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The West

ARIZONA & NEVADA

Las Vegas is a dazzling and brazen oasis in the Nevada Desert. From the sound of one arm bandits to colourful evening shows this is one of the most exciting cities in the world. The main attractions are located on ‘The Strip’, and the hotels here are an equal spectacle. Take a gondola ride at the Venetian, or watch the fountain show at the Bellagio.

A helicopter ride away lies the awesome Grand Canyon, a vast chasm one mile deep and 277 miles long. The sun provides a spectacular light show of vibrant colours of orange, crimson and yellows at sunrise and sunset.

More colourful landscapes are to be found near Sedona where the rocks blaze with claret, russet and vermillion. The town itself is an artist’s Mecca filled with small shops and restaurants to explore.

In north eastern Arizona Ancient Canyon de Chelly provides another feast of colour where sunset lights the rocks a vibrant orange, and ancient cliff dwellings can be found in niches in the walls. Nearby Monument Valley displays the extraordinary sandstone monoliths and cliff formations familiar from many western films.

Phoenix and nearby Scottsdale provide year-round sunshine, cultural attractions and museums and a varied landscape close to the Sonora Desert.

At Saguaro National Park on Tucson’s doorstep, desert plants including marigolds, Mexican gold poppies and acres of crimson sage scatter the landscape during spring, and towering cacti punctuate the horizon.

Sample a taste of the Wild West at Tombstone and watch a staged showdown at the OK Corral where the shootout between gangs led by Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday occurred in 1881.

CALIFORNIA

There is more to California than sun drenched beaches and Hollywood glamour. There are abundant National Parks, wineries, vibrant cities and fascinating small towns to explore.

Legions of towering Redwoods, the tallest trees in the world some rising to an impressive 400ft. reside in Northern California at Redwood National Park, just south of the Oregon border.

Inland, in North East California lies mystical Mount Shasta with its distinctive snow-capped peak, and vistas of moonlike lava beds and sulphur springs can be found at Lassen Volcanic National Park.

High in the Sierra Nevada is the jewel of California, Yosemite and its lesser known sisters Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. Jaw dropping scenery, thundering waterfalls and deep glacier carved valleys form a visual delight.

Napa and Sonoma are the wine growing regions of California. Napa offers fertile orchards and vineyards producing superb Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Sonoma is smaller and appears more rustic, but many fine restaurants can be found among beautifully preserved historic buildings.

Between vibrant San Francisco and legendary Los Angeles, Highway 1 passes alongside panoramic views of cliffs and crashing surf. Colonies of sea lions and seals perch on granite headlands as you weave your way towards Southern California. Charming towns dot the coast including Monterey with its famous aquarium, and Carmel with its pretty galleries and shops.

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