Monthly Archives: June 2014

Lesser Known Destinations In Western Canada That Are Worth Your Time

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When you think of Western Canada, images of the Canadian Rockies and the mountains of British Columbia typically spring to mind. Additionally, one might imagine strolling the streets of Whistler or Banff, admiring the peaks with winter snow hanging on even in the first days of summer, as you hunt for the perfect souvenir that will define your trip in one sophisticated trinket.

If the touristy nature of these places is a turn-off for you, don’t despair, as there are many other places throughout the Canadian west where you can enjoy the timeless vistas that this corner of North America is famous for, without having to wade through a sea of fanny pack toting tourists to get the perfect photographic angle.

The following places are favoured by Canadian locals for their natural assets, views, and their access to amenities that ensure that you will have a relaxing getaway that won’t be disturbed by a massive wave of humanity. To really see this area at your own pace, consider traveling around in a camper. Let’s start by profiling…

1) Harrison Hot Springs, BC

Identified by Canadian Pacific Railway officials as a site for tourism in the late 1800’s due to the presence of multiple hot springs in the area, a picturesque lake, and mountain peaks that completed the area’s stunning backdrop, a hotel and community was established here. While the popularity of this place never quite reached the proportions of Banff to the east, it slowly built up a following from those living in Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. Today, commercial hot spring operations are complimented by a fabulous beach on Lake Harrison, boat cruises, sportfishing, opportunities for watersports, and much more.

2) Emerald Lake, BC

Of all the national parks in the Canadian Rockies, Banff and Jasper hog much of the attention and the press, leading many to overlook the stunning views and experiences one can have in BC national parks like Yoho and Kootenay. The former park contains the jade green gem that is Emerald Lake, which has an abundance of lush plant life due to its location on the windward side of the Rockies. Trails circle this under-appreciated lake, permitting views of the towering President Range, and they play host to excellent snowshoeing and cross country skiing in the winter.

3) Canmore, Alberta

While Banff is the most famous town in the Canadian Rockies, it comprises less than half of the population of the Bow River Valley. The town of Canmore, a former mining town that was reborn into an outdoor recreation and lifestyle destination after coal prices crashed in the 1980’s, is a place that most tourists blaze through on their way to its more glamorous cousin further up the valley.

However, the views of the front range of the Rockies are no less impressive here, as the Three Sisters make for many spectacular photos, and many trails can be hiked from town, and Kananaskis Country is a short drive away, where even more stunning treks can be embarked upon.

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Quality Resort Towns in Queensland, Australia

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For those looking to head to Australia to soak up the sunshine that this continent and nation is so richly famous for, Queensland is a place that delivers warm weather no matter the time of year. While the Northern Territory and the northern reaches of Western Australia also offer tropical climes, neither of these places come close to the urban amenities and conveniences that are commonplace throughout the highly populated expanses of the Queensland coast.

Within relatively easy reach of the major Australian cities of Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, elevated dining, accommodation, and attractions can be found in abundance, leading to a great problem (but a problem nonetheless): which resort town or city on the Queensland coast should I base myself during my Australian holiday?

There are many high quality destinations along Queenland’s seemingly endless coastal expanse, but three stand out above all the rest. These travel hubs all have their own character, so pay attention over the following paragraphs, so you might select the destination that is right for you.

1) Gold Coast

The Gold Coast is a collection of beach towns and cities defined more by its forest of supertall condo towers that are strung out along the coast just south of Brisbane, the most famous of which is Surfer’s Paradise. This haven for chilled out dudes and dudettes permits you the chance to learn this exciting and zen inducing sport, and the friends you meet along the way will surely lead to a lively night at one of the many bars that line the beachfront.

If hugging a koala has founds its way onto your lengthy bucket list, a visit to the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary does this, to say nothing of all the other fascinating wildlife that one can find on this isolated continent.

2) Cairns

Further north, trips out into the Great Barrier Reef figures heavily into what goes on in the popular traveler city of Cairns. Take a glass bottomed boat out into the colourful formations of the world’s largest barrier reef, or get into the thick of things by donning a snorkel or a dive tank.

On dry land, other adventure sports will take up your time, as whitewater rafting, hang gliding, and hot air ballooning will keep you out of your hotel room for much of your stay. Sure, it may be comfy, but that’s not why you flew halfway around the world!

3) Port Douglas

If the hectic go-go-go nature of the Gold Coast and Cairns is too stressful for you, then head north one hours from the latter city to Port Douglas, population 3,000. Not only will the slower pace of life here reduce your resting blood pressure, but the immense beauty of Four Mile Beach will immediately convince you that you have made the right choice.

Get a mind blowing view of your surroundings by ascending the gondola at the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway, or join a tour group as you explore the Daintree Rainforest, which contains many of Australia’s unique wildlife species, living in their natural state.