Great Lakes and The Manning Valley New South Wales

The Great Lakes and The Manning Valley are adjacent areas of outstanding beauty and diversity Great Lakes stretches from Forster in the north through Pacific Palms, Seal Rocks and Tea Gardens and Stroud inland. It is a beautiful place to live and visit with endless pristine beaches, lakes, national parks and forest.
Activities and events fill your time here from mountain biking to strolling on the endlessly long beaches to kayaking on still waters or fishing in the lakes and deep sea fishing or whale watching during the migration.   
The Manning Valley is where spectacular coastline meets rustic countryside and mountain trails. The Manning has 9 stunning National Parks and 45 kilometres of pristine coastline and beaches. The famous Ellenborough Falls one of the longest single drop falls in the southern hemisphere is within easy reach via Taree the main town in the Manning and the business centre of the district..... but you will find delight in discovering the other lovely villages in the area like Wingham, Harrrington, Nabiac, Diamond Beach and Hallidays Point.

Tallwoods golf course Hallidays Point

Black Head wetlands

Black Head bazaar one of many regular markets held in the region

Lakeside café line the shores in Forster

Forster the home of oyster farms

Pristine Black Head beach

Monument Valley

Forest Gump. Journey's end

Last stop on our USA road trip and what a way to end this wonderful journey but at Monument Valley staying in "The View Hotel" giving us a ringside seat of this natural spectacle and an opportunity to spend a night soaking up the silence looking up at a crystal clear night sky from our balcony. This modern hotel is in the Navajo reservation area and is primarily staffed by local people. The hotel is modern and tastefully furnished with an indigenous influence in it's décor in the public areas and bedrooms. It is evident that the management and staff take pride in this hotel. The public areas are immaculate and the bedrooms are modern, clean and well equipped. The restaurant serves simple fare and some of the dishes on the menu are inspired by Navajo traditional food. Prices are very reasonable and this restaurant doesn't pretend to be anything else but one serving honest to goodness food all serviced by enthusiastic and friendly staff. 


Moab was a wonderful discovery on our USA road trip. We routed from Boulder to Moab on Interstate 1-70 but by chance met a guy in Boulder who advised us to drive the scenic highway once we entered Utah.
En route we stopped in Vaile for lunch and realized pretty soon why this was the haunt of the so called 'rich and famous' price tags and buildings to match in this Disneyfied village where we paid $25 for less than an hours parking.....suggest fellow travelers find a roadhouse instead!


At Cisco we took the 128 off the Interstate which at first we thought may be a mistake as the road was narrow and with heavy rainstorms the going was at first pretty daunting, the storm soon abated and the remaining storm clouds gave us some great photo opportunities in the dramatic landscape as it meanders along the Colorado river to Moab.

MOAB Main Street


Estes Park


This gateway hub of the Rockies National Park is a busy and very pleasant town with a variety of shops, restaurants, coffee shops, delis and a collection of interesting galleries displaying artworks by talented local artists.  The layout of this attractive village with a backdrop of the Rockies takes full advantage of the fast flowing Fall River running adjacent to the main street. The ‘Riverwalk’ meanders alongside the river, the main street shops back onto and open up onto the walk allowing you to stroll along the riverbank and take in the numerous shops and galleries.  The well located ‘Visitors centre’ on the edge of the village will give you the full lowdown on the area and the many facilities and services on offer.



The Magic of Yellowstone

Yellowstone is an enchanting area of natural beauty with spectacular waterfalls, green valleys and jaw dropping mountain backdrops.  Wild animals roam free here and are afforded the protection of a dedicated band of enthusiastic and knowledgeable Rangers who can be found throughout this wilderness wonderland assisting and educating visitors. Yellowstone is popular and visitors are many but if you stop in a ‘pullout’  or picnic area and hike a small distance on one of the many trails throughout the park you can get a better sense of the peace that only nature can give you as you savour the majesty of this great place. One of the many wonders of Yellowstone is the Yellowstone Caldera also referred to as the Yellowstone Supervolcano. These sites are very popular and raised walkways have been built around many of the bubbling geysers and hot springs, one of the most famous being the Grand Prismatic Spring, coloured steaming mud flow from some of these and provide a wonderful palette of natural colours. Old Faithful geyser erupts on a regular schedule and is also a spectacle that shouldn’t be missed. The park provides many accommodation options and refreshment stops and whilst Yellowstone is well commercialised it is worth setting aside a number of days to explore the different regions of this natural wonder.
Yellowstone village western entrance



The Discovery centre is worth a visit to see Grizzly Bears, Wolves and some native eagles up close.
   Rangers are on hand to provide useful information and the centre has interesting displays on the native wild life of Yellowstone. The centre is evolving with new sanctuary areas now under construction.