Planning a trip to the Rockies

Sara is keen to head to the Canadian Rockies and wants to ensure she misses nothing, while not paying over the odds. Kay O’Sullivan is happy to point her in the right direction.

Q. Sara 
Visiting the Canadian Rockies has long been a dream of mine but I’m overwhelmed by the choices. Every website offers something similar, but with subtle differences and with varying price tags attached. I don’t want to spend a fortune but don’t want to miss out on anything, especially when I’ve waited so long to get there and spent the airfare anyway. Can you recommend a good planning site, or company which offers comprehensive and affordable tours to Canada?

A. The Rockies are unforgettable. You won’t be disappointed, and that holds for Canada in general. Amazing scenery, sensational cities and that Canadians are about my favourite people in the world, make it one of my all time best trips.

You and I aren’t the only Australians enamored of Canada. Last year more than 300,000 Australians visited Canada, staying on average around two weeks. Most people join a tour as it’s the easiest and most economical way to see this vast country.

Travelmarvel, a division of APT, has scores of trips to Canada and specifically to the Rockies. I’m recommending Travelmarvel as it not only offers great value, it also delivers all the delights of the Rockies. I’ve been through the itineraries and they tick all the boxes of the places you must see.

For example, Passage Through the Rockies is a nine-day coach tour, or land journey as it is called, that includes Jasper, Banff and Lake Louise. You stay in superior hotels, travel in air-conditioned coaches and there are loads of included excursions. I was particularly impressed that you get to stay at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, which is as beautiful as the azure lake it is built beside. I’ve only had afternoon tea there and thought it, and the view across the lake, was heavenly, so I am definitely feeling envious.

You might think about including a couple of days on the Rocky Mountaineer train or VIA Rail’s The Canadian. The Rocky Mountaineer journeys by day through the Rockies with an overnight stay in Kamloops. You sleep on The Canadian but the itinerary is planned so that you are travelling through the Rockies during the day. It is a more economical option than the Rocky Mountaineer.

If you can take the time, I’d add on a cruise through the Inside Passage to Alaska. The word is that the scenery is every bit as spectacular as the Rockies… but maybe that’s for next year.

I love tours because you get the inside running on what you are seeing. How would know that you are passing Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Rockies, unless you’ve got a tour director letting you know? Also, staying somewhere such as the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is prohibitive unless it’s included in a tour package.

APT also has many terrific tours through the Rockies but it is in a higher price bracket, as it includes luxury hotels, gourmet dining and lots of other luxury extras. It still represents fantastic value but as you need to drive your travel dollar as far as you can, Travalmarvel should be the first website you visit.

Below are the links to both Travelmarvel and APT. Why not have a look and then ring one of the company’s travel agents or chat online so that you can make your wishes crystal clear.

Canada Deals
Canadian Rockies Adventures
Rockies & the Yukon

Kay O’Sullivan is no accidental tourist. More than a decade ago, she decided to combine two of her favourite things – journalism and travel – and become a travel writer. Since then, she has worked for numerous papers, magazines and on the internet, both here and internationally.

Written by kayo