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Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Newcastle
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Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

My husband and I are planning a celebratory holiday around the middle of May 2010 and have had the following itinerary recommended by our local travel agent. Before committing ourselves i would welcome views / observations from those of you who have knowledge of the planned route.

1 night in Calgary where we pick up hire car

3 nts. Banff ( includes a visit to Lake Louise)

2 nts. Jasper

2nts. Kelowna

2nts Whistler

Drive to Vancouver deposit car and spend 5 nights at the Fairmont Waterfront . A day tour of Vancouver Island is planned whilst we are there. We had considered doing the Rocky Mountaineer train journey but on balance felt this was probably the best way to connect with the region. All accommodation is to booked in advance

Calgary, Canada
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1. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

The Victoria Day holiday creates a long weekend on May 22-24; if your visit includes this weekend, make very sure of your reservations for this time frame, especially if you're planning to be in Banff National Park or Jasper NP on those days; Banff and Jasper are usually booked solid for this weekend.

May is still early spring in the mountains; expect mountain lakes to be frozen or just thawing at the higher elevations (e.g. Lake Louise), and some roads may still be closed due to avalanche hazard. Although the lingering snow at higher elevation means that most hiking trails are closed (or wet/snowy), it also makes for spectacular mountain scenery, as the light snow highlights the contours of the mountains in a way that is unique to spring and fall.

If you were visiting in the summer, I would probably recommend shortening your stay in Vancouver and maybe skipping Whistler in favour of more time in the Rockies; however, because the higher elevations of the mountains are less accessible at this time of year, and the Okanagan and the coast will be much warmer, I think your travel agent may have made the right recommendation.

Greater Sydney...
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2. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

G'day Geordiegirl. Newcastle England or Australia?

My observations are as follows:

1. Why stay in Calgary, unless to get some rest from your air travel time to there?

2. Agree on Banff/LL - nice time frame to see the great things in the area.

3. I would add on an extra night in Jasper. The drive from Banff to Jasper on the fantastic Icefields Parkway should be taken in a full day, and that will only give you one day in Jasper, a place we liked better than Banff and which deserves two days.

4. A long drive from Jasper to Kelowna, about 8 hours without any breaks, and I think that would be too much drive time. I would consider a reverse trip on the IP, an overnight in say Golden or Revelstoke, then on to Kelowna the next day for one night there.

5. Why Whistler? After experiencing the Rockies, Whistler is very so so. Even the experts on the BC forum agree that is the case. Unless you have a special interest to go to Whistler, otherwise do not bother, and spend the time saved on Vancouver Island for example, which we did not have time to do unfortunately.

Oh, and I should mention that Vancouver Island is hhhhuuggee, so a day tour will only give you a very small fraction of what I have read to be experienced there.

I do agree that a road trip is a better alternative to the RM.

A lot depends on your own personal interests, but the above are my thoughts for what they are worth.

Banff, Canada
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3. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Excellent comments! A couple of additional thoughts:

1. re the Okanagan: IMO, Kelowna is the least charming of the communities in the Okanagan. I'd be inclined to suggestg a stay at Kalamalka Lake, or Lumby or in Enderby or in Summerland or Penticton, rather than Kelowna. I'd suggest you explore your alternatives in a discussion with the folks on the BC forum.

2. re the drive from Jasper to Kelowna -- I agree, that's a bit of a grunt. You could drive back down the Icefields Parkway, stay overnight at Emerald Lake Lodge in Yoho National Park, and go on to the Okanagan the next day. Instead of spending 2 days in Whistler, you could spend 3 days dawdling down through the Okanagan, which is lovely at that time of year. Then on to Vancouver.

3. re "a day tour of Vancouver Island" -- even to visit one spot on Vancouver Island (probably Victoria) as a day trip from Vancouver is pretty exhausting and frustrating. I think you should spend at least one overnight in Victoria (there is so much to see and do there! I happily spent a week there with the kids, we did something different every morning and afternoon, and we just scratched the surface), and even then, your touring will be of Victoria, not of Vancouver Island, which is a very very big place! There again, the folks on the BC Forums will be much more knowledgeable than I am.

Greater Sydney...
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4. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

banff, I admit that staying in Kelowna was probably not the best decision made regarding my trip. I am not in favour of large cities.

Newcastle
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5. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Many thanks to you all for your feedback, you have certainly given us something to think about !! I`m afraid its `back to the drawing board`. I`m afraid it`s the old problem of cramming as much as possible into a limited time. Geordiegirl England

San Antonio, Texas
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6. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Let me suggest, that I would not stay at the Fairmont Waterfront for 5 nights, that too much. Whistler is nice, they still maybe some skiing going on Horstman Glacier on Blackcomb. There is really not much to do there other then sports. Take some of those nights and spend them on Vancouver Island. From Whislter head over to Nanaimo, not much there to see really, then head to Torfino (recommend overnight), then back down to Victoria (to see England), Butchart Gardens (recommend an over night here too). The finish off in Vancouver. If you have an early flight out recommend you stay the last night at the Delta Airport. Also depending the time of your arrival in Calgary you might want to overnight at the Delta Airport and get the car the next morning.

San Antonio, Texas
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7. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Sorry, thats the Fairmont Airport Vancouver not the Delta. Same chain

Banff, Canada
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8. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

Your itinerary looks great. It's the off-season in Banff and Lake Louise, so you could certainly show up without a reservation and find a deal just about anywhere. Except on the long weekend as mentioned. Just be prepared for cooler temperatures in Banff and Lake Louise at this time of year. Bring your winter clothing and thermals, because you'll be using it! Here in Banff, the ski season lasts until the 3rd week of May. The lakes in the area will still be frozen and there will be plenty of snow on the Icefields Parkway. The Columbia Icefields will be open for you to enjoy a tour on the largest glaciers in our area.

banfflakelouise

Winnipeg
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9. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

RE: Kelowna.

Kelowna is a great base to work from if you wish to drive out and explore the various smaller communities in the Okanagan but there really isn't a compelling reason to spend a lot of time in town.

Whether you stay in Kelowna or in the general area, I'd recommend taking in a winery or two and making sure that you visit one or two for lunch and dinner (not just for the tastings). Most wineries have wonderful kitchens and beautiful views. Mission Hill is a favourite as well as Grey Monk. There are a ton of wineries in the area and I'd recommend that you get around to a bunch of them.

If golf is your thing then arranging a game in this region is recommended. The courses are wonderful and the views are breathtaking. I don't imagine that you would brings clubs from the UK but I'm sure that rental clubs could be arranged.

Enjoy!

Lichfield, Staffs
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10. Re: Calgary to Vancover Itinerary

We visited Alberta/BC in August from Staffordshire UK. Our observations would be ;

1. Good itinerary overall - Calgary is worth an overnighter after the flight but Banff can be driven to in less than 2 hours ( to give an extra day elsewhere.)

2. We mirrored your Banff/Jasper stays and that worked well, incorporating Lake Louise and Moraine Lake and then the Icefields Parkway/Athabasca Glacier on the trip up to Jasper. Peyto Lake overview is a MUST NOT MISS. A trip to ( and on ) Maligne Lake is the essential trip from Jasper. We then drove to Whistler for two nights with an overnight stay in Kamloops in between. This made the drivetimes quite comfortable and while Kamloops is pretty ordinary the route to Whistler was very scenic.

3. We loved Whistler and spent our " full day" on the two mountains via the Peak2Peak. Fantastic. !

4. We crossed to Vancouver via Horseshoe Bay Ferry ( book in advance ) and spent two nights in Victoria. We finished with four nights in Vancouver. Our only change would be to add one night in Victoria ( for Whalewatching ) and cut Vancouver back to three. Otherwise the trip was brilliant in every way

5. Last thought - consider going in the summer when the weather is at its best and the risk of poor weather obscuring the amazing mountain views is reduced.

6. You will have a great time - guaranteed - and the people are the friendliest you will find. ( Married couple aged 51 if that is at all relevant ! )