Nova Scotia & Newfoundland Expedition
from $6270
Duration: 15 Days
Ocean mist that permeates the air of quaint colonial towns, the smell of freshly grilled seafood along scenic waterfront boardwalks, and picture-perfect lighthouses perched on rocky outposts – Canada’s Maritimes are like nowhere else in the world. This 15-day expedition takes you to some of the east coast’s most charming towns, best attractions and incredible parks. See the unusual formations of Hopewell Rocks at different stages of the tide, traverse the scenic Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands, cruise the Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park and visit some of the oldest towns in North America. Add a hearty dose of quaint Atlantic charm for an outdoor adventure that will stay with you long after you’ve left Canada’s beautiful Atlantic provinces.
  • The picturesque crayon-coloured wood houses of Lunenburg not only make the Old Town the best surviving example of a British colonial town in North America, it makes it incredibly photogenic.
  • Discover the ever-changing Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy. During low tide, you can walk among the ‘flowerpot’ rock formations carved by tidal erosion, and at high tide, it’s possible to see whales from the shore!
  • Explore the serene landscapes that beloved author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, called home and inspired her classic novel – Anne of Green Gables.
  • Take in jaw-dropping views of steep cliffs and deep river canyons in the Cape Breton Highlands, then cruise the Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland’s World Heritage-listed Gros Morne National Park.
  • Enjoy a local brew at Alexander Keith’s on Halifax’s atmospheric waterfront, learn the unusual aviation history of Gander, and spend time in one of the oldest cities in North America – St John’s.
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Halifax - Peggy's Cove
  • New Brunswick - Hopewell Rocks
  • Prince Edward Island National Park
  • Prince Edward Island - Seafood Dinner
  • Ferry to Cape Breton Island
  • Cape Breton National Park
  • Cape Breton Island - Lighthouse Visit
  • Cape Breton Island - Louisburg Fortress admission
  • Ferry to Newfoundland
  • Gros Morne National Park
  • Gros Morne NP - Western Brook Pond Boat Tour
  • L'Anse Meadows Historic Site
  • Terra Nova National Park
  • Day 1 Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Touch down in beautiful Halifax, the capital of the maritime province of Nova Scotia. Breathe in the fresh ocean air as you make your own way to the hotel. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm where you’ll meet your group leader and fellow travellers. Afterwards, enjoy a free evening to explore the Halifax waterfront. Once the gateway into Canada for over a million European immigrants, today, the historic boardwalk is a lively hub of shops, galleries, restaurants, bars and in the warmer months, some tall ships. It’s a great place to sample some fresh local seafood, and if you’re lucky, local music as well! If you find you’re overwhelmed by the dining choices on offer, your tour leader can suggest some local favourites along the waterfront.
    Day 2 Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia
    Head out of Halifax to visit some of Nova Scotia’s best sights, starting the morning off with a visit to Peggy’s Point Lighthouse. Situated in the picturesque fishing village of Peggy’s Cove, the striking white and red lighthouse is an enduring image of Canada’s east coast. After snapping some pics, travel to Lunenburg, located on the island’s historic South Shore. Its World Heritage-listed Old Town – with 18th century colonial-era wooden houses painted in a rainbow of colours – now house an eclectic mix of shops selling artisan goods, galleries and restaurants. The Bluenose II, a replica of an important fishing schooner in Canadian history – so much so that it has been immortalised on the Canadian dime – can usually be seen parked in the port here, unless it’s sailing season. All in all, there will be around 5 hours of driving today, so later this afternoon back in Halifax, take some time to chill out and find some good food with your travel crew.
    Day 3 Location: Prince Edward Island
    Today, drive a few hours’ north, crossing into New Brunswick to visit the eerily beautiful Hopewell Rocks Park. Here, you will find an unusual twisted ‘flowerpot’ rock formation as tall as 20 metres (70 feet) caused by tidal erosion from the renowned Bay of Fundy. You’ll have plenty of time in the park to see the rocks at different stages of its tidal pattern each day – perhaps exploring the rocks from the bay floor! Afterwards, take a scenic drive to Prince Edward Island (PEI) – crossing the water via Canada’s longest bridge, Confederation Bridge – and settle in for the night. You’ll spend approximately 3.5 hours driving with your small group today.
    Day 4 Location: Prince Edward Island
    Enjoy some free time to explore the rocky red cliffs, wind-sculpted sand dunes and sandy beaches of Prince Edward Island National Park. Stretching across the island’s north shore and facing the Gulf of St Lawrence, the park boasts miles of hiking trails that lead through woodlands and tranquil ponds. Keep your eyes peeled for red foxes, warblers and herons. This is the serene landscape that Canadian author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, grew up in and which inspired her beloved novel, Anne of Green Gables. Kindred spirits may want to visit Green Gables Heritage Place – a restored farmhouse that was once owned by Montgomery’s cousins and served as the inspiration for Anne’s fictional home. Today’s total driving time is approximately 3 hours.
    Day 5 Location: Prince Edward Island
    Head to Charlottetown – PEI’s picturesque capital city. Compact and easy to explore, you might want to hire a bike and explore the network of walking trails and waterside boardwalks that take you past colourful houses, Victorian buildings and historic monuments. Otherwise, stroll along Victoria Row – a pretty street line with interesting shops and restaurants featuring fresh seafood and local produce. Charlottetown played an important role in the founding of Canada, so history buffs might want to spend the day checking out the historic buildings and galleries showcasing Canada’s heritage that are sprinkled throughout the city. If you’re after a sweet treat, you can’t beat an ice cream cone from local favourite, COWS Creamery. During the day, you'll also go lighthouse spotting with your group, heading around the island to East Point Lighthouse and other seaside beauties. After some free time in the late afternoon, meet back up with your tour leader for an included seafood dinner. You’ll be on the road for around 2 hours in total today.
    Day 6 Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
    Today take a short ferry from PEI to the north shore of Nova Scotia. Like other parts of the Maritimes, the landscape has been carved by wind and wave to fascinating effect, and you’ll get to see it all when you travel the Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The park boasts serene and unspoiled nature, a series of interconnected trails travels from saltwater lagoons and sheltered marshes to small, secluded beaches – with surprisingly warm water! – and wooded areas of white spruce, balsam fir and maple. Bird-lovers might be lucky to spot a bald eagle or osprey soaring above. Stop by a number of viewpoints to take in your pristine surroundings and perhaps embark on a short hike up in the highlands. Relax this evening after approximately 6.5 hours travelling today.
    Day 7 Location: Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
    The mountain-covered national parks in western Canada tend to hog the limelight (think Banff and Jasper), but Cape Breton Highlands National Park should be on every nature-lover’s radar. The place where the mountains meet the sea will leave you in awe. Today, you’ll have another chance to hike along the rugged coastline, where steep cliffs and deep river canyons have made for miles of jaw-dropping trails. As you walk among 350-year old trees, make sure to keep an eye open for moose, bald eagles and other wildlife. In the afternoon, you can choose to opt in for a whale watching tour where it’s possible to see minke whales, pilot whales and harbour seals.
    Day 8 Location: Cape Breton Island / North Sydney, Nova Scotia
    In the morning, put on some comfortable shoes and embark on a scenic two-kilometre hike along the Cape Breton coast. Starting at the Louisbourg Lighthouse, the aptly name Lighthouse Trail first weaves through forest and wetlands, then continues along the coastline. Take in stunning ocean views as the waves crash into the rugged shores before arriving at the historic Fortress of Louisbourg. A one-quarter reconstruction of the original French town and fortification, the fort played an important role in Canada’s early history. You’ll have time to admire it from the front and head inside to explore the grounds within. After about 2 hours of travelling today, head to North Sydney tonight, ready for your ferry voyage to Newfoundland tomorrow.
    Day 9 Location: Port Aux Basques, Newfoundland
    Be prepared for a long day of travel as you make your way to Newfoundland. Your boat journey with leave North Sydney in late morning, then it’s around a 7-hour journey to the south coast of Newfoundland. Though the boat has a cafeteria and shows movies, it’s a good idea to bring snacks and things to do in order to pass the time. Now might be a good time to reread your copy of Anne of Green Gables! You’ll arrive in Port aux Basques at around 7 pm – in time for dinner and a walk along the sleepy harbourfront.
    Day 10 Location: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
    Today, you’ll set off for a 3-hour drive to begin exploring Gros Morne National Park. The 1805-square kilometre park is a World Heritage-listed site, and it’s not hard to see why. Shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers millions of years ago, Gros Morne is a spectacular mix of towering cliffs, waterfalls, freshwater fjords and pristine lakes. Dense forests contain rare plants, animal and bird species, and its distinct red landscape is actually part of the earth’s mantle exposed. It’s untouched nature on the biggest scale imaginable, and it’s all yours to explore.
    Day 11 Location: L'Anse aux Meadows, Newfoundland
    Continue your adventure through Gros Morne National Park with an included two-hour cruise on Western Brook Pond. This land-locked body of water is Gros Morne’s largest lake and is home to Atlantic Salmon, Brook Trout, Arctic Char as well as a colony of cliff nesting gulls. On board your cruise, you’ll see waterfalls cascading off the carved cliffs, deep glacial waters shimmering against the rugged backdrop and wildlife sightings aplenty along the way. Afterwards, make tracks further north towards L’Anse aux Meadows. After travelling for around 5 hours total today, you’ll stay the night in a nearby town.
    Day 12 Location: Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland
    After stopping for breakfast this morning, continue on your way to explore the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Sitting at the northernmost tip of Newfoundland, L’Anse aux Meadows is thought to be the first place Vikings settled in North America. This is the fabled Vinland from Norse Sagas. Here, you’ll get the chance to explore 1000-year-old Norse ruins and original artefacts, as well as a recreated base camp for a fascinating glimpse into the early Viking experience. Later on today, you and your group will head back to Gros Morne National Park, where there may be time to take on one of the park’s hiking trails through a range of landscapes, and to some pretty epic lookouts. Today, you’ll be travelling for around 2.5 hours, in total.
    Day 13 Location: Gander, Newfoundland
    This morning, travel from the west coast to the east coast of Newfoundland and stop at Gander (driving time approximately 5.5 hours). This quaint town of around 10,000 has a unique history – once being a crucial transatlantic stop for international flights in the early-to-mid 1900s. . Fast forward to 2001, and 38 planes were forced to land at the airport because of New York and Washington’s 9/11 terror attacks. This town’s generous spirit and kindness opened their doors travellers from all corners of the globe for six days until US airspace was re-opened. So much so, these events even inspired a hit Broadway musical – Come From Away! Check out where these passengers spent their time, and perhaps head on an optional visit to the aviation museum to learn more about all things flying.
    Day 14 Location: Terra Nova National Park / St John's, Newfoundland
    This morning, visit Terra Nova National Park en route to St John’s (total driving time today is 3.5 hours). You may have time of going for a hike on one of the parks many trails, so keep an eye out for wildlife that resides within the rolling forested hills, including moose, caribou, coyotes and beavers. Afterwards, continue to Newfoundland’s capital and the oldest city in North America. Vaguely resembling San Francisco due to the colourful wooden row houses perched on a hill – known locally as Jelly Bean Row – St John’s definitely has a small-town feel. Spend time exploring its historic downtown, where museums, restaurants and artisan shops can be found along winding streets. For more hiking, trek up Signal Hill or walk the Grand Concourse – a series of trails that connect historic sites, parks and Victorian buildings. Tonight, if there’s time, head to one of St John’s’ pubs for a ‘screech-in’ – an unusual ceremony in Newfoundland of taking a shot of a local high-alcohol spirit, completing a short recitation and kissing a cod. How better to celebrate your time in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland?
    Day 15 Location: St John's, Newfoundland
    With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time, provided you comply with the hotel’s internal check-out policy. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to come to an end! Historic St John’s is full of sights to see, including Cape Spear and Cabot Tower, so why not consider extending your stay here? If you’d like to spend more time in St John’s, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).
    Dates
    Prices
    Availability
    Departure Date:
    01JUL2021
    Return Date:
    15JUL2021
    6270NZD
    available
    Departure Date:
    04AUG2021
    Return Date:
    18AUG2021
    6395NZD
    available
    Last modified (date)

    13 Aug 2020

    Trip title

    Nova Scotia & Newfoundland Expedition

    Trip code

    SSKN

    Validity

    Validity: 01 Jan 2020 to 31 Dec 2020

    Introduction

    Ocean mist that permeates the air of quaint colonial towns, the smell of freshly grilled seafood along scenic waterfront boardwalks, and picture-perfect lighthouses perched on rocky outposts – Canada’s Maritimes are like nowhere else in the world. This 15-day expedition takes you to some of the east coast’s most charming towns, best attractions and incredible parks. See the unusual formations of Hopewell Rocks at different stages of the tide, traverse the scenic Cabot Trail in the Cape Breton Highlands, cruise the Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne National Park and visit some of the oldest towns in North America. Add a hearty dose of quaint Atlantic charm for an outdoor adventure that will stay with you long after you’ve left Canada’s beautiful Atlantic provinces.

    Style

    Comfort

    Themes

    Expedition,Explorer

    Transport

    Ferry,Private vehicle

    Physical Rating

    2

    Physical preparation

    We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.

    Joining point

    Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Halifax

    65 Cromarty Dr, Dartmouth, NS B3B 0G2 Canada

    Halifax

    CANADA

    Finish point

    Best Western Plus St John's

    34 Jetstream Ave

    St. John's

    St John's

    A1A 0R7

    CANADA

    Phone: 1 7097585004

    Finish point instructions

    A Free airport shuttle runs to and from airport 24 hours a day. Shuttle leaves hotel every 30 minutes.

    Important information

    1. A single supplement is available on this trip. 2. This trip is also available in reverse from St John's to Halifax. Enter trip code SSKB on the website. 3. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included; valid if you are arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-tour accommodation through us. You must provide your flight details to your booking agent at least 14 days prior to travel.

    Group leader

    Your leader will provide basic information about the sights and cities you'll be visiting but please note that our leaders are not 'tour guides' in the traditional sense. They are adventure travel specialists and are there to organise your trip, arrange activities and help with questions or problems you may have while on your tour. Your leader will provide you with all the important information you need to embark on your own explorations. They are also responsible for driving the van and navigating across the country. The allowable driving times for drivers is strictly controlled in North America. This ensures our drivers are well rested and are not over-tired from too many hours on the roads. While your group will have a minivan for all included activities on the trip, please note that the services of the van and the driver may not be available for your use during free time, or after you have arrived for the day. If you need a special trip into town you may need to arrange transport or a taxi. We endeavour to provide the services of an experienced leader however, situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders. It's strictly forbidden for non-qualified rangers to present any information about some National Parks in North America, therefore we adopt a system (as requested by the park rangers) where our leader will encourage travellers to visit the information centres in the National Parks for details about the site.

    Safety

    Most national governments provide regularly updated foreign travel advice on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all destinations and activities on your trip. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/travel-alerts We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however, during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Intrepid's operational safety policies can be viewed on our website at the link below. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how safety is being managed on our trips.

    https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-guidelines

    PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

    Communications

    WIFI Most hotels have WiFi access although on occasion you may need to pay extra for it. CHARGING BATTERIES North American electrical outlets operate at a lower voltage than much of the rest of the world. This means that your devices may take longer to charge than you are used to, or may say that they are not charging, even though they are. You may also notice that some hotels have powerboards or multiple appliances plugged into one socket. Because of the lower voltage, this is not the safety issue that it may be in other parts of the world. You can also recharge batteries on the van, although obviously this will need to be shared between everyone. You will need to bring a 12 volt/cigarette lighter adapter to plug your USB charger into.

    Visas

    PASSPORT You will need a valid passport to travel internationally. As a general rule, most countries require that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets exactly and contact us immediately if there are any errors. We recommend taking copies of the main passport pages and other important documents with you as well as leave copies at home with family or friends. VISAS Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time. It is important that you check your government's foreign travel advisories along with the consular website of the country or countries you are travelling to for the most up to date information specific to your nationality and circumstances. Please be aware that not all visa information found online from other sources may be valid while COVID-19 restrictions are in place. Visas can take several weeks to process, so make sure you research the requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for obtaining any necessary documents as well as the application and processing time. Your booking consultant can advise on a visa processing service or you can apply yourself directly through a consulate. Below you will find general visa advice about the destinations on your trip. Due to constantly evolving COVID-19 requirements and restrictions, please refer to your government's foreign travel advice for most up to date information. CANADA Most nationalities except South Africans do not need a visa for Canada, but will need to apply online for an Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA). See http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/visit/eta.asp for details and to apply. There is a fee of CA$7 for this service. Travellers will need an eTA before they can board a flight to Canada. If you are crossing the border by road, then you do not need to apply for an eTA. Please note there are many third-party sites offering visa services and charging a fee however The Government of Canada website is the only official place to apply for an eTA visa. Please note, if you hold dual Canadian citizenship, then from 30 September 2016 you won't be able to apply for an eTA and will instead need to enter Canada using your Canadian passport. If you do not have a Canadian passport, you'll need to apply for one in advance of travel. As always, please check your individual requirements with your local embassy/consulate or a visa service.

    Why we love it

    The picturesque crayon-coloured wood houses of Lunenburg not only make the Old Town the best surviving example of a British colonial town in North America, it makes it incredibly photogenic.

    Discover the ever-changing Hopewell Rocks in the Bay of Fundy. During low tide, you can walk among the ‘flowerpot’ rock formations carved by tidal erosion, and at high tide, it’s possible to see whales from the shore!

    Explore the serene landscapes that beloved author, Lucy Maud Montgomery, called home and inspired her classic novel – Anne of Green Gables.

    Take in jaw-dropping views of steep cliffs and deep river canyons in the Cape Breton Highlands, then cruise the Western Brook Pond in Newfoundland’s World Heritage-listed Gros Morne National Park.

    Enjoy a local brew at Alexander Keith’s on Halifax’s atmospheric waterfront, learn the unusual aviation history of Gander, and spend time in one of the oldest cities in North America – St John’s.

    Is this trip right for you

    You'll be spending a lot of time in a van with other travellers. Free space is limited, especially if the group is full. This is all part of the adventure though and you might even make some long-term friends. The weather can be unpredictable in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We advise wearing layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so make sure you have warm clothing with you.

    Health

    GENERAL HEALTH All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to manage and enjoy our style of travel. Please note that if in the opinion of our group leader or local guide any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, we reserve the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund. You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained while travelling. Below you can find some further information about health issues relevant to the destinations visited on this trip. COVID-19 As we start planning our return to running trips, the safety and wellbeing of our travellers, leaders, crew, staff, and suppliers will remain our priority and our return to operations will be done in a safe and responsible way. You can read more about how we will keep you safe on our trips, including our COVID-19 Health & Safety Guidelines here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safe-travels We will not require a negative COVID-19 test before joining a trip unless it is a requirement of entry for the country. If you are unwell prior to travelling, please stay at home and contact us to make alternative arrangements. At the group meeting, you will be asked to complete a self-screening health form and report any COVID-19 symptoms as well as any close contact with someone who has suspected or confirmed COVID-19. If you are displaying any symptoms or have any health concerns at this time, we will assist you to seek medical advice and you will not be permitted to join the trip. We ask all travellers to continue to monitor their health throughout their travels and report any relevant symptoms to their tour leader. PERSONAL MEDICATIONS: Medical prescriptions written outside of the US and Canada aren't accepted at pharmacies. Therefore, we recommend you bring along your personal medications in the necessary quantities for your trip. DEHYDRATION & SUN PROTECTION: The most likely medical incidents to occur on our trips are dehydration, over exposure to the sun, and twisted ankles from walking on uneven ground. While hiking please ensure you drink enough water to remain hydrated as some hikes don't have refill stations for your water bottles. The sun (especially in desert areas in the West) can be harsh, particularly in the warmer months. Ensure you apply adequate sun protection cream and wear a hat. Travelling with sunburn can be uncomfortable.

    Food and dietary requirements

    While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company.

    Money matters

    It can be difficult to exchange money while on the road so we suggest that you bring some cash in Canadian dollars, or exchange/withdraw money at the airport when you arrive, or at least before you start the trip. Your individual budget will depend on your personal plans. Think about how much you want to spend on souvenirs, shopping, entertainment, food, drinks, excursions and attractions that aren't included in your trip (eg. helicopter flights etc). Please bear in mind that North America has endless things to do and see. Not all possible optional activities are listed in our Trip Notes. The cheapest and most convenient way to acquire money is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) which are plentiful throughout all cities and towns, and even at roadside stops. This allows you to draw funds from your personal account at a superior exchange rate. Bank fees for these withdrawals can be either a flat rate or a percentage of the amount withdrawn. Check with your bank for information on their international fees. Don't forget your PIN and make sure you know the telephone number for cancelling your card if it's stolen. Keep this in a safe place. When using your debit card, check your receipts and keep them to compare against your statement when you get home. Occasionally banks will also allow cash advances on your credit card, but it's not recommended to rely on this method only. We recommend that you carry some cash for situations when ATMs can't be accessed. SPENDING MONEY When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget an appropriate amount for things like optional meals, drinks, shopping, optional activities, and laundry. Make sure you have read the itinerary and inclusions thoroughly so you know what is included in the trip price and what you may need to pay for while travelling. TIPPING If you're happy with the service you receive, providing a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. Please note we recommend that any tips are given directly to the intended recipient by a member of your group as our group leaders are prohibited from collecting cash for tips. The following amounts are based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: We suggest 15% to 20% of your bill. Bars: Recommended US$1 for each drink ordered to ensure you are served again. Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your leader. We suggest US$3 per day for local guides. Your Group Leader: You should also consider tipping your leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. Your leader works long and hard for you. He or she may well become your friend during the trip but they do need to pay their bills. If the leader's performance meets or exceeds your expectation they will gladly accept a tip from you. The amount is entirely a personal preference; however you should plan to tip your leader US$7-10 per person per day. Another charge not normally listed in North American costs is the state and federal taxes, keep this in mind when your bill comes out slightly higher than the original price listed. DEPARTURE TAX All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket. CONTINGENCY FUNDS We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. We reserve the right to change an itinerary after departure due to local circumstances or a Force Majeure Event. In such emergency circumstances, the additional cost of any necessary itinerary alterations will be covered by you. Please note we are not responsible for any incidental expenses that may be incurred as a result of the change of itineraries including but not limited to visas, vaccinations or non-refundable flights. Make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last-minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result, there may be some extra costs involved. The recommended amount is listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however, local currency may be needed once in the country to cover these costs.

    What to take

    LUGGAGE RESTRICTIONS: All luggage is carried in trailers or inside the vehicle so please don't bring more than one medium sized bag, backpack or suitcase (20kg maximum) per person. Your suitcase/rucksack may get some rough handling, so make sure it's a tough one. A small daypack and camera may also be carried inside the vehicle.

    As well as your underwear, toothbrush and other items you always need to pack for travel, below are some items that you specifically need for this trip. ESSENTIAL: - Reusable water bottle. We recommend at least a 1.5 litre capacity. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. Tap water in the US and Canada is safe to drink and there are many places to fill up along the way, so please save plastic by bringing your own water bottle. - Sun protection - hat, sunscreen, sunglasses - Clothing you can layer. You may encounter a wide variety of temperatures en route due to altitude and unforeseen weather conditions - so be prepared! Make sure to pack a warm fleece and a waterproof jacket. We suggest you check the expected temperatures en route and bring clothing that you can layer. - Closed-in shoes. If you are planning on doing any hiking during your trip we highly recommend that you take a pair of comfortable, closed-in walking shoes. Closed-in shoes will help to protect your feet from cuts and scratches when walking through bush/grass-lands, and will also act as a barrier protection in rare cases against bites or stings from dangerous animals in this environment. RECOMMENDED: - Power adaptor - Insect repellent - Spare camera battery. You should have access to electricity to charge your battery most nights, but it is always a good idea to carry a spare. - Personal medical kit. Your guide will carry a large kit but we recommend you carry items such as mild pain killers, electrolytes, anti-diarrhoeal, antibacterial gel, wet wipes, bandaids/plasters etc. OPTIONAL: - Travel pillow if you like to sleep during long drives - Reusable coffee cup such as a travel mug or KeepCup if you are a coffee drinker. Not only is it much better for the environment, but many places in the US and Canada also give a discount for bringing your own cup. - Ear plugs to guard against a snoring room-mate - A good book, a journal or an Ipod for the long drives. - Swimwear - Head torch

    A couple of rules

    Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol while travelling, we encourage responsible drinking and expect that you’ll abide by the local laws regarding alcohol consumption. The sex tourism industry is known to exploit vulnerable people and have negative consequences on communities, including undermining the development of sustainable tourism. For this reason, patronising sex workers will not be tolerated on our trips. By travelling with us you are agreeing to adhere to these rules. You must at all times comply with the laws, customs, foreign exchange and drug regulations of all countries visited, and you also agree to travel in accordance with our Responsible Travel Guidelines. The decision of the group leader is final on all matters likely to affect the safety or well-being of any traveller or staff member participating in the trip. If you fail to comply with a decision made by a group leader, or interfere with the well-being or mobility of the group, the group leader may direct you to leave the trip immediately, with no right of refund. We may also elect not to carry you on any future trips booked. If you feel that someone is behaving inappropriately while travelling with us, please inform your tour leader or local guide immediately. Alternatively, contact us on the emergency contact number detailed in the Problems and Emergency Contact section of this Essential Trip Information. CANNABIS Recently cannabis was legalised in Canada, however taking it across international borders, including into the United States is illegal. For more information: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/cannabis/

    Feedback

    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

    Emergency contact

    While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip. We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please contact our operations base on 1-800-786-8735 (toll free in the USA and Canada) or +1 707 523 1800 (office hours). You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete. POLICE AND AMBULANCE In case of an emergency, local authorities can be contacted by calling 911 – this is the toll free phone number for the police, fire department and the ambulance in the USA and Canada. In case of doubt, call the operator on 0. BOOKING ENQUIRIES / ISSUES For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/contact-us CRISES AND EMERGENCIES In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency please contact our local ground representative on the number below (remember to drop the +xx country code if you are calling from within the country): Intrepid's local operator: +1 707 483 9460

    Responsible travel

    Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable, and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers, and staff are trained on these principles and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel. Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

    The Intrepid Foundation

    Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed more than AU $6 million to over 100 community organisations since 2002. Did you know that tourism is one of the biggest contributors to the global economy, making up 1 out of every 10 jobs? That’s why we support local projects that create meaningful jobs and give people the skills they need to work in the destinations we take you to. And it’s why we exist – to make it easy for travellers to give back to the communities and places they’ve been in an effective and meaningful way. Intrepid Group covers all administration costs, every cent goes directly to the projects. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information about the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or visit our website: http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

    Accommodation notes

    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline only and may change. On some occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our preferred accommodation. In these cases, we will use a similar standard of accommodation. Throughout the trip, we request that our properties prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However, this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination or on some trips, have use of shared day rooms until all rooms are available. ACCOMMODATION IN CANADA Canada is becoming increasingly popular, and this increase in visitors is putting a lot of pressure on accommodation. National Park towns such as Jasper and Banff are unable to build more hotels due to building regulations aimed at protecting the ambience of the parks. As a result, accommodation is getting more expensive each year, and although we contract a long way in advance, it is also getting increasingly difficult to secure bookings. At times it can be difficult to strike a balance between price, location and quality and we sometimes have to sacrifice one for the others. There may be times when your hotel is a little bit out from the centre of town. At other times it may be a little bit more simple than what you are expecting on a Comfort trip. Your accommodation should still be clean and comfortable however, and if you are located slightly out of town, your leader will assist in shuttling you back and forth.

    Transport notes

    FLEET Our large fleet of vans are fully equipped with dual air-conditioning system, V8 engines and any camping or cooking equipment needed for your trip. Most have cloth-upholstered seats and carpeted interior with radio/tape or CD players. Your baggage is transported in a trailer which is towed behind the van. The vans are regularly serviced in our own maintenance facility and continuously checked and serviced by a well established network of maintenance and service facilities throughout the continent. However, unforeseen maintenance problems can still occur while on the road and we appreciate the patience of our travellers as we make necessary repairs as quickly as possible. DRIVING TIMES All driving times mentioned in our itinerary are intended as a guide only and represent an estimated driving time - not including lunch stops, fuel stops, photo stops, traffic congestion, adverse weather conditions or any last minute alterations to the itinerary for any unforeseen circumstances. Please note that there are some long driving days on this tour - we'll have some starts as early as 7am and late arrivals at our final destination, sometimes after dark). As always, your group leader will make stops for viewpoints, short walks and lunch/rest breaks to help break up the journey. We recommend you are fully prepared for these long travel days by reviewing our notes and indicated drive times. Some travellers prefer to bring pillows on board for added comfort, others prefer reading material or games and puzzles. The reality is that to get from one fabulous location to another, the distances are great and we like to think at least some of the adventure is in the journey - not just the destination. You'll be on board with up to 12 other passengers plus your group leader so patience and cooperation goes a long way in making this journey a comfortable one. SEAT BELT POLICY Safety is our priority and therefore our travellers are asked to sign a document on Day 1 of the itinerary indicating your understanding of our seat belt policy.

    Travel insurance

    Travel insurance is compulsory on all our trips for those travelling internationally. We require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. If you are travelling within your home country or region please confirm before travel that you are entitled to access the public medical system easily should an accident occur. We strongly recommend all travellers have a policy that also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage or personal effects. For international trips, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24-hour emergency contact number has been sighted by your leader. If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number, and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and your credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country. Travellers who reside within the European Union or Switzerland receive basic international health insurance, so travel insurance is not mandatory under European Union Law. However, as this does not cover situations such as emergency rescues, private health care, or repatriation to their home country, comprehensive travel insurance is strongly recommended. European Union or Swiss travellers who decline travel insurance when travelling outside of their home region must sign a Travel Insurance Waiver Form at the Group Meeting. For assistance with travel insurance or other services, please visit the link below: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/booking-resources/our-services

    Your fellow travellers

    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons, we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure. SOLO TRAVELLERS This is the beauty of our style of travel: many of our travellers join because they are travelling solo and want to meet and share experiences with like-minded people. As a solo traveller, you will be paired up with another traveller of the same gender as per your passport information. Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour. Pre-trip and post-trip accommodation booked through us will on a single room basis. If you’re not comfortable sharing a room with someone of the same gender, you also have the choice to pay for a single supplement (available on the majority of our trips). If you don’t identify with the gender assigned on your passport, please let us know at time of booking and we’ll arrange the rooming configuration accordingly. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on an open gender, multi-share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information.

    Itinerary disclaimer

    ITINERARY CHANGES Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you review this information prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays, or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in-country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any such changes once on tour. OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and maybe on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested in the Group Meeting and they can assist. Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high-risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk. MEALS Please note that day-by-day meals are indicative only. You will receive the same number of meals, but they may not happen exactly on the days indicated. Your leader may change the days that meals are provided to best suit the needs of the group and the timing of the activities on your trip.

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