Best of Western Canada
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From the big cities of Vancouver and Victoria to the superb scenic delights of Jasper National Park, pull on some hiking books, grab a paddle or gear up in a swimsuit to explore this region from all angles.
Some of the highlights included are:
- Get a taste of the Rocky Mountains in Vancouver
- Enjoy a coastal walk in Victoria
- Travel the scenic countryside by train
- Hike up Whistler's Mountain in Jasper
- Explore the natural wonders of Banff
- Hit up the nightlife in Calgary
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- International flights
- 3 nights hostel accommodation, 6 nights hotel accommodation, 1 night onboard seated train
- Transport: Bus, Ferry, Train
- All activites as listed
- Tour leader throughout
Need to know
- Group size: Min 1, Max 12
- Ages: Min 15
Welcome to Canada! The largest city in western Canada, Vancouver is famous for its historic Gastown, Chinatown and the popular Stanley Park. The city's coastal setting is incredibly beautiful, bordering an ocean harbour to the north and a wide-reaching river to the south. The majestic Rockies, often snow capped, provide the eastern horizon.
This morning, catch the Skytrain to the ferry terminal, and then board a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island. The beautiful city of Victoria is the capital of British Columbia. It's thought that Captain James Cook was the first westerner to set foot on British Columbian soil, but it was the Hudson's Bay Company which established the area as their trading post and fort. Vancouver Island is the largest island off North America's west coast, and notable for having the mildest climate in Canada. It also offers a multitude of outdoor activities including hikes, whale-watching tours, bear-spotting tours and short coastal cruises. There's even the option to go salmon fishing (seasonal) and enjoy barbecues on the beach.
The train journey is around 20 hours, but the scenery is spectacular as we enter the Rockies and travel alongside rivers, lakes and mountains. We travel in economy class, with seats similar to aeroplane seats although with more leg room.
We arrive into Jasper this afternoon - the largest of Canada's Rocky Mountain parks, Jasper is famous for its wildlife such as elk, moose, deer, coyotes, bears (including grizzlies) and mountain lions, as well as many smaller mammals and birds. Here you have the option of hiking up Whistler Mountain, mountain biking in the Valley of Five Lakes or taking a cruise on Maligne Lake. If you are looking to take it a bit easier, you can ride the Jasper Tramway or just relax and soak in Miette Hot Springs.
Banff National Park
Banff National Park
Today you'll travel by bus to Banff, stopping at Columbia Icefields Centre, Athabasca Falls, Sunwapta, Weeping Wall and Crowfoot Glacier on the way (up 1o 12 hours including stops). Located in the heart of the Canadian Rockies, Banff National Park is Canada's oldest national park. Its valleys and mountain chains were formed 75 million years ago and its terrain consists of coniferous forests, alpine meadows, icefields and glaciers. It is an outdoor enthusiast's paradise with opportunities for canoeing, mountain biking, hiking or riding the gondola to the top of Sulphur Mountain.
Catch a bus bound for Calgary, completing your crossing of the Rockies. Home of the famous Calgary Stampede, Calgary is growing at a rapid rate, largely thanks to oil and mining. It may not be the most picturesque of cities, however there is a budding dining scene, and great nightlife. Chill out in Prince's Island Park, head up the Calgary Tower for great views across the city, learn a new sport at Canada Olympic Park, or fill up on cheap food in Calgary's expansive Chinatown. There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.