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Planning an itinerary to BC.......

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Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Hi Everyone

We are planning a trip to British Coumbia, Canada for early May 2010... Just working on our itinerary- at this stage thinking of allowing approx 3 weeks.

We would like to do the Rockies- driving Jasper- back to Vancouver- (Banff, Ice fields NPark, lake Louise etc).


Vancouver Island

Wondering how we enjoy some of the coastline- thinking maybe taking a ferry from Vancouver Island to Prince Rupert then maybe train to Jasper. Would we be silly to not opt for a cruise to Alaska? or does that ferry ride cut it????? We are not sure we are cruise people- in our late 30s and can't see ourselves dressing up for lavish dinners, with people older? Perhaps our perceptions are wrong?!! Also they are mostly 7 days, would we tire of gazing at glaciers? Be interested in hearing of other people's experiences.

Any tips, ideas????? Just working on an itinerary.

Welcome all feedback.

Thank you


Greater Sydney...
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1. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

G'day Jo, assuming that you are from Victoria Australia.

Don't knock the concept of an Alaska cruise. They are not at all about glaciers, or lavish meals with older people. They are about seeing SE Alaska which is quite different from many areas of Western Canada, and both experiences were fantastic for us.

I just noticed that you are looking at May 2010. There is a lot of planning and research needed in a short period of time if that is the case. I am presently planning my next trip to another country for April/May 2011.

I cannot comment on the ferry or Skeena rail options. I would think that 3 weeks would give you a good amount of time to cover most of the things mentioned in your message though. If you leave out a cruise, I would start planning by looking to cover VI early in the trip, as it will be spring coming on then, while it will be still the tail of winter in the Rockies.

You will get lots of great advice on this forum for such a trip, but very little related to a cruise which is best dealt with on the sister site to this, CruiseCritic.com although I personally don't like that site. I have posted cruise advice on many occasions on both this forum, and the Alaska forum, so you could look at my post history and read threads related to AK cruises on either of those forums.

My initial thoughts are, for BC and Alberta, that you will face some potentially stiff one-way hire car drop-off fees. You will not need a car in Vancouver, and could hire one in Victoria with D/O at Port Hardy (?), then another car in Jasper with D/O in Vancouver. The Rockies are a "must do" no matter what you plan.

I will leave it to the great locals to comment further on the BC options, however if you might be interested in a cruise I would certainly be prepared to provide further advice.

p.s. A small tip from a fellow coutryperson. I have read all of your previous forum posts, trying to ensure that you were a Vic/Oz, and just one observation in relation to forum etiquette if I might be so bold. It does not hurt to thank people after they have provided detailed advice, and it is certainly appreciated by all of the great volunteers who give up their time to do so.

Edited: 17 March 2010, 11:58
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2. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Thank you for your reply to my post... I am relatively new to this site, so thanks for the reminder re getting back onto thank people..

All info was appreciated

Yes, I am from Victoria, Australia


Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Hi smitheries - Welcome to Trip Advisor.

In the absence of a crystal ball ;>, it's a bit difficult to guess what kind of holiday would appeal to you. In my couple of years on this site, I've learned that people like many different kinds of holidays, so I'm reluctant to put in a lot of time helping without something to work from.

A draft itinerary is a great way to give us all a sense of what interests you, what sort of balance you like between traveling and staying in one spot, and how far you like to travel in a day. Even if it's a totally made up itinerary, it gives all a place to start.

So, three weeks, early May, mountains and water. Driving? Camping? A few things to keep in mind when planning:

-- May is still pretty early in the season, especially in the mountains. Head over to the Canadian Rockies forum for good info on what will be open that time of year. Many sights will be inaccessible due to snow.


-- May 24th is Victoria Day, the first long weekend of "summer". Usually rains, but we all try to get away anyway. The roads will be busy, and many places will be booked.

--lots of options for getting out on the water, so you'll have to work through that one and figure out what is most important to you. I really enjoy our ferries and there are several routes to choose from. However, they are NOT cruises.


If you go with a cruise, there are many different companies with different services and options, so snoop around to find something that appeals to you. I'll give you one to consider:


--I can't imagine that you would EVER get tired of gazing at glaciers! They are so spectacular. But, to each his own.

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4. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Thanks vancourite for all the tips.. especially re public holidays! Approx 3 weeks allowed for Canada.

Firming up the itinerary, and taken your advice... so thought I would re post. We are doing a bigger trip and Canada is part of it..

9th May Depart Australia, Arrive Vancouver (1 Night)

Vancouver (2N)

Vancouver (3N)

Vancouver (4N)

Depart Van, arrive Victoria (1N)

Hire Car, tour Vancouver Island

tour Vancouver Island (2N)

tour Vancouver Island (3N)

End car hire. Stay Port Hardy (1N)

Ferry to Prince Rupert, departs 7.30am and Arrive 10.30pm at Prince Rupert. Stay Prince Rupert (1N).

Next day (due to timetable.... would rather a rest day!)Skeena train to Jasper, dep. 8.00am. Overnight Prince George (1N).

Day 2 train to Jasper. Arr. 6.30pm. Overnight Jasper (1N).

Jasper (2N)

Jasper (3N)

Jasper? (4N)

Drive to Banff (1N)

Banff (2N)

Banff (3N

3 Nights up sleeve to stay?? Before heading back to Vancouver

Depart Canada

Any feedback, tips much appreciated.. Thanking you in advance.


Jasper, Canada
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for Jasper, Jasper National Park, Canadian Rockies
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5. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

If I've calculated it right, you will be in Jasper for the May long weekend - be sure to book your accommodation well ahead; that is a busy weekend. (It may be traditional for rain in Vancouver for the long weekend; in Jasper, the tradition is snow, but of course, it could be beautiful warm weather instead.)

I wouldn't worry too much about not having a rest day in Prince Rupert between the ferry and the train. Riding the Skeena for two days is very relaxing and restful.... not much to do other than sit and watch beautiful scenery go by! (same goes for the ferry)

I presume you are picking up another rental car in Jasper so that you can self-drive in the Rockies?

Destination Expert
for Vancouver Island
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6. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

When you book the Prince Rupert ferry, do yourselves a favor and book the good seating in the Aurora Room. It's nicely a/c'd, water and cookies, fabulous view, nice roomy reclining seats, your own set of washrooms. You need a keycard to get in, soit's only people who have paid the extra in there. Well worth the extra cost.

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7. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Thanks for all the advice and pearls of wisdom. Appreciated greatly

Port Moody, Canada
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for Vancouver, British Columbia
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8. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

For your three nights after Banff heading back to vancouver suggest you check this link and look at option C


Kingston, ON
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9. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

Warning. The Icefields Parkway will steal your heart and you won't want to go anywhere else again. Seriously, if heaven isn't a beautiful as this highway, I don't want to get in. My advice would be see as much of the Rockies as you can, on foot whenever possible. At the very least, hike the lower, 'tourist' trails in the parks if you aren't athletic.

The best advice for travelling in BC is to read the 'Don't Waste Your Time' series, in particular, 'Don't Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies'. After the Rockies, consider heading to Wells Gray, and then making the wonderful, long trek to Tofino, which is jaw-dropping at sunset.

Make your reservations early...time waits for no tourist in these parts.

Victoria BC
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10. Re: Planning an itinerary to BC.......

If you are thinking about the ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy it takes the same route as the Alaskan ferries and is very scenic and can be cheaper. Guide: