I recently travelled through the Canadian Rockies with Topdeck on their 11 Day Canadian Rockies tour with my partner. This was our first trip to North America, and it was incredible. Canada really is mother nature at its finest.
We started our adventure in Vancouver where we stayed for 3 nights. This was the perfect amount of time to explore Vancouver and all it has to offer. Rather than pre-organising an airport transfer with Topdeck, we jumped into a taxi upon arrival. From the Vancouver International Airport to downtown it cost $32 CAD (plus a small extra for tipping, you generally tip a taxi $3-5 CAD). Taxi fares are set, which is a great idea.
In Vancouver we stayed at the Sutton Place Hotel (on Burrard Street), which I would highly recommend. Situated in the perfect location, 2 minutes from Robson Street (the main shopping street) and you are only 5-7 mins down from Canada Place and the Harbour. The hotel itself was fantastic, a huge king bed in the room and the bathroom was a good size too with a range of great facilities (The Sutton Place Hotel is not the standard hotel that Topdeck chooses if you opt for pre accommodation to be included).
There are a great many things to do in Vancouver, including shopping along Robson street (known as the ‘see and be seen’ street), visiting Gastown and Granville Island, or hiring bicycles and riding through Stanley Park and the seawall track.
We visited the very popular, Capilano Suspension Bridge in North Vancouver. There is a free shuttle that operates often by the Canada Place ticket stand (pre-purchase your entry tickets here, as you ‘skip the line’).
There were many highlights on our adventure through the Rockies. For us, white water rafting on the Kicking Horse river through class 4 rapids in Golden, and zip-lining above Whistler were two of our favourites! The white water rafting is an optional excursion offered by Topdeck. We had a blast, and were lucky enough to see a beaver floating down the river bank not too far from our raft.
Zip lining was also an optional excursion offered by Topdeck which I would also highly recommend to all. Zip lining above the trees, over waterfalls and the bike park – the scenery was stunning, and you even have the opportunity to zip-line upside down!
As part of our Topdeck itinerary, the Sno-coach Glacier Adventure at the Athabasca Glacier is included for you. You jump into a massive sno-coach ice explorer to drive up to the glacier where you walk on the glacier itself (hmm watch where you step! But don’t worry they mark out the ‘safe place’ each day to ensure it is completely safe for you). They encourage you to fill up your water bottle with the fresh glacier water, the purest form of water.
As this was our first trip to North America, we were very happy to be travelling with Topdeck. Our tour guide was Canadian and with her local knowledge took us to the best spots along the way. This included Bridal Falls, Bow Lake (WOW!) and Emerald lake, which was like standing inside a picture-perfect postcard.
We saw the perfect combination of stunning greenery of the pine trees, snow-capped peaks, and hundreds of waterfalls right off the side of the mountains beside us (as the snow melts from the peaks, the water makes its way down the mountain creating waterfalls).
We were so grateful to see 12 bears, including 2 grizzly’s and 10 North American black bears (and 2 cubs- oh so cute!). During the spring, the bears wake up from hibernation and are on the hunt for food. The flowers which bears love to eat tend to grow road side, this meant the bears were out in numbers, and we were lucky enough to see them. Although we didn’t dare to leave the coach!
Our trip to Canada with Topdeck left us with many great memories and new experiences, and new friends from all over Australia and abroad. We’ll certainly be back for more!