ALL POSTS IN [Outdoors and Adventure]

Photo by Reuters/Mike Segar

Finally! In a victory that previous Aussie golfers Jim Ferrier, Bruce Crampton, Jack Newton and 3-time runner-up Greg Norman could only dream of, Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the Masters Tournament this past Sunday and cast a renewed spotlight on golf Down Under.

For travelers looking to combine their love of faraway places with their love of the sport, Australia offers enticing options: golf courses spread across inland settings, some at really affordable prices. Among them is the recently opened Barnbougle Dunes resort. Located on Tasmania’s shores, the 200-acre resort offers all-day unlimited to its 36-hole course for around $130.

For a world-class golf experience, head to Royal Melbourne Golf Club, a 36-hole course near Melbourne that routinely makes US Golf Digest’s list of the world’s top golf courses. Since its founding in 1891, Royal Melbourne has gone on to become the oldest continually operating golf club in Australia — and if the media buzz is correct, Adam Scott will play at the club from Nov. 14-17 to defend the title he won last November at Kingston Heath.

This other premier golf club, located in Melbourne’s southeast suburbs, is the No. 2 course in Australia, and has hosted the Australian Golf Open 7 times. Several years ago, Kingston Heath also hosted the Australian Masters tournament. Looking to hit the green? Visiting golfers must be members of interstate or overseas golf clubs in order to arrange a booking.

For more memorable golf moments Down Under, head to Australia’s Dent Island. There you’ll find Hamilton Island Golf Club, home to the country’s only 18-hole championship course on an island. Designed by British Open championship golfer Peter Thompson, the par-71 course of broad fairways and steep valleys offers 360-degree views of the Coral Sea off Australia’s northeast coast.

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Tonight at 8|7c, Bert scours Denver on a search for the perfect couple to take on an all-expenses-paid trip to Austin, TX. Bert comes across Maxim and Rebecca, an adventurous, fun–loving couple in desperate need of a getaway. They quickly (and excitedly) agree to a Trip Flip … and boy, are they in for a surprise.

Have you ever been to a restaurant where the patrons wait for a chicken to poop in order to win a prize? Probably not.  Unless you live in Texas!

After finishing their game of chicken bingo, Maxim and Rebecca are in for a treat: Bert introduces them to country music stars Martie and Emily of the Court Yard Hounds and Dixie Chicks. Not only do our vacationers get to sit in on a special studio session, they also get to kick back and relax with the stars while enjoying a tequila tasting. Not bad for a free trip, right? And that’s just the half of it.

Want to know more about Maxim and Rebecca’s amazing, Texas-sized adventure? Tune in for an all-new episode of Trip Flip, tonight at 8|7c.

And don’t miss these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from tonight’s Trip Flip.

Everglades

Photo By Valerie Conners

While the hordes of Spring Breakers flock — understandably — to South Florida’s golden shores, consider a trip down the not-so-beaten path, to Everglades National Park, the heart of which lies just an hour’s drive west of Miami, along the Tamiami Trail. A drive into the heart of the Everglades grants visitors glimpses of the diverse wildlife roaming the region, including loads of alligator sightings (stand back, and keep you hands to yourself!), great blue herons, colorful roseate spoonbills and ever-present white herons and ibises. If you weren’t a bird watcher, much less bird lover, before entering the Everglades, you will be when you depart.

“Everglades” literally translates to “river of grass,” and that’s exactly what you’ll find here: a subtropical wetland that begins in Central Florida at Lake Okeechobee as water leaves the lake and flows south, forming a slow moving river. The so-called river of grass is an astonishing 50 miles wide and 100 miles long, running all the way to the tip of South Florida and into the sea. Of that vast expanse, 1.5 million acres have been designated a National Park, protecting 20 percent of the Everglades and the extraordinary wildlife contained within.

Everglades National Park is split into 2 main entrances, Shark Valley in the north central section of the park and the Gulf Coast Visitor Center in the West. Start your foray into the Everglades in Shark Valley. This entrance has the most amenities for visitors, including a museum, bike rentals and tram tours, as well as an observation tower in the thick of the glades that affords striking views of the grassland. A 15-mile loop road winds through Shark Valley, and is popular for bikers and a few apparently cold-blooded walkers undaunted by the region’s high temperatures. If you’re not prone to exert yourself for the duration of a 15-mile bike ride, hop aboard a tram tour, where knowledgeable guides point out and explain in detail the Everglades’ flora and fauna — with frequent stops for photos.

From Shark Valley, make your way toward the Gulf Coast Visitor Center. This entrance lies tucked into the far western reaches of the park, where you’ll see a much different topography, chiefly mangrove islands and winding waterways. As you make drive west, you’ll have the choice to continue along the well-trodden Tamiami Trail, or pop off onto a Scenic Loop Road, and as I highly recommend, and great poets will agree, always — always — take the road less traveled.

The loop road is partially unpaved, though easily driveable, and winds through what may well be the region’s most spectacular and wildest scenery: a cypress forest, part of the Big Cypress National Preserve. These monstrous trees drip with Spanish Moss, and you’ll pass by alligators lounging at their bases, as well as countless birds — herons, ibises, purple gallinules and pelicans galore. The best part? In what turned into an hour and a half foray along the road (I stopped for lots of pictures), I passed a mere 4 other cars. This is as remote a space as you’ll find anywhere in Florida.

Everglades

Photo By Valerie Conners

You’ll leave the Preserve and arrive in Everglades City late-afternoon or early evening. To get the most out of an Everglades National Park road trip from South Florida’s east coast, spend an overnight in Everglades City, just south of Naples, on the western edge of the park. The town is incredibly small, just a few hundred residents, and lies amidst winding waterways. Book a room at the Everglades City Motel, where the old-fashioned exterior belies the beautifully remodeled rooms inside. Grab a sunset cocktail and a platter of smoked fish dip at the iconic Rod and Gun Club, which sits along a scenic curve of the river. For dinner, meander a mile or so down the road to Camellia Street Grill, a true local’s hangout along the river. You’ll find kitschy decor, a welcoming outdoor deck, twinkling lights strung from trees, and if you’re lucky — live music and dancing.

The following day, head into the park’s western entrance, and book yourself on a boat tour of either the mangrove isles or Ten Thousand Islands. You can choose from a larger boat that winds through the islands or a smaller, 6-person tour that heads into the depths of the mangroves. After your boat tour, pay a visit to Chokoloskee Island, just a few minutes down the road. Here you’ll find the Smallwood Store and Ole Indian Trading Post, a former general store established in 1906 that’s now on the National Register of Historic Places, and has been turned into a museum featuring artifacts from the era, including newspaper clippings, medicine bottles, and furnishings.

Before you head back toward the 2-hour drive to Miami, refuel with lunch at the Havana Cafe, a Chokoloskee restaurant dishing up tasty Cuban food. Try the pork plate, traditional-style Cuban pork shoulder, serve with black beans, rice and a small salad. Ask to try the homemade hot sauce — you’ll thank me later.

Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go?

Off the Florida Keys, there’s a place called Kokomo.

That’s where you wanna go … to get away from it all!

Two lucky vacationers will experience what the Beach Boys proclaimed as they throw caution to the wind and let Bert take charge on an all-expense-paid trip to the Florida Keys.

Aside from nursing sick sea turtles back to health, reeling in exotic fish from the waters of the sport fishing capital of the world, and dining at Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering hole, our vacationers will also enjoy getting their feet wet with a deep-sea snorkeling trip off their own private, chartered catamaran. And that’s just the half of it.

Join Bert tonight at 8|7c for all-new adventure to the Florida Keys with Denver residents Tom and Crystle, as they spend 3 days drenched in the sun and seeing the Keys as few have before.

Plus, check out these exclusive, behind-the-scenes photos from Tom and Crystal’s journey through sunny Florida.

San Francisco is a huge tourist destination, with Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and the Golden Gate Bridge all drawing crowds. Sure, on my trip out west, I had to see the sights, but right across the famous red bridge was the best part of my getaway: The often-overlooked Mill Valley, located 14 miles north of San Francisco in the beautiful, mountainous Marin County.

What feels like a combination of beach town and Swiss mountain hamlet, Mill Valley offers a quiet taste of NorCal life, with boutique shops, eco-conscious restaurants and enough outdoor space to fill days and days with hiking. When I escaped to warmer climes for a week, stumbling upon Mill Valley was a happy accident.

My Top Picks in Marin County:

Mill Valley Inn
Imagine an upscale beachside hotel. But at the foot of a mountain. Surrounded by woods. With free breakfast, a free wine and cheese reception, a fireplace in the room and a balcony overlooking redwoods, this is my new favorite hotel. They’ll also offer you a bike, if you’d like to explore that way. But beware: there are a lot of hills.

El Paseo

Tucked away in a stone-covered alleyway, El Paseo is Tyler Florence and Sammy Hagar’s take on a traditional chophouse, serving up finely aged steaks and local, sustainable ingredients. The pair worked together to restore this historic restaurant, which was originally opened in 1948. El Paseo retains its rustic feel with exposed brick, reclaimed wood and plenty of candlelight. Also, you have to order a steak. And perhaps the crispy duck wings.

Bungalow 44
A stylish bar with large, cushy booths, Bungalow 44 prides itself on its California cuisine, as well as its creative cocktails. It doesn’t get much fresher than their cucumber margarita and perfectly cooked ahi tuna. Even though I ate here before the live Jazz started, I still felt like I was dining in a 1940s supper club.

Super Duper Burger
This place may claim to serve fast food, but it is anything but typical. There are 5 locations throughout San Francisco, and luckily there is one right down the street from the Mill Valley Inn. The beef is delivered from San Fran’s own Niman Ranch and ground fresh daily. The pickles are homemade and the buns are toasted. Top it all off with fries finished with fresh garlic and 6-month aged cheddar. I mean, come on.

Stinson Beach

Even on a foggy day, Stinson Beach is a beautiful place for a walk. Climb over rocks and watch the waves crash below you, or sit along the shore and watch the surfers take their chances. Hidden on the other side of Mount Tamalpais, (if you’re prone to car sickness, watch out – the road is CURVY) this beach feels worlds away from Mill Valley. On the drive back, pull over wherever you can find a parking spot, because sure enough, there will be a trailhead with spectacular views of the water.

Marin Headlands

If you pull off the road right before getting on the Golden Gate Bridge, you’ll come across the Marin Headlands. Drive up the road a little and you’ll find overlooks that’ll take your breath away. After grabbing pics of the San Francisco skyline, hike a little further. Not only will the Golden Gate look so close you could touch it, but there you’ll also find the historic Fort Barry and Fort Cronkhite. Or what’s left of them.

Denver residents Ventana and Jamian had no idea what they were getting themselves into when they agreed to let Bert arrange an all-expenses-paid, 3-day dream vacation to Los Angeles, but I doubt they’ll be regretting their decision anytime soon.

Think you’d enjoy living life like a Hollywood celebrity? Wondering what it would be like to fly in the Goodyear blimp over Los Angeles, taking in some of the city’s most iconic fixtures? Ever wanted to stay in the home of a celebrity or bowl with one, for that matter? How about getting a complete movie-style makeover and appearing in a zombie flick?

Tune in tonight at 8|7c to see how our vacationers partook in activities they could never in their wildest dreams have imagined doing and see all the fun that went along with it.

Plus, check out exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from Ventana and Jamian’s trip to Tinseltown.

Need inspiration for your perfect family getaway? Take a cue from travel expert and fun enthusiast, Trip Flip host Bert Kreischer, who will be giving away a trip of a lifetime to a lucky family during the 8 o’clock hour of Good Morning America, today, March 22.

One lucky family will have the opportunity to pick among 3 all-expenses-paid trips to various locations around the world. The first trip is a 7-day adventure to Hilton Head, SC, that includes golfing on pristine courses, a trip to the island’s largest arcade, a tour of the Harbour Town Lighthouse and much more.

The second of the 3 family getaways is a trip to sunny Anaheim, CA, where the ultimate family experience is almost guaranteed. With tickets to Disneyland, SeaWorld San Diego and Universal Studios Hollywood, what more could any young kid ask for? See the winning trip itinerary for Anaheim chosen by our lucky family.

The final trip being offered by Bert is to one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Paris. Take a trip to Musee du Louvre, France’s original royal palace and now home to the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo, just to name a few. Not only does this adventure include a trip to the Louvre, but it also lets you check out the Notre Dame Cathedral, offers a sightseeing cruise of the Seine River and so much more.

Feeling inspired to book your own trip yet? Find out which vacation that lucky family chooses tomorrow on Good Morning America.

Plus, don’t miss Trip Flip on Sunday @ 8|7c. In this all-new episode, Bert finds a young, engaged couple biking around a mall in Denver and convinces them to let him change their plans by taking them on an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas. Seriously, how much convincing could that really take?

Check out exclusive behind-the-scenes photos from this Sunday’s episode.

Plus, make sure you take a look at Bert’s best travel tips for bidding, booking and buying.

Professional fun-seeker and travel expert Bert Kreischer returns for an all-new season of Trip Flip, with back-to-back episodes, tonight, March 17 @ 8|7c.

In the first premiere, 2 Queensland tourists get the chance of a lifetime as they throw out their plans, and let Bert take the lead on a 3-day dream vacation. Their adventure kicks off with a lesson in fooket, a combination of football (rugby) and cricket — 2 of Australia’s most popular sports. And that’s just the beginning! The rest of their vacation includes scuba diving, horseback riding and a spa treatment fit for a king.

In the second of 2 premieres, 2 Colorado vacationers throw caution to the wind as they hop a plane with Bert, and head to the pacific northwest. While in Seattle, Kristi and Will sky dive at iFly Seattle, the world’s first and fastest, all glass wind tunnel. Next on their list, a wet and wild, white water rafting trip and a lesson in foraging with expert and author Langdon Cook.

Plus, make sure to check out behind-the-scenes photos from both the Great Barrier Reef and Seattle.

Photography by Getty Images

The 72nd annual Daytona Bike Week kicks off today. This granddaddy of all things motorcycles, billed as the “World’s Largest Motorcycle Event,” will see roughly 500,000 leather-clad bikers and babes descend on Daytona Beach, FL, over the next 10 days. If the open road is in your blood, you’ll want to join the crowds in Daytona over the coming week — here are some of the must-see events to check out.

Daytona Supercross by Honda: Saturday, March 9
The Toughest Course on the Circuit!
Will Chad Reed or Davi Millsaps unseat last year’s winner, James Stewart? Daytona International Speedway has been home to the longest continuous Supercross event in America since 1971. Every year, during Bike Week, a supercross track is constructed between the pit road and tri-oval section of the speedway track. Steep jumps and obstacles await riders as they tackle a terrain that historically has used more sand than dirt. Since 2008, racing champion Ricky Carmichael has designed the track configurations, and he returns this year as designer in what is the circuit’s most challenging event. A perk for fans: The starting gate will remain on pit road, offering a great view of the first turn.

Daytona 200: Saturday, March 16
Will Elena Myers Win Again?
History may be made at Daytona 200, the 200-mile motorcycle race held at Daytona International Speedway. Last year, 19-year-old Daytona champion Elena Myers, of Mountain View, CA, became the first woman to win a professional event at Daytona International Speedway after winning in the second round of an AMA Pro Racing spring road race. This year, Myers is eying another historic win in Daytona 200 as she rides for sponsor Sturgess Cycle Triumph.

Ormond Beach: Music Happenings
From a CCR Tribute Band to an 11-Year-Old Rocker
One of the epicenters of Bike Week action is of course, Daytona Beach’s northern neighbor, Ormond Beach. You’ll find plenty of hard, white sand, some stretches of which bikers can drive on. But the real draw here will be venues such as Iron Horse Saloon, where country band Confederate Railroad will sing their popular anthem “Trashy Women” (no comment). Fans of Creedence Clearwater Revival can check out a CCR tribute band at the Broken Spoke Saloon; plus, head to Beaver Bar where an 11-year-old rock singer, Brooks Paul, from North Carolina will rip it up with vicious renditions of AC/DC, Gus N’ Roses and more hard rock hits. Check out this great roundup of other Ormond Beach Bike Week highlights.


Main Street, Second Avenue and More
As we speak, hundreds of bikers are rumbling through Main Street in Daytona, FL – check out the Main Street attractions. For a quieter slice of Bike Week, head to Second Avenue, the historic African-American business district that established itself out of necessity – back in 1949, Daytona Bike Week was segregated, forcing African-American motorcycle enthusiasts to find this more hospitable stretch of town to socialize and park their bikes. (Learn the story of Daytona’s Second Avenue.)

For more on Daytona Bike Week (including this Hooters Bikini Contest … we had to mention it), check out the Official Bike Week website.

Plus, check out this Info Source for Bike Week 2013.


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Dreaming of a big vacation — filled with adventure, jaw-dropping views and luxurious downtime? Look no further than Big Bend, TX! That’s right: You and one lucky friend could win a trip for 2 to this amazing stretch of West Texas, where hidden canyons and desert oases await nature lovers, along with more than 450 bird species, geologic wonders and ancient fossils sure to appeal to the Indiana Jones lover in the family. But you better hurry: Visitors to TravelChannel.com have just 2 days left to enter to win.

Now, we know what you’re thinking: What are the odds? The answer is good – if you start now, and keep trying. You can enter the sweepstakes once a day to increase your odds of winning. Just come back to this page and reenter your email address. No re-registration is necessary.

The payoff could be big. You and a guest will enjoy 5 days and 4 nights of first-class hotel accommodations at Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa. Come daytime, you’ll enjoy outdoor adventures such as a river-cruise excursion, horseback trail ride and an off-road expedition through Big Bend National Park.
What are you waiting for? Get going – start here!

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