Best of the West: Canada Self Drive

Duration: 14 days

Banff | Jasper | Wells Gray Provinical Park | Clearwater | Whistle | Parksville | Victoria | Vancouver

Highlights

A easy paced self drive itinerary taking you through Alberta's Rockies and British Columbia to Whistler in the coastal mountain ranges and on to British Colombia`s capital city, Victoria and finally cosmopolitan Vancouver.


Itinerary

Day 1: Calgary 

Arrive at Calgary Airport, collect your car and take the short drive to Banff. Once in Banff proceed to your selected hotel to check in and the remainder of the day is yours to explore at your own leisure.

Day 2: Banff Exploring

A full day to explore the Banff area. In town you’ll find lots of excitement - shopping, cafés, nightlife, museums. Check out the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, Banff Gondola (admission included) where you will see a panoramic view of the Bow Valley, and then take a dip in the hot mineral pools at the Upper Hot Springs.

Day 3: Banff - Jasper (185 miles)

Take the short drive from Banff to Lake Louise. Choose the Bow Valley Parkway, beside the Bow River with an option for you to take a stop at Johnston Canyon and walk along the paved footway to either the lower or upper waterfalls before continuing to Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. From Lake Louise your scenic drive takes you through the spine of the Canadian Rockies along the Icefield Parkway. Stop at the Columbia Icefield for an Ice Explorer ride onto the glacier (included 01 May - 19 Oct). 

Day 4: Jasper

A free day to explore this charming mountain village close to many terrific scenic highlights. Perhaps take a tram ride up Whistlers mountain, or visit Maligne Lake, one of the most photographed lakes in the world, and enjoy a 90 minute cruise heading toward the south end of this postcard setting (Maligne Lake cruise not included).

Day 5: Jasper - Wells Gray Provincial Park (195 miles)

Your drive today takes you to Wells Gray Provincial Park along the scenic Yellowhead Highway with breathtaking vistas of the steep-walled gorges and crashing falls of the North Thompson River. Overnight in Clearwater.

Day 6: Clearwater - Whistler (265 miles)

Begin the day travelling via 100 Mile House to the gold rush town of Cache Creek, where you stop to visit the historic Hat Creek Ranch, which literally takes you back to the days of the gold rush. Continue south to Lillooet to Whistler.

Day 7: Whistler

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The day is free for you to enjoy some of Whistlers activities, from golf on one of the 4 championship designer golf courses, water activities on any of the 5 lakes or rivers, to mountain top dining or just relax and enjoy some of the fine café’s and restaurants of the village. 

Day 8: Whistler - Parksville (70 miles + ferry)

Depart Whistler along the scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Horseshoe Bay and board the ferry to Vancouver Island. This scenic cruise takes you through fjord like waters with mountains blanketed with virgin forests and glaciated peaks.

Day 9: Parksville – Victoria (93 miles)

Head south this morning from Parksville, stopping en-route at the artist community of Chemainus and adorn the giant murals on the walls throughout the town, before visiting Duncan, the “City of totems” and then continue to Victoria.

Day 10: Victoria and Butchart Gardens

Today is free to explore Victoria, with its turn of the century architecture, British traditions such as high tea and shops full of woollens and china. Admission is included to the Butchart Gardens with it’s 50 acre display of magnificent colour.

Day 11: Victoria - Vancouver (45 miles + ferry)

Leaving Victoria drive north to Swartz Bay Ferry Terminal for a 90 minute ferry cruise (cost included) through the Gulf Islands as you cross the Strait of Georgia to Tsawwassen, then continue to downtown Vancouver.

Day 12: Vancouver

Today, experience Grouse Mountain Skyride and Capilano Canyon and Suspension Bridge.

Day 13: Vancouver - Free Day

The day is free to discover the coastal city of Vancouver. Canada’s third largest metropolitan centre, Vancouver is a busy port with a multi-cultural ambiance. Be sure to also see such sights as, Chinatown, Historical Gastown, the markets of Granville Island, and the famous shopping district of Robson Street.

Day 14: Vancouver

Your tour ends with the check out of your hotel and the return your car to the airport rental office.


Prices from: £1169
Best times to travel: From May until October

Prices Include:

  • 13 nights accommodation
  • Intermediate size hire car with GPS 
  • 14 days GyPSy Guide rental 
  • Banff Hot Springs & Banff Gondola
  • Hat Creek Ranch
  • Whistler Peak to Peak gondola
  • Athabasca Glacier Ice Explorer
  • Butchart gardens
  • Grouse Mountain & Capilano Suspension Bridge
  • Ferry costs
  • Comprehensive document pack

Not Included:

  • Flights to/from Canada 
  • Sightseeing and attractions not shown as included
  • National Park entrance fees 
  • Fuel, tolls and parking (including at hotels) 
  • One way rental fee of $75 + tax payable locally