Day 1:ARRIVE IN VANCOUVER, BC.
Welcome to Vancouver, your gateway to the Canadian Rockies! At 6 pm, meet your travelling companions for a welcome drink. Your Tour Director will prepare you for your upcoming adventure.
This morning, tour Vancouver, including the waterfront, Chinatown, and Stanley Park with its old-growth evergreen forests and totem poles. Catch the BC FERRY over to Vancouver Island and Victoria. Visit world-famous BUTCHART GARDENS, followed by a special dinner in the former historic greenhouse overlooking the gardens. See major attractions on your city orientation tour, including the Fairmont Empress Hotel, Bastion Square, and Thunderbird Park.
This day is free to explore on your own; your Tour Director suggests an optional wildlife and whale-watching trip. For shoppers, Government Street’s elegant shops and Market Square’s collection of specialty stores are good places to start. History buffs should be sure to visit the Royal British Columbia Museum.
Today, board a BC FERRY and cross the Strait of Georgia through the spectacular Gulf Islands, an archipelago known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Stop at SHANNON FALLS, where a boardwalk leads to a viewing platform near the base of the roaring falls. On to the alpine resort of Whistler, nestled at the base of breathtaking Blackcomb Mountain. There’s time today to explore many of the 2010 Winter Olympics’ sites.
Today is free to explore all that Whistler has to offer. You might enjoy a trip on Whistler’s Peak2Peak Gondola, connecting Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Enjoy spectacular scenery and incredible photo opportunities by exploring the village on foot, including a walk to beautiful Alta Lake. Other options include a walk in the tree tops, a sightseeing excursion by air, shopping in the village, or just relaxing at your resort.
This morning, enjoy a visit and private breakfast at the SQUAMISH LIL’WAT CULTURAL centre, dedicated to the history and culture of the First Nations people. Then, journey north through the heart of the magnificent Cariboo region. Spectacular scenery abounds as you pass by rolling hills, deeply incised rivers, and sparkling lakes. Afternoon arrival in Kamloops, with the balance of the day at leisure.
Continue north, following the Yellowhead Highway and hugging the mighty North Thompson River into the province of Alberta. See the base of 3955 metre (12,972-foot) Mount Robson (the highest point in the Canadian Rockies) before entering JASPER NATIONAL PARK. Marvel at the precipitous gorges, snow-capped summits, and lakes of exquisite blues and greens in this wild mountain wilderness. Perhaps take an optional float trip down the historic Athabasca River, where your experienced guide will navigate as you absorb the splendour of Jasper National Park.
Day 8:JASPER. EXCURSION TO MALIGNE LAKE.
Enjoy a short sightseeing tour to see Jasper’s unspoiled beauty. Afterward, travel across the glacially fed Maligne Lake for a narrated CRUISE to Spirit Island. En route to the island, which is only accessible by boat, knowledgeable guides share the lake’s history, geology, wildlife, weather, flora, and fauna. On the return journey, stop to view Maligne Canyon. Balance of the day is at leisure to explore Jasper on your own. You may choose to stroll through town, grab a local craft beer, or take a hike in search of the various wildlife that call the national park home.
Day 9:JASPER-COLUMBIA ICEFIELD-LAKE LOUISE-BANFF.
This morning, continue through Jasper National Park on Icefields Parkway to the 229 metre (750-foot) thick Columbia Icefield for a thrilling ICE EXPLORER RIDE. This once in a lifetime experience allows for free time to walk on the Athabasca Glacier and even sample pure fresh glacial water. Later, climb Sunwapta Pass to savour stunning vistas of alpine meadows, waterfalls, and massive glaciers, then scale Bow Pass for splendid views. Next, stop at Lake Louise, whose green-blue waters form a perfect mirror reflection of Mount Victoria. Continue into BANFF NATIONAL PARK.
Breakfast this morning is served on top of Sulphur Mountain. Take a scenic ride on the BANFF GONDOLA to the top of the mountain and then enjoy spectacular views of the valley below as you savour a flavourful meal. Additional sightseeing in Banff includes a visit to Bow Falls, where you can walk the path along the river to take in the nature and scenery. The balance of the day is at leisure. Consider an optional helicopter flightseeing trip for a bird’s-eye view of the Rockies. Tonight, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 11:BANFF-YOHO NATIONAL PARK-GLACIER NATIONAL PARK- KELOWNA.
This morning, depart Banff and scale Kicking Horse Pass across the Continental Divide into British Columbia and Yoho National Park. Next, enjoy panoramic vistas of peaks exceeding 3050 metres (10,000 feet) on Rogers Pass at the summit in Canada’s Glacier National Park. Descend into the agricultural region of the Okanagan Valley to the resort city of Kelowna. Tonight, why not enjoy a wine tasting or dinner at one of Kelowna’s many lakeside cafes?
Today, continue through the fertile Fraser Valley, with grand vistas of vineyards and orchards, before travelling over the towering Cascade Mountains into Vancouver. Upon arrival, enjoy some time at leisure. This evening, your Tour Director hosts a farewell dinner.
The tour ends after breakfast this morning with guests departing on individual schedules.