The glories of Western Canada
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From Vancouver Island to the Rocky Mountains, this thrilling adventure in western Canada combines remarkable journeys by road, rail and sea, and uncovers the sheer natural beauty of this rugged part of the world. Begin with two days in lively Vancouver, then cross to Vancouver Island to stay in the very 'British' capital, Victoria, and travel through a land of rainforests, bears, colourful coastal settlements and the Pacific Rim National Park. Take an unforgettable day's cruise through the stunning Inside Passage, then a two-day scenic rail journey into the heart of the Canadian Rockies, where Jasper and Banff are the final crowning glories of this once-in-a-lifetime holiday.
Canadian Rockies Rail Adventure Itinerary
Fly west to Vancouver, meet your Tour Manager and transfer to the hotel for a two-night stay. After checking in, you're free to spend the rest of the day relaxing in this wonderful metropolis, which occupies a glorious setting between Western Canada's beautiful coastline and the mighty North Shore Mountains.
Day One: Fly to Vancouver
Get to know Vancouver on today's optional guided city tour. Highlights will include restored Gastown - Vancouver's oldest neighbourhood - as well as colourful Chinatown, and the glass and steel wonders of the Burrard Inlet waterfront. We'll also cross into the leafy suburbs of 'North Van', where you can brave the famous Capilano Suspension Bridge - a soaring walkway, made partly of glass, that crosses a dramatic canyon crowded with rainforest vegetation.
Day Two: Explore Vancouver
Today we take a ferry across the Georgia Strait to Vancouver Island, which famously enjoys a mild climate year round. We'll spend two nights in Victoria, the unashamedly 'British' capital of British Columbia, where the Royal BC Museum, vast parliament buildings and the grand Empress Hotel are among its many highlights.
Day Three: Cross to Vancouver Island
Enjoy a free day in Victoria, exploring under your own steam, or join this morning's optional excursion to world-famous Butchart Gardens, where over a million plants and several hundred floral species scatter its beautifully manicured grounds.
Day Four: Explore Butchart Gardens and head out on a whale-watching cruise
This afternoon, a second optional excursion offer the chance to go on a whale-watching cruise, on which you may spot orca, killer, humpback and grey whales in their natural environment.
Bidding farewell to Victoria, we'll travel north to join the western end of the great Trans Canada Highway into one of the country's great natural wonderlands. Skirting Vancouver island's east coast, we'll pass 'City of Totems' Duncan, see the famous painted murals in the former logging town of Chemainus, and make a stop at the quirky Old Country Market at nearby Coombs, where resident goats graze on the roof of its log houses.
Day Five: Journey to the Pacific Rim National Park and Tofino
Travelling west, we'll then enter a pristine land of lakes and mountains that leads into the Pacific Rim National Park, and to Tofino, our base for the next two nights.
Immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings of the national park. Take a stroll along Pacific-side Long Beach or hop over to Meares Island to hike in its ancient rainforest, plus enjoy the rare chance to see tidal black bears foraging in the surf for crab and other sea fish on an optional bear-watching cruise.
Day Six: Explore the Pacific Rim National Park
Turning east, we'll travel inland and cross to the opposite edge of the Island, pausing en route to make the short walk to Cathedral Grove's famous stand of Douglas firs. This afternoon we'll arrive in Campbell River, gateway to the remote wilderness of northern Vancouver Island and dubbed the 'Salmon Capital of the World'.
Day Seven: Journey to Campbell River
Enjoy a morning at leisure, perhaps taking a scenic stroll along the river or trying your hand at salmon fishing. We'll then reboard the coach for this afternoon's final Vancouver Island leg of the journey, travelling north towards Port Hardy, where an overnight stay heralds tomorrow's great adventure.
Day Eight: Explore Campbell River and travel to Port Hardy
Very early this morning we'll board the BC Ferries ship for an unforgettable cruise through the island-dotted, mountain-fringed coastal wilderness of the Inside Passage, considered one of Canada's greatest journeys. Take in the staggering vistas from the ship's lounges and decks, looking out for whales, sea lions and rare eagles as we cruise through the icy waters. We'll arrive in Prince Rupert late this evening, at the end of a remarkable day.
Day Nine: Cruise the Inside Passage
Today we'll board VIA Rail's famous Skeena Train for the picturesque, two-day journey east, towards the great Rocky Mountains. Enjoy stunning views as the train rolls through the spectacular coastal ranges and onwards through a forested landscape - once the hunting ground of native peoples and fur-trappers - and past remote settlements fringed by soaring peaks. Enjoy breakfast, a cold lunch and hot dinner served by the friendly on-board staff, then spend a night in the town of Prince George, which sits on the banks of the Fraser River.
Days 10 and 11: Travel via train to the Rocky Mountains
A second day aboard the train takes us over the Yellowhead Pass, past towering Mount Robson and finally, by early evening, to the historic railroad town of Jasper, at the gateway to stunning Jasper National Park.
Enjoy a restful day at the hotel, choosing to discover Jasper at your leisure, or join one of today's optional excursions to unveil the beauty of this stunning landscape. These include a ride on the Jasper Tramway - a historic cable car line that climbs to the heights above - and a visit to magnificent Maligne Lake, or a ride on the back of (or in a sidecar beside) a Harley Davidson motorcycle piloted by a professional rider.
Day 12: Explore Jasper National Park
Today we'll travel along the renowned Icefields Parkway, which carves through the heart of the Canadian Rockies and is often regarded as one of North America's most scenic routes. We'll call briefly at beautiful Lake Louise, where turquoise waters - frozen for much of the year - are set against the awesome backdrop of Victoria Glacier. Make the most of some stunning photo opportunities before we continue our journey to Banff, the final destination on our Canadian journey.
Day 13: Travel along the Icefields Parkway and see Lake Louise
Explore the delightful, bustling Rockies' capital, and take the opportunity to join a choice of memorable optional excursions into the surrounding national park. Perhaps take a cable-car ride to the summit of Sulphur Mountain, join a trip to the scenic Surprise Corner viewpoint overlooking famous Banff Springs Hotel, or round off your holiday with an unforgettable Helicopter Ride over this great mountain wilderness.
Day 14: Explore Banff
Board the coach to Calgary Airport for your overnight return flight to the UK.
Day 15: Begin your journey home
Arrive back in the UK.
Day 16: Arrive home