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Summer road trip for Australian family of 6, from BC to Ontario, ideas..?

Summer road trip for Australian family of 6, from BC to Ontario, ideas..?

Feb 9th, 2013, 10:02 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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Summer road trip for Australian family of 6, from BC to Ontario, ideas..?

We are an Australian family with 4 children living in BC for the year and would like to make the most of our Summer break by seeing the great parts of Canada without feeling the urge to lose a kid or two along the way..! Their ages are 6, (girl) 10, 12, 15
(3 boys)

I am trying to plan a road trip itinerary for approx 6-7 weeks and need to find accomodation along the way that sleeps 6 without a huge cost. Or would it more cost effective to hire a trailer?

Very keen to get to Thompson then go on the train to Churchill to hopefully see some polar bears. Ideas/questions for trip so far are:
Rodeo - Calgary (July 5 ...) other things to see here?
Edminton.. on the way back?
What is there to see in Saskatchewan?
How long to drive from Thompson to Niagara falls? What can we see along the way?
Things to see in Winnipeg on the way back?
Would PEI just be way too much to add on..?

Any suggestions on an itinerary, route, time to travel & spend at places would be SO helpful. It feels very overwhelming to plan at the moment..!

Thanks so much.
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:41 AM
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I posted on your other forum post but you are right about the feeling of being overwhelmed in planning. the trip may do the same to you and yours.
amer_can is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 11:43 AM
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There is a post regaring Polar bears from yesterday so perhaps you could look at that. considering the cost that are mentioned it might be better to go to a zoo!!
amer_can is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 01:17 PM
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Thanks Amer_can, yes the cost is huge and no guarantees to see polar bears in summer. I have been in contact with the Lazy Bear Lodge and they were very helpful. The tour we are considering is the Beluga Whale Tour and there is a possibility of seeing the bears on the coast from this boat. Hard call and of course everything with 4 kids is expensive..
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 01:28 PM
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Costs HAHAHA Tell me about it.. we travelled with 6 and I sometimes did it alone..Lots of fun and whatever else came down the pike. The kids (adults now) now talk about our crazy adventures. If you contact tourism for the various provinces they will have brochures that will allow you to see what's up. They are being sent out now.
amer_can is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 06:25 PM
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Ok thanks will do that re tourism. Thinking about maybe buying a second hand camper trailer instead of renting one. Could then sell it with our cars at the end of this year when we return to Aus. Might work out cheaper. Would you happen to know the average cost per night to get a camper trailer site at a trailer park in summer?
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 06:56 PM
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That's a hard one to answer. The best way is to google camp sites in various areas and see what you come up with. Your idea about buying a trailer is probably a good one. Some places are more exotic than other with swimming pools and such. Bear in mind your National Park permit if you have a year long one is not good all across Canada..Just from BC to Man. Then you need another. The rational is questionable. A USA one is good for all Parks. Many Nat. Pks book sites and fill up early. You can, I think , book on the internet ie:IPAD or Smart Phone. You sure have your work cut out for you but maybe you can do alot of seat of the pants flying. Many small towns have small, non elaborate camping sites. Also with a trailer you will not get as much milage and will not be able to travel as fast..or shouldn't.
amer_can is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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"Very keen to get to Thompson then go on the train to Churchill to hopefully see some polar bears"
Mate that train ride is a howling bore-bare rocks, small broken trees and more of same into infinity-lotsa water though all of it alive with mozzies.

The rest of what you're after is similar the scenery across the prairies is uninteresting at best northern Canada will bore kids stiff and it's called Deadmonton for a reason.

In short you now live in the best looking part of the country there are patches of ok scenery in places back east but it's a lot of driving for very little reward and Yes I've done it a number of times by road & train both.

There are better more authentic rodeos right here in BC-although to be fair there are a number in Alberta too no need to 'throw down large' in Calgary.

Sam_Salmon is offline  
Feb 9th, 2013, 08:50 PM
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Sam..These folks want to see what else there is up here..They know and if not are being told what they might expect. Of course BC is Heaven above the 49th but there is alot more that your fair province doesn't offer.. Give them a break and let's not down play the great beyond!!!
amer_can is offline  
Feb 10th, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Thanks for the tips about the rodeos, Sam. Point well made. Might look into local rodeos. And you are right, this province is amazing..! We are planning to explore it much more this year on long weekends. We are going to spend a week in Spring Break at Vancouver & Victoria. Australia is VERY similar to Canada with it's long stretches of driving through nothing to see stuff. Which we haven't been brave enough to do when the kids were younger. Maybe if we cope with this trip we will attempt the same in Aust. We live in Perth, Western Australia.. a Looong way from anywhere.
Thanks everyone..!
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 10th, 2013, 11:11 AM
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Sam.. mate are you Australian?
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 10th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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www.koa.com is probably a good start for camping info.

My parents tried to take me across Canada pulling a camper trailer back in the seventies. We started in Montreal, I had enough by the time we made it to Sudbury. Never tried it again.

Instead of a trailer, how about a couple of tents?

cdnyul is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 09:19 AM
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Buying a pop up trailer is a great idea not only to save costs but to experience this country for what it's known for shouldn't be passed up (outdoors, camping). Kids love 'camping' much more than staying in some motel.

When I was 13 we left the Outaouais region (close to Ottawa) and travelled by car to BC. I had no complaints but then again I was such an angel nothing much in the Sask and Manitoba except field after field but I still remember that big open prairie sky! it's beautiful. Alberta is gorgeous.

You should consider driving through the prairies and making your way to Ontario, Quebec, PEI or Nova Scotia instead (whale watching in NS). Very different country once you get past the prairies. Each province has a different feel and story to it.

Don't miss camping in Lake Superior area (ontario), spectacular!

Algonquin Provincial Park is the jewel of Ontario for camping
But since you will need reserved camping i'd book sooner rather than later, some campgrounds are already full (can reserve 5 months ahead of arrival).
Sunfish2017 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 01:46 PM
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Thanks so much Sunfish2017. We have bought the tent trailer and the kids are very excited. It is very well equipped and so we are looking forward to trying camping out. Thanks for the places to camp ideas, I will look into these. Thanks for the encouragement that kids love camping..! I'm hoping they will too and will get along with each other. We might need to buy a camper trailer when we return to Australia next year.
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 02:03 PM
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Are you camping in Ontario now too or flying in? If you are camping there are many beautiful places to camp but you will probably want to avoid the cities. Not too many places to camp near Toronto. There are many beautiful sites in Ontario's vast cottage country though .Provincial parks such as Algonquin are booking now for July. You will have less trouble finding sites North of Superior.
outdoor1 is offline  
Feb 26th, 2013, 04:44 PM
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No just chatted with hubby and he thinks we should fly to Ontario (Niagara and Toronto) and then we will fly to Quebec for a few days and then back to Kelowna.
So the loose itinerary for camping : is Banff, Calgary, Medicine Hat, somewhere in Saskatchewan, Regina, Winnepeg, still considering a train jaunt to Churchill and still have to plan route back home. Maybe through the US?
busywithfour is offline  
Feb 27th, 2013, 12:48 AM
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Where on earth did you get that idea? The Parks Canada pass is good for ALL National Parks in the country.


Now there are very few National Parks in Ontario where you can camp, but a huge number of Provincial Parks for which you do need a separate pass. The same goes for Quebec, which for political reasons calls its provincial parks, "National Parks"
so that's where the confusion might have arisen. But then all provinces have a network of provincial parks--BC's are particularly good.

Here's the link for the Ontario Parks.

laverendrye is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2013, 09:34 AM
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Do try out your camper with a few short one or two overnights to figure out what you need to have a good time. Google some camping websites for lists of necessities. Mine was paper plates--I hate to do dishes. My grown sons still remember our crazy camping adventures. But keep in mind that the longer the drive the shorter the patience!
grankath is offline  
Mar 2nd, 2013, 09:44 AM
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As you have already concluded from the numerous responses ther is no simple answer. There is lots to see from coast to coast. I suspect some of the travel will be determined by how well the kids enjoy the road trip. I recently drove from Vancouver to Thunder Bay (3000 kms) with my 11 year old grandson. He loved every bit of it. We simply stopped when we felt like it and had no real plan. A small town rodeo caught our eye one day as did a wonderful roadside lake near Kenora where we enjoyed a swim and a "shore lunch" He put the game boy away before reaching Hope, the camera came out and he controlled the GPS as my navigator. On the other hand, we believe his 9 year old brother would be suffering "cabin fever" before reaching Kamloops. As such we plan collective holidays that suit both....cottage life in any part of Canada works and can be less risky than a cross Canada camping trip. Fishing, swimming, waterskiing etc seem to fit an Aussie and certainly enjoyed by most kids. Picking specific location trips from your cottage or camp headquarters is achievable, be it The Stampede, Niagara Falls, Quebec City, The Maritimes etc. is simply a function of cost, time and your groups interest.
BC is great and can easily take up all of your 6 weeks but you want to see the rest of Canada and possibly parts of the US.. If you do, you have achieved more than most Canadians.
billycanuck is offline  

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