This classic self drive holiday in Western Canada combines the abundant wildlife of Vancouver Island, fascinating Aboriginal communities of coastal British Columbia and breathtaking beauty of the Canadian Rockies. Following a circular route from Vancouver, enjoy the independence of your own car with the ease of pre-booked accommodation.
- see Aboriginal artwork at the Cowichan Native Village (included)
- explore beautiful Desolation Sound looking out for black bears (included)
- wander through the floral beauty at Victoria’s Butchart Gardens (included)
- cruise the Inside Passage (included)
- soak in hot springs in either Banff or Jasper (included)
- join an Ice Explorer ride onto the Athabasca Glacier (included)
- take the Banff Sulphur Mountain Gondola for spectacular views (included)
Your journey commences with a relaxing scenic ferry crossing from Vancouver to Vancouver Island, the ideal way to start your holiday. From here a 2-night stay on Quadra Island provides the opportunity to see black bears in the wild, an experience to treasure. More wildlife is likely to be spotted as you cruise along the Inside Passage to Prince Rupert – orcas, grey whales and sea lions frequent these waters.
Back on the mainland collect your rental car and make your way east to the magnificent Rockies taking in Jasper and Banff and the breathtaking mountains that surround these picturesque resort towns. En route back to the west coast explore Canada’s gold rush heritage and the ski resort of Whistler before ending your tour back in Vancouver.
Itinerary & Accommodation
- Day 1: Vancouver - Victoria (68 km)
- Departing Vancouver, stop at the fishing village of Steveston - home to the Gulf of Georgia Cannery National Historic Site. Continue to the Tsawwassen Ferry Terminal for your scenic 90 minute journey to Vancouver Island. On arrival visit the Butchart Gardens (admission included) fifty-five acres of wonderful floral display - before continuing into the charming harbour city of Victoria.
- Day 2: Victoria - Quadra Island (269 km)
- Travelling north on the Island Highway, pass through Duncan the "City of Totems". Further north is the artist community of Chemainus, where you can admire the giant murals which adorn the exterior walls throughout the town. By late afternoon arrive into Campbell River to board a BC Ferries (return ferry tolls included) for a short ride to Quadra Island. Your destination is April Point Resort for a 2 night stay.
- Day 3: Quadra Island - Eco Wilderness Tour
- Today cruise through breathtaking Desolation Sound and enjoy the majesty of Toba Inlet to seek out black bears in their natural habitat. See Mitlenatch Island Marine Park and Bird Sanctuary, sea lions, dolphins, eagles, timber wolves, deer and more.
- Day 4: Quadra Island - Port Hardy (241 km)
- This morning take the ferry back to Vancouver Island and continue your journey north. Near Port McNeil you may wish to take an optional killer whale watching cruise into the waters of Johnson Strait. Your day ends in the fishing community of Port Hardy.
- Day 5: Port Hardy - Prince Rupert - Inside Passage Cruise
- Embark on a full day of cruising the sheltered waters of Canada's Inside Passage with BC Ferries. During the length of the 15-hour crossing, a wonderful array of snow capped mountains combine with rich forests provides a background for a series of dramatic fjords. Killer whales, grey whales, sea lions and playful porpoise often appear in these waters. Arrive in the seaport of Prince Rupert late evening.
- Day 6: Prince Rupert - Smithers (364 km)
- Today follow the winding and narrow Yellowhead highway, hugging the Skeena River for most of the way. Pass through the mining town of Terrace and into Smithers. Located in the centre of the Bulkley Valley at the foot of the Hudson Bay Mountain, Smithers offers excellent opportunities for outdoor adventures. Before the construction of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway this area was a hunting ground of the Carrier Peoples. It became the railways divisional headquarters.
- Day 7: Smithers - Prince George (372 km)
- depart Smithers today, continuing along the Yellowhead highway. Passing through Houston, known as the Steelhead Capital and home to the world's biggest fly rod; over 18 metres (59 ft) in length! Next you will travel through Burns Lake - fishing village, Vanderhoof - nature lover's paradise, and into Prince George. Prince George is the largest service centre for the northern part of British Columbia, perfectly situated at the crossroads of two major highways and two railways.
- Day 8: Prince George - Jasper (376 km)
- today is another unforgettable day of scenery. Follow mountain passes and raging rivers as you wind your way to an overnight stop in Jasper - 'the Jewel of the Rockies'.
- Day 9: Jasper
- Explore this charming mountain village close to many scenic highlights. Take a tram ride up Whistlers mountain, or visit Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed lakes in the world, and enjoy a 90 minute cruise heading toward the south end of this postcard setting (Maligne Lake cruise not included). You will marvel at the magnificent shoreline with dense forest and glacial peaks rising abruptly from the water's edge. Stopping at Spirit Island, you will have the opportunity to take your own version of the world famous photograph of the lake.
- Day 10: Jasper - Banff (265 km)
- Your scenic drive today takes you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies. View a never-ending procession of mammoth mountains, jagged peaks, over 100 glaciers and pristine emerald colour lakes. Along the way see such sights as the Columbia Icefield and take an Ice Explorer ride out onto the glacier. Also watch for the Sarbach Glacier, Peyto Lake, Bow Lake, with the Bow Glacier providing the backdrop, and Crowfoot Glacier before your arrival into Lake Louise. From Lake Louise choose the Bow Valley Parkway, beside the Bow River with an option for you to take a stop at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footway to either the lower or upper waterfalls before continuing to Banff. Please note: Mountain lakes in this region will be frozen through to mid June.
- Day 11: Banff
- A full day at leisure to explore Banff and the surrounding area, using the Parks Canada Discovery Pass included in your holiday package. This allows admission into the Cave & Basin National Historic Site and the Banff Park Museum. Also included in your package is a ride on the Banff Gondola for panoramic views of the Bow Valley. Spend some time relaxing in the natural mineral pools at the Upper Hot Springs.
- Day 12: Banff - Sun Peaks Resort (496 km)
- Leaving Banff National Park, travel to Yoho National Park where you cross the continental divide. Then travel on through Glacier National Park and 'Rogers Pass' with spectacular mountain vistas in every direction. Continue through the Monashee Mountain Range and past the breathtaking views of Shuswap Lake. Drive through Kamloops and start to travel north up to the ski resort town of Sun Peaks where you will spend the night.
- Day 13: Sun Peaks - Gold Bridge (327 km)
- Begin the day traveling along Logan Lake route to the gold rush town of Cache Creek. Continue the journey south to Lillooet, known as the land of the Gold Rush Trail and was 'Mile Zero' of the Old Caribou Wagon Road during the Gold Rush Years. Now the area is home to the largest Canadian producers of the medicinal plant, Ginseng. Departing Lillooet travel for 2 hours along a well maintained gravel road to Tyax Wilderness Resort nestled on the shores on Tyaughton Lake.
- Day 14: Gold Bridge
- Tyax offers a wide array of optional activities for all ages including western horseback riding, guided fly fishing tours, fly casting, mountain biking on gentle rolling or challenging single track, floatplane adventures over the Chilcotin Wilderness and drop offs at remote alpine lakes; as well as quad bike safaris (ATV's) along old mining trails leading to the wildflower carpeted alpine meadows. Other activities that are complimentary include the use of the canoes, row boats, paddle boats and tennis courts.
- Day 15: Gold Bridge - Whistler (150 km)
- Departing Gold Bridge travel back to Lillooet and onto the Duffey Lake Road to Whistler. On the upper elevations of the Duffey Lake Road enjoy breath-taking views of Joffee Glacier and snow capped Mount Currie that rises to a height of 2,596 meters (8,518 feet). Continue on through to the mountain village of Whistler for an overnight stay.
- Day 16: Whistler - Vancouver (122 km)
- Depart Whistler at your own leisure along the scenic Sea to Ski Highway to Vancouver. Highlights along the way include the cascading Shannon Falls and the Stawamus Chief Rock where climbers from all over the globe migrate to climb the granite cliffs. Arrive into Vancouver and proceed to the airport or your hotel.
Inn at Laurel Point, Victoria
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
The tranquil 200 room Inn at Laurel Point occupies an un…
Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge
- Grade: Standard
- Type: Hotel
Overlooking Lac Beauvert just outside the township of Ja…
A variety of accommodation options are available for this holiday. Please contact us for further details.
ExcursionsA number of excursions are included in this itinerary, some of which are listed in more detail below. Your Travel Specialist will be able to advise on additional or upgraded excursion options to suit your interests.
Prices & Dates
Prices from £1,881 per person, based on twin-share standard accommodation and intermediate rental vehicle. Prices vary subject to departure date.
|June 2017||15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29|
|July 2017||1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31|
|August 2017||2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30|
|September 2017||1, 3, 5, 7, 9|
15 nights room only accommodation in the category of your choice (Standard, Superior or Deluxe) ● 16 days car hire (Intermediate or Full Size) ● All ferry crossings for passengers and vehicle as per the itinerary ● Admission to Butchart Gardens ● Eco Zodiac Tour into Desolation Sound ● BC ferry tolls for vehicle & passengers plus Reserved Seating in Aurora Lounge between Port Hardy & Prince Rupert ● Admission to either Banff Upper Hot Springs or Miette Hot Springs Jasper ● Ice Explorer ride onto the Athabasca Glacier ● Sulphur Mountain Gondola, Banff ● Exclusive travel documentation package including personalised maps, itinerary and driving directions.
Flights and airport taxes ● Additional meals not specified above ● Personal travel insurance (Discover the World offers a comprehensive policy - please contact our team for details) ● Gratuities & items of a personal nature ● Road tolls ● National Park fees ● Hotel car parking fees - approx CA$20 per day, payable locally, prices vary.
How to book
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