Back in May, North America Destination Expert Leanne McGarrity and Senior Product Manager David Pointer travelled to Canada’s western regions, spending time in the glorious province of British Columbia. Here, we list their five of their tried and tested travel experiences that really are ‘must do’ on a multi-centre Canada holiday.
If you’re planning to travel between Victoria and Vancouver on your British Columbia holiday, then a seaplane flight is the only way to go. Not only are you departing and arriving directly from the downtown harbourfronts, this exhilarating experience comes with some of the best views of Vancouver’s spectacular setting and mountain backdrop, and the Gulf Islands in the Strait of Georgia.
These flights don’t have to be about getting from ‘a to b’ either, there are several other way to enjoy the views from a seaplane, including a fly ‘n’ dine experience with a seaplane flight to Bowen Island - where you will enjoy a seaside dinner at Doc Morgan’s restaurant - or taking a flight over Mount Mamquam with a remote lake landing and picnic on the lakeshore. Flights are with Harbour Air and take off from Vancouver’s Coalharbour or Victoria’s Harbourfront, and your Destination Expert can arrange whichever package you’d like as part of your bespoke British Columbia holiday.
Located between Whistler and Vancouver on the Sea-to-Sky Highway, this is one of the most spectacular gondola rides in British Columbia. Travel in enclosed gondolas from the base to of Mount Habrich up some 885 metres to Summit Lodge. For those with nerves of steel and who don’t suffer from vertigo, crossing the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge is a must. You’ll enjoy spectacular views of the lodge set against a backdrop of mountains and Howe Sound.
While you’re here, it’s definitely worth taking the 1.6-kilometre walk along Panorama Trail. Hike through the forest to the Chief Outlook Platform where the word ‘breath-taking’ just doesn’t do the views the justice they deserve. On a clear day you can see mountain ranges that go on for miles in the distance.
Located in east-central British Columbia, this wilderness park is a great diversion if you’re driving from Jasper to Whistler. The park has 39 named waterfalls, and hundreds more that are hidden off the hiking trails that are yet to be named. The most noted falls are Spahats Creek Falls that tumble into a deep gaping canyon, as well as Helmcken Falls and Dawson Falls. Alongside the 39 waterfalls there’s much more to see and do here. You can hike, white-water raft, canoe, mountain bike, horse-ride and look out for wildlife such as moose and Black bears; this park really is worth travelling a little more off the beaten track. If you want to linger a while, we recommend Alpine Meadows Resorts near Clearwater, an hour’s drive from the park, where you will stay in lovely log cabins set by the side of a beautiful lake.
Tea at The Empress is a century-old tradition at Fairmont Empress and a quintessentially Victoria experience. The indulgent afternoon delights are served in the impressive Lobby Lounge. During a recent full renovation of the hotel this decadent dining room was transformed, and while it has kept its historic charm, it is now also infused with a few modern touches and some fun artwork.
This really is a grand experience. Tea is served with a selection of handmade signature scones, pastries and finger sandwiches; to make it an extra special experience, why not start off with a glass of champagne? If you’re not staying at the Empress while in Victoria, you can always ask your Destination Expert about making reservations here one afternoon - they’ll be happy to help.
For a unique experience that combines the great outdoors with impressive luxury, we highly recommend Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, set in UNESCO Clayoquot Sound Biosphere Reserve. Part of the Relais & Châteaux group, which is renowned for its individual properties and fine cuisine, the resort’s accommodation comes in the form of some 24 luxury canvas tents, whose décor is inspired by a bygone era. At the hand-crafted, timber Cookhouse Kitchen you’ll experience exquisite dining at every meal time.
The adventure starts before you even arrive on a stay here, with a flight from Vancouver by floatplane, over the mountains of Vancouver Island in to Clayoquot Sound - a pristine and breath-taking wilderness setting. And there are so many ways for you to enjoy the natural beauty here, with many incredible activities included in the price of your stay. From horseback rides to whale and bear watching, hiking and mountain-biking to rappelling and rock climbing.
A three-night package comes with a price-tag from £3,999 per person, but it really is worth the splurge for a unique and very special ‘luxury gone wild’ experience of British Columbia. Clayoquot Wilderness Resort is open from 24th May to 20th September 2018.
Inspired? Browse our British Columbia tours now and start planning your own adventure!