Canadian Rockies by Rail, Road and Seawebadmin2023-12-14T14:08:12+10:00
Canadian Rockies by Rail, Road and Sea
Fully Escorted Package
Single Supplement Available
18 Days / 17 Nights
Departs 5 July 2024
Canadian Rockies by Rail, Road and Sea
Join us for a very special 18-day, 4,300-kilometre journey of discovery through Canada’s resplendent Rocky Mountains and the diverse landscapes of British Columbia. This grand tour showcases the best of rail, road, and sea travel, weaving together an epic adventure that will enthral lovers of train travel, history buffs, and nature lovers alike.
Arrive in Vancouver and settle into our centrally located hotel, the perfect starting point to explore the city’s dynamic charm. In the evening, we’ll meet for a celebratory welcome dinner and drinks to get to know your fellow travellers.
Should you wish to delve deeper into the allure of Vancouver, we can arrange for pre-tour accommodation at our starting point hotel, upon request.
To extend your rail experience, consider booking a private Rocky Mountaineer train package. Ranging from a single night to an indulgent five-night journey, these can be scheduled before or after your tour. Please contact us for further details, keeping in mind that places are subject to availability at the time of booking.
Overnight: The Georgian Court Hotel, Vancouver (D)
Day 2 • Saturday 6 July:
As British Columbia’s largest city, Vancouver is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and cosmopolitan adventurers alike and is among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities. With stunning vistas framed by snow-capped peaks, vibrant neighbourhoods, and a thriving arts scene, the city is an irresistible blend of urban sophistication and natural wonders.
This morning, you’ll embark on a comprehensive tour of this captivating city, delving into the rich tapestry of Chinatown, marvelling at Stanley Park’s iconic totem poles, and exploring the bustling Granville Island.
We’ll enjoy some lunch together before returning to the hotel when you’re free to head out and explore the trendy corners of Vancouver, including the Gastown neighbourhood, known for its tantalising culinary scene, where you may find a great little spot for dinner. Finally, retire to your hotel, knowing that today was just a glimpse of what lies ahead on this Canadian Rockies adventure.
Overnight: The Georgian Court Hotel, Vancouver (B, L)
Day 3 • Sunday 7 July:
VANCOUVER – WHISTLER
Our journey continues along the legendary Sea-to-Sky Highway, officially known as BC Highway 99. Prepare to be captivated by breathtaking scenery at every turn, with Howe Sound stealing the show.
En route, we stop at Squamish and ascend the Sea to Sky Gondola to The Summit Lodge, a stunning glass-and-wood structure, seamlessly blending with its natural surroundings, and offering a mesmerising panorama of Howe Sound and the impressive Sky Pilot suspension bridge.
We’ll enjoy lunch in Squamish and then visit the Railway Museum of British Columbia, where you’ll experience a rush of nostalgia as you ride the Mini-Rail Train, Track Speeders, and the remarkable BC-21 Budd Rail Diesel car.
In the afternoon we’ll arrive in the enchanting town of Whistler, renowned as the venue for the 2010 Winter Olympics and a world-class ski resort. Here, you’ll have plenty of time to spend at leisure in Whistler Village, where vibrant shops and top-rated restaurants await against the backdrop of magnificent mountain scenery. As the night unfolds, consider visiting one of Whistler’s energetic bars.
Overnight: Pinnacle Hotel in Whistler (B, L)
Day 4 • Monday 8 July:
This morning after breakfast, we’ll embrace the spectacular mountainous panorama as we ascend on Whistler’s Peak 2 Peak Gondola. This engineering marvel, the world’s second-longest free-span gondola, gracefully spans 4.4km between Whistler and Blackcomb mountaintops. Its completion in 2008 merged these two peaks, forging one of the world’s largest ski areas. The journey offers remarkable vistas of verdant forests, rugged crags, wildlife, and awe-inspiring alpine scenery.
As part of your gondola adventure, you’ll tread across the Cloudraker Skybridge, a 130m-long suspension bridge flaunting a see-through base, connecting Whistler Peak with the Raven’s Eye viewing platform on the West Ridge, offering unobstructed views of the stunning alpine landscape.
Descend to the charming Whistler Blackcomb resort, a summer haven adorned with cobblestone paths and twinkling fairy lights, nestled amidst towering pine trees and quaint chalets. Here, you have ample free time for lunch and to delve into the rich local heritage at the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre.
Your journey continues to Lost Lake, a beloved local summer retreat known for its serene beach. After a relaxing time by the lake, enjoy your free afternoon exploring the town and indulging in Whistler’s diverse dining scene.
Overnight: Pinnacle Hotel in Whistler (B)
Day 5 • Tuesday 9 July:
WHISTLER – LILLOOET – SUN PEAKS
Embark on a scenic journey from Whistler to Kamloops via Highway 99, a path that meanders through majestic mountains and showcases panoramic views. Our journey takes us past Pemberton, a historic town that once formed part of the 750-kilometre Pacific Great Eastern Railway passenger service, connecting Vancouver to Prince George via Lillooet and Quesnel.
We’ll continue along Lillooet Lake, where the colossal Mt Currie stands sentinel, and the serene Lower Joffre Lake beckons. Making a brief stop at the Duffey Lake viewpoint, we’ll then continue to the quaint town of Lillooet which is where we’ll enjoy lunch together. Once a bustling centre during the Fraser River Gold Rush of the 1860s, today it remains a prominent settlement of the Stʼatʼimc (Lillooet Nation) and stands as one of the few places in North America where indigenous people form the majority. This region also proudly represents British Columbia’s ‘cowboy country’.
In the late afternoon, we reach Sun Peaks, a picturesque mountain-top township offering extraordinary vistas. Take a leisurely stroll to admire the beauty of the area before indulging in a 4-course Sun Peaks Fur Traders Feast at the Voyageur Bistro.
Overnight: Sun Peaks Grand Hotel, Sun Peaks (B, L, D)
Day 6 • Wednesday 10 July:
SUN PEAKS – KAMLOOPS – OKANAGAN – PENTICTON
After breakfast, we set off towards the sun-drenched Kamloops. This city flourished during the 1860s gold rush and further prospered with the arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1885.
Upon arrival, we delve into the local history with a tour of the Kamloops Heritage Train Park. The centrepiece of the train park is the meticulously restored steam locomotive Canadian National Railway 2141, also known as the “Spirit of Kamloops.”
After a delicious lunch in Kamloops our journey continues towards Merritt and Kelowna, nestled in the heart of British Columbia’s renowned wine country along the shores of Okanagan Lake. This region, one of Canada’s warmest and driest, is famed for the scenic “Bottleneck Drive,” a route connecting various local wineries.
In Kelowna, one of Canada’s premier winemaking regions, you’ll immerse yourself in a private tour of Kelowna, discover the diverse grape varieties cultivated here and enjoy a bit of wine tasting at three select wineries, each offering breathtaking views of Okanagan Lake. The day’s activities culminate with a lakeside dinner, an experience enhanced by the stunning vista unfolding in front of you.
After dinner, we’ll make the journey south to the base of Okanagan Lake and Penticton, where we’ll spend the next two nights. Known for its Mediterranean-like climate, Penticton is home to the remarkable Kettle Valley Railway.
Your morning is at leisure, offering you ample time to linger over breakfast and soak up the breathtaking beauty of Okanagan Lake. Later in the day, we’ll visit the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway.
A testament to the pioneering spirit of Okanagan and British Columbia, the Kettle Valley Steam Railway played a pivotal role in the early 20th century, propelling the region’s burgeoning fruit industry into global markets. Constructed between 1910 and 1915, the “Kootenay to Coast Connection” has since been disconnected from the Canadian Pacific mainline and was abandoned between 1961 and 1989.
Today, you’ll tour the railway workshop and embark on the Scenic Run, a captivating railway journey that covers 15km of stunning landscapes. From Faulder, through verdant orchards and vineyards to panoramic vistas of the lake, your journey traverses through West Summerland and the Prairie Valley, culminating at the Trout Creek Trestle Bridge, a towering structure that stands 73m above the canyon floor.
The day ends back at Okanagan Lake, where your evening is yours to enjoy as you please. We recommend sampling the local culinary delights at a local al fresco winery restaurant.
Overnight: Penticton Lakeside Resort & Conference Centre, Penticton (B)
Day 8 • Friday 12 July:
PENTICTON – REVELSTOKE – GOLDEN
As we traverse this especially beautiful part of Canada, we’ll travel on the eastern side of Okanagan Lake to Vernon and north to Craigellachie along the famous Trans-Canada Highway, stopping to visit the rail monument here before arriving at the Revelstoke Rail museum. The museum showcases the historic construction and operation of the Canadian Pacific Railway in Western Canada’s mountain region playing a pivotal role in the creation of Canada.
Enjoy lunch together and travel through the heart of the Glacier National Park over the spectacular Rogers Pass en route to the town of Golden.
Sitting in the Canadian Rockies, Golden is surrounded by six of Canada’s most stunning national parks; Yoho, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Kootenay and Mount Revelstoke. Much of the town’s history is tied into the Canadian Pacific Railway and the logging industry and the town’s economy still relies heavily on those two influences.
Tonight, your evening is free.
Overnight: Best Western Mountainview Inn, Golden (B, L)
Day 9 • Saturday 13 July:
GOLDEN – BANFF
This morning, we’ll travel via the magnificent Kicking Horse Pass to Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park before arriving at the sublime Lake Louise, known for its striking emerald-blue waters. This glacier-fed alpine lake is framed by imposing high peaks and overlooked by the majestic Fairmont Château Lake Louise, a five-star stately château. Take a walk around the turquoise lake (season depending) or check out the interior of the luxury mountain resort, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Enjoy lunch together before continuing our ascent into these magnificent mountains where you’ll discover the awe-inspiring Moraine Lake and arrive in the famous resort of Banff in the late afternoon.
Nestled amidst breathtaking natural beauty, Banff’s compact townsite is brimming with charm. Enjoy free time to explore this premier Canadian destination, wander along the riverside, or enjoy a tranquil forest walk.
After checking in at our hotel, the evening is yours to explore this gorgeous town.
Overnight: Mount Royal Hotel, Banff (B, L)
Day 10 • Sunday 14 July:
BANFF – CANMORE – BANFF
This morning is free for you to explore Banff at your own pace.
In the early afternoon, we’ll travel through the beautiful Bow Valley to the scenic town of Canmore. Canmore, known as the ‘Banff for locals’, is a former coal-mining town that reinvented itself as an outdoorsy hub during the 1988 Winter Olympics, when it hosted the cross-country skiing events. Spend time sitting in a downtown bar or cafe and you’ll quickly work out that most of the population lives here because they love it – and no wonder!
Tonight is at leisure.
Overnight: Mount Royal Hotel Banff (B)
Day 11 • Monday 15 July:
BANFF – JASPER
This morning we’ll embark on a tremendous journey along the Icefields Parkway, renowned as one of the world’s top 10 scenic drives. The route is characterised by a dramatic landscape of towering mountain peaks, shimmering turquoise lakes, verdant forests, and commanding glaciers.
Along the way, we’ll pass by the mesmerizing Peyto Lake and Bow Lake and stop at the Columbia Icefield Skywalk, where, weather dependent, you may have the chance to step onto the active lower Athabasca Glacier and immerse yourself in its ever-shifting ice expanse.
Moving on, you’ll marvel at the powerful cascades Sunwapta Falls and Athabasca Falls, stop at Sunwapta Falls Restaurant for lunch as we head toward Jasper.
Be on the lookout for wildlife, as it’s common to spot moose, bears, elk, and caribou grazing near the roadside, especially during warm summer evenings. We might even come across “bear jams,” traffic blockages caused by eager tourists stopping for wildlife photography!
We’ll arrive in the town of Jasper in the late afternoon, where you’ll have time to unwind and explore the local restaurants for dinner.
Enjoy a leisurely morning through until the mid-afternoon where you can unwind at your mountain lodge, take an invigorating walk in the nearby forest or explore this charming laid-back alpine town. Consider taking a ride on the SkyTram sightseeing gondola for amazing views of the Canadian Rockies, Jasper, and Mt. Robson. Alternatively, venture to Miette Hot Springs for a scenic drive through Fiddle Valley and a relaxing soak in the hottest mineral hot springs in the Canadian Rockies.
You’ll have time to enjoy a leisurely lunch at any one of the local restaurants before we embark on a tranquil cruise across the ethereal Lake Maligne, pausing at Spirit Island to soak in the magnificent scenery. Jasper National Park is renowned for its diverse wildlife – keep your eyes peeled for a chance to spot moose, deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and bears.
Return to Jasper where the rest of your evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Overlander Mountain Lodge, Jasper (B)
Day 13 • Wednesday 17 July:
‘RUPERT ROCKET’ TRAIN FROM JASPER TO PRINCE GEORGE
This morning we will visit Jasper’s charming train station, a captivating structure with an ‘arts and crafts’ design and a ‘national park’ aesthetic. Built in 1925 by the Canadian National Railway, it captures the essence of the railroad’s golden era with its high ceilings, timber beams, and art-deco travel posters. Take a fascinating tour of historic trains, including an original Rocky Mountaineer. Enjoy an early lunch in your free time and board ‘The Rupert Rocket’ for the first leg of what will be a memorable 2-day rail adventure to Prince Rupert. The Jasper-Prince Rupert train operates only during daylight hours, ensuring that not a single picturesque moment is lost to darkness.
This scenic route covers 1,160km through the untamed wilderness of central British Columbia, making it one of Canada’s most enchanting train journeys. Operated by VIA Rail, this historic route was established by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway in 1914, connecting Fort William in Ontario to Prince Rupert.Today we go as far as Prince George.
As you travel on ‘The Rupert Rocket’, officially known as Trains 5/6 and formerly known as the Skeena Train, you’ll be treated to breathtaking landscapes and captivating sights. From charming mining towns frozen in time to majestic canyons, mountains, lakes, and rivers, the journey is a visual feast. The vintage steel-sided carriages evoke a sense of nostalgia, reminiscent of the golden era of travel.
Upon reaching Prince George, Northern British Columbia’s capital, we’ll transfer to our hotel and enjoy a relaxing dinner together while taking in the stunning views of the Rockies, where the Fraser and Nechako rivers converge in this scenic city.
Overnight: Courtyard by Marriott, Prince George (B, D)
Day 14 • Thursday 18 July:
‘RUPERT ROCKET’ TRAIN FROM PRINCE GEORGE TO PRINCE RUPERT
This morning we’ll return to the Prince George train station to continue our journey through time on the ‘Rupert Rocket’ train.
The train gracefully follows the curves of the Nechako River, a significant tributary of the Fraser River. It traverses from Smithers (where residents charmingly refer to themselves as ‘Smithereens’) to Terrace, passing remarkable mountain landscapes. The path from Terrace to Prince Rupert runs parallel to the Skeena River, where the terrain grows increasingly dramatic, particularly at Hudson Bay Mountain with its splendid views of Kathlyn Glacier. Lunch can be purchased on board.
We’ll arrive in Prince Rupert in the evening and transfer to your hotel for check-in and a late dinner.
Prince Rupert has a notable history. In the early 1940s, the U.S. Army transformed it into a crucial supply base, with four or five troop trains arriving daily, ferrying 75,000 soldiers bound for Alaska. Nowadays, aside from the occasional tourist train, most of the traffic on the mainline consists of freight, predominantly for grain, coal, wood products, chemicals and containers.
Overnight: Inn on the Harbour, Prince Rupert (B, D)
Day 15 • Friday 19 July:
It’s an early start this morning, but it’ll be well worth it. Today, we head out on an immersive tour into the heart of the Khutzeymateen Valley, the most concentrated natural grizzly bear habitat in North America. You’ll be able to see these magnificent creatures in their natural glory, from nurturing mothers and cubs nourishing themselves in the rich intertidal zone, to massive boars patrolling the waterfront in search of sustenance and potential companions.
Your journey spans from the expansive waters of Chatham Sound to the rugged mountain valleys of the coast, promising an invigorating wilderness adventure. As well as the bears, you’re also likely to see eagles, sea lions, harbour seals, blue herons, and sea otters during the course of this wonderful adventure. You’llenjoy lunch as a part of the tour.
On our return to Prince Rupert we’ll visit the Museum of Northern British Columbia, located in a grand cedar longhouse and showcasing the vibrant culture and rich history of the Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast. After your tour, you’ll head back to our hotel to enjoy an evening at leisure.
Overnight: Inn on the Harbour, Prince Rupert (B, L)
Day 16 • Saturday 20 July:
PRINCE RUPERT – PORT HARDY
Today, we embark on an epic full-day ferry journey from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, nestled on Vancouver Island. You’ll be traversing the magnificent Inside Passage during the peak daylight hours, so you won’t miss a minute of this beautiful journey from your premium reserved reclining leather seat in the Aurora Lounge.If you need a break from the scenery, head to the Canoe Café for lunch and dinner, or take in a movie in the Raven Lounge.
The Inside Passage, stretching from Prince Rupert to Port Hardy, winds through the sheltered waters along British Columbia’s central and northern coastline. This popular route threads its way between islands and the mainland of western British Columbia, providing a smoother voyage by circumventing the rougher weather of the open ocean. Keep an eye out for whales, orcas, porpoises, and a variety of birds against the backdrop of glacier-carved fjords.
The northern hemisphere at this time of the year means very late sunsets and tonight, you’ll experience one of them, with the sun finally disappearing below the horizon about an hour before we dock in Port Hardy, a charming logging town, at 11:50pm.
A long day but oh what a beauty it is!
Overnight: Kwa’lilas Hotel, Port Hardy (B)
Day 17 • Sunday 21 July:
PORT HARDY – VANCOUVER
After breakfast, we start our journey back to Vancouver on the scenic Island highway that snakes along the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island, affording grand views of the lush forests and rugged coastline. Journey past idyllic oceanfront communities such as Qualicum Beach and Parksville, where we’ll stop for lunch before continuing on to the ferry port in Nanaimo, where we’ll catch the ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver, where this great adventure began.
After checking into our hotel, there’ll be time for a relaxing drink before gathering for our farewell dinner – a fitting culmination to your remarkable 4,300km journey through Canada’s British Columbia via rail, road, and sea.
Overnight: The Georgian Court Hotel, Vancouver (B, L, D)