When WotLK launched, I did not take my main into Northrend, I took my Herbalism/Engineer shaman alt instead. While everyone else was questing through Dragonblight, I stumbled upon the path leading into Sholazar Basin from Borean Tundra. Herbing there was picking gold out of the ground, and to my total shock I found the southern hills filled to the brim with Saronite and even Titanium deposits, all of which would be untouched until the sea of humanity hit 77 and got their flying mounts. I zipped back to Stormwind, dropped Engineering, bought all of the ore I could off the AH to powerlevel Mining via smelting. Some six hours later, I was selling Saronite Ore at 150g a stack.
Cataclysm is upon us in a few hours, my friends, and I fully intend to spend the first major part of it farming. Had I known before Wrath came out the ease of getting into Sholozar, I could have prepared better. Have you prepared for Cataclysm? My goal is to get into Uldum and/or Twilight Highlands and get to farming before people make it out of Hyjal, and after the jump will be how I plan on doing it.
Most of the data I used comes from Kaliope's crafting blog, specifically the Mining and Herbalism leveling guides. She runs an amazing resource over there, which you definitely should check out - you can find it through the links provided or through the blogroll to your right.
Uldum and Twilight Highlands are the highest "endgame" zones in Cataclysm, meaning the unwashed masses will have to get through Hyjal/Vashj and Deepholm to start stealing your nodes. But what is even spawning in those two places?
Uldum = Cinderbloom (425), Whiptail (500), Elementium Vein (475), Rich Elementium Vein (500), Pyrite Deposit (525).
Twilight Highlands = Cinderbloom (425), Twilight Jasmine (525), Elementium Vein (475), Rich Elementium Vein (500), Pyrite Deposit (525)
Assuming you are starting out with 450 in your gathering professions, the goal then becomes to hit 475 in Mining and 500 in Herbalism before you can conquer Uldum with any sort of gusto. Or 470/495 with Gathering on your gloves. Or even 490 Herbalism with Herbalist's Gloves + Advanced Herbalism. So what is the quickest way to get those 20-40 skill-ups?
Ayep. Set your hearth in Dalaran, train your Illustrious gathering rank, fly out to Icecrown/Storm Peaks, farm Rich Saronite Ore deposits and Icethorn all the way to the needed minimum, and then take the one portal to rule them all to Uldum's doorstep. As noted in Kaliope's comments for those pages, there are several European readers who achieved Realm First following her guide. I do not particularly care about the achievement, but hey, if it happens while I am selling Elementium and Whiptail at 500g/stack, fantastic!
According to this Alchemy guide, Whiptail can start being used for skill-ups at 475, and becomes required (along with Twilight Jasmine) for anything past 495. After the Realm Firsts are decided, I will probably leave Uldum, head up to Theramore, take the boat to Menethril, and then farm Twilight Jasmine in the Highlands until I pass out. If you are trying to decide which of the two high-end herbs may end up going for more, note that the Agility and Strength flasks require Whiptail whereas the Intellect and Stamina flasks require Twilight Jasmine.