Off To Canada (Again)

Holidays in Canada

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Getting there

We had two options on choosing how to fly to Victoria

  1. Fly to a large(ish) hub and fly a reasonable sized plane to Victoria.
  2. Fly to Vancouver and catch a small turbo-prop across to the island.

I have to say from my point of view the second is more preferable. The overall travel time is much less and the journey in the smaller aircraft is only short. However it took quite a lot of persuasion to convince Amanda of the benefits. I did think at one point we were going to go via San Francisco or Toronto bit of which had relatively long stop-over times (total flight times were 19 hrs for SF and 16 hrs for Toronto) but the thought of a 12 hr journey by travelling via Vancouver proved decisive. So, via Vancouver it is.

We usually travel in the Autumn but because we want to see Grizzlies we have to go earlier so we’re planning late August rather than the usual November. This seems to have a dramatic effect on the cost of the flights (about 40-50% more expensive) but it’s not something we can control and now we feel for all the parents in the world who have to put up with peak time flights being so much more expensive than the rest of the year.

Also we’ll be flying with Air Canada again. Never had a bad flight, bad in flight meal, stroppy cabin crew or crappy planes so it’s a no brainer….and I like their iPhone app too.

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Go West Young Man (ok you’re not so young and take your wife too)

We weren’t going to go on holiday next year. Take a year off and save the money to go towards our New Zealand trip in 2014. Yeah, like that was going to happen. We went to Canada early this year and frankly it wasn’t our best trip so I felt under some self imposed pressure to make amends. Next time, I thought, it’ll be awesome. How to make it awesome? Do awesome things. Go and see whales, stay in a bit of luxury, go see Grizzly bears, drive a world famous bit of road and travel through a part of Canada that we haven’t been to before oh and while you’re about it, why not go on a big ferry journey past the islands of BCs coastline. That sound ok? Fair enough, let’s do it.

There’s a fair bit of planning to do trying to sort this out for various reasons so I’m starting now and looking to travel next August. Seems like a long time away and it is but I’m happier knowing that things like flights, car hire and accommodation is booked well in advance. The other good point it that by the time we go we’ve paid for a good chunk of the holiday already.

The basic plan is this…

  • Fly direct to Victoria, Vancouver Island (change planes in Vancouver).
  • Collect hire car and drive to Brentwood Bay Resort and stay for a few nights.
  • Drive to the west coast of the island and stay in Ucluelet or Tofino and while there catch a whale watching trip.
  • Drive to Port Hardy (long drive but should be fun) and stay the night
  • Catch ferry next morning to Bella Coola (takes something like 13 hours)
  • Stay in Bella Coola for a few days and go Grizzly watching
  • Drive the famous Highway 20 to Williams Lake (or thereabouts) and stay at a motel.
  • Drive to Whistler and spend a couple of nights there.
  • Drive to Vancouver, spend a couple of nights there before flying home.

A few things need ironing out before anything happens, for instance I need proper prices on flights and car hire before deciding on exact dates and I should be able to do that fairly soon. Once dates are in place we can reserve hotel rooms (some of the places we want to go book up really far in advance) and also our whale watching/Grizzly bear watching trips.

I’ll document the process as I go and I’ll be starting with the flights.