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Welcome to outdoorsy, nature loving Vancouver! Regarded as one of the world's most naturally beautiful cities, Vancouver is framed by dramatic vistas on all sides and is the kind of place where, given its close proximity to nature, you can ski in the morning and swim in the ocean by early afternoon. After settling in to your hotel you'll meet your Travel Director this afternoon, then you're free to head out and uncover the city's many delights. Take a stroll through Stanley Park, or alternatively explore Vancouver's diverse culinary scene which boasts some of the best Asian cuisine in all of North America.
This morning's sightseeing tour of lovely Vancouver will visit the city's oldest neighbourhood, Gastown, which was designated a National Historical Site in 2009. You'll also visit buzzy Chinatown and admire the famous collection of totem poles at Stanley Park, before catching the ferry to the capital of British Columbia, Victoria. Docking at Swartz Bay and making the short drive into the city, you'll no doubt be struck by the English influence of Victoria. A sightseeing tour of the city will take you along the waterfront district and into the downtown area, passing the Parliament Buildings, Government Street and through Beacon Hill Park so you can really get your bearings. Keen to explore even further? Victoria has more cycle routes than any other Canadian city, so the best way to get around is undoubtedly on two wheels.
Breakfast this morning is a real treat - you'll be heading to the world famous Butchart Gardens in the Blue Poppy Restaurant where, surrounded by beautiful blossoms and blooms, you'll eat a fresh, seasonal breakfast with sunlight pouring in from the vast skylights above. Feeling full, the rest of the day is yours to explore Victoria your way. Keen to make your visit here memorable? Why not join our Whale Watching Optional, where you'll head out into the protected waters of Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, to try and catch a glimpse of the orca whales who are known to reside here in spring and summer. Of course, with wild animals sightings are never guaranteed, but even if the orcas are a no show you'll be sure to spot magnificent bald eagles, porpoises and seals.
First up on today's agenda is Chemainus, a seaside community and former industrial town that is best known for its series of giant outdoor murals depicting local history. Hopping on board a ferry across the Georgia Strait and arriving into Horseshoe Bay, you'll then travel along the iconic Sea-to-Sky Highway, one of the world's most scenic drives. We challenge you not to keep your eyes to the horizon as you pass cascading waterfalls, jagged mountain peaks and the dreamy ocean vistas of Howe Sound, before stopping off at Shannon Falls Provincial Park, which boasts the third highest waterfall in all of BC. Still in awe of the scenery served up by today's drive, you'll finish today in the alpine village of Whistler, which sits nestled in the shadows of the Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains.
With a free day in Whistler, the choice is yours for how to explore this pretty adventure playground. Spend your day hiking or biking one of the many trails, explore the labyrinth of lanes that make up Whistler village, or make the most of our Optional activities, each one more exhilarating than the next! You could find yourself soaring into the skies on the Peak 2 Peak Gondola, admiring the turquoise waters of the mile high Garibaldi Lake from above, whitewater rafting down the Green river, or zip lining at 100km per hour amidst the stunning mountain wilderness. When we said exhilarating, we weren't joking!
No doubt still on a high from yesterday's high-flying pursuits, you'll leave Whistler behind as you venture along scenic Duffey Lake Road, spotting the freshwater fjord of Seton Lake, and the ominous sounding Mt. Rohr along the way. Following the once treacherous Cariboo Wagon Trail, which formed part of the Gold Rush Route, your final port of call for today is Sun Peaks, one of British Columbia's best loved ski resorts. Winter time here sees ski and snowboard enthusiasts from across the globe flocking to this pretty little town to enjoy just some of the 135 ski runs that pepper the horizon. In the warmer months, the ski lifts stay open to provide access to more than two dozen hiking and mountain bike trails, making Sun Peaks yet another BC outdoorsy gem.
Fall in love with the gorgeous prairie provinces of Canada this morning as you drive through the white fenced ranch lands that surround the Yellowhead Highway. Keeping a firm eye on the snowcapped peaks of the Columbia Mountains in the distance, it will be cheers all round as you catch a first glimpse of Mount Robson, the most prominent mountain in the North American Rockies and the highest point in the Canadian range. Finally, you'll finish up today in unpretentious, heart warming Jasper, which sits smack bang in the heart of one of the most beautiful protected wildernesses in the world.
Today promises to be action packed! Stepping outside and smelling the fresh mountain air, let the prospect of a day exploring stunning Jasper bring a smile to your face. As the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies your options are limitless, and as always we've also got a range of exciting Optionals on hand to help personalise your experience. Perhaps you'll choose a gentle float trip down the Athabasca River, which provides ample wildlife spotting opportunities, or maybe a guided walk on the "Path of the Glaciers" as you make your way to the emerald green "Lake of Forgiveness". Have your heart set on exploring beautiful Maligne Lake? Then a boat cruise around the largest glacially fed lake in the Canadian Rockies has your name all over it.
The magnificent Icefields Parkway awaits you today, a striking 232km stretch of road that cuts straight through the backbone of the Rockies, serving up ancient glaciers, mountain lakes and broad sweeping valleys en route. You'll be making a stop at glacier fed and impossibly green Peyto Lake, one of the most photographed lakes in the world (and for good reason), before heading on to explore the Columbia Icefield, which covers an area of over 200 square miles and is as deep as 1000 feet in parts. Here, you'll get the chance to ride the giant Ice Explorer across the Athabasca Glacier for a closer look at this ancient marvel of nature. Not done with the day yet, you'll pay a visit to ethereal Lake Louise, which sits nestled at the base of the Victoria Glacier, before finally coming to a stop in dramatic, UNESCO World Heritage listed Banff.
Waking up today we hope you're full of energy, as the vast natural playground outside of your front door isn't going to explore itself. Venture into the stunning wilderness of Banff National Park, or better still you could take advantage of our enticing range of Optionals to truly unlock this region in real Costsaver style. We've got a variety of helicopter flights to see you soaring over sights including the Three Sisters Peak, the Sundance Ranges and the Gloria and Assiniboine Glaciers, or perhaps you'd prefer to catch the gondola to the very top of Sulphur Mountain for a bird's eye view of six mountain ranges within the Rockies, spotting glorious Lake Louise and Moraine Lake in the distance. However you choose to explore today, one things for sure - Banff will be an experience you'll never forget.
It will be another incredible drive today as you climb higher and higher to cross the Continental Divide at Kicking Horse Pass, stopping at the Spiral Tunnels on the way to marvel at one of the steepest railroad stretches in the world. You'll then travel through not one, not two, but three beautiful national parks, slowly descending from the mountains as the landscape changes from snowcapped peaks to sprawling wineries and fruit orchards, indicating that you've arrived in Canada's 'fruit basket', the Okanagan Valley. Surrounded by so many grapes the temptation for a tasting will be hard to resist, so you'll stop off at a local winery for a tour and tasting before heading on to Vernon, the unofficial capital of the Okanagan.
On your final drive of the trip make the most of the scenery this morning as you pass through the Cascade Mountains, named for the staggering number of waterfalls tumbling off the peaks, before venturing into the Fraser River Valley and finally coming to a stop back in Vancouver, the place where it all began. For those who are doing the Alaska Cruise, now's the time to start getting excited as you're dropped off at Canada Place to board the luxury Holland America cruise liner.
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