1. Kamloops, British Columbia
The vibrant town of Kamloops is 350 kilometres from Vancouver and a Mecca for outdoor adventurists. Kayak any one of the 100 lakes, go mountain biking in Paul Lake Provincial Park, check out the magnificent sandstone canyons, and enjoy organic cuisine at the arty cafes dotted around town.
Insider’s tip: make a stop at The Noble Pig, a microbrewery with seven of its own beers plus the best of BC brews.
2. Chase, British Columbia
The picturesque town of Chase on the Shuswap Lake system is an ideal spot to stretch your legs and take in the sweeping vistas of the mountainous South Thompson River Valley. Plan your road trip for autumn and you’ll experience the awe-inspiring Adams River sockeye salmon run in Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park, a true natural wonder.
Insider’s tip: time your visit to coincide with the 2018 Salute to the Sockeye Festival that takes place every four years, when the salmon run reaches its peak and over two million fish make the river run red.
3. Kicking Horse, British Columbia
About 3.5 hours later, you’ll cruise into the scenic town of Golden, home to Kicking Horse Mountain Resort. Check out the Kicking Horse Grizzly Bear Refuge, the largest protected grizzly bear habitat in the world, where you’ll encounter the adorable, world-famous grizzly bear, Boo. Enjoy lunch with a view to die for at the Eagle Eye Restaurant, the highest elevated restaurant in Canada at 2300 metres above sea level, accessible via the Kicking Horse Eagle Eye Express Gondola.
Insider’s tip: Order the wild boar poutine and duck confit. It’s the perfect meal to complement the unbelievable panorama of five snow-covered national parks and lush green valleys.
4. Lake Louise, Alberta
The journey from Kicking Horse to Lake Louise in Alberta is short but oh, so sweet, as you pass through Yoho National Park with its sparkling lakes and waterfalls. It’s sign of what’s to come as you reach iconic Lake Louise in the wilds of Banff National Park. Check in to the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, overlooking the impossibly turquoise waters, and take a hike to the Lake Agnes Tea House for a bird’s-eye view of this spectacular scene.
Insider’s tip: Travelling with teens? They’ll love the Fairmont’s Teen Game Lounge, where they’ll relax with new friends, play games, and plan their next outdoor adventure.
5. Canmore, Alberta
The sometimes-overlooked mountain village of Canmore is a must-do stopover between Lake Louise and Calgary. It’s a small town with a big personality, filled with authentic, friendly Albertans and genuine Rocky Mountain hospitality. Stroll Main Street where you’ll find local artisans selling their wears, craft breweries and cafes serving the freshest farm-to-fork fare. Canmore is the ideal base for the ultimate outdoor adventures. Think mountaineering, skiing, hiking, heli-tours, and rock climbing.
Insider’s tip: When it’s time to begin your return journey from Calgary, re-trace your steps. There are three unique routes, each one packed with picturesque towns, rich culture, and changing landscapes.
Air Canada offers daily direct flights to Vancouver from Sydney and Brisbane. Additionally, Air Canada will commence year-round direct flights from Melbourne to Vancouver from June 2018. Direct flights from Sydney to Vancouver are also available on Qantas.