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Okanagan Valley? Can you explore it without a car?

Okanagan Valley? Can you explore it without a car?

Apr 19th, 2008, 12:09 PM
  #1  
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Okanagan Valley? Can you explore it without a car?

We will be visiting Vancouver for 5 wks this summer. We intend to include Victoria as a side trip and are also interested in seeing the Okanagan Valley, however neither of us enjoying driving. Is there a way of exploring the area, coming from Vancouver, and see a bit of the region WITHOUT a car? I know people on Fodors try to be helpful, but people are always suggesting that a car is the only way to see a region, and if someone can suggest a way to enjoy The Okanagan Valley without a car, we would really appreciate it. However, if taking public transport is some arduous uncomfortable feat, then tell me that, too. Thanks.
annetti is offline  
Apr 19th, 2008, 03:31 PM
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It's not impossible to visit the Okanagan without a car, but you will obviously be limited in your flexibility.

You could take the bus from Vancouver to Kelowna (about a 6 hour trip) and spend a few nights there. There are several nice hotels right on the lake, and you can arrange tours of the nearby wineries from there or rent bikes to explore the city, for example.

You might then take a bus to a smaller place such as Osoyoos or Oliver and stay at a resort there, returning to Vancouver by bus via the Hope-Princeton Highway. While not inexpensive, the Spirit Ridge and Burrowing Owl Vineyards both have excellent accommodation and retaurants. I'm sure that you could make arrangements to be picked up from the bus station.

These are only a few examples. With 5 weeks, you certainly have the time for a trip to the Okanagan.

laverendrye is offline  
Apr 19th, 2008, 03:56 PM
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Hi again Annetti. We have a place in Oliver as well as Victoria and I really can't manage without a car. It is a very large area spreading from Osoyoos to Penticton to Kelowna and Vernon. I know you are going to be in Victoria and Westjet has a direct flight to Kelowna. The purpose of your visit to the valley is probably to see the wineries which means you do need a vehicle. You could fly to Kelowna and rent a car for a couple of days (although Oliver is the best area for visiting wineries - smaller wineries and extremely plentiful) So to be perfectly honest with you as you asked you need a car. As I said you could rent one in Kelowna and go out from there. We are just under two hours from Kelowna. Of course we will be in Victoria at that time due to the heat. Its great in summer but HOT!!! Ask if you have any more questions.
traveller69 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2008, 03:58 PM
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There are a number of companies that do winery tours including http://www.wildflowersandwine.com/
& http://www.okwinetours.com/

Too bad the Wine Train isn't running anymore it would have been fun for you.

This book might be of help http://www.car-free.ca/
Sam_Salmon is offline  
Apr 19th, 2008, 09:23 PM
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Laverendrye: Maybe I do need a car!! 6 hours on a bus -- I don't think that sounds very comfortable or something we want to do. Staying on a lake sounds so pleasant. We may need to reconsider and think car, but then there's Traveller69's comments about the heat.

Traveller69: I had not realized it was so HOT!! Maybe we may need to reconsider. When you say "hot," it sounds like dry heat. Are we talking over 90F or even higher??

Sam: Thanks for the websites. Even if we relent and get a car, and find we can endure the heat, a tour might be something to consider.

Thank you all.

annetti is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 08:19 AM
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HI Annetti - Yes I am talking HOT. That is why we go to our Victoria home. The Okanagan Valley is gorgeous spring and fall. We are very fortunate to be able to winter in Arizona, spend spring and fall in the OK Valley and spend summers in our home in Victoria. We were going to move to the Okanagan permanently but decided to get something small and not let Victoria go. Good decision. It gets to 100 degrees and sometimes more than that. If you want to visit September is absolutely the best month.
traveller69 is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 08:52 AM
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annetti: You don't need to take the bus, but it's the only way to see the scenery enroute without a car. You can't get to the Okanagan any more by passenger train so far as I am aware.

As others have mentioned, it's only a short flight from Vancouver to Kelowna where you could then rent a car to get around.

It does get hot in the summer there. The area around Osoyoos is actually desert--a huge contrast to the rain coast.
laverendrye is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 09:37 AM
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Traveller69: Okanagan Valley sounds too hot for us in July. I might be willing to risk it, but since going there would be "my thing," since my husband does not drink wine and would only be going to be a good sport, it would not be fair to subject him to really hot, uncomfortable weather. Another time, I guess. (By the way, Traveller69, it sounds like you have managed to have some very nice places to spend your four seasons.)

So, Laverndrye, thanks for the flight suggestion, but I guess the heat factor eliminates this part of our Vancouver sidetrips.

Thank you both again.
annetti is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 09:50 AM
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If it's wineries you want, there are some really nice ones on Vancouver Island, not very far from Victoria. The Cowichan Valley is only 45 minutes north of Victoria. Plus there are some in the Sydney area outside of Victoria.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 10:39 AM
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Cruiseryyc: Thanks for the suggestions. Perhaps, we can pick up a tour or are there buses we can use to visit the wineries?
annetti is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 04:20 PM
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You won't be able to use public transportation, however I do believe there are tours from Victoria. Google "Vancouver Island Wineries" and you might be able to find information there. Sorry I can't help, I always drive.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Apr 20th, 2008, 07:13 PM
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Here's one guided tour group from Victoria:

www.chemainustours.com/valley_wine_tour.html

Annetti, five years ago if someone suggested to me 100 + degrees in a desert-like environment for a summer holiday, there is no way I would have gone. But I did go to Oliver in the summer some five years ago and have been every summer since. Yes, it's hot but to this moderate-weather Howe Sound island girl, it's loverly and not overwhelming. I'm a redhead and freckle and burn easily, and I truly love it. You know what's best for you and your husband, just my two cents...
BowenLinda is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 05:42 AM
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Annetti - I just took a quick look at the link BowenLinda provided and this looks like a perfect day trip from Victoria. Great sight seeing and stops at a couple of the best wineries, not to mention Merrridale Cider.
Cruiseryyc is offline  
Apr 21st, 2008, 06:49 AM
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BowenLinda: Thank you for the link. The winery tour looks very comfortable and leisurely. Something even my husband might enjoy. And you don't have to wake up too early and be on a crowded tour bus! Thanks very much.

Also, thanks for the pep talk about enjoying 100 plus weather. Perhaps, it would work if you can get a respite with air conditioning, but otherwise we find it difficult. Years ago we camped in the Mojave in late April and it was unseasonably warm, over 100 and we were miserable. I assume you have ac in Oliver.

Thank you again, cruiseryyc.
annetti is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 10:45 PM
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Hi there annetti,

I know this is a very old topic, but I totally agree with a lot of what's been said above.

Touring the Okanagan Valley without a car is not recommended. The public transport is not that reliable or well covered, not to mention the travelling youd need to do between certain areas.

There is a forum on the area called www.accessokanagan.com (lots of new people in the valley and some locals)

Hope this helps you a little?
Cal
Calman45 is offline  
Aug 20th, 2009, 11:06 PM
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Hi Calman45, Wherever did you find this? We never made it to the Okanagan Valley, however we did make it to Victoria, in fact, we are there as I write this note; we have seen some lovely wineries right outside the city, less than 30 minutes away, however we did do it by car.
annetti is offline  

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