp but as I discovered September is the rainy season so be prepared for inclement weather. I also took a large amount of food with me (freeze dried hiking meals) and ate those for dinner, lunches consisted of salami and cheese sandwiches provisions for which you can buy at Bonus (the Iceland supermarket).  

The 10 day itinerary 

Below is a complete 10-day itinerary that outlines the amazing sites you will see, if you would like my excel version which details the entire trip Sign Up to my news letter below and I will email it to you for free! 

Day 1: The Golden Circle

A trip to Iceland wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Golden Circle which consists of waterfalls, geysers and an amazing crater lake. Driving from Reykjavik this is the order of stops: 


Stop 1: Thingvellir National Park (40km and approximately 30 minutes) 

 Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

Stop 2: Haukadalur (60km and approximately 45 minutes)

 Haukadalur Erupting Geyser, Iceland

Haukadalur Erupting Geyser, Iceland

Stop 3: Gullfoss Waterfall (10km and approximately 9 minutes)

 Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Gullfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Stop 4: Kerið Crater Lake (56km and approximately 45 minutes)

 Kerið Crater, Iceland

Kerið Crater, Iceland

 Kerið Crater, Iceland

Kerið Crater, Iceland

Stop 5: Hveragerdi (24km and approximately 20 minutes)

 Hveragerdi Geyser, Iceland

Hveragerdi Geyser, Iceland

Day 2: The South

Leaving the West behind you will now travel to the South which has some of the most interesting sites Iceland has to offer including a famous waterfall, the infamous black sand beach plane crash and a secret waterfall. 


Stop 1: Seljalandsfoss Waterfall

This is one of the most popular waterfalls in Iceland and while its popular and not to be missed don’t forget to visit the hidden Gljúfrafoss waterfall just a 10-minute walk to the left.

 Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland

 Hidden Gljúfrafoss Waterfall, Iceland

Hidden Gljúfrafoss Waterfall, Iceland

Stop 2: Skógafoss & Hidden Waterfall

While Skógafoss is a breathtaking waterfall it is also very crowded, for a more unique brush with nature head over to the Skogar Museum, behind the building there is a track which will take you to a hidden waterfall.

 Hidden waterfall next to Skógafoss, Iceland

Hidden waterfall next to Skógafoss, Iceland

 Hiking to the hidden waterfall next to Skógafoss, Iceland

Hiking to the hidden waterfall next to Skógafoss, Iceland

Stop 3: Sólheimasandur Plane Crash

Its important to note that the dirt track that use to allow cars to drive to the crash is now closed which means it’s a 6km round trip to see the plane, worth every step, even in the wind and rain. Did you know? rumor has it that the plane made an emergency landing due to a lack of fuel, however the plane had plenty in its second tank but the pilot didn't know. 

 Sólheimasandur Plane Crash, Iceland

Sólheimasandur Plane Crash, Iceland

 Stop 4: Black Beach & Vik Beach

For the best views the cliffs are amazing and a must see, if you want to walk on the black sand Vik beach is a must. 

 Black Sand Beach Cliffs, Iceland

Black Sand Beach Cliffs, Iceland

 Vik Beach, Iceland

Vik Beach, Iceland

 Close up of the beach its actually black pebbles

Close up of the beach its actually black pebbles

Recommended Camping Spot: Looking for a truly unique place to camp look no further than Þakgil Campground located a 45-minute drive from Vik (on an unsealed road) this camp ground offers a one of a kind experience. Located in a valley with a cave that has been turned into a candle lit dining hall it’s an experience not to be missed. If you didn’t bring a tent don’t worry they also have basic cabins which you can stay in http://www.thakgil.is/ 

 Dinner in a cave anyone?

Dinner in a cave anyone?

Day 3: The Glacier

The absolute highlight of my trip to Iceland was walking and climbing on the Svínafellsjökull glacier in the Skaftafell National Park.  If you are planning a trip I highly recommend booking with Icelandic Mountain Guides, their guides are amazing and you will have the most amazing experience with them. I booked the Glacier Walk & Ice Climb tour which also happened to include exploring the Ice Caves as they just opened up for the season. The tour starts at 12pm and finishes around 5-6pm, I camped in the adjacent camp ground for the night. 

You can read about my experience on the Icelandic Mountain Guides Website: http://www.mountainguides.is/blog/adventurer-of-the-week-claire,-forever-chasing-wanderlust-on-a-glacier/ 

 Svínafellsjökull Glacier in the Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

Svínafellsjökull Glacier in the Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

 Svínafellsjökull Glacier in the Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

Svínafellsjökull Glacier in the Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

 Don't know who thought it was a good idea to give me a ice pick! Svínafellsjökull glacier, Iceland

Don't know who thought it was a good idea to give me a ice pick! Svínafellsjökull glacier, Iceland

Day 4: The Glacier Lagoon and the East Fjords

Stop 1: Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon

This is by far one of them most amazing sites in Iceland and most popular. If you can I would suggest getting there as early as possible, I arrived at 7.30am and was practically alone for an hour before the masses started arriving. 

 Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Iceland

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Iceland

 Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Iceland

Jökulsárlón Iceberg Lagoon, Iceland

Stop 2: The East Fjords

Driving through the East Fjords is wonderful, I would recommend deviating from the National Highway 1 and driving through all the little sea side towns. 

 On route to the Eastern Fjords

On route to the Eastern Fjords

Day 5: Waterfalls and Geysers

Stop 1: Dettifoss Waterfall

This is the most powerful waterfall in Europe and is also where the opening scenes from the movie Prometheus was filmed. I have to say it was my personal favorite, you can feel the sheer power water just standing here.  

 Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Dettifoss Waterfall, Iceland

Stop 2: Námafjall Hverir

Iceland is full of geysers and volcanic activity, this area is so beautiful and has a Mars like feel to it, you won’t believe you are on earth walking around here. 

 Námafjall Hverir, Iceland

Námafjall Hverir, Iceland

Stop 3: Góðafoss Waterfall

 Góðafoss Waterfall, Iceland

Góðafoss Waterfall, Iceland

Hotel Recommendation: If you want to treat yourself while you are in Iceland and if like me you can’t bare another night in the tent I would highly recommend booking a room at the Siglo Hotel, http://www.siglohotel.is/ I have to say it’s one of the best hotels I have stayed in. 

 Siglo Hotel, Iceland

Siglo Hotel, Iceland

Day 6: The West Fjords

Stop 1: Hvitserkur

As you commence your drive to the Western Fjords be sure to stop here to see this amazing Rock formation.

 Hvitserkur, Iceland

Hvitserkur, Iceland

 Hvitserkur, Iceland

Hvitserkur, Iceland

Stop 2: Flókalundur

If you are planning to spend some time in the west, something I highly recommend your accommodation choices are very limited. I camped in this town however there is also a motel you can stay in. I was lucky enough to get a clear night, my only clear night in Iceland I might add, and saw the Northern Lights dance across the sky. I also saw the most amazing sunrise here where the sky turned to fire. If you want a truly wonderful experience I recommend getting to the thermal pool before sunrise and watching it from there, you will most likely be the only one there.

 Flókalundur Northern Lights, Iceland

Flókalundur Northern Lights, Iceland

 Flókalundur Sunrise, Iceland

Flókalundur Sunrise, Iceland

Day 7: The most Western Point in Europe

Stop 1: Látrabjarg

Today you are going to drive to what’s considered the most Western Point in Europe, the drive is 1.5 hours and 95km but totally worth it to see the amazing cliffs. In the summer season you will see thousands of Puffins nesting on the edge of the cliffs, however come the end of August they start migrating. After you have seen the cliffs it’s a day of driving to get to the Snæfellsjökull Peninsula, you can take a ferry but its $150 dollars and only leaves once a day at 6pm. 

 Látrabjarg - Most Western Point of Europe, Iceland

Látrabjarg - Most Western Point of Europe, Iceland

 Black Church in the West Fjords, Iceland

Black Church in the West Fjords, Iceland

Day 8: Snæfellsjökull Peninsula

Stop 1: Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall & Kirkjufell

Also known as the most photographed mountain in the world Kirkjufell is not to be missed. The mountain/waterfall combination is Instagram gold.

 Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall & Kirkjufell

Kirkjufellsfoss Waterfall & Kirkjufell


Stop 2: Port Arnarstapi

After seeing the most amazing natural bridge on Instagram I was determined to see it for myself. It took me 3 hours of walking to find it so for those who want to see it, when you are looking at the ocean it’s along the path to the left, not to the right!

 Port Arnarstapi, Natural Bridge

Port Arnarstapi, Natural Bridge

Stop 3: Glymur Waterfall

This waterfall is one of my favorites in Iceland, mainly because it’s a 10km round trip, up a steep hill to see it. It is therefore devoid of most tourists, it’s the perfect spot to sit and truly appreciate nature

 Glymur waterfall, Iceland

Glymur waterfall, Iceland

Stop 4: Gullfoss Waterfall 

If you can I would highly recommend seeing this waterfall at sunset or sunrise, it is so beautiful and most of the tour buses are gone at this hour.

 Gullfoss Waterfall at Sunset, Iceland

Gullfoss Waterfall at Sunset, Iceland

Day 9: Revisit the Golden Circle

Day 9 for me was a buffer day, I wanted to make sure I had enough time to see anything I missed or wanted to add to the itinerary on the way. Lucky for me, due to the terrible weather on day 1 I used this day to revisit key spots I missed or couldn’t truly appreciate the first time around. The weather in Iceland is so unpredictable I would highly recommend a buffer day in your itinerary just in case.

Day 10: Explore Reykjavik and Fly Out

Today you leave Iceland, depending on your departure time I would recommend spending ½ a day in Reykjavik to explore the key sites. 

After reading this you may be wondering, but you didn’t go to the Blue Lagoon? One of the most famous sites in Iceland… and the answer is no I didn’t. For a couple of reasons, firstly its quite expensive in my opinion at 44 euro per person, and secondly it’s such a touristy thing, trust me after 9 days on national route 1 you will be so sick of tourists wielding selfie sticks like a weapon. Instead I would take advantage of the many natural hot springs dotted around the country that are completely free and give the Blue Lagoon a miss. 


As I said if you enjoyed my itinerary and want it in an easy to read spread sheet sign up below and I will send it to you for free! 

 Views from Icelandic Air

Views from Icelandic Air

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11 perfect days road tripping in Italy

Why you shouldn’t miss Pisa, Cinque Terre, Florence, Venice and Lake Como!

Day 1: Albertville, France to Cinque Terre, Italy (514km)

You can choose to start this road trip from a number of destinations depending on your travel plans, I am starting it in France as it’s my home base for the summer. Driving from Albertville you can take a direct route which is much faster but also a tad boring or you can choose to drive across the pass through Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis and see the beautiful Lac Du Mont Cenis, its totally worth a detour. 

 Lac Du Mont Cenis on top of the Pass

Lac Du Mont Cenis on top of the Pass

 Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis Village

Lanslebourg-Mont-Cenis Village

You will arrive in Cinque Terre in the late afternoon, now be warned that Cinque Terre actually means “Five Lands” and is a region made up of 5 coastal villages. A lot of people come here and think that it’s just one spot when indeed there are 5 different villages including Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. In my opinion Manarola and Riomaggiore are the best villages with beautiful beaches and great restaurants. 

 Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

Riomaggiore Cinque Terre

If you are planning to stay in the area you will need to park your car in Levanto and catch the train to the village you wish to stay at. Alternatively, you can take a ferry service between the villages and capture some great photos from the boat. 

 Manarola Cinque Terre

Manarola Cinque Terre

Day 2: Cinque Terre to Pisa (101km)

Once you arrive in Pisa the only real attraction is the Leaning Tower which is situated behind a beautiful Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square. If you are looking for somewhere to grab dinner head across the river into the old town, there are a number of great restaurants in the area that are much less touristy. 

 The Leaning Tower of Pisa

The Leaning Tower of Pisa

Day 3 – 5: Florence (86km)

Florence is a beautiful city with lots to see and do, you will want to spend your time wisely here to maximize your enjoyment and avoid the endless lines. Before you head to Florence be sure to book all your museum and attraction tickets in advance, sometimes the museum lines are 2-3 hours long.

 Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

Basilica di Santa Maria Novella

That being said you won’t want to miss; Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore (be sure to visit the cathedral and climb the 418 stairs in the tower for beautiful panoramic views of Florence), Piazzale degli Uffizi Museum, The Boboli Gardens, Piazzale Michelangelo and Galleria dell'Accademia. 

 Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore

 Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

 Piazzale Michelangelo

Piazzale Michelangelo

After a hard day of touring in the heat if you are looking for somewhere to cool off and enjoy an amazing cocktail look no further than Locale Firenze. While the drinks may be 20 euro each, they are worth every cent. The chef will send out the most incredible bar snacks you have ever tasted and the atmosphere of the bar is perfection. If your still not convinced you can always ask for a tour of the basement area which has been renovated and boasts restored ruins dating back to the 11th century. Private dinner parties are held in these beautifully decorated rooms and are not to be missed. 

 Locale Firenze

Locale Firenze

 Its not on the menu but ask for a Passion fruit Martini, you won't be disappointed 

Its not on the menu but ask for a Passion fruit Martini, you won't be disappointed 

Day 6-9: Venice (255km)

Venice was my favorite city by far on this trip, the canals, the gondolas, the history it really is as wonderful as everyone says it is. I visited in late July and let me start by clearing up a big misconception, everyone told me it was going to smell, I have been to Venice before and didn’t think it smelled any worse than any other major city but everyone insisted in July and August its awful, this is a complete lie. The city smelt fine, clean in fact I would say New York and London smell way worse. That being said you need to brace yourself for the relentless heat and the onslaught of tourists wielding selfie sticks like a club. 

 Grand Canal Venice

Grand Canal Venice

Here is a rough guideline on how to spend your time in Venice, much like Florence you will want to pre-book all your tickets before you arrive to avoid those lines. 

Day 1 in Venice (Nothing but Museums)

Ease into Venice in the comfort of air-conditioning and visit the amazing Museums the island has to offer. You won’t want to miss Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Gallerie dell'Accademia and Museo Correr. Now this is a lot of take on in one day so be prepared to be as my friend would say “Museum Tired” by the end of it. 

 On the Terrace at Peggy Guggenheim

On the Terrace at Peggy Guggenheim

 Views of the Grand Canal, we didn't let the rain stop us

Views of the Grand Canal, we didn't let the rain stop us

Day 2 in Venice (Piazza San Marco and Murano Island)

If you want to get the best views of Piazza San Marco, tourist free you will need to rise before the sun and make your way to the square. I cannot tell you how amazing it was to watch the sunrise over the Grand Canal. Once you have had breakfast and 10 cups of coffee it’s time to catch the ferry to Murano. Getting to Murano early means you will beat the crowds. Once you arrive by ferry turn to the left away from the main canal, there is one glass shop who lets you watch their glass demonstrations for free. Everyone else will charge you 5 euro per person. Spend the day exploring the island and looking at all the wonderful glass shops. 

 Piazza San Marco at sunrise

Piazza San Marco at sunrise

San-Marco-Sunrise
 Doge's Palace (with no one around, winning)

Doge's Palace (with no one around, winning)

 Murano Island

Murano Island

Day 3 in Venice (Burano Island and the Grand Canal)

Much like Murano you will want to be up reasonably early to head to the island of Burano. The ferry takes approximately 50 minutes to reach the island but offers some great views on the way. Burano is such a beautiful island, each house is painted in a vibrant color, fun fact, they did this so they could identify their house when arriving by sea. The island has restaurants and shops and will take you approximately 3-4 hours to explore. Once you are done catch the ferry back to Venice and head up the Grand Canal for some great photo opportunities. 

 The colors of Burano Island

The colors of Burano Island

 The houses on Burano Island

The houses on Burano Island

 The Grand Canal

The Grand Canal

 Cruising the Grand Canal

Cruising the Grand Canal

Day 4 in Venice (Doge Palace, Saint Mark's Basilica, Gondolas and Cocktails)

It’s your last day in Venice and your trip wouldn’t be complete without visiting the Doge's Palace, going inside Saint Mark's Basilica, taking a Gondola ride and sipping cocktails on the Grand Canal. If you are planning on taking a Gondola ride I would recommend getting one from a small canal and avoiding the Grand Canal at all costs. Also if you go before 7pm its much cheaper. If its cocktails with a view you are after head to Bauer Palazzo the cocktails are on pointe and the views are spectacular. 

 Gondola Ride Venice

Gondola Ride Venice

 Cocktails at Bauer Palazzo 

Cocktails at Bauer Palazzo 

Day 10-11: Lake Como (344km)

I expected Lake Como to be beautiful, I mean George Clooney lives there. But I don’t think I was really prepared for how amazing it would actually be. Set in a Y shaped valley the views are unbeatable as you drive from town to town along the water’s edge. Driving around Lake Como is challenging in itself, be prepared to go slowly and be mindful of vehicles coming the other way, it tends to get very narrow in the villages. For the best views of the lake check out Bellagio and the lighthouse on top of the mountain behind the city of Lake Como. 

 Lake Como

Lake Como

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The Ultimate 60 Day North America Road Trip

2 Countries, 12 States, over 12,000 miles, 60 Days and 18 National Parks! This is the ultimate West Coast/Central Road Trip Itinerary. 

Day 1: Houston, Texas – Amarillo, Texas (600 miles) 

I started this road trip in Houston as it was where my car was located. Houston does offer a great international airport so you may also wish to start here, otherwise you can cut out the first two days and skip straight to Arizona. 

 Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch - Amarillo, Texas

Day 2: Amarillo, Texas – Seligman, Arizona (684 miles) 

Seligman is located on historic Route 66, the motels are charming and the cafes serve up great American fare. Use this as a base to visit Havasupai Falls which is located 90 miles away. 

 Route 66 - Seligman, Arizona

Route 66 - Seligman, Arizona

Day 3: Havasupai Falls, Arizona

If you are planning on including Havasupai in your itinerary it is important to note that it’s almost impossible to get a reservation for camping. My suggestion is trying to book more than a year in advance, I called over 200 times 7 months before I wanted to travel and it was completely booked. It’s a 32km round trip, I did hike in and out on the same day which took about 10 hours. You will be charged $88 per person as a fine for day hiking, however I wouldn't recommend it.

 Grand Canyon - Arizona

Grand Canyon - Arizona

 Havasupai Falls, Arizona

Havasupai Falls, Arizona

 Havasupai Falls, Arizona

Havasupai Falls, Arizona

Day 4: Seligman, Arizona – Page, Arizona via Monument Valley (365 miles)  

A trip to Utah wouldn’t be complete without a stop at Monument Valley. You can drive around the entire reservation which has a number of pull outs for photo opportunities. 

 Monument Valley - Utah

Monument Valley - Utah

 Monument Valley - Utah

Monument Valley - Utah

While you are visiting Page be sure to check out Horse Shoe Bend, it’s stunning at sunrise and sunset, but if you want to avoid the crowds, sunrise is your best bet. 

 Horseshoe Bend - Page, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend - Page, Arizona

If you are looking for a truly unique experience, you can book a night in a sheep wagon on Air BnB. It is located very close to Horseshoe Bend but be warned there is no electricity or running water. 

 Air BnB Sheep Wagon - Page, Arizona

Air BnB Sheep Wagon - Page, Arizona

Day 5: Page, Arizona – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (151 miles) 

A quick 2.5 hour drive will put you at the entrance of the Bryce Canyon National Park. The park is very picturesque and all of the main sites can be seen from the lookouts adjacent to the parking lots. 

 Welcome to Utah

Welcome to Utah

 Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

 Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Day 6-8: Zion National Park, Utah (73 miles) 

Located only a 1.5 hour drive from Bryce Canyon Zion National Park is in my top 2 favorite National Parks. Staying inside the park can be quite expensive, however there are a number of towns that surround the park with much more affordable accommodation. If you are planning to do any of the iconic hikes such as Angels Landing and Observation Point (my personal favorite) be sure to be at the visitors center before 7am to ensure you are on the first shuttle to the trail head. Zion limits cars inside the park so you will need to catch the shuttle buses, which run very frequently but be warned the car park fills up quickly in the morning. It is important to note that if you want to hike the “Subway” you will need to apply for a permit in the park lottery. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t win, I have applied multiple times with no success. 

 Observation Point Zion National Park

Observation Point Zion National Park

 Observation Point Zion National Park

Observation Point Zion National Park

Day 9-10: Las Vegas, Nevada (160 miles)

This is an optional stop, however if you are keen to relax by the pool with a cocktail, take in a show, visit the Grand Canyon by helicopter or jump off the Stratosphere I would suggest a quick stop in Vegas is a must. 

 Jumping off the Stratosphere - Las Vegas, Nevada

Jumping off the Stratosphere - Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 11-13: Death Valley, Nevada (150 miles)

You may be thinking Death Valley, really? I can assure you that it’s a must see. If you are travelling in the middle of summer (July-August) you might want to skip Death Valley due to the extreme temperatures. That being said there is lots to explore in the park, most of the hikes are quite short and a lot can be seen from the car. 

 Death Valley National Park - Sand Dunes

Death Valley National Park - Sand Dunes

 Death Valley National Park - Devil's Golf Course

Death Valley National Park - Devil's Golf Course

Day 14-16: Sequoia National Park, California (312 miles)  

Leaving the heat of Death Valley behind you will start to climb and head into the Californian mountain range. Be prepared for a sudden drop in temperature it can get cold in the mountains even during summer. You are now in Bear Country so be sure to properly store all your food and scented items and be alert when hiking.

 Sequoia National Park

Sequoia National Park

 Camping in Sequoia National Park

Camping in Sequoia National Park

Day 17-20: Yosemite National Park, California (138 miles)

Yosemite is tied with Zion as my favorite National Park in the United States. If you can I highly recommend staying in the park as traffic in and out of the park is a nightmare. You can book camp sites ahead of time or if like me you didn’t think of that in time there is Camp 4 which is a first come first serve site. Be prepared to be there by 4am to get a spot, especially on weekends. My favorite hike in the park is called Upper Yosemite Falls / Yosemite Point. With 3,000ft in elevation gain this is not for the faint hearted but the views are well worth it. 

 Yosemite Point 

Yosemite Point 

 Yosemite Point

Yosemite Point

 Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park

Glacier Point - Yosemite National Park

Day 21-23: Lake Tahoe, California (123 miles)
The drive from Yosemite to Lake Tahoe is beautiful, be sure to take your time. If you like mountains, beaches, great food and fun bars then South Lake Tahoe is for you. My favorite hike in South Tahoe was Mt. Tallac, its quite steep but the views are worth it. 

 Mt. Tallac - South Lake Tahoe, California

Mt. Tallac - South Lake Tahoe, California

 The Beach - South Lake Tahoe, California

The Beach - South Lake Tahoe, California

Day 23-24: Crater Lake National Park, Oregon (356 miles)

Crater Lake is one of the most picturesque places I have ever been. The lake is one of the cleanest and deepest in the world which makes the views unbelievable. See for yourself…

 Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

 Hiking Crater Lake National Park

Hiking Crater Lake National Park

 Snow Shoeing - Crater Lake National Park

Snow Shoeing - Crater Lake National Park

Day 25-26: Mount Rainier National Park, Washington State (369 miles)

Mount Rainier is a sight to behold, if you are lucky enough to see it. The mountain is usually shrouded in clouds but it doesn’t make the park any less breath taking. 

Day 27-29: Seattle, Washington State (65 miles)

As far as cities go I really enjoyed my time in Seattle, there is lots to see and do and if you need a break from the outdoors it’s a great return to civilization. 

 Seattle

Seattle

Day 30-34: Whistler, Canada via North Cascades National Park, Washington State (310 miles)

Today is going to involve quite a lot of driving but it’s totally worth it. North Cascades National Park is a must see, and only requires a small detour. 

 North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

If you are looking for an amazing hike in Whistler, look no further than Geoffrey Lakes. The blue water, heavy forest and snow capped peaks make for perfect photos. 

 Geoffrey Lakes - Whistler, Canada

Geoffrey Lakes - Whistler, Canada

Day 35-41: Banff National Park, Canada (492 miles)

Banff was one of my favorite places visited on this road trip. You cannot spend enough time here, there are so many amazing hikes to do, below are some highlights. 

 Big Behive Hike - Lake Louise - Canada

Big Behive Hike - Lake Louise - Canada

 Johnson Canyon - Canada

Johnson Canyon - Canada

 Lake Louise - Canada

Lake Louise - Canada

Day 42-46: Jasper National Park & Mount Robson, Canada (111 miles)

Jasper is a beautiful National Park with lots of amazing hikes, however if you are looking for something more challenging and you have backcountry equipment I cannot recommend Berg Lake at Mount Robson enough. This challenging 14mile (each way) hike, with 2,000ft elevation gain is worth every step for those views. You will need to stay a minimum of 2 nights at Berg Lake so you can do the 8 mile day hike for these views. Be sure to book a camp site well ahead of time as its usually booked out in the summer months. 

 Jasper National Park - Canada

Jasper National Park - Canada

 Berg Lake, Mt. Robson - Canada

Berg Lake, Mt. Robson - Canada

 Day Hike from Berg Lake - Canada

Day Hike from Berg Lake - Canada

Day 47: Glacier National Park, Montana (367 miles)

Glacier National Park is very picturesque, I only drove through the park however I would highly recommend staying here a night and enjoying one of the many hikes on offer. If you’re lucky you will spot a Mountain Goat perched on a ledge. 

Day 48-52: Yellowstone National Park & Grand Teton National Park Wyoming (375 miles)

t is important that you prepare yourself for Yellowstone, it is one of the most popular and visited National Parks. You will be stuck in non-stop traffic jams, getting anywhere take a long time due to the size of the park and watch out for wildlife. If you can I would suggest escaping the crowds and going on a Backcountry hike, there are lots available within the park. 
If you are desperate to see some amazing wildlife remember most traffic jams are created by people slowing down to see something, 9 times out of 10 it will be a bison or elk but on the odd occasion it will be a bear, my advice if you see cars stopped grab your camera and start running. 

 Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park

Grand Prismatic Spring - Yellowstone National Park

 Walking with the Bison in the backcountry - Yellowstone National Park

Walking with the Bison in the backcountry - Yellowstone National Park

 Black Bear and her Two Cubs - Yellowstone National Park

Black Bear and her Two Cubs - Yellowstone National Park

Backcountry-Hiking-Yellowstone

Day 53-55: Mount Rushmore & The Bad Lands National Park, South Dakota (432 miles)

If you are feeling a little patriotic a stop at Mount Rushmore is a must. The sculptures will wow you and the surrounding forest is nice and offers some good hikes.

Mount-Rushmore

A stop at the Bad Lands National Park is a must, the views are breathtaking and if you are willing to hike you can spot ancient fossils in the rocks. 

 The Bad Lands - South Dekota

The Bad Lands - South Dekota

Day 56-60: Estes Park & Mt. Evans, Colorado (374 miles)

The final stop of this whirl wind adventure across 2 countries is Colorado. Soak in the last of the mountain views and brace yourself for a return to reality. 

 Colorado Mountain View

Colorado Mountain View

 Friendly Marmot Posing for a Photo - Colorado

Friendly Marmot Posing for a Photo - Colorado

 Chasm Lake Hike - Colorado

Chasm Lake Hike - Colorado

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