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#309330 9-Oct-2023 13:17
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Mrs Floyd and I will be heading to Canada in June next year for a 3 week roadtrip around BC (and a small piece of Alberta).


First a couple of specific questions:


  • ·       Has anyone rented from Hertz at YVR?  I’ve made a reservation that includes Loss Damage Waiver (i.e. fully comprehensive insurance).  What’s not clear anywhere is if there will be an applicable deductible (better known to us here as an excess).  I did submit this question via their webform but their scripted or AI response was as much use as an ashtray on a motorbike.
  • ·       What did you for mobile data?  It all looks a bit pricey at first glance, and buying a travelsim beforehand rather than buying a sim when we get there appears to be about the same cost, roughly $70 for 5GB and a bunch of minutes and txts.  Are there any more cost-effective options. (My phone doesn’t have esim support.)  I expect 5GB should be enough for Google maps/navigation and a bit of browsing on the road(will use wi-fi where available)?

Also keen to hear general hints, tips and feedback on the below tentative itinerary.  What are some must-see’s, must-do’s


  • ·       1 Jun, arrive Vancouver
  • ·       4 nights there, this is locked in, pick up rental car early morning on 5 Jun. Nothing firm from there yet but thoughts are
  • ·       Drive to Whistler, bear-watching safari, Peak-to-Peak Gondola, spend 3 nights
  • ·       Drive to Prince George (long day about 7.5 hours), spend 3 nights.  Do day trips to local parks, short hikes.
  • ·       Drive to Jasper, spend 1 night.
  • ·       Drive the Icefields Parkway, sightsee along the way, then stay near Lake Louise for 3 nights and do more day-trips from there (incl. Banff)
  • ·       Back to Vancouver, with an overnight stop probably in Kamloops to break up the drive.
  • ·       Car is due back 6 pm on 19 June for a 9pm flight home.

This means we have a few extra days to fill in on or around the above route so all recommendations for detours and overnight stops welcome.


Our travel style is more about sight-seeing and nature, really want to see as much wildlife as we possibly can, less about cafes/restaurants/shopping.  We're both reasonably keen photographers too.


Don’t’ need flash accommodation but own room and bathroom facilities preferred (as opposed to hostels) hoping to stick to about NZ$250 a night (excl. Vancouver itself).


(Also been reading the Tripadvisor forums.  Some good advice there of course but most of the ‘destination experts’ seem to assume a certain travel style that’s a bit different to ours.)

After I was born, I didn't talk to my parents for two years.

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  #3144569 9-Oct-2023 13:35
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If you have time to spare in Vancouver, the cable car ride up Grouse mountain is quite fun and there are things to see on the mountain.
The other thing I enjoyed there was getting a float plane trip to Victoria on Vancouver Island, partly because I'd never been in a float plane but also both the trip across and the city are scenic and interesting.


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  #3144578 9-Oct-2023 14:03
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Hi FlyodbRoke, because you will be. We have just finished two wonderful weeks doing very similar to what you have done. Sort of. Three nights, YVR, 1 Kamloops, 1 Lake Louise, 3 Jasper, 4 Banff, I Calgary, 2 YVR again. 

We rented a car with Hertz and it was super easy but an extra $C13+ for each extra driver plus a $400 one way hire. We had a Dodge Durango which looked and drove ok until you went over 120kph (legal) and when braking downhill. It had done 88000kms but in the hand of someone less experienced, hmmm. We did mention the issues in Calgary and they were very apologetic. 


We took a Simcard from Simcorner for the US and Canada which cost about $NZ60 and they have worked flawlessly in both countries. They give you 15gb of data.Prices have gone up quite a bit since were last there in 2018 but that’s the world now eh? Most of the restaurants have a minimum 18% gratuity going up to 25%. That’s on top of $C25 to $35 meal plus drinks. I think the cheapest night out for four of us was $147 inc tips but most nights it was around the $200 mark. 


A half a tank of 87/91 was costing us about $C80 so not too bad. Certainly cheaper in Alberta. 


As we have been to Canada before but our son and daughter in law hadn’t we just cherry picked the main things to do. In YVR they biked Stanley park while we just walked some of it. We all did Capilano and Granville Island plus had a few cocktails overlooking the harbour. 😀 Grouse mountain is cool too if you have the time and $  


Prince George? Have you got family or business there? We have been there and it is a cool town but we thought two days was enough however Jasper is another story. Actually saw a bull, mommy and baby moose, plenty of elk inc two young boys fighting plus our first mom and baby bear on the track at Maligne canyon. Yikes! 


If we can help you further please shout out. We really enjoyed our two weeks there but possibly our wallet didn’t, lol  





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  #3144581 9-Oct-2023 14:17
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There are plenty of things to do around Vancouver, depending on your interests, 


Granville island is easy to lose a couple of hours at , its a big foodie/tourist market, its also a great place to jump on or off the false creek ferry  ( a bunch of overized bath tubs that shuttle back and forward around false creek, - easy way to get to/from yaletown. or to the start of Stanley park..


If you are into Architecture and Sci fi places like the City library and Simon Fraser Uni  have the filming locations for a number of Movies/Tv Shows ,(you'll need to SKytrain/bus for the latter) 


There's the regular Stanley park walks, and there is a cool aquarium there too..


Down town like most big North American Cities is pretty 'meh, 


Kitsalano is one of the gentrified "cool" suburbs, - but still home to hippy hangouts like the 'naam ( vege restaurant) 






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  #3145189 11-Oct-2023 09:00
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Thanks all, some good tips there[






Hi FlyodbRoke, ...



@Kiwifan Haha, minutes after we booked our flights we started looking at accommodation and quickly realised we have to adjust our budget.  We're not going until June so we have some time to save up and the price-tag shock will have waned.








Prince George? Have you got family or business there? We have been there and it is a cool town but we thought two days was enough however ...



No family or business there, stumbled across this when browsing around and PG seemed to be OK to base ourselves (for two days/three nights) to go to a few of those locations.  We will probably add a few more days to the Rockys region (2 nights Jasper, 3 or 4 near Banff) as that does seem to offer the most spectacular sights of our intended circuit.

After I was born, I didn't talk to my parents for two years.

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Master Geek

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  #3145333 11-Oct-2023 12:55
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Yeah prices are up there for sure. We didn’t eat any steak in restaurants in our two weeks as it started around $C53 going up to $75 at reasonable establishments. Ouch. To be fair it was Alberta beef but…. 


We did three nights Jasper and four in Banff but possibly a day too many in the latter. I guess that depends on what you want to do. There are plenty of places willing to take your money.


Special thanks to those on this forum who recommended the Wise card, it worked a great everywhere in Canada. I did mention prior that one transfer took nearly 5 days to process but we did two transfers and both went through within six hours. Most places there are tap’n’go like in NZ. 


Enjoy your trip. 

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  #3145336 11-Oct-2023 13:01
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Easily second the float plane trip to Victoria whilst you are in Vancouver. Great little historical city and a great day out.


Not cheap though.


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Master Geek

  #3145337 11-Oct-2023 13:04
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Keep in mind that June at 49 North will give you 16.5 hours of daylight from 5 to 9:30.


Must see/dos:


On your loop from Whistler-Jasper-Vancouver:- Lake Louise - I believe that an afternoon spent walking up one of the paths from the grand old hotel (eg: Six Glaciers) is an iconic Canadian experience - a bit like Milford Sound or Tongariro. Paths are wheelchair quality. Early June - you may walk from a green & dry parking lot to waist deep-snow in an hour. By end of the month, you could go the whole distance. But even a short stroll is excellent for anyone whose soul is fed by outdoor beauty.


Victoria / Vancouver Island - take your rental car over on the ferry - best from Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay - fares are about 40$ for two adults plus 75 $ for the car (total $$ for return). No need to book and the ferry service is a bit eye-opening. Compare BC to Cook Strait ferries - what Singapore's Changi airport is to Auckland...
Really nice 90 minute ferry ride through the islands (excellent buffet, if you can schedule trip over lunch/dinner time). But hustle from your car to the buffet ! (The dining room queue can get long - and if you're quick, you can score a window seat for the views).
Could easily do there & back in a day - or spend a night in Victoria - a pretty city. Victoria is lovely - and different to any other Canadian city. Slower, more scenic, less cold in winter - so different flowers & vegitation. It's harbour side is a great walk. Sea planes & ferries.


On the way between Swartz Bay and Victoria is Butchart Gardens - well worth a visit if anyone in the family is a garden-lover.


Whistler - an interestling experience. The ski-lift access to hiking trails is great and got maximum wife score. The downhill biking is scary fun. My 65 year-old self decided I could rent some kit (bike & body armour) and stick to the beginner trails - for 5 runs. (I only went over the handlebars once ;-) One of those 'glad I did it, glad I survived it, memories.


Back road from Whistler to Prince George is very pretty - especially around Lilloet


Vancouver's Granville Island - I second the vote for the market. Rates with those in London & San Francisco. Helps if it's lunch time.


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Master Geek

  #3145352 11-Oct-2023 13:34
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Vancouver - more thoughts


For a low-key sundown with friends & a bottle of vino...
Throw in some food for a late dinner.
Burnaby Mountain Park - quiet, up high, lovely views over the water & mountains, easy parking.
15 km from downtown.


Sporting & outdoor gear - MEC's main store - rivals REI's flagship in Seattle.
Also easy parking on the roof.


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Master Geek

  #3145356 11-Oct-2023 13:46
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Also keep in mind the scale....


Vancouver island looks small - but it's a third the size of NZ's North Island.


Main roads on the island are good - more remote ones (eg: out to Tofino or Ucluelet) are like our rural state highway system.


On mainland BC, the main routes (eg: #1, TransCanada Highway) are good motorway.
Up past Whistler - narrower, hilly, twisty & scenic... bit like here.  


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  #3147970 16-Oct-2023 09:10
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Did some more detailed planning this weekend. We decided to skip Prince George after all that and go an stay at Clearwater instead to explore Wells Gray Provincial Park.  Looks like we won't get to Vancouver Island either unless we do decide to take the recommended floatplane trip.


So now we've got:


1 Jun - Vancouver - 4 nights


5 Jun - Whistler - 3 nights


8 Jun - Clearwater (via Bridge Lake) - 3 nights


11 Jun - (not too far from) Jasper - 2 nights


13 Jun - Canmore (cheaper than Banff) - 3 nights


16 Jun - Sicamous - 2 nights


18 Jun - Abbotsford - 1night


19 Jun - fly home out of Vancouver


All pretty much locked in now with accommodation booked and several thousand dollars paid.


@Kiwifan - Please tell me what you did by way of a park pass.  Did you buy an annual or pay daily?

After I was born, I didn't talk to my parents for two years.

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