Grab a cuppa – or other beverage of choice – and get comfy. This entry is longer than most of the others because it was a BIG day, spent in the stunning Banff and surrounds. I would go back in a heartbeat. ❤️
2 October 2019
Hi Banff! I love you! 😍 Can I come back, pleeeeaaase?!
Banff, AB and surrounds
We started our day early – literally in the dark! – meeting at the bus for a drive up to the Banff Gondola! We were booked for brekky at the top of Sulphur Mountain… and it was perfectly timed so our gondola ride was during sunrise! 😍
The sky had hints of pink in spots – really beautiful – and the reflections off the surrounding mountains were just magic. 💗
Once we got to the top, Kerstin (a fellow tour member 👋) and I immediately headed upstairs and outside to check out that cracking view.
Holy. Crapola. This was a brand new level of cold I hadn’t experienced yet. 🥶 Even with multiple layers (seriously, a sleeveless tee, a long sleeved shirt, a flanno, beanie, scarf, fingerless gloves etc) AND a fleece-lined jacket with faux-fur lined hood (!) we had to go back inside after about five minutes. That wind factor made ALL the difference!
(Not that it was blowing a gale or anything, but it was blowing enough to be seriously icy on my face and my poor exposed fingers holding the camera! 😬)
Having said THAT, the views were absolutely magnificent… 360° of magnificent. It was so QUIET (wind notwithstanding) – that real absence of noise. And with only Kerstin and I upstairs at that point, you’d honestly think you were completely alone in the world. Incredibly peaceful and I’m dying to do it all again. 💙
Breakfast back inside was yummy (again with the a-ma-zing breakfast views!) but I demolished mine rather quickly so I could get outside and explore. (That’s a continuing theme through this trip!) There was a snow-covered mountainside with my name on it and who was I to refuse? 😁
1 October 2019
Being in the mountains is freezing – even when it’s not winter yet! – but oh man, did I fall in love with the Rockies. 😍 I would go back in a heartbeat if I could!
Revelstoke, BC to Banff, AB
I was sharing a room/suite with the awesome Maggie – a fellow Aussie, of course! 👋 – and we woke up to amazing views of sunrise hitting the mountaintops. 😍 What. A. View.
I didn’t want to miss the light so in only my PJs – not even any socks on my feet! – I grabbed the camera and traipsed out onto the balcony to take some photos. Of course, I only lasted a few minutes then I retreated back inside – I needed some feeling back in my toes. 😅 It was like 5°C outside or something!
Those beautiful views continued from the restaurant while we had breakfast! Seriously, Canada is THE place for breakfast and lunch views.
30 September 2019
My third full day in Canada started super early to meet the Discover Canada Tours group and tour bus at Canada Place. (Out of the 25+ people on the bus, over half a dozen were Australian. 😂) Our guides were Joe and Matt. The tour I chose was the 5 days Rockies Premium Tour and so glad I did. The tour hit all the major spots of the Canadian Rockies that I wanted to see/visit plus a few I wasn’t even aware of!
You’d never believe it but 12 hours on a bus? Actually a LOT more tiring than you’d think!
Vancouver, BC to Revelstoke, BC
I’m going to hit this with reasonably short and sharp bits because we did quite a few spots and saw a LOT heading up into the mountains. Plus the tour was (now) three months ago 😭 and my memory ain’t what it used to be! (Note to self: Please start writing place names down.)
Our first stop mid-morning-ish was Hope, BC which is famous for being a main shooting location for the original “Rambo”. Hope is also making a name for itself in wood carving, with an incredible amount of wood carvings/statues all over town! Something worth seeing – some of the craftsmanship is truly remarkable. Particularly as they do them with chainsaws, not a chisel and hammer or whatever! 😳
(Apologies for the blurriness in the wood carving photos – I was having trouble getting my camera to focus as the bus was going past)
We left Hope and hadn’t even hit the mountains when we had snow on the side of the road! Keeping in mind that this was the last day of September and technically still ‘summer driving’… 🤷♀️
My second full day in Canada I did a Landsea Tours day trip – the Peak and Canyon tour – to Capilano Suspension Bridge and Grouse Mountain. I soon discovered that the difference in temperature between sea level and up a mountain can be significant! A beautiful but chilly day on the mountain. (‘Chilly’ may be underselling it – it was FREEZING! When those winds get up – brrrr!)
Canyon: Capilano Suspension Bridge
Our first stop was Capilano Suspension Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world. I can tell you with complete honesty that it felt like it too! Let’s just say that this stop is not for those with a fear of heights. Or swing bridges. With the amount of people on it, it had a tendency to feel like a bouncy castle masquerading as a bridge… 😅
When I was thinking about holidays for this year, I decided to do things a bit differently. I LOVE taking long holidays but they’re not always practical (getting leave approved, expense, etc). So this year I wanted to see more of Australia – closer to home, shorter trips.
The decision I made was to do a lot of long weekends/short breaks, specifically to places I hadn’t been before or haven’t spent much time at.
So far, I’ve:
- spent 6 days in Noosa (and it was beyond amazing 😍)
- a long weekend (4 days) in Darwin in early March
- I’ve just returned from a long weekend (2 nights) in Hobart.
I have loved ALL of my trips and at some point I will come back and blog about them.
Still on the list for this year I have:
- 5 days in Sydney in June
- 6 days in Hervey Bay in August
- 15 days in Canada (!!!) in October
- 5 days in Perth in October
The Canada trip was actually a very last minute decision. I hadn’t been planning to go anywhere overseas this year! But then the Rock the Rink tour was announced and I couldn’t NOT go! So first trip to Canada – YEW! 🇨🇦 I’ll spend most of my time on the west coast/BC area, though I’m also hoping to get over to Toronto and possibly the Banff/Jasper area as well.
The best bit I’m REALLY excited about with these trips is I’ll be going whale watching in ALL of those locations!! 😁 I deliberately moved my trip to Canada earlier so that I could visit during their whale watching season.
Stay tuned! No doubt I’ll be posting updates in the coming days/weeks. In the meantime, if anyone has any suggestions for things to do/places to stay/spots to visit for Canada or Perth, please feel free to share in the comments – I’d appreciate any help!