Canada dreaming: Calling all nature lovers

As the Australian vaccination rollout accelerates and we anticipate the relaxing of international borders in the months ahead, lovers of the great outdoors are dreaming of the day they can explore Canada’s vast national parks and remote wilderness.

Read on for five of Canada’s most iconic outdoor adventure playgrounds:

The turquoise lakes of Banff National Park, Alberta

There’s nothing like floating on turquoise waters in a canoe, surrounded by rugged, snow-capped peaks and glaciers, as a profound tranquillity pervades your senses. The iridescent lakes of Banff and Lake Louise are some of the most picturesque in the world, waiting to be explored by canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard.

Read: Canada videos to peak your wanderlust

With easy access to pristine wilderness, endless outdoor adventures and jaw-dropping sights, Banff National Park is one of Canada’s most incredible adventure destinations. The region is home to several stunning lakes set amongst vast mountain vistas.

Sitting in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, Moraine Lake is one of Banff National Park’s most popular hiking spots, while glacier-fed Peyto Lake is possibly the most vividly brilliant of the lot. Situated just north of Lake Louise, its intense blue comes from the rock flour flowing into the lake from the glacier. Lake Minnewanka, near Banff township, is a popular picnicking site and one of the longest glacial lakes, reaching 21km in length.

The thundering majesty of Niagara Falls, Ontario

The sound is like thunder, the sight awe-inspiring! Take a journey deep below and behind the heart of Niagara and stand in the mist where the mighty Horseshoe Falls tumbles from the equivalent of 13 storeys above.

At Journey Behind the Falls, you’ll experience the awesome spectacle of one-fifth of the world’s fresh water crashing down to the basin below. Water rushes all around as you ‘soak’ in the excitement and explore the roar of the falls, where more than 2800 cubic metres of water thunders over the brink every second during summer, travelling 65km per hour. Whether you see the falls from above in a helicopter or from underneath on a Hornblower boat tour, the memory of this vivid, sensory immersion will live on in your heart forever.

Read: Older travellers want adventure

Ultimate road trip on the Cabot Trail, Nova Scotia

Get your urban fix in the lively capital of Halifax in Canada’s eastern maritime province of Nova Scotia before striking out for rural Cape Breton Island and the world-famous Cabot Trail. This 300-kilometre road takes you along the coast of Cape Breton, offering unrivalled panoramic views and outdoor adventures.

There are countless historical and cultural experiences to enjoy along the route. Dance a jig to spirited Gaelic music at a Cape Breton Ceilidh and connect with Nova Scotia’s traditional French-Acadian culture at the fishing village of Cheticamp, founded in the 18th century, and see the intricate craftwork that has drawn people to the region since its beginning.

Savour mouth-watering cuisine along the way. Fresh, local, sustainable seafood, including scallops, lobster, and salmon, are served at bars and restaurants across the island.

Leave the trail behind for a guided whale-watching excursion and get up close with the giants of the sea, or try your hand at sailing, fishing, and kayaking, for different perspectives on the waters surrounding Cape Breton.

Glacial giants in Newfoundland and Labrador

Kayak off the coast of Cape Broyle, Newfoundland, through the world renowned ‘Iceberg Alley’, and witness the types of icebergs that sank the Titanic. Encounter ocean-liner-sized icebergs that glint in the summer sun, the turquoise flanks of the icy giant surrounded by ‘bergy bits’, small floating chunks of ice, and ‘growlers’ – grand-piano-sized pieces.

View the passing parade of puffins, gannets, murres, bald eagles and ospreys in the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve – along with the inevitable appearance of whales, porpoises, dolphins and those icebergs.

Later, enjoy freshly caught mackerel sashimi and fresh mussels and dance the night away in town as the fiddler’s bow dances and the uniquely east coast music fills you with exuberance.

Four-season adventures in Whistler, British Columbia

Whistler is a long-time favourite destination for Australian travellers who love to return time and time again, all year round. Famous for its winter offering, Whistler Blackcomb is consistently ranked the No. 1 resort in North America, with a network of trails for skiers and snowboarders, and endless fun to be had away from the slopes. Try your hand at dog sledding, ride the wild zipline, or traverse the winter wonderland on snowshoes.

Hailed as a world-leading four-season hub, Whistler in summer is a tantalising combination of outdoor adventure, culture and innovative cuisine. PEAK 2 PEAK Gondola, spanning Whistler and Blackcomb mountains, is the longest and highest lift in the world. This breathtaking 11-minute ride serves up an unparalleled perspective of British Columbia’s rooftop. Take in the incomparable views of snow-covered peaks while riding through the mist of the clouds.

Read: Canada’s big backyard awaits

As you spend long, happy days hiking the mountain trails, mountain biking, canoeing and swimming, one thing is certain: you’ll be back again before too long.

Note for all travellers:
Travel to Canada is going to be a little different than it was prior to the pandemic and we encourage all travellers to be fully informed of the pre-entry and on-arrival public health and testing requirements both federally and provincially. This includes the mandatory use of the ArriveCAN app. Travellers should plan for extra time in the lead-up, and at the start of their trip. For the latest information on travel to Canada including the updated requirements and restrictions, please visit the Government of Canada website.

Have you been to Canada? Are you planning your next adventure there? Please share where you’d like to visit first in the comments section below.

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Written by Pip Macken



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