Last week, Catriona took us along the first part of the beautiful Pacific Coast Drive which runs from San Francisco to Los Angeles. She went as far as the grand Hearst Castle in San Simeon. Catch up on Part I
The next stop was the City of Pismo Beach. It is very tourist-orientated and offers a myriad of activities including golfing, cycling, tennis, riding, diving, hiking, tidal pools, clean beaches, coves and caves.
The 370 metre Pismo Pier is popular for sightseeing, walking, fishing and watching wonderful sunsets. Each year Pismo Beach hold special events including 4th of July Fireworks, Clam Festival, Band Review, Car Show, Mardi Gras, Jubilee-by-the-Sea Dixieland Jazz Festival and Western Days. Visitors come from near and far and they are always successful events.
Pismo's Oceano sand dune area is widely recognised as the finest along the coast. Scientists and conservationists have done much research on the material forming the dunes which were home to groups of free thinkers, mystics, nudists, artists, writers and hermits in the 1930s and 40s. They published a magazine called The Dune Forum, and Dunites believed that Oceano was one of California's centres of creative energy. Pismo is the only beach in California on which you are allowed to drive your car.
Pacific Adventure Tours take you for the ride of your life through the dunes in one of their hummers. If you fancy an adrenalin rush, this is the way to get it!
Then it was on to Santa Barbara, one of the most beautiful places in the United States. It has the magnificent Santa Ynez Mountains as a backdrop and the Channel Islands in the other direction. Its Mediterranean climate and south-facing beaches enjoy hours of sunshine and shelter from wind, giving it the name of America's Riviera.
Santa Barbara has more than its share of natural beauty, cultural sophistication and life is taken at a healthy pace.
In the early 1900s, when major motion picture studios moved from New York and Chicago and based themselves in Santa Barbara; many classics were produced there. That all moved south to Hollywood, but the blue chip suburb of Montecito is home to many big stars.
A rule of thumb is that the higher the hedge, the grander the mansion behind. Oprah Winfrey's home reputedly cost over $50 million. Her neighbours include Kevin Costner, Rob Lowe, Tom Cruise and John Cleese. It is said there are more gardeners than residents in Santa Barbara.
Santa Barbara's architectural style is a famous one. Distinctly influenced by the architecture of Spain, it is really a blend of Spanish, Mediterranean and Moorish/Islamic. Gleaming white stucco buildings with terracotta tile roofs, courtyards and wrought iron create the image favoured by the town.
The city strictly adheres to keeping their town beautiful. There are no billboards in town, and none on the main freeway for around 30 kilometres in both directions. Business signs are not permitted large lettering to advertise. It all makes for a beautiful image.
The west coast of the United States.
DriveAway Holidays car hire starts at $68 a day.
Pismo Extreme Beach and Dunes Thrill costs $42 for adults and $24 for children.
Air New Zealand has flights to San Francisco.
- Sydney, $1769
- Melbourne, $1852
- Brisbane, $1854
- Adelaide, $2070
- Perth, $2255
- Darwin, $2294
These prices are valid for travel between February 22 to March 31, 2007 and November 1 to December 9, 2007. Subject to availability.
Prices quoted are correct at February 22, 2007.
Level 2, 157 Walker Street
North Sydney 2060
Ph: 1300 363 500
Fax: (02) 9929 4655
Xtreme Hummers & Pacific Adventure
1300 Railroad Street
Oceano CA 93445
Ph: 0011 1 805 481 9330
Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476