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Old Jan 17th, 2007, 06:44 PM
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from aussie. planning a 3 week trip for 2 start of july 07 fly into Vancouver travel by car to jasper via banff. thinking leave car at jasper rail to prince rupert.this may take up 2 weeks?. maybe fly to anchorage??? and drive around alska for 1 week.
Or would it be better to go via rail from vancouver to jasper then drive?to prince rupert then fly to anchorage for the week.
any suggestions would be most grateful
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 10:46 AM
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Hello foxbait,

I think you're trying to cover too much ground. I would cut out the Jasper to Prince Rupert leg of the journey if I were you.

I've never been to Alaska, but one thing I do know about it is that it's huge. Although British Columbia and the Alberta Rockies cover a very large swath of territory too, I cannot imagine that it is an effective distribution of your time to spend 2 weeks in Western Canada and 1 week in Alaska. I would try to aim for something closer to an even split if I were you. That's just an intuitive assumption on my part. As I said, I've never been to Alaska (but I know several people who have been there).

What I suggest you do is fly all the way to Calgary on the day that you arrive from Australia. It's a pain in the neck, because you have to clear Canadian immigration and customs in Vancouver and catch a 1.5 hour connecting flight to Calgary at a time when you're already a basket case from your trans-Pacific flight. However, you're such a mess by the time you reach Vancouver that it doesn't really matter if you abuse your body a bit more and haul it all the way to Calgary. Been there, done that, have the T-shirt.

By the way, if you have not already booked your flights, and if you're going to go all the way to Calgary, there are various ways by which you can reach Calgary from Australia. You can fly via Auckland and Los Angeles or you can fly via Honolulu and Vancouver, to mention only two possibilities. Which route is best depends to some extent on your departure point in Australia.

If you go to Calgary first and get all of that flying out of the way, you have an advantage later, in that there are non-stop flights from Vancouver to Anchorage, whereas there are no non-stop flights from Calgary to Anchorage.

I suggest you try this itinerary:

1 – Land in Calgary. You’ll be a wreck, so just spend the afternoon recovering from jet lag. If people have flown “only” from London, UK to Calgary, I would recommend that they drive the couple of hours to Banff on the afternoon of this day. However, I think it would be dodgy for you to do that. If you insist on getting to Banff that day, it would be safer for you to catch the Banff Airporter Shuttle Bus and then pick up a rental car in Banff the next morning.

2 – Drive to the Banff / Lake Louise area.

3 – Banff / Lake Louise.

4 – Banff / Lake Louise.

5 – Drive to Jasper.

6 – Look around Jasper.

7 – Drive to Clearwater or Sun Peaks.

8 – Drive to Whistler.

9 – Drive to Vancouver in the morning, look around Stanley Park in the afternoon.

10 – Spend another day looking around Vancouver.

11 – Fly to Anchorage.

12 to 20 – Explore Alaska.

21 – Fly home from Anchorage.

A popular way of getting from Vancouver to Alaska is to go on a cruise. Something that is popular with more adventure-oriented travellers is to sail on a more modest state-operated ferry instead of a cruise ship. If that option interests you, do a Google search for Alaska State Ferries.

For the Alaska portion of your journey, you might pose questions on the United States forum. You will help the posters there to help you if you tell them your general budget range, your general fitness level (e.g., are you hikers or not?), and your interests (scenery, nature, wildlife, museums, art galleries, Aboriginal culture, shopping, restaurants, or whatever else they may be).

If you check out the sample itineraries on my personal website, you’ll find out what there is to do and see in Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies.

Also go to the TIPS section of my website and read the What To Pack page. That information is important, as it will enable you to prepare yourselves for the quirky mountain weather.


Hope that helps.
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 03:18 PM
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Thanks Judy, this will really help us.
If we fly into Calgary have a look around go to Banff would we be better off driving to Vancouver and see a few smaller towns on the way or take the rail? We are age 36-39 resonably fit but not hikers, like to see wilderness and small out of the way towns but rail looks very inviting. Budget is fairly high on our list but dont want to miss too much as we may never be able to acheive this again.
This type of communication is such a great help.
Cheers Foxbait.

replys from other most welcome
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 03:55 PM
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If you look at the train fares, I think you'll find that they're pretty expensive for 2 people.

VIA Rail ( www.viarail.ca ) does not go from Banff to Vancouver. It goes only from Jasper to Vancouver. It travels through the night, so you miss some of the scenery (although the summer days are long enough that you still would see a fair bit).

The Rocky Mountaineer ( www.rockymountaineer.com ) is a luxury train, and even more expensive than VIA Rail.

The good thing about the Rocky Mountaineer is that it stops in Kamloops for the night, and its passengers stay in local hotels and motels. That means the train travels only in daylight, and passengers get to see all of the scenery on the way.

Another thing about the Rocky Mountaineer is that you have the option of catching it from Banff (Kicking Horse route) or Jasper (Yellowhead route).

One of the limitations of both trains is that they travel only 3 times a week, so they may or may not fit in conveniently with your schedule.

Another limitation of the trains is that they do not allow you to stop, disembark, and take detours.

If cost is even the slightest consideration, I think you'll find that the train fares, multiplied by two, will undermine your budget.

On the home page of my website (to which I gave you a link in my previous post), there is a link to a trip planning page that goes through these logistical questions, step-by-step. I believe that if you had worked through that page, you would not have asked these questions about rail, because you'd already have found the answers.

Anyway, I hope this additional information has helped.
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 04:33 PM
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I think that allocating one week to Alaska would be frustrating. It's a large area and points of interest are fairly long distance apart. 3 years ago, our family flew to Anchorage and spent 13 days and only touched a fraction of what we wanted to see.

2years ago we went to the Canadian Rockies. We spent nearly 3 weeks touring with many days on the road sightseeing. When an opportunity came by that let us return that fall, we spent another 2 weeks touring places we missed. The next year we went back so we could include Vancouver Island and see the portion of British Columbia from Prince Rupert to Jasper. Another 3 weeks for that trip.

I know it's a long trip from Australia, but I think you are trying to pack too much into too little time with too much distance to drive and will end up worn out and frustrated that you went so far.
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Old Jan 18th, 2007, 04:34 PM
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Hear you loud and clear, will visit your site and do more reserch. at work at moment have to wait for smoko!! to read thouroghly
Thanks again
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