On the last leg of their journey through the south of the US, our four travellers headed their RV to Louisiana
The official name of the French Louisiana region is Acadiana, or the Heart of Acadiana, and it is home to a large francophone population. Cajun culture is defined by food, music, language, and religion. Everywhere in Acadiana, these qualities are obvious and standard from one family to the next. Cajun culture would not be the same without any one of them.
Cajun food is spicy and recipes are handed down through generations. It's gaining popularity on tables around the world. The language is Cajun French and while not every Acadian speaks it, everyone knows some Cajun words. Songs are sung in Cajun French and are usually about their history.
Atchafalaya River Experience
The 270km river is a tributary of the Mississippi and Red rivers. In south-central Louisiana, it is a significant industrial shipping channel and is the cultural heart of the Cajun country.
Our travellers couldn't resist a tour of the mysterious swamp and joined a father-and-son team who know all there is to know about fauna, flora and Louisiana eco-systems.
Kim Voorhies knows the river like the back of his hand. He has hunted and fished the swamps of southern Louisiana all his life. He entertains with stories and knows everyone in the area, greeting each person by name.
On any day you can see beaver, nutria, otters, mink, deer, squirrels and alligators in season. There are around 38 bird species and you see it all from a state-of-the-art aluminium boat.
Randol's Restaurant and Dance Salon
This is a one-stop Cajun experience. It's where people head for great Cajun food and Cajun or Zydeco music.
Trucks arrive every day with fresh produce and seafood from the Gulf of Mexico and they raise their own crawfish and crabs. Unusual dishes are there to be tried gator bites, crab fingers, ginger and can glazed shrimp, hush puppies and, of course, seafood gumbo.
Live music starts at 6.30pm and volunteer dancers turn up at around 7pm.
French Quarter, New Orleans
Also known as Vieux Carré, the French Quarter is the oldest and most famous neighbourhood in New Orleans. Many buildings date from the time of Spanish rule, before New Orleans was part of the US, but there are 19th-century and early 20th-century examples.
Bourbon Street spans the length of the French Quarter. Founded in 1718 it is the city's cultural hub and Upper Bourbon Street, an eight-block section, is where the tourists go. There are bars, restaurants, strip clubs, souvenir shops and the odd voodoo shop, all coming to life after dark. During the annual Mardi Gras celebration, thousands of people swarm the streets and there are endless groups playing traditional jazz.
Related: Lonely Planet's Guide to New Orleans
Louisiana in the south of the US.
Randol's Restaurant is open from 5pm to 10pm between Sunday and Thursday and 5pm to 11pm on Friday and Saturday.
V Australia has flights to Los Angeles.
- Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide $1239
- Adelaide $1539
- Perth $1839
On sale until December 8, 2010, and for travel between February 1 and March 31, 2011.
Prices correct at November 25, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 1800 777 779
The Atchafalaya Experience
338 N Sterling
Lafayette, Louisiana 70501
Ph: +1 337 233 7816
2320 Kaliste Saloom Road
Lafayette, Louisiana 70508
Ph: +1 337 981 7080
Apollo has a pre-Christmas Santa special in Australia and New Zealand, which is limited to 25 vehicles. Book online at www.apollorv.com or call 1800 777 779. The booking code (APUSGETS) must be used to receive the special rates. Valid for travel until March 31, 2011.
Visas: Most Australians do not need a visa, providing they have a machine-readable passport with at least six months' validity after the departure day, have a round-trip non-refundable ticket and do not intend to stay longer than 90 days. Australians need to complete a pre-travel authorisation at cbp.gov/esta
Electricity: 110V to 115V at 60Hz. Outlets take two parallel, flat prongs. Australian visitors will need a US adapter and converter.
Time zone: Louisiana is GMT -6.
Currency: The American dollar.
International dialling code: +1.