Inspirational Images of a 'Western Highlights' Contiki USA Tour

12 June 2013
Read Time: 2.8 mins

Lauren Burvill, one of Flight Centre's copywriters, recently returned home from the USA where she spent a week on a Contiki tour.

"The tour I was on was the Western Highlights tour, a week-long tour that began in Los Angeles and finished up in Las Vegas. I chose the tour based on the fact that it stopped at the Grand Canyon, which is one of the places in the States that I'd been dying to see. While the canyon was definitely a 'pinch me I'm here' place, I really did love the entire itinerary which also included San Diego and Phoenix," said Lauren.

"Having never been on a Contiki tour, I was concerned that because it only went for a week, that it was going to be quite rushed, but I was pleasantly surprised by the pace. The tour was great because we made so much ground, more than I would have been able to achieve by myself, but I never felt hurried or that I didn't have enough time to see and do all that I wanted to."

"Another great aspect to the tour that I wasn't expecting was the activities. Offered as optional, since I wasn't in the States for very long I opted to do it all. I think the biggest highlight was the hot air balloon ride above Phoenix. Before going I knew very little about the city, but absolutely loved my time there. Driving a small jet boat in San Diego was also an incredibly surreal experience."

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Sunrise over Phoenix

"A few people on the tour were a little nervous about the balloon ride, but once we were up in the air it was just so peaceful. Everything was still and silent. It was quite an amazing moment. One of the best sunrises I've ever seen as well."

 

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Hot air balloon ride in Phoenix

"I'll admit, it was a struggle getting up at 4:30 am to make it to the hot air balloon, but once we got there, just seeing the balloon in the air made it all worth it."

 

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The San Diego Harbour

"This quick snap was taken as I was behind the wheel of a small speed boat in the San Diego Harbour. Having never really driven a boat before, at first I was quite scared I would accidently drive into the waters of the US naval base and cause an international incident. But once you got up to a certain speed it was quite easy to drive – and a lot of fun!"

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The Shamu show at Seaworld

"Having been a Free Willy fan as a kid (aren't we all?) it was such a thrill to see these amazing creatures in real life - and the crowd at the front getting absolutely saturated by the whales' splashes ."

 

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A motorbike in Phoenix

"Being a Sons of Anarchy fan I couldn't help but snap a photo of this amazing bike – just as the tattoo-covered owner came out to catch me. Sure enough he was a president of a motorcycle club made up of ex-Vietnam vets. Not expecting my Australian accent, he was just as fascinated by me as I was him. After quizzing him for a while about his club he kindly let me take a photo of his cut too which was completely covered in badges."

 

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The red rock landscape of Sedona

"I completely loved Sedona. It really is the land of cowboys and roadrunners – just like the movies and cartoons. While we were there a tour company run by real, gun-toting cowboys took us for a four-wheel drive ride through the national park which was a really fun and fantastic way to see the stunning landscape."

 

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The Grand Canyon

"Just look at those colours! Visiting the Grand Canyon was such a dream come true. The whole thing just didn't seem real and no matter how much I looked at it, I still couldn't compute just how mammoth it is. It really boggles the mind. For example, that gully part that runs through the middle of the photo leads down to a river that is as wide as the length of a football field – and yet it looked like just a tiny speck in the grand scheme of things."

 

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On Route 66

"Between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas we stopped off at the now very kitsch Route 66. While most of the focus is around the 1950s style tourist stores complete with some of the original rooms from that era, I was completely fascinated by these abandoned tepees nearby. With the red dirt and grey sky, there's something quite eerie about this photo."

 

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Gondola Rides at the Venetian Casino in Las Vegas

"I just loved Las Vegas – more than I was expecting to. It is such a surreal place where anything goes and anything can happen. This was by far the craziest thing I saw there. Even the ceiling was curved and painted to look like the sky with some clouds. Only in Vegas!"

 

Flight Centre's Consultants

At Flight Centre, our consultants have travelled far and wide to offer you informed assistance when it comes to booking your next trip. These blog posts showcase just some of the experiences our consultants have had on recent adventures. We hope you enjoy reading these blog articles.