We made our way to the meeting point and it didn’t take long for everyone to start mingling. The Canada & the Rockies tour we were doing was of a group of 44 (14 of which had already been together on the Eastern Canada Adventure Contiki tour). I was a little apprehensive, as this was larger than any tour we had been on before.
A big part of travelling is obviously experiencing new cultures and seeing lots of new places, but another huge side is meeting new people from all over the world, which is something I particularly enjoy.
We made our way to Vancouver airport to pick up the 14 joining us and then set off for our first destination – Whistler – a small skiing resort.
Charlotte, our Contiki trip leader did the obligatory explanation of the rules and then introduced us to our ‘Contiki song’ – Ben Rector – We Will Never Be This Young Again. This would be blasted out on the coach every morning.
We then played ‘speed dating’ on the coach – our first icebreaker. This involved moving up and down the coach introducing yourself to others.
The Pangea Pods Hotel was our accommodation whilst in Whistler. This was a new hostel with funky pods which we shared with nine others on the tour in a private dorm.
It was a quick turnaround once we arrived though, as we were going zip-lining! This was so, so cool! See GoPro footage below.
*Note* – We had paid to be on the tour itself, which included all accommodation, transport and some meals, but we had to pay extra for ‘Free Time Add-Ons such as this.
On our first evening in Whistler, we had a welcome meal and then got rather drunk. The perfect way to get to know people you haven’t met before!
Canoeing was top of the agenda on our second day (another Free Time Add-On). I’d never been in a kayak or a canoe before, but I gave it a go. However, I realised as soon as I got into the canoe with Emily that I had no idea what I was doing. Despite having a tutorial beforehand, we just ended up going around in circles!
I ended up getting really frustrated on the beautiful Lake Alta. Thankfully, a guide was able to help us out and he hopped in our canoe, as we canoed our way down Alta Creek making it now a 3-man canoe.
The views were stunning, but I’m not sure I’ll be canoeing again anytime soon…
After sparing my blushes back at the hostel, we joined Jake, Kirstie and Rakita on a hike to the Lost Lake.
It was more of a chilled out night tonight, but alcohol was still consumed!
Today was the first of our driving days. Canada is one big ass country! We had the morning to ourselves in Whistler before leaving for Sun Peaks in the afternoon – another ski resort around four and a half hours drive away. It was used as an overnight stop off. Nothing much else to report.
It was another early wakeup call as we left Sun Peaks to continue to Jasper – similarly around another four and a half hour drive away.
Along the way, we stopped off at the Spahats Creek Falls and Mount Robson.
Eventually, all rather weary from the long drive, we arrived in Jasper. That evening, we partied at the Downstream Lounge – a local club where drinks were on offer at a discounted price of $5 for our Contiki group.
After a heavy drinking sesh last night, I wasn’t looking forward to getting up for 8:00AM. However, getting up early today was well worth the hangover.
Firstly, we stopped off at Pyramid Lake Island – a short 20 minute drive from Jasper. We then continued driving until we reached Medicine Lake. Last on the planned schedule today was Maligne Lake and Canyon. Here, we went on a short hike before having a group picnic.
On our return to Jasper later on in the day, we went on a hike called of the Old Fort Trail with Amy, Bree, Caleb, Em, Jo, Jake, Kirstie and Rakita – the views were worth it!
That brings an end to our first five days on Contiki’s tour of Canada & the Rockies. It’s been an action packed first five days. If you’d like to read more about our travels in Eastern Canada then click here.
Next stop(s) Banff National Park, Vernon & Vancouver.
If you’d like to keep up-to-date with our travels, then you can enter your email to receive notifications of blog updates at the bottom of this article; follow my blog by clicking the link, or drop me a follow on Twitter at @AlecW95 or on Instagram at @alatw95.
Alternatively, you can follow Emily on her travelling TikTok account at @emstraveladventure.