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8wks Exploring Canada, Alaska & the Northwestern States

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Aug 2nd, 2015, 02:54 PM
  #1
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8wks Exploring Canada, Alaska & the Northwestern States

A truly unforgettable adventure, full of wildlife and breathtaking scenery . If you get a chance to see this amazing part of the world you must do it. We are still pinching ourselves at some of the amazing things we did, saw and experienced.

The overview & initial thoughts

Brisbane to Seattle via LAX with our national carrier, Qantas, then drove to Vancouver.
- B/Class one-way Premium Economy return, nice surprise
3 nights Vancouver - loved this city, you must ride a bike around Stanley Park
4 nights Vancouver Island - Victoria a must, not so sure re Tofino
7 night Alaskan Cruise with Silverseas - for die hard non cruisers, one word, Wow
2 nights Anchorage - not what we expected
4 nights Denali - amazing, 3 nights would be enough
3 nights Mukilteo - perfect alternative to staying in Seattle
5 weeks in an RV exploring NP's in Canada and the US
- can't imagine a better way to explore this region
2 nights Vancouver - I did say we love this city
2 nights Tacoma what a wonderful surprise, fantastic place

I think I will just copy and paste this TR as is to the Canada Forum, as we zigzagged across the border a lot, its hard to break up into two reports.....unless anyone has a better idea?

Just a warning, this will be wordy ;-) I always say I'll try to be brief, it never happens. Hotel reviews I will do on Trip Advisor but will put links here, along with links to the gazillion photos we took.

Vancouver

Thanks to a generous daughter who let us use her points to upgrade from Premium Economy to B/class, we had a lovely start to our trip. Easy flight to LAX from Brisbane, about 13 hours, which equates to 3 movies, some nice food & wine and a decent nap. We did have to collect our luggage in LA to clear customs, but it was all very easy, we collected it and then literally dropped it on a conveyor belt just outside the exit from customs. Walked to the Alaska Airlines terminal for our short flight to Seattle and were more than happy to check our carry-on bags when it was offered, due to over crowded luggage bins on board.

The reason we flew to Seattle is because we'd booked the flights so early on in the planning we weren't set on our plans and the cost to change the flights just wasn't worth it, so we collected a hire car and drove to Vancouver. Worked out really well, as we needed a car there anyway and we really enjoyed the drive (although I had trouble keeping my eyes open) and the border crossing was no problem at all, about a 10minute wait. The crossing is certainly in a picturesque spot, beautiful parks.

We found our apartment with no problem, our travelling buddies from Melbourne, had arrived a few hours earlier, so it was lovely to catch up.

http://www.tripadvisor.com.au/Hotel_..._Columbia.html

We headed out for a good walk hoping it would help with sleeping, it didn't. But the walk was wonderful, we headed to the waterfront then found our way to the Gas Clock. Found a great little eatery/bar just down from the clock and had a lovely bite to eat. Great spot for people watching and relaxing.

http://www.theblackfrog.ca/

We were starting to fade, so headed back collecting breakfast supplies. And the first of a few unsettled nights sleep but its only a couple of nights and we come good.

The next day we headed towards Stanley Park, collecting bikes along the way. What a fantastic day we rode all over the park and beyond. Such beautiful weather, we just didn't want to stop. Rode back towards the Gas Clock and had lunch at the Water St Café, opp the clock. Really nice food, service and again another great people watching spot. Dh & I then rode off towards the main shopping st, we'd decided to purchase a small coffee machine. We were to be away a long time and we love our coffee. So for $100 we bought the smallest Nespresso Machine, and we all agree its the best $100 we spent ;-) I have a great photo of dh holding the box while riding back to the apartment.

After dropping it off we headed off again on our bikes, this time through the park and onto Granville Island via the ferry. We would've liked to have had a good look around but bit tricky with the bikes. But we enjoyed what we saw. We rode back via a bridge (can't remember which one) which was the hardest part of the whole ride, due to the not so gentle rise to the middle of the bridge.

So we ended up having the bikes for over 6 hours and it was terrific. As it was Friday night and we have a 'tradition' of Friday night, Cheese and wine, we headed to our 'local' supermarket and purchased our supplies and had a lovely relaxed night in.

What a wonderful start to our trip.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/104632...57655776172029
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Aug 9th, 2015, 08:27 PM
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Hi aussiedreamer,

I happened to look on the Canada forum and see if there was anything fresh and helpful for another Aussie and I found this wonderful opening part of your trip report!

i am really looking forward to reading your full report over stages and thank you for the fantastic opening.

We have just come back from a short 2 weeks that included Dolomites and Tirol - having been introduced to Tirol following your Christmas stay some years ago
Our trips are short because of carer responsibilities but I always enjoy reading yours and distilling the bits we might be able to do.

So looking forward to the following installments.
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Aug 9th, 2015, 10:08 PM
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Hi there.... I was about to give up �� but more than happy to keep going. I'm actually y doing this on the USA site and I'm just copy & pasting into here as well.
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Aug 9th, 2015, 10:56 PM
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Here go Love_Travel_Aus

Grouse Mountain

The next day we drove up to Grouse Mountain, stopping in at the Capilano Suspension Bridges. Pretty incredible series of tree top suspension bridges. We all really enjoyed this.

Then on we went, catching the Gondola up to the top of Grouse Mt which was shrouded in a very heavy mist. We walked all over, stopped by the bear enclosure but they were 'hiding' (but not for long) then we even stopped off at the lumberjack show. I have to say for all its slap stick corniness, it was really funny and a lot of fun. I think the fact that everyone was struggling to even see the guys through the mist, added to the whole experience.

We then thought we should have one more look for those elusive bears and were we ever rewarded. Our fist bear 'sighting' was so exciting. What majestic animals, we couldn't drag ourselves away. They were so incredibly playful, like a pair of puppies.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/104632...57656173460742

Finished our lovely day off with lunch in the Altitude restaurant. Lovely atmosphere, I can only imagine how beautiful the views are in the winter.https://www.grousemountain.com/altitudes-bistro

Drove 'home' via horseshoe bay for a look as we would be catching a ferry the next day. Glad we did this, made the next day very smooth. Plus its a nice little place for a look around.

Dinner at the Keg back in town, roof top bistro c/w rugs and open fires, highly recommend. https://www.kegsteakhouse.com/locations/yaletown-keg/

Next we are off to Vancouver Island.
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Aug 12th, 2015, 05:23 AM
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Fabulous photos and great report so far.

I love many of the places you visited and look forward to reading more.

I"m leaving Monday for my second trip to Alaska - can't wait!
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Aug 14th, 2015, 05:22 AM
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Hi again - sorry I haven't been back but our daughter had a spell in hospital this week so got a little distracted!

She is coming good and I am looking forward to participating in your journey.
Very happy to look on USA board if that helps.

Regardless take your time and enjoy reliving the journey.
I am wondering where next for you!!
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Aug 15th, 2015, 03:30 AM
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Well.... As it happens we found out while we were away that we are to be grandparents for the first time. So we won't be going too far for too long in the near future. So excited.
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Aug 21st, 2015, 12:12 AM
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How lovely for everyone - mmm - you will probably get used to shorter trips so as to not miss the important milestones in the little one.

All the best for the parents and grandparents to be
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Nov 13th, 2015, 04:31 PM
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Well I never did do/finish this t/r. Sorry.......not sure why. But I have 'finished' my latest photo project. Sorry the preview is small, my only suggestion is to increase the % of zoom on your screen.

http://tinyurl.com/neu8tsl
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Nov 16th, 2015, 08:04 PM
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Hi aussiedreamer,
we are trying to decide on either Canada next year (from Brisbane) or resurrecting our California trip from this year which we had to cancel. I'm curious about the RV - what did you find were the positives and negatives? Was it heavy or in any way difficult to drive?

We would normally get a hire car and stay in budget motels but an RV would have benefits I guess (have had many roadtrips in USA, we love it there but only one trip to Canada so far).

Thoughts?

Kay
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Nov 18th, 2015, 06:35 PM
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Thanks for posting the photo project - some absolutely amazing pics in there!
I can just see them as the zoom isn't ideal but still enough to enjoy your trip.
That was a big RV - well for us anyway.

Will keep looking up the places from your photos as not a lot of trip planning here for a few months as our DD ended up having cancer surgery (at age 30) but given good reports so now we are in recovery mode and dreaming of somewhere beautiful in the middle of next year.

Hope all going well as you prepare to be grandparents.

Be interested in hearing suggestions for Kay too!
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Dec 2nd, 2015, 07:18 PM
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Sorry for delay. Lovetravelaus...hope alls well with your daughter.

Hi Kay ,.. We absolutely enjoyed every second of the Rv. We've only previously done a much smaller one in Spain for a couple of weeks. So this was our first real test, we honestly can't think of a downside. Especially for this type of trip, if we did want to go into a town, there was always Rv parking lots and some parks offered transport. Canada was a beautiful surprise, we knew it would be lovely but it surpassed out expectations by a mile.

As for the actual driving, I'll admit it wa all done by my dh.....he loved it but he is a very compitant driver both at home and overseas. He did say the first day is tricky....'wrong' side of the car..'wrong' side of the road etc but all good fun..

Sorry again for the delay?.....let me know if you want any specifics.
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Feb 2nd, 2017, 04:06 AM
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Hi
we are fellow aussies looking to do a long road trip around Canada this year. Can you tell us what type of RV you had and where you rented it from? Did you consider buying?
thanks
James
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Feb 3rd, 2017, 09:34 PM
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Hi James, if you don't get any answers it might be best to start a new thread. I'd suggest putting as much useful info as you can in the subject heading.

Have a great trip.

Kay
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