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National Parks of Western America and Lower Mississippi River Cruise

7 September – 15 October 2019
Personally escorted by Jacquey Turner





Breakfast   Lunch     Dinner









Tour Itinerary

Departs Melbourne: 7th September 2019
Concludes: 15th October 2019 





Saturday, 7 September: Melbourne to Denver, Colorado       

We shall have a morning departure from Gippsland to Melbourne for our flight to Denver, Colorado via Los Angeles.  On arrival, we shall be met and transferred to the HOTEL TEATRO, or similar, for an overnight stay.  Denver, the capital of Colorado, is an American metropolis dating to the Old West era.   We will finish a long day with a lovely dinner that will be included.

Sunday, 8 September:  Vail, Colorado     

This morning on our city tour, we shall visit Larimer Square, the city’s oldest block and features landmark 19th-century buildings, the Denver Art Museum, an ultramodern complex known for its collection of indigenous works, and the mansion of famed Titanic survivor Molly Brown. 

We then leave Denver and travel to Vail, Colorado, a small town at the base of Vail Mountain and home of the massive Vail Ski Resort.   On arrival we shall check in to THE LODGE AT VAIL for an overnight stay. Set within White River National Forest, the town is a gateway for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. It’s also a summertime destination for golfing, hiking and cultural festivals. Gore Creek, popular for fly fishing, runs directly through the town. In the afternoon we shall head to Vails Scenic Gondola and enjoy breathtaking views while the gondola whisks us up above 10,000ft.  Tonight, we shall have dinner at 10th (Mountain Division) located atop Gondola One at Mid Vail, overlooking the majestic Gore Range.


Monday, 9 September: Moab, Utah       

On our way to Moab, Utah, we stop at Glenwood Springs known for its hot springs. It sits in the rugged Rocky Mountains, surrounded by the vast White River National Forest.    On arrival in Moab we check in to the SORREL RIVER RANCH, or similar, for a two-night stay.

Moab is a city in eastern Utah. It’s a gateway to massive red rock formations in Arches National Park. Canyonlands National Park features mesas and buttes carved by the Green and Colorado rivers, plus Native American rock art. Dinosaur tracks can be found at sites like Bull Canyon Overlook and Copper Ridge. In the city, collections at the Museum of Moab include dinosaur bones and archaeological artifacts.

During our stay in Moab, we will experience a Colorado River jetboat excursion that will take us into spectacular river scenery bordering Canyonlands National Park.  Dinner will be on the river.

Tuesday, 10 September: Moab sightseeing       

Today we shall visit Dead Horse Point State Park, a state park of Utah featuring a dramatic overlook of the Colorado River and the incredible landscape of Arches National Park.  The park contains more than 2000 natural sandstone arches and foundations.

There will be free time for lunch in town and in the afternoon, we join a Colorado River Scenic Boat Cruise up and down the Colorado River as we are surrounded by vast sandstone walls and flowing south out of the Moab Valley.  Dinner tonight is included.

Wednesday, 11 September: Durango, Colorado       

We have a short drive to Durango, Colorado and will visit the cliff dwellings of Mesa Verde, some of the most notable and best preserved in the North American Continent. Sometime during the late 1190s, after primarily living on the mesa top for 600 years, many Ancestral Pueblo people began living in pueblos they built beneath the overhanging cliffs.

Our accommodation for the next two nights is the GENERAL PALMER HOTEL, or similar, and dinner tonight is included.


Thursday, 12 September: Durango sightseeing        

Today we relive the sights and sounds of yesteryear for a spectacular journey on board the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad. Durango, Colorado was founded by the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in 1879. The railroad arrived in Durango on August 5, 1881 and construction on the line to Silverton began in the fall of the same year. The line was constructed to haul silver & gold ore from Southwest Colorado's San Juan Mountains, but passengers soon realized it was the view that was truly precious. This historic train has been in continuous operation between Durango and Silverton since 1882, carrying passengers behind vintage steam locomotives and rolling stock indigenous to the line.

Friday, 13 September: Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona border       

We travel on today to the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park.  On arrival we shall check into GOULDINGS LODGE, or similar, for an overnight stay. From your own private balcony, you can savour the spectacular views of Monument Valley, including Eagle Mesa, Brigham’s Tomb, King On His Throne and Stagecoach. 

To explore the area, we will take a jeep ride with the local Navajos that grew up in and around the Monument Valley area. During the tour, they will share interesting facts about the valley and its areas of interest. They are proud of their heritage and will share stories about their culture and history. Dinner tonight will be at the lodge.


Saturday, 14 September – Sunday, 15 September:  Sedona, Arizona        

We say goodbye to the Navajo Nation and travel 204-mile (328-km) trip to Sedona, Arizona. The route from the park is a scenic highlight and we'll pass through Oak Creek Canyon and the Painted Desert. On arrival in Sedona, we shall check into the KIMPTON AMARA RESORT & SPA, or similar, for the next two nights.

Sedona is an Arizona desert town near Flagstaff that’s surrounded by red-rock buttes, steep canyon walls and pine forests. Uptown Sedona is dense with New Age shops, spas and art galleries. 

During our time in Sedona we will explore the area in jeeps including through Broken Arrow, an extreme off-road adventure. It features giant red-rock spires and the area’s most iconic rock formations.   We shall also take an easy walk to see Native American ruins, such as the Palatki Ruins.  There will also be free time and optional walks to further explore this spectacular area.


Monday, 16 September – Tuesday, 17 September:  Grand Canyon, Arizona            

We check out early this morning and will travel to Williams where we will board the Grand Canyon Railway to take a legendary journey to an extraordinary place! The train travels almost due north to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. The trip measures 65 miles and takes 2 hours and 15 minutes each way—45 minutes faster than in 1901 when the train made its first trip.

On arrival, we shall be transferred to our hotel, GRAND CANYON PLAZA HOTEL, or similar for the next two nights.

Grand Canyon National Park, in Arizona, is home to much of the immense Grand Canyon, with its layered bands of red rock revealing millions of years of geological history. Viewpoints include Mather Point, Yavapai Observation Station and architect Mary Colter’s Lookout Studio and her Desert View Watchtower. Lipan Point, with wide views of the canyon and Colorado River, is very popular, especially at sunrise and sunset. 

During our time here, we will visit some of these spectacular viewpoints, including the Skywalk, learn more from talks with the Rangers and visit the IMAX Movie theatre with a 6-story-high by 82-ft.-wide screen showing a documentary on the Grand Canyon.  There will be plenty of time for you to take up optional activities such as scenic flights or helicopter flight to see the Canyon from a very different perspective.

Wednesday, 18 September: Cameron – Lake Powell Utah/Arizona       

As we leave the Grand Canyon this morning you will see there’s no quick way to get across it – you’ve got to drive around it, so in 1911, a modest suspension bridge was constructed across the Little Colorado River Gorge at a lonely outpost on the Navajo Indian Reservation called Cameron. 

On our way to Page we will stop at Cameron, a cultural experience and an opportunity to learn about Navajo culture first-hand through their art.

Still a vital part of the local economy, the Cameron Trading Post sells hand-crafted jewellery of silver and turquoise, colourful rugs painstakingly crafted on looms handed down through generations, as well as pottery, baskets and paintings from many tribes throughout the Southwest.

We shall also stop at Desert View Watchtower before we continue on to Page, a small town in northern Arizona located on the southern shores of magnificent Lake Powell.  Here we stop for lunch before arriving at our accommodation at LAKE POWELL RESORTS & MARINAS, or similar, for an overnight stay.  Dinner tonight is included.

Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona.  Today, we shall explore the Upper Antelope Canyon to view the narrow, colourful, and sculpted geology of the lower end of Lake Powell and later will take a Lake Powell cruise along the unique shoreline.


Thursday, 19 September – Friday, 20 September:  Springdale, Utah            

We cross the border from Arizona, on our way to Springdale in Washington County, Utah, located immediately outside the boundaries of Zion National Park. It was originally settled as a Mormon farming community in 1862 by evacuees from the flooding of nearby Northrop and was recently named one of the 20 'prettiest towns' in the United States. 

Prior to arriving in Springdale, we shall stop at Bryce Canyon National Park for a picnic lunch. Bryce Canyon National Park’s natural geologic formations are caused by water freezing and thawing, as well as natural erosion from rainfall.  One of its most unique features is the hoodoos. These limestone-rich pillars range from average human height to more than 10 stories high.

Our accommodation in Springdale will be at the SPRINGHILL SUITES, or similar, for two nights. Dinner will be at a popular cantina for contemporary Mexican & Southwestern fare.

Saturday, 21 September:  Salt Lake City, Utah       

Today we head north witnessing spectacular scenery along the way.  When we arrive in Salt Lake City, Utah, we check in to the KIMPTON HOTEL MONACO, or similar, for an overnight stay.

In the afternoon, we shall let a local guide show us the highlights, history and hidden gems of this town.  South Temple Street is historically the city's most fashionable street, it boasts numerous elegant mansions, historic churches and heritage buildings. We will visit Temple Square, Utah's most visited attraction, which is the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and home to the city's 19th century Salt Lake Temple.

Dinner tonight, will be at the famous Red Rock Brewing Co.


Sunday, 22 September – Monday 23 September:  Jackson, Wyoming            

We leave Salt Lake City and continue north, past the salt lakes, to Jackson, a town in Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley. The Town Square features arches made of shed antlers from the nearby National Elk Refuge, The National Museum of Wildlife Art has works by Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe. North are the peaks of Grand Teton National Park, as well as vast Yellowstone National Park.   On arrival, we shall check in to THE RUSTIC INN, or similar, for the next two nights.

Jackson Hole is encompassed on all sides by mountain barriers. The hole – or valley – is 48 miles long and for the most part, six to eight miles wide, embracing an area of approximately 400 square miles. Mountain streams converge toward it from the surrounding highlands, and the Snake River receives these as it flows through the valley.

During our stay we will take a Scenic Lake Cruise on Jackson Lake literally in the shadow of Mount Moran while we learn a bit about local history, geology, and folklore and take in the sights, including 10,000-year old glacial water flowing into Jackson Lake.

Tuesday, 24 September:  West Yellowstone, Montana        

We drive through the southern part of Yellowstone National Park on our way to West Yellowstone, a town in southern Montana, known for the huge Old Faithful geyser and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. The park is home to wildlife like elk and bison. In town, the Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center offers the chance to get close to bears and wolves. Housed in an old train depot, Yellowstone Historic Centre traces local history and transportation.  Our overnight accommodation is at the KELLY INN, or similar, and the evening is at your leisure.

Wednesday, 25 September – Thursday 26 September:  Cody, Wyoming         

On our way to Cody, we drive through the centre part of Yellowstone National Park.  Cody was the playground of Buffalo Bill Cody himself. The heart of Cody/Yellowstone Country is the community of Cody, Wyoming, founded by Buffalo Bill in 1896. His regard for the wildlife, scenery, and the wonders of Yellowstone can be appreciated by all who visit Cody/Yellowstone Country. We shall enjoy a lunch at Lake Yellowstone.

During our stay in Cody there will be time to stroll along the broad streets, and visit the world-class museum, the Buffalo Bill Centre of the West to learn of the thriving western culture. 

Our accommodation during our two-night stay in Cody will be the CODY COWBOY VILLAGE, or similar.


Friday, 27 September:   Buffalo, Wyoming        

Buffalo Wyoming is considered the centre of the spokes in navigating the Big Horn Mountains. The Bighorn National Forest boundary is but a stone’s throw from downtown Buffalo where we will travel up the pass to the trail heads that lead into the Cloud Peak National Wilderness Area. Highlights include the Crazy Woman Canyon, Bomber Mountain where a WW2 bomber still lies in pieces after a dark and stormy crash during the war.

Just 15 miles North of Buffalo is the National Historical site Fort Phil Kearny where 80 brave and foolish soldiers under the foolhardy Captain William J. Fetterman rode out on a bitter cold December day in 1866 where at the hands of thousands of Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors were wiped out to the last man at the hands of Chief Red Cloud and a young untested brave who would come to be known as Crazy Horse.

Today Buffalo is a bustling community with a lively and historically preserved main street and downtown. The famous Occidental Hotel sits on Clear Creek and was frequented by Bill Cody, Calamity Jane, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Teddy Roosevelt, Ernest Hemingway and many others.  Our accommodation in Buffalo will be the HAMPTON INN & SUITES, or similar, and dinner at a local restaurant.


Saturday 28 – Sunday 29 – Monday 30 September:  Rapid City, South Dakota          

On our way to Rapid City we will stop at Devils Tower Monument, established as America’s first national monument by Teddy Roosevelt in 1906. The Native Americans consider the area a place for renewal.

Rapid City lies east of Black Hills National Forest in western South Dakota. It’s known as a gateway to Mt. Rushmore, Mount Rushmore National Memorial, featuring the likeliness of US presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt – carved on the face of a mountain. North of Rapid Creek, which bisects town, the Journey Museum & Learning Centre offers local history and geology exhibits. 

During our time here, we shall spend a couple of days exploring the history, art, shopping and entertainment in Rapid City and along with visiting Mount Rushmore, we visit Crazy Horse Memorial, built in honour of the fearless Sioux chief whose fame is derived from the Battle of Little Bighorn.

We shall stay at the HOWARD JOHNSON HOTEL, or similar, for the next three nights.

Tuesday, 1 October: Fort Collins, Colorado       

Fort Collins was founded as a military outpost of the United States Army in 1864. It succeeded a previous encampment, known as Camp Collins, on the Cache La Poudre River, near what is known today as Laporte. Camp Collins was erected during the Indian wars of the mid-1860s to protect the Overland mail route that had been recently relocated through the region.

We will explore its Old Town historic district with 1800s houses, a vintage trolley, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery features interactive science, history and nature exhibits, plus a digital dome theatre. West of the city, trails criss-cross Horsetooth Mountain Open Space, known for the peak's distinctive Horsetooth Rock formation and Horsetooth Falls.

Our overnight accommodation in Fort Collins will be at THE ELIZABETH HOTEL, or similar, and dinner will be at a local restaurant.


Wednesday, 2 October: Estes Park, Colorado       

Estes Park is a town in northern Colorado. It’s known as a base for the Rocky Mountain National Park, home to wildlife including elk and bears, plus miles of trails. The park’s Trail Ridge Road winds past craggy peaks, forests and tundra.

Nearby are the wilderness areas of Roosevelt National Forest. The Estes Park Aerial Tramway connects the town to the summit of Prospect Mountain for views over the valley.

THE STANLEY HOTEL, famous for its old-world charm and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, will be our overnight accommodation.  Dinner will be at the hotel.

Thursday, 3 October – Friday, 4th October:  New Orleans, Louisiana        

Our USA National Parks adventure has come to an end as we check out and transfer to the airport for our flight to New Orleans.  On arrival we shall be met and transferred to the INTERCONTINENTAL NEW ORLEANS, or similar, for a two-night stay.

Nicknamed the "Big Easy," it's known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures.

Our city tour will take us through three Centuries of history and legends, including the French Quarter, a historic New Orleans cemetery, Bayou St. John, the Garden District, and much more!  

New Orleans, Louisiana to Memphis, Tennessee

Saturday, 5 October:  New Orleans, Louisiana        

Today we board our cruise ship, “American Harmony” for our 7-night cruise.

Sunday, 6 October:  Oak Valley, Louisiana        

Once serving as an antebellum sugar cane homestead, Oak Alley Plantation is named after its most distinguishing feature, a row of 300-year-old oak trees. This leafy canopy forms a path leading to the Mississippi River. Restored to its 19th-century grandeur, this classic Greek Revival antebellum mansion is simply breathtaking.  You will explore the many stately rooms and discover why it has earned the name “Grand Dame of the Great River Road”. 

Monday, 7 October:  Baton Rouge, Louisiana        

Baton Rouge features all the history and wonder you would expect in a state capital, but with an added down-home flavour that makes it truly unique. Our local expert guides will take you on a tour of the cities' most famous attractions including the Old and New State Capitals, Governor’s Hall, Magnolia Mound, A French Creole plantation house built in 1791 and the interactive Louisiana State Museum.

Tuesday, 8 October:  St Francisville, Louisiana        

This southern town charms with simple pleasures and unique treasures. Located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, St. Francisville has been called, “One of the 200 most beautiful small towns in America.” Take a stroll through its historic centre where two centuries of architecture and lifestyle are on display.  The affluent ambiance of the Rosedown Plantation is evident the minute you step on the property. As you walk down the flowered path lined with towering oaks towards the Main House, you will be greeted by our lively resident expert, Tamie Miller. Throughout the tour, Tamie delves deep into the family history of Daniel and Martha Turnbull, sharing how their experiences helped shape the Main House into a home. At the conclusion of your tour, take time to peruse the grounds on your own or relax in a rocking chair on the front porch.

Wednesday, 9 October:  Natchez, Mississippi        

Settled in 1716, Natchez is rich in history and southern hospitality. Enjoy a guided exploration of this fascinating city which has retained its antebellum charm since its surrender during the Civil War. Longwood is just one of the elegant houses that graces the historic district of Natchez. This octagonal house epitomizes the rise and fall of the South. As the Civil War began, the workmen stopped construction and the house was never completed. View the finished first floor with original family furnishings and the upper five stories that are still a work in progress.


Thursday, 10 October:  Vicksburg, Mississippi        

The city of Vicksburg served as a pivotal turning point during the American Civil War. A park ranger guides the National Military Park which commemorates the campaign, siege and defence of Vicksburg in 1863. Your guide will take you through the restored ironclad gunboat, U.S.S. Cairo, the battlefield where the Siege of Vicksburg took place, and the over 1,300 monuments dedicated to the brave souls who lost their lives.

Friday, 11 October:  Memphis, Tennessee       

Enjoy the warmth of the Mississippi River sun as we cruise from Vicksburg to Memphis. Relax in one of the many spacious lounges or catch gentle breezes on the sun deck.

We arrive in Memphis in the afternoon and will enjoy a city tour. The city of Memphis has a deep-rooted history which spans across many of the most important aspects of American culture. Your private tour guide will meet you at the ship to begin your tour of Memphis. Witness iconic sites such as the National Civil Rights Museum, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Peabody Hotel – featuring the legendary Peabody ducks, and world famous Sun Studios – the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll.  As you explore the city, enjoy the sounds of up-and coming artists on Beale Street.

Saturday, 12 October:  Disembark, Memphis        

Welcome to Memphis! Home to Blues, BBQ, Beale Street, and of course, the King of Rock 'n Roll – Elvis Presley. We disembark our cruise ship in the morning and will explore more of Memphis before we transfer to THE GUEST HOUSE AT GRACELAND, or similar, for an overnight stay. 

Later in the afternoon we shall visit Graceland. The second most-visited home in the United States (behind only the White House), Graceland was home to Elvis Presley during the height of his career. Although the rock ’n’ roll singer and pop culture icon died in the white-columned mansion in 1977 at the age of 42, touring the rooms of this 17,552-square-foot (1,630-square-meter) estate offers insight into the mind of The King, who is buried in the estate's Meditation Gardens.

Tonight, we get together for our Farewell Dinner.


Sunday, 13 October: Memphis, Tennessee         

There will be free time this morning for those last-minute souvenirs before we checkout.    We shall enjoy a great lunch at the famous Peabody Hotel before we transfer to the airport for our homeward bound flight.

Tuesday, 15 October: Melbourne, Australia     (in flight meals)

We arrive in Melbourne and after clearing customs we shall be transferred back to Gippsland by coach.

















Tour Details



Jacquey Turner is a highly-experienced travel agent and tour escort with more than 32 years’ industry experience. 

Jacquey’s attention to detail and personal care ensure that everyone travelling in her group will have a most enjoyable holiday experience. 





Bill Eakins grew up on the East Coast (Delaware) and has been a tour director for over 12 years.  In addition to travel directing, he also works for a motorcycle mapping company, producing printed maps for motorcycle touring and guides motorcycle tours. An avid hiker & bicyclist he always wants to know what's over the next hill.  On a personal note, Bill is married and has a beautiful 10-year-old daughter, Maya.

Bill has been based in Colorado for many years and has a wealth of knowledge on this amazing region.

“I'm excited to be showing your group some awesome places in this great country.”



  • Arches National Park.
  • Bighorn National Forest
  • Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Canyonland National Park
  • Cliff Dwelling at Mesa Verde
  • Custer State Park
  • Dead Horse State Park
  • Deadwood
  • Devils Tower National Monument
  • Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad
  • Glenwood Springs
  • New Orleans to Memphis Mississippi Cruise
  • Grand Canyon National Park
  • Grand Junction
  • Grand Teton National Park
  • Monument Valley / Navajo Tribal Park
  • White River National Park
  • Mount Rushmore & Crazy Horse Memorial
  • Arizona’s Painted Desert
  • Cody – The Buffalo Bill Centre of The West.
  • Yellowstone National Park
  • Zion National Park


  • Personally escorted throughout the entire tour
  • Melbourne/Denver and Memphis/Melbourne economy airfare and taxes
  • Coach transfers from Gippsland to Melbourne Airport and return
  • 3, 4 & 5 star hotel accommodation in twin or double bedded rooms with private facilities
  • All sightseeing and entrance fees as detailed in the itinerary
  • American Cruise Lines 7-night cruise from New Orleans to Memphis in AAL Staterooms.  Each room is equipped with full-size bathroom and a private balcony with large sliding glass doors that offer great views of the Mississippi scenery.
  • Complimentary wine and beer during lunch and dinner on the cruise
  • Complimentary cocktail hour with hors d’oeuvres at the conclusion of each day on the cruise
  • Orientation walks escorted by Jacquey in port during the cruise where possible.
  • Shore Excursions as detailed in itinerary
  • Experienced and knowledgeable Tour Director from Denver to Denver
  • Luxury 45 seat air-conditioned coach travel with reclining seats and rest room
  • 76 Meals as per itinerary 36 Breakfasts (B), 12 Lunches (L), 28 Dinners (D)
  • Porterage (one suitcase per person)
  • Tipping of the Tour Director, coach drivers and restaurant staff at included meals
  • Tipping of local guides
  • Tipping of cruise staff
  • Maximum of 30 tour participants (very limited single rooms available)


  • Travel Insurance.  Please note that it is a condition of our tour that all participants have comprehensive travel insurance.  All details are available from our office.
  • US Visa Waiver-current cost US$14 per person
  • American Cruise Lines shore excursions not detailed in itinerary.
  • Any meals not included in the itinerary
  • Telephone calls, laundry and any expenses of a personal nature
  • Optional tours. ie. flight over Grand Canyon from US$130pp


  • Flight schedules are subject to change.
  • The order of the sightseeing may vary depending on local conditions.










Tour Costs


$29,999 per person on a twin share basis

$ 6,620 Single supplement (limited single rooms)

**Upgrade to premium economy or business class – cost on application

** Extensions and additional arrangements available on request

** Should you travel on flights other than the group flights, the airfare component will be adjusted.


Initial deposit
due by Friday 26 October 2018
$1000 per person

Second deposit 
due by Friday, 1 March 2019
$2000 per person

Balance of payment 
due by Friday, 31 May 2019



Notice of cancellation must be made in writing to Gippsland Travel Centre.

Cancellation date:
27 October 2018 to 28 February 2019
Cancellation fee:
$1000 pp deposit non-refundable

Cancellation date: 
1 March 2019 to 30 May 2019  
Cancellation fee:
$3000 pp non-refundable

Cancellation date: 
31 May 2019 to 7 September 2019
Cancellation fee:
100% of tour cost non-refundable

All costs are based on the exchange rate prevailing as at 17 October 2018