48 Hour Destination - California Road Trip



In episode five of The 48 Hour Destination season two, Flight Centre travel consultant Greer Gardiner hits the road from LAX for a road trip up California's Highway 1. Her guide in this episode is Los Angeles based travel consultant, Ho Min Um, and together they explore everything California is known for, from national parks to wineries and iconic cities.



Day 1

10am – Santa Barbara Pier

Greer meets Ho Min on the pier at Santa Barbara, bikes at the ready knowing that Greer’s had a long flight and a bit of a drive. They take to the streets to see Santa Barbara with a little pedal power. The girls cycle around the elegant city, taking in the coastal hills, and sun-washed Spanish architecture, before hitting the road.



12noon – Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo

Ho Min has lunch planned for the pair in a whimsical restaurant at The Madonna Inn.  The property that features 110 guestrooms, enchanting décor, resort amenities, and is famous for its indulgent, decadent cakes. The girls grab lunch and of course some dessert in the enchanting dining room.


2pm – Hearst Castle, Highway 1

Next up, Ho Min drives Greer towards a complex of ornately embellished towers and buildings perched high on a coastal hilltop. This lavish property that was designed by California’s first licensed female architect, Julia Morgan, was the private residence of publishing mogul William Randolph Hearst. Featuring 165 rooms, the castle is set over 127 acres of stunning gardens. They explore a private tour with their guide Scott.


4pm – Limekiln State Park, Big Sur National Park

Offering camping, a beach, seasonal waterfalls and scenic hike, out to historic kilns, this dense green wonderland really is a magical place to take a quick driving break. The girls immerse themselves in California’s beautiful Big Sur, exploring one of the nature trails by foot.


 5pm – Ventana Big Sur

After a day of driving and adventure, it is time to check in and disconnect for the night, so the pair head to the magnificent Ventana Resort. Nestled in between the rugged Pacific coastline and California forests, this exclusive property boats a truly majestic setting. The girls settle down on the lawn for a spot of wine and cheese as they take in the warm afternoon sun setting on their first day.


6pm – The Sur House, Ventana Big Sur

Greer and Ho Min dine onsite, enjoying local produce and sustainable seafood, inside The Sur House, Ventana’s ambient dining room. They enjoy meals inspired by the fresh and local Californian produce the area is known for, their meals selected and prepared for them especially by the restaurant’s head chef.


8pm – Redwood Glampsite, Ventana Big Sur

As the night comes to a close, it’s time for the pair to head to their accommodation. Down at the Redwood Canyon Glampsite, Greer and Ho Min enjoy the campfire going outside their private glampsites. Ho Min gives Greer a lesson in s’mores before they retire for the night.  What a way to end the day!



Day 2

6am – Ventana, Big Sur

To start the day in Ho Min invites Greer for an early morning swim in the misty infinity pool, looking out into the dense forests that surround the resort.



7:30am – The Sur House, Ventana Big Sur

Time for a quick meal before they take on day 2 and the next stretch of highway, so the girls enjoy a fresh breakfast at Sur House as the sun comes up into full swing. They sit outside on the terrace, overlooking the foggy coastline, enjoying hot coffee, fresh fruit and warm pastries baked on site that morning. Greer is in her element!


9am – Carmel Valley Ranch, Carmel Valley

Next Ho Min drives Greer to Carmel Valley Ranch, an upscale ranch set on 500 acres in the stunning Carmel Valley. She introduces Greer to Mariah McDonald, the property’s resident beekeeper who runs the sustainable garden. Along with Spencer and their resident dog Rumy, they take a tour of the gardens and then experience the ancient magic of beekeeping. The property is highly committed to sustainable practices, which Greer loves to see and learn about first hand.

The pair continues north, taking in the quaint towns and coastal scenery along the way. They take the scenic route through Carmel by the Sea, Monterey, then head over the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, before stopping for a bite to eat…



12 noon – In-N-Out Burger

It’s a quintessential road trip meal, burgers at the drive through! A quick stop at In-N-Out for fries, shakes, and burgers, and the girls are ready for the next stretch of highway.


3pm – Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma

They have arrived at their accommodation for night 2, the Farmhouse Inn. This boutique property boasts a Michelin-starred restaurant, Sommelier-led wine tours, and even a resident cat. Farmhouse Inn ranks among the most highly rated hotels in the world, making it the perfect place to stop in Sonoma. The girls check in, freshen up and take a look around the grounds, before they are taken to Gary Farrell winery via a private Tesla transfer, how very Californian!


4pm – Gary Farrell Winery, Sonoma

Greer and Ho Min meet sommelier Kevin who takes them through the barrel room, explaining a few fun facts about the delightful grape elixir, before they enjoy a wine tasting, and learn about some of the award-winning wines varieties made on site.



6pm – Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma

With a team of two fifth generation Sonoma farmers, a Michelin-starred chef, a world-class maitre d’ and a team of sommeliers, the restaurant at Farmhouse Inn is the cornerstone of the hotel. With ingredients straight from the nearby farms, the menus are ever-changing. 

Greer and Ho Min are treated to a Michelin starred meal by head chef Steve, in the intimate restaurant that was once the property’s original farmhouse.  Steve explains his meals, as the menu is ever-changing based of seasonal produce and the gardens he strolls through daily.


Day 3

7am – Farmhouse Inn, Sonoma

It’s the last morning so Ho Min has organised a two-course breakfast at the Farmhouse Inn, where the pair reflects on the whirlwind itinerary to date. They enjoy handmade pastries, sip on coffee and enjoy the peaceful surroundings, as Charlotte the Farmhouse Inn’s cat circles at their feet. 


9am – Vineyards, Sonoma

Walking through Sonoma vines, under the bright Californian sun, the girls take a moment to reflect on their incredible experiences along Highway 1.  





Luke Wheatley

Jason Wolff

Luke Wheatley

Jessica Holmes

Rich Wang

Marty Fay

Ho Min

Greer Gardiner

Luke Wheatley & Jessica Holmes 

Takeshi Takada 

Antony Newton 

Helise Andreoli

Stephanie Liquorish & Josh Kell

Kali Bateman

Claudio Berinato