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Grand western Canada self-drive tour

22 days from £6,800pp

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Tour highlights

  • Explore the vibrant cities of Vancouver and Victoria.

  • Watch bears in the wild on Vancouver Island.

  • Cruise along the famed Inside Passage.

  • Travel through B.C.'s scenic wilderness by train.

  • Discover the breathtaking beauty of the Rocky Mountains.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Vancouver. On arrival in Vancouver make your own way to your accommodation and relax for the remainder of the day.

  • Spend a day at leisure in Vancouver. There are plenty of sights to see in this cosmopolitan city including Stanley Park, Chinatown, historic Gastown, and the shops of Robson Street.

  • You have most of the day to explore under your own steam, before taking a thrilling seaplane flight from Vancouver's seaplane terminal over the Gulf Islands to Bowen Island, where you'll take in sunset views and enjoy a delicious three course meal. You'll then be transferred by ferry to Horseshoe Bay, where a car will be waiting to take you back into downtown Vancouver.

  • Today you take a coach transfer, via the Tsawwassen ferry, to Vancouver Island. Once in Swartz Bay it is just a short distance by coach to Victoria, capital of British Columbia.

  • This morning enjoy a three-hour whale watching trip. The afternoon is free to discover this lovely city with its harbour, grand Victorian buildings and nearby Butchart Gardens.

  • Collect your hire car and drive from Victoria to Tofino on Vancouver Island's rugged and spectacular west coast. Your drive will take you over the mountains that form the spine of Vancouver Island.

  • Join a three hour boat trip to look for black bears as they forage on the shoreline looking for food. There is a good chance of getting close to these magnificent mammals.

  • Enjoy a day exploring the little town of Tofino with its cafes and art galleries. A visit to Pacific Rim National Park is highly recommended — here you can walk through pristine temperate rainforest and admire superb ocean views.

  • Drive north from Tofino to Campbell River. You may wish to stop at Cathedral Grove to see some of Vancouver Island's most impressive old-growth trees.

  • Continue your drive north to Part Hardy which lies almost at the tip of Vancouver Island. En route you may wish to visit Alert Bay, one of Vancouver Island's most prominent First Nations interpretive sites.

  • Board the Inside Passage ferry for this full day journey to Prince Rupert. This 15 hour journey is on board a modern, comfortable ferry with a wide range of facilities. Entry to the Aurora Lounge is also included in your ticket, allowing additional comfort on this trip. The scenery is renowned and dolphins, whales and eagles are frequently seen.

  • The Khutzeymateen region is renowned for its thriving population of grizzly bears, and today you'll embark on a full day guided tour to view these majestic creatures. Your expert guide will take you to the best viewing areas, and explain more about the bears' habitat and behaviours. You'll then return to Prince Rupert late this afternoon.

  • This morning make your own way to the railway station in time for the departure of the Skeena train. Spend a full day on board enjoying the lovely scenery along the route. Make your own way to your hotel in Prince George on arrival.

  • Make your own way back to the station for the departure of the Skeena to Jasper. Spend a second full day on board the train. On arrival in Jasper your hotel is just a short walk from the station.

  • Collect your hire car from downtown Jasper. The day is yours to explore Jasper town and its surrounding national park.

  • Explore Jasper National Park from a different perspective today — in the sidecar of a Harley-Davidson motorcycle! On this two hour private tour you will see some of the national park's highlights, such as Medicine Lake and Maligne Canyon, stopping at the best viewpoints along the way. You are also likely to encounter plenty of wildlife so keep your camera close to hand!

  • Drive for four hours (excluding stops) south along the spectacular Icefields Parkway from Jasper to Lake Louise. You may see ptarmigans, wolves, mountain goats and bighorn sheep en route, and there are lots of viewing points to stop at for photographs. En route you'll stop at the Athabasca Glacier, don crampons and join a guided walk out onto the glacier itself. This is a fantastic opportunity to escape the crowds and learn more about the geography of this dramatic, frozen landscape from your expert guide.

  • Spend a day enjoying the glorious scenery around Lake Louise. Nearby Moraine Lake is also well worth exploring and the area offers lots of opportunities for seeing wildlife.

  • Drive from Lake Louise to Banff where you have the afternoon free to explore this bustling town.

  • Join a small group guided hike to one of Banff's scenic highlights — Sunshine Vistas. Consistently rated as one of Canada's best hikes, you'll pass through wildflower meadows and alpine lakes on this four hour hike. Returning to Banff this afternoon, you'll have time at leisure to continue exploring the area. You may wish to visit the Cave and Basin National Historic Site, take a horseback ride through the forests or take the gondola to the stunning summit of Sulphur Mountain.

  • This morning drive to Calgary Airport to drop off your hire car prior to boarding your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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The specialist who designs your trip to Canada will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Vancouver
 
Victoria
 
Tofino
 
Campbell River
 
Port Hardy
 
Prince Rupert
 
Prince George
 
Jasper
 
Lake Louise
 
Banff
 

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