I thought I’d take the unusual step of putting our holiday plans out there to the blogging community, and see what helpful tips and info might come back my way.
We are off to the Canadian Rockies and the Alaska Inside Passage on a 22 day escorted tour starting on June 9th of next year. Choosing which company, tour and time of the year was quite a process! We decided on an escorted tour so that Bill and I have equal chance of viewing what we expect to be breathtaking scenery; and because we value the information we hope to get from the tour guide. A good guide can open your eyes to so much about the place, and you know I will be parroting it all back on the blog posts 🙂
This is our first trip to Canada. We had initially planned to start in the Maritimes and East Canada and work our way around, flying out of San Francisco. After a family conference (of two) we decided we didn’t have the stamina for such a long trip, which in any case would have been super expensive. So the east coast is on the back-burner for a separate trip at some future undetermined time. But we would love to get there!
Our tour will start in Victoria, and proceed to Vancouver, Whistler, Tyax, down to Quaaot Lodge at Chase, Emerald Lake, Banff, Jasper, and then on to the Rocky Mountaineer train for the two day run back to Vancouver via Kamloops. (Lake Louise is a stop en-route).
One optional excursion I hope we manage to fit in is the Yamnuska Wolfdog Sanctuary. And I am warning Bill I am looking forward to canoeing, maybe at Tyax. We’ve never canoed, so I don’t think he’s listening – but watch this space!
Then it’s onto the Holland America cruise ship MS Nieuw Amsterdam for a seven night return passage; Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay and Ketchikan, disembarking us in Vancouver.
We haven’t sorted flights yet, but we expect to arrive in Victoria a couple of days before the tour starts. The tour includes Butchart Gardens and a city orientation tour, but that’s about it. So if anyone has a favourite thing to do in Victoria – we are all ears!
After that we will free wheel for a time, and this is where we could do with lots of advice. We will get to Seattle somehow – maybe bus or train – visit with a friend for a few days – and then . . .
We would like to hire a car and drive down the coast to San Francisco. We are in no rush. Given it will be July by then though, we might be wise to book accommodation ahead. Does anyone have a favourite self-drive itinerary? Or place to linger? Or place to stay?
The hilarious thing we found out today is that if we choose to fly with Air Canada – with whom many of the tour companies have a deal – we then fly back to Vancouver (fare included) before heading home to Australia.
(We had intended to fly out of San Francisco, maybe even have a few nights in Hawaii. We were there once in 2004 and loved it. We may still do that. It will come down to the airline deals. At this stage it looks as if backtracking will be the cheapest!)