Canada Travel Tips From The Travel Experts

7 September 2018
Read Time: 11.3 mins

Who knows Canada? Our Travel Experts know Canada.

From working holidays in Whistler to travelling in the Yukon, our consultants have traipsed extensively and lived all over the Great White North – some are even Canadians themselves! 

For the inside guide to what to see, eat, do and check out in Vancouver, British Columbia, Yukon and Northwest Territories, here’s our top tips for your Canada trip.

Vancouver

The Vancouver skyline looks futuristic from False Creek. (Image: Shutterstock)

Getting there:

If you're arriving into Vancouver International Airport, the Canada Line is your best option for transport. The train fare will only set you back a couple of Canadian dollars and have you downtown in 30 minutes.

Sheridan Murphy, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Helensvale, Qld

Getting around:

A colourful mural on South Main Street in the Commercial Drive neighbourhood. (Image: Tourism Vancouver)

Vancouver is a major populated city – traffic is intense, getting around on public transport can prove difficult, and it is bound to rain at some point in the day. Be prepared!

Scott Cardno, Canadian

Downtown Vancouver is super walkable. Walk to English Bay or Yaletown to get the False Creek Ferry across to Granville Island - way more picturesque and more fun than catching the bus. If you're in Vancouver for a few days and will visit Granville Island a few times, you can buy a book of 10 tickets on board to save some money!

Belinda Sadler, Infinity Sales Consultant

Public transport is easy to use and probably your best way to get around. Go to London Drugs stores and buy a preloaded Compass Card and you can start using it straightaway. They cost CAD$5, but if you return the card you get that money back.

Nikki Coritsa, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Colonnades, SA

Eating:

Asian food is amazing in Vancouver – if you like Thai I recommend Bangkok City Cafe on West 4th Avenue in Kitsilano.

Nikki Coritsa, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Colonnades, SA

Go to Cactus Club Cafe near the Olympic Flame and order the Szechuan Lettuce wrap with sweet chilli chicken. Yum!

Emma Nainby, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Noosa, Qld

If you're looking to treat yourself, head to Bella Gelateria for a double scoop of artisan gelato. You'll find the shop next door to The Fairmont Waterfront.

Sheridan Murphy, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Helensvale, Qld

Treat yo'self with a decadent afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress hotel on Vancouver Island. (Image: Tourism Vancouver)

Make time to go to Vancouver Island for a day trip by Harbour Air seaplane and order the world-famous afternoon high tea at the Fairmont Empress hotel – you won’t regret it.

Nikki Coritsa, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Colonnades, SA

With a no reservation policy, it's in your best interest to line up before the doors of Cafe Medina open for the best brunch. Their palm-sized waffles are made fresh daily and can be ordered with a variety of toppings including orange and fig marmalade, milk chocolate lavender or raspberry caramel.

Sheridan Murphy, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Helensvale, Qld

Drinking:

Vancouver is known as the craft beer capital of Canada. (Image: Getty Images)

If craft beer is your thing, Vancouver has a great craft beer scene. Hit up some of the amazing East Vancouver breweries like Callister Brewing Co., Parallel 49 Brewing Company, Strange Fellows Brewing, Bomber Brewing and Off The Rail Brewing Co. (just to name a few).

Belinda Sadler, Infinity Sales Consultant

Vancouver’s craft beer scene has exploded over the past few years with several excellent breweries scattered throughout the city. The most popular brewery is Granville Island Brewing, which offers daily brewery tours and beer samplers. Some notable brewpubs are St Augustine’s and BierCraft on Commercial Drive, Steamworks Brew Pub in Gastown and Yaletown Brewing Co Brewpub in Yaletown. Cheers!

Gemma Early, Travel Expert, Flight Centre West End, Qld

The Tap & Barrel at the Convention Centre has an amazing patio for summer drinks in summer and views of the mountains and waterfront. Pop by later and you’re sure to witness a stunning sunset, too.

Belinda Sadler, Infinity Sales Consultant

As the host of The 48 Hour Destination TV series produced by Flight Centre, Vancouver was a standout city for me. Head to Gastown at night – you’ll find some amazing speakeasies and cocktail lounges there.

Greer Gardiner, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Mary Street, Qld

Must-dos:

Cycle the Seawall around Stanley Park in downtown Vancouver. (Image: Tourism Vancouver)

Lynn Canyon is a stunning alternative to Capilano Suspension Bridge. No admission costs and accessible by SeaBus and a bus. You can escape the crowds and experience some beautiful easy hiking trails as well as the suspension bridge.

Belinda Sadler, Infinity Sales Consultant

Hire a bike and ride along the Seawall – the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path.  Best of all? The 28km Seawall is right in downtown Vancouver and loops around Stanley Park. Make sure you grab a lock for the bike there are lots of stops along the way and you can also stop in at Cactus Club Cafe in English bay for a drink overlooking the water!

Belinda Sadler, Infinity Sales Consultant

Put your coordination to the ultimate test and tandem bike around Stanley Park. Before pedalling, it's important to note that you're expected to cycle around the park in an anti-clockwise direction.

Sheridan Murphy, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Helensvale, Qld

Fuel up on local food or nab a souvenir at the Granville Island Public Market. (Image: Tourism Vancouver)

For a buzzing atmosphere that showcases local produce, arts and crafts, take the water taxi over to Granville Island Market. It's the place to head on an empty stomach and for handmade souvenirs.

Sheridan Murphy, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Helensvale, Qld

Always take a rain jacket or umbrella, you never know when the Vancouver skies will open up!

Nikki Coritsa, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Colonnades, SA

RELATED: Here's cheers in Vancouver. More about Canada's craft beer capital

British Columbia

Road-tripping through BC's lush Okanagan region. (Image: Getty Images)

When to go:

The best time to travel to BC would be May or June as the lakes are all unfrozen with  great weather for hiking, sightseeing and the mountains are still snow-capped, which is so beautiful!

Emma Coillet, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Macquarie Cruise, NSW

Best times to go for wildlife are early May and early September for wildlife at its most active. Animals are waking up from (May) or getting ready to go into (September) hibernation so they will be foraging and hunting daily.

Brody Whiteman, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kwinana, WA

Getting around:

Check out the views from the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge at the Sea to Sky Gondola on the Sea-to-Sky Highway. (Image: Getty Images)

A hire car is a must – it is the best way to see everything off the beaten track and see all the most amazing undiscovered national parks and lakes that most people won't get to!

Emma Coillet, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Macquarie Cruise, NSW

It is a good idea to have a car as a lot of the lodges aren't within walking distance to the nearest town. It also gives you flexibility to explore the area on your own schedule.

Lisa Monk, Canada Infinity Product Specialist

I highly recommend a coach tour. Anybody who has driven around New Zealand knows how windy the roads can be and as a driver, it becomes incredibly monotonous. Canada is no different, so the more you can get someone else to do the hard work for you through the Rockies; the better.

Brody Whiteman, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kwinana, WA

On the Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, make sure to stop off at Shannon Falls Provincial Park, 2km south of Squamish, for an amazing picnic spot by the 335m waterfall.

Jackie Wootton, Flight Centre Creative Studio, Qld

National parks:

Taking stock of stunning Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park. (Image: Getty Images)

There is so much wilderness to explore in British Columbia that you’ll need your own wheels! Scenic drives abound with seven national parks and endless mountain ranges  – the hard part will be deciding which place to visit first.

Gemma Early, Travel Expert, Flight Centre West End, Qld

When driving through the national parks, take a long way - it increases your chances of seeing the big wildlife that the national parks are known for!

Scott Cardno, Canadian

Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is five minutes’ drive from the BC border on the way to Lake Louise, Alberta. There’s an amazing walk that goes around the whole lake for different perspectives of the lake.

Emma Coillet, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Macquarie Cruise, NSW

A huge benefit for staying in a Canada lodge is the proximity to the Canadian wilderness. Quite often the lodge or resort is located in a national park like Emerald Lake Lodge in BC, which is in the beautiful Yoho National Park.

Lisa Monk, Canada Infinity Product Specialist

RELATED: Where to eat on the Sea-to-Sky Highway between Vancouver and Whistler.

Must-dos:

In summer, head to Whistler's famous bike park for free-ride mountain biking (MTB) in the forest. (Image: Getty Images)

BeaverTails – the dessert kind, not the literal kind. Look around in towns like Whistler and Banff and you are sure to stumble across a curious eatery called BeaverTails. You would be mistaken for thinking this is a taxidermy store, but you would be wrong. To put it simply, the BeaverTail is to Canada what the deep-fried Mars bar is to Scotland – a heart attack on a plate but the tastiest heart attack you will ever have. It’s a rolled-out donut that is baked and then topped in whatever you want a la Cold Rock Ice Cremery, and something you have to try at least once while you’re in the Great White North.

Brody Whiteman, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kwinana, WA

Many of the lodges will offer similar amenities as a city hotel including spa centres and dining options as well as activities that are unique to the destination. Sparkling Hill Resort in BC offers a luxury spa on site.

Lisa Monk, Canada Infinity Product Specialist

If you’re visiting BC in April to May, don’t miss the annual Tulips of the Valley floral festival in Chilliwack in the Fraser Valley –  a 75-minute drive from Vancouver.

Emma Nainby, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Noosa, Qld

While Whistler is well-renowned for its fantastic snow, the warmer months are an equally impressive adventure paradise as well as being the perfect location to unwind. If you're feeling adventurous you can take on the many mountain bike and hiking trails that replace the winter ski runs or for a more relaxed scenic experience, a spot of golf and the Peak 2 Peak gondola are a must. The alpine village itself is filled with an interesting array of eateries and boutiques and is pedestrian only, a highlight is the farmers market on Sundays.

Gemma Early, Travel Expert, Flight Centre West End, Qld

For a sneaky US Day trip, cross at the Peace Arch border crossing and drive down to Seattle, Washington (170-ish km) to get a taste of the USA, including some of the best outlet mall shopping on the West Coast.

Scott Cardno, Canadian

Yukon & Northwest Territories

Paddling on the Yukon River near Whitehorse. (Image: Getty Images)

Getting there:

Whitehorse is the key to opening up an amazing adventure in the Yukon. Daily flights from Vancouver make it easy for Australians (there’s also connections to Calgary and Edmonton plus Dawson City).

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

RELATED: Top tips for northern lights sightings in the Yukon

Must-dos:

Just outside Whitehorse, you can spy the northern lights aka aurora borealis from late September to March. (Image: Getty Images)

On the banks of the Yukon River, Whitehorse is a modern city with all the amenities you need. Paddle or swim (or skate) on the river, visit a paddlesteamer, and explore the Yukon Gorge.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

Take the White Pass and Yukon Railroad down to Skagway (technically in Alaska). Trains operate seasonally from Whitehorse, although services are more frequent from Carcross.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

A moose in Kluane National Park in southwest Yukon. (Image: Canadian Tourism Commission)

Head west to Haines Junction/Destruction Bay to explore the amazing Kluane National Park including Canada's highest mountain, Mt Logan.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

Yukon is one of the best places to see the aurora borealis (northern lights) – add in a dog sledding experience for the ultimate winter trip.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

Guests staying at Northern Lights Resort & Spa in the Yukon have the luxury of viewing the northern lights right outside their cabin door.

Lisa Monk, Canada Infinity Product Specialist

Do a self-drive itinerary from the Yukon to include Alaska. The Alaskan Fjord Triangle (3-5 days) goes from Whitehorse (Carcross, Finger Lake country) to Skagway in Alaska, take the ferry to Haines then to Haines Junction (YT) (Kluane National Park) and back to Whitehorse.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW

The Grand Circle (7+ days) self-drive itinerary leaves from Whitehorse to Dawson City. Use Top of the World Highway to Alaska (stop at Chicken, Alaska, population: 14), overnight at Tok, then head down the Alaska Highway to Haines Junction (Kluane National Park) and back to Whitehorse.

Alexander Ozanne, Travel Expert, Flight Centre Kings Cross, NSW


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Flight Centre's Consultants

At Flight Centre, our consultants have travelled far and wide to offer you informed assistance when it comes to booking your next trip. These blog posts showcase just some of the experiences our consultants have had on recent adventures. We hope you enjoy reading these blog articles.