Exploring British Columbia
Explore British Columbia and discover a hugely diverse range of landscapes from temperate rainforest to alpine peaks and a wealth of wildlife encounters including whales, bears and eagles. There’s a wide range of activities to enjoy here too including hiking, canoeing, zip-lining and mountain biking. You can enjoy all this and more with the flexibility that a self-drive road trip or motorhome holiday brings.
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Spend a couple of days exploring Vancouver prior to heading out to the great outdoors. An afternoon in Stanley park is recommended and the things to do north of the city are pretty great – such as walking Capilano Suspension Bridge or viewing the scenery from the Grouse Mountain cable car. Further north still is the alpine town of Whistler, while Kamloops and Sun Peaks will vie for your attention to the northeast. Across the water, west of Vancouver, is the massive Vancouver Island which is worthy of a week’s exploration in itself. Victoria’s waterfront and botanical gardens are a must. If you’re seeking a diverse eco-system and somewhere off the beaten track, Haida Gwaii and the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast will certainly provide some big adventures.
The Peak 2 Peak Gondola in Whistler offers stunning 360 degree views of the Coastal Mountains of BC as the gondola transports you between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. As you move inland to the Kootenay Rockies region, Yoho National Park draws visitors to it’s waterfalls, rivers, and crystal-clear lakes and Kootenay National Park features rugged, rocky ridges and narrow gorges.
The waters off the coast of British Columbia are rich with marine life. There you can spot humpback whales, grey whales, orca and minkes. It’s more than likely that while taking an ocean adventure, you’ll encounter seals, sea lions, porpoises and eagles too. On terra firma, head to the Cariboo Mountains, Chilcotin Mountain Ranges, Pacific Rim and Great Bear Rainforest for bear-spotting. Grizzly and black bears are the most common to be found in British Columbia. The Kermode bear or “Spirit” bear, is a rare subspecies of black bear with all-white fur and lives in the Central and North Coast regions. Springtime is especially good for spotting bear cubs coming out of hibernation.
There’s so many ways to take advantage of the great outdoors in British Columbia. Horse riding in Kamloops is an awesome way of following scenic trails while on the lookout for deer, moose and bird species. Alpine summit treks are must if in Whistler or Sun peaks. An alternative way of exploring the peaks is by mountain bike. There’s lots of places to head out on the water by canoe or kayak such as Tofino on Vancouver Island or Deep Cove which is just 20 minutes from Downtown Vancouver.
When to explore…
- The best time to visit British Columbia and the Rocky regions is during April to May and September to October. These are both perfect times for bear viewing
- June to August will be peak season however while you may see accommodation booked up early, with such vast surrounds, you shouldn’t notice huge hordes while exploring
- Temperatures in summer can peak at around 22°C on the coast and 30°C further inland, 12°C-16°C in spring and 13°C-18°C in early autumn, layers are advisable in the mountains
- Ski season starts from late November and can run until early May, depending on the season
- Many areas around the coast are covered in temperate rainforest, a significant sign you’re in a rainy climate. However, late spring to early autumn is not overly wet between Vancouver and the Rockies
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