Flight Centre's Daniel Venables travels to Canada to enjoy the breath taking natural beauty of British Columbia. Daniel's vacation includes time in the Rocky Mountains as he enjoys the scenic beauty and the wildlife.
My story is of breathtaking scenery, extraordinary hotels, accessible wildlife, impeccable service and world class cuisine.
The long flight to Canada was quickly forgotten after the relaxing ferry ride across to Vancouver Island and the seaside beauty of Victoria. I spent the afternoon by the waterside, having a few beverages with friends, watching Minke whales play in the harbour and watching the sun go down.
My first official morning in Canada turned out to be one of the highlights. The unique APT signature experience was breakfast at the world famous Butchart Gardens. After burning off some of the breakfast by walking through the renowned gardens, it was back to Victoria for a bit of free time.
Later that afternoon, a few of us left on Zodiacs in search of Victoria's rich ocean life. As we passed the landing float planes, I don't know whether any of us dreamed that we would see humpbacks, seals, vulture, bald eagles and orca in the wild, all in the space of a couple of hours.
The next day we took another ferry back to the mainland and hit the ski and party village of Whistler. I didn't get to ski but I did have one of the best meals of my life, a bison steak, and I got to enjoy Whistler's night life on the same night as watching the AFL grand final.
We continued the ski village theme with a visit to Sun Peaks and I'm looking forward to getting back there in the middle of ski season.
The following day we moved into the national parks and the Canada that Canada is famous for.
Jasper Park Lodge was in an amazing setting and it was a once in a lifetime experience when I encountered a family of elk on my run around the lake. I realised that it wasn't as rare an encounter as I'd originally thought when I found another couple of elk chewing on some grass in front of my room.
The next two hotels we stayed at are Canadian icons. The second most photographed spot in all of Canada (only trailing a little waterfall in the East), the picturesque Chateau Lake Louise and the "Castle in the Rockies", the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs. I had my breath taken away by my lake view room at the Chateau and I was mesmerised by the ghost stories and grandeur of the Banff Springs hotel. I was awestruck with the natural beauty of the region. My only regret was not having another day in Lake Louise, as I would have loved to experience an afternoon tea at the Lake Agnes Tea House.
It was bitter sweet to board The Rocky Mountaineer. One of the greatest train journeys in the world and for good reason. Bitter because we were leaving the Rocky Mountains and sweet because we were riding in a Gold Leaf carriage, with uninterrupted views of the mountain scenery (including through the roof), and all while being served some of North America's finest cuisine and beverages. We rested in Kamloops overnight before boarding the train again for another memorable day of stunning scenery, wildlife (including bears and migrating salmon) and impeccable Gold Leaf luxury.
Our tour concluded with two days in Vancouver. We visited Grouse Mountain and watched grizzly bears. We walked the Capilano Suspension Bridge and I had an unforgettable night at a Vancouver Canucks ice hockey match.
I was dazed from all the wonder that I'd taken in over the past 12 days but firm in the knowledge that I'd be back to Canada.
Looking for more information about travelling to awe inspiring British Columbia, Canada? Contact [email]text=Daniel Venables[/email], an assistant team leader with Flight Centre in Loganholme in Queensland who can be reached on 1300 109 194 or by [email]text=email[/email].