Posts Tagged ‘Niagara Falls’

40 things to do before you’re 40 - Number 24!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Get soaked by Niagara Falls

Not sure about the hype surrounding Niagara Falls? Treat yourself to a little taster. Next time you turn your kitchen sink tap, turn it as far as it can possibly go until the water is pouring out exceedingly fast. Put on a hooded raincoat, get yourself as close to the running water as possible so water is splashing your face, hold for 10 seconds, stop, realise what you’re doing is absolutely ridiculous and take off your raincoat.

Perhaps one of the poorest comparisons ever made to the experience you’ll have at Niagara Falls, the above might be as close as you’ll come to experiencing the excitement in your own home.

In order of size, the Niagara Falls are made up of three waterfalls: the Horseshoe Falls, the American Falls and the Bridal Veil Falls which lie on the international border of the United States and Canada. Unlike the above comparison, the three falls combined are quite impressive, and they have the numbers to prove it.

· Approx. 168,000 cubic metres flow from the Falls every minute.

· This per-minute flow is enough water to fill over 50 Olympic sized swimming pools.

· The largest of the three, the Horseshoe Fall, is roughly 57 metres in height and 670 metres wide.

· The fastest rapids at the Fall have been recorded to reach 68mph or 109 kph.

OK, enough with the numbers, we know why you’re here. You want to know if anyone has ridden down the falls in a barrel! What’s the point of a waterfall if nobody goes down it in a barrel, right? Well, wouldn’t you know it, there are a group of daredevils, stuntmen and women who have at one point taken the life threatening plunge. In 1960, a 7 year old child was involved in a boating accident and was swept over the falls. Amazingly, he survived with minor injuries and was the first person to survive after going over without any protection. Barrels aside, walking across the Falls on a tightrope is also an exciting prospect for stuntmen. See the video at the end of this!

Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls

The future of the Falls is a concerning issue as each year the Falls erode by an estimated 1 foot or 30 centimetres per year. At this current rate of erosion it’s possible that in 50,000 years the Falls will be transformed into a less thunderous flowing river. Nevertheless, for now the Falls are incredibly thunderous and an experience that must be had when on any North American tour.

The best way to see the Falls is to take a ‘Maid of the Mist’ tour, an inclusion on all Topdeck North American tours visiting Niagara Falls. The Maid of the Mist tour is North America’s oldest tourist attraction and has transported millions of passengers to get up close and personal to the waterfall since 1846. Getting soaked will never have felt so exciting, and it will make you look back to the time you had your face next to your kitchen tap and wonder what on earth you were thinking…

Tightrope Walker Nik Wallenda:

Maid of the Mist boat tour:

The Secret is Out: Introducing Topdeck North America

Friday, July 6th, 2012

This has been one of the hardest secrets we’ve ever had to keep in the Topdeck office.

Over the past few months we’ve busy putting the finishing touches on our new programme and while you were all asking “why doesn’t Topdeck go to North America?” we’ve had to keep our lips sealed.

Well, the wait is over and we can finally shout about it from the rooftops – Topdeck is now taking you to the USA and Canada!

To get you inspired, here’s our list of the Top 10 North American experiences

1. Camp out in a US National Park

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

The United States has 58 protected national parks that are home to some of the most beautiful natural wonders in the world. One of the parks we take you to is Yosemite National Park in California.

Best known for its waterfalls, in Yosemite you’ll also find deep valleys, grand meadows, ancient giant sequoia forests and a variety of wildlife.

In the summer months we stay in a permanent tented site, once a prospectors’ camp, within the Yosemite Valley.

2. Lunch in one of the hottest places on Earth

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is the hottest, lowest, and driest place in the US and daytime temperatures have been known to top 54°C (though the average summer temperature is a much more bearable 45°C). There are canyons, sand dunes, mountains, and over 1000 species of plants to explore.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the restaurant we visit is air-conditioned so you can cool down after your adventure.

3. Listen to live music in Nashville & Memphis

Home to two distinctly American styles of music, Nashville and Memphis are the Mecca for country and the blues respectively.

In Nashville a visit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Grand Ole Opry (the world’s longest running live radio show) is a must, while over in Memphis hit Beale Street for some amazing live music and pop by Graceland to pay your respects to ‘the King’.

Elvis's Gold Piano

4. Play roulette in a Las Vegas casino

No city on earth knows how to show you a good time quite like Las Vegas. With over 100 casinos the hardest part will be deciding where to put your money down.

Sin City is also home to dozens of live shows, world-class shopping and nightlife like no other.

5. Enjoy a sunset over the Grand Canyon

If there is one sight guaranteed to take your breath away, sunset over the Grand Canyon is it.

Carved out by the Colorado River over millions of years, the Grand Canyon is 446km long, up to 1.6km deep, and up to 24 km wide. Take a rim walk or journey down to the Canyon floor.

6. Eat Cajun food in Louisiana

While you’re down in the Deep South tuck into a plate of mouth-watering Cajun Gumbo in Lafayette. Gumbo is a stew made with meat or shellfish and seasoning vegetables that originated in southern Louisiana during the 18th century combining the tastes of French, Spanish, German, West African, and Native American cooking.

7. Learn about Native American culture

When we visit Monument Valley in Utah, not only will you experience the amazing scenery of more than 1000 sandstone buttes and you’ll get a glimpse of the ancient Navajo culture with a guided jeep tour of the area.

Those of you on our Greatest Parks trip will also get to stay overnight with the Navajo listening to their stories and dancing the night away under the stars.

8. Hike a Glacier in Canada

Athabasca Glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield, located in the Canadian Rockies and is the most visited glacier in North America. Our guided hike is perfect for travellers of all abilities.

9. Shop ‘til you drop in NYC

Shop 'til you drop in NYC

Shop 'til you drop in NYC

Luxury shopping can be found along the famous Fifth and Madison Avenues including Versace, Tiffany & Co and Saks. Two of the most expensive streets in the world, for most of us window shopping will have to suffice!

But don’t worry, great and affordable shopping can be found all over the city especially in stylish SoHo and the East Village

10. Have a Shower at Niagara Falls

Right on the US/Canadian border, the thunderous Niagara Falls is among the continent’s greatest natural wonders.

Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls

Maid of the Mist, Niagara Falls

Over 500,000 litres of water a second cascades over the Falls to the cavernous gorge below and you can get right up close to this power with a Maid of the Mist boat tour - includes rain poncho!

But don’t take our word for it – experience the wonders of North America for yourself and let us know your must-dos.

Topdeck Travel runs 21 North American trips ranging from 6 to 20 days covering California, the Mid-West, East Coast, Cross Country and Canada.