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Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Sydney, Australia
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Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

We are travelling to British Columbia this August to attend my nephew's wedding in Smithers. We will be hiring a car from Vancouver so will not be limited by public transport. Here is our planned 26 days' itinerary:

Vancouver (3 nights) > Kamloops > Banff (3 nights) > Jasper (2 nights) > Prince George > Hazelton > Stewart (Bear Glacier NP) for 3 nights > Hyder (Alaska) > Smithers (3 nights) > Prince Rupert > Port Hardy > Victoria (2 nights) > Vancouver (1 night) thence return flight to Australia.

My question is to anyone who has any advice, suggestions and ideas as to great things to see and do along that route. Its been years since we have been to Canada and we are very excited about returning.

Edited: 12 April 2010, 08:33
Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

For the Vancouver to Banff leg, there is an item in "Top Questions" above on the right. It is an article that has been compiled that covers off some of the highlights of that journey and the options for routing. You might want to look at pushing on past Kamloops into the Salmon Arm area on your first day to give extra time for the spectacular scenery through the Revelstoke-Golden - Yoho - Banff leg the next day.

I'd recommend driving the canyon rather than the Coquihalla (via Boston Bar and Cache Creek rather than Merritt). It's more interesting and authentic, as well as distinctive topography. The towns are smaller, perhaps one might even say "run down", but the scenery is better and provides a nice contrast to the mountains you will be doing later on. The pass over the Coquihalla is also spectacular scenery, but there will be lots of that, and better, on this trip.

West Grey, Ontario
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2. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Hi Katie1108;

There are some car rental companies that will not permit their cars out of the province or out of the country, or charge a premium if they do. Most of the larger rental companies will allow cross border travel.

Ensure that the car rental company notes on the rental agreement that they authorize you to take the car into the US. You may be asked by Customs when entering the US, or when re-entering Canada, for this documentation.

Some companies offer unlimited mileage, but only within Canada. The rental company will use the onboard GPS to track your usage. The extra per mile charges can add up quickly, so be sure to ask in advance.

As a citizen of Australia, upon entering the US you will be required to obtain an I-94W visa waiver as an addition to your passport. To obtain the waiver, you will be photographed, fingerprinted, and pay a fee of $6 US.

The I-94W visa waiver will be attached to your passport, and must be surrendered when you leave the United States.

The process of obtaining the I-94W waiver takes on average ½ an hour.

Best Regards

Sydney, Australia
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3. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Thank you for your response, Vancouverite67. Thanks to you, we have decided to change our route to your recommendation. I really appreciate your advice! Kind regards to you.

Sydney, Australia
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4. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Thanks Rescue Team for your advice. Actually, it is very remiss of us not have thought about this aspect of our trip. We were advised by my brother to drive to Hyder from Stewart (as it was only a matter of a few kilometers). Now that you mention it, it might be a better alternative to leave the car at Stewart and get a bus down to Hyder for the day - we will have to research this a bit more. I wasn't aware of the new visa regulations as we haven't been to the States since we were in Florida back in January 2002. Thanks for bringing all this to our attention. I love this forum! Cheers!

Canada
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5. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

There is a little spot between Prince George and Smithers called Morristown where the First Nations food fish in the river. It's worth a stop to watch.

When you take the ferry from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, do yourself a favour and book seating in the Aurora Room. It's an extra cost, but well worth it. Panoramic viewing, comfortable reclining seating, your own restrooms, and the A/C seems to work better there than the rest of the ship.

If your ferry arrives in Port Hardy at night you''ll have to allow an overnight there. be sure to book it ahead of time as it books up fast.

Victoria BC
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6. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

That's a great looking trip. As for the parts about Port Hardy and Prince Rupert here are a couple of guides for the towns.

http://www.prince-rupert-tourism.com/

http://www.port-hardy-bc.com/

Sydney, Australia
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7. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Just want to thank everyone who has contributed a reply to my enquiry. Your knowledgeable responses have provided us with some great ideas. Thanks again!

Parksville, Canada
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8. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

Katie

I live in Smithers and promise a tip-filled response over the next couple of days. Have spent lots of time in Stewart/Hyder, Moricetown, a bit in Prince Rupert and obviously here at home in the Bulkley Valley.

One thing I do want to say off the bat is that there really isn't a "bus" from Stewart to Hyder. I'd go for the Visa option - really. You might want to go over more than one time - one for amazing fish and chips out of the School Bus, once to drive up the road to the Salmon Glacier and again if there are any early bears at fish creek (www.fishcreek.org)

Rest to follow.

West Grey, Ontario
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9. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

You're Welcome, Katie1108 !

=== === === ===

robinsegg;

There is no "option" when it comes to the I-94W visa waiver. It is an entry requirement of the US Government.

Best Regards

Parksville, Canada
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10. Re: Vancouver-Alberta-Smithers-Prince Rupert-Victoria-Vancouver

RescueTeam - when I wrote "Visa option" I meant to indicate it would be preferable to get the US entry visa than to rely on a 3rd party to get back and forth between Stewart and Hyder.

Katie - if you go through my posts you will see several on this part of BC so this may all be "old news" to you. I'm sure your nephew and his in-laws will have your time pretty booked when you are here in Smithers, but if you have some time, stroll Main Street, check our our great little museum and art gallery (in the same building) and on Saturday morning before the wedding, be sure to stop by the Farmers Market (right at the gallery/museum building) which will have great produce, baked goods and preserves as well as local jewellery, pottery, etc. The market opens at 8.

Heading west from here toward Rupert, a previous poster mentioned Moricetown. You won't be able to miss the pull-off on the right hand side of the highway - you can also turn right off the highway and go over the bridge over the canyon. This is a traditional native food fishery - the fishing spots are handed down generation to generation. On the top of the hill across the river there is an interpretive centre which is worth a stop at if it is open.

Depending on what time you are coming through Hazleton either way, Ross Lake Provincial Park just east of Hazelton is a nice place for a picnic.

You have Hazelton on your itinerary, so I am guessing you are planning to go into Old Hazelton where you can't miss 'Ksan Village (www.ksan.org) and a visit to the waterfront there and also in the town itself just down the road from 'Ksan.

Heading to Stewart, take a quick detour into Kitwanga to look at the totem poles.

Heading up highway 37, suggested picnic spots are at Meziadin Lake provincial park (take bug juice!) and possibly at the Bear Glacier if their picnic spot is open - the last time we travelled up there it was closed.

Do you have your accommodations booked in Stewart? I'd recommend the motel side of the King Edward hotel or the Ripley Creek Inn. Dinner at the Bitter Creek Cafe, fish and chips from the school bus in Hyder [http://hyderalaska.com/thebus.html], and lots of time at Fish Creek to see grizzlies. Depending on the type of vehicle you are renting, you may not want to drive it up to the Salmon Glacier, but it's a spectacular (albeit a bit scary if you don't like heights) drive and there are tour operators out of Stewart who can take you up.

In Prince Rupert, we highly recommend the Eagle Bluff B&B - right on the water in Cow Bay, and you can get rooms with private bathrooms. http://www.eaglebluff.ca There are some reviews on TA. If you want something more along the lines of a traditional hotel, then the Crest is the best bet. Stroll Cow Bay, visit the museum, visit the historic North Pacific Cannery on the way in or out of town.

If you Google "Highway 16 BC" you will come up with lots of websites with info on your route, including: www.britishcolumbia.com/regions/towns/…

Now I have to check out the wedding registries at the local stores to see if I can figure out who your nephew is!