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Royal Canada Tour without the royal budget

September 26, 2016 OTA News No Comments Email Email
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September 24th marks the start of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s royal tour of Canada. And they’ll also be taking their two little ones, Prince George and Princess Charlotte along for the trip.

From 24th September to 1st October, they will explore British Columbia and Yukon, visiting vibrant cities and picturesque parks along the way.

You might think following in the royal couple’s footsteps would require a royal bank balance but according to this handy guide from TripAdvisor, it’s possible to follow their itinerary on a budget. Here we’ve outlined the dates and destinations of the royal tour, highly rated accommodation for under $170 a night available to book on those dates, family friendly things to do for free and value restaurants to grab a bite.

“With hotels bookable on TripAdvisor at under $170 per night, a tonne of highly rated free attractions and plenty of budget restaurants available along the way, a Royalty-inspired tour of Canada is much more achievable than you might think”, commented TripAdvisor spokesperson, Hayley Coleman.http://www.tourismlegal.com.au/

24th September – Victoria, British Columbia

It’s still one of the most British cities in North America, but there’s more to Victoria than tearooms, antique shops and galleries (though there are plenty of those). Driven by the younger generation, the city has sprouted a collection of cool shops, authentic coffee bars and unique restaurants. It also has more cycling routes than any other Canadian city, providing a great way to explore the picturesque location.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night[i]:

Hotel Zed – bookable on TripAdvisor at $140 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “I stayed for a week and was very impressed with the staff, and the value for money is terrific. They have an onsite shuttle, restaurant, laundry, indoor pool and free bikes. The staff really are top notch, and want to make your stay memorable. I would stay here again.”

Accent Inn Victoria – bookable on TripAdvisor at $125 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Very good value for an inexpensive hotel near downtown Victoria. Junior suite was spacious and clean. Free Wi-Fi, parking and continental breakfast, everything you need for a no frills stay.”

Things to do for free[ii]:

Inner Harbour – The picturesque Inner Harbour of Victoria is a hub for many of the city’s tourist attractions, restaurants and shopping and, in the summer in particular, is a hive of activity including festivals, shows and music. For those with some cash to spare, Victoria Hippo Tours, bookable on TripAdvisor from $46 offers a way to see the harbour and downtown Victoria from both land and water in an amphibious vessel.

Beacon Hill Park –The park is located in downtown Victoria and at 200 acres it’s pretty big so needs plenty of time to explore.  There is a mix of man-made and natural highlights at Beacon Hill Park. Sports fields, a miniature golfing green, children’s petting zoo, playgrounds, cricket pitch, water park and lawn bowling club feature along with large grasslands, Douglas-fir woods, a Black Cottonwood Semi-swamp and an abundance of wildlife. There’s plenty for history buffs here too. Explore the park and central Victoria in royal style with the Royal Carriage Tour, bookable on TripAdvisor from £18. The one hour, horse drawn carriage ride comes with a guide to recount tales of local history.

Highly rated cheap eats[iii]: 

The Tapa Bar – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 429 reviews

Rock N Rolls – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 97 reviews 

25th September – Vancouver, British Columbia

In its 150 years, Vancouver has grown into a cosmopolitan city nestled in the great outdoors. The city boasts snow-capped mountains, waterfront forests, city side beaches, Olympic history and the world’s highest suspension bridge. It’s also among Canada’s densest, most ethnically diverse cities.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

YWCA Hotel Vancouver – bookable on TripAdvisor at $118 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The value proposition offered by the YWCA Hotel just can’t be beat in Vancouver. It’s central to the major sports venues, Robson Street retail and the downtown and the V6A and Gastown. The rooms are a little spartan, perhaps, but they’re clean, quiet and comfortable.”

Buchan Hotel – bookable on TripAdvisor at $125 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The hotel is charming and a great value! Location is amazing. Having a bistro next door added to the evening ambience. Rooms are clean, glad to have the private bath option. The old photos in the beautiful old wide hallways are a great touch! We will recommend to everyone and will definitely be staying here again!”

Things to do for free:

Stanley Park – Vancouver’s largest park, Stanley Park is a huge 1,000 acres, boasting rainforest, scenic views of water and mountains as well as trails, beaches, wildlife and natural, cultural and historical landmarks. Firm favourites with children are the pool, water park, miniature railway. Canada’s largest aquarium is also located within the park. While the park is free, for $38 on TripAdvisor, you’ll get an extra cultural and educational experience with the First Nations Interpretive Walking Tour. A First Nation guide, over the course of 90 minutes, will take you on a tour of the park explaining how aboriginal people have lived and managed the land, forest and oceans for countless generations.

Seawall in Vancouver – Vancouver’s seawall is the world’s longest uninterrupted waterfront path at 28km. It’s the ideal place for a walk, cycle or jog. The Bike Tour of Downtown Vancouver and Stanley Park, bookable on TripAdvisor from $55 is a great way to check the attraction out. The 3-hour tour starts in the West End and moves through downtown following the shoreline of Coal Harbour to Stanley Park.

Highly rated cheap eats: 

Le Crocodile – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 669 reviews

Banana Leaf Malaysian Cuisine – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 396 reviews 

26th September – Bella Bella and Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia

Bella Bella is a village located on Campbell Island in the central coast region of British Columbia, home to the Heiltsuk, indigenous people of the region.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Shearwater Lodge – bookable on TripAdvisor at $167 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Windows look out across the driveway and over the water. Rooms were clean with a shared bathroom between two rooms. Staff were very friendly and hospitable.”

Things to do for free:

Great Bear Rainforest – A vast expanse of temperate rainforest stretching 250 miles along the coast of British Columbia, the 21 million acre Great Bear Rainforest is exactly as its name suggests – a great place to see bears! It’s the only place in the world where you can see the Kermode bear which is a sub-species of black bear noted for its white fur. Not just home to bears, the rainforest is teeming with wildlife including whales, sea otters, dolphins and sea lions. 

27th SeptemberKelowna, British Columbia and Whitehorse, Yukon 

Kelowna:

Located on the sunny Lake Okanagan in the Okanagan Valley, Kelowna offers something for everyone from golfing, relaxing on the beach or exploring a nature trail, to tasting wine at the many local vineyards. There are even three major ski hills within one hour’s drive if that takes your fancy.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Comfort Suites Kelowna – bookable on TripAdvisor at $154 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “We loved this hotel! The room was fabulous from the cleanliness to the decor to the layout! The FREE hot breakfast was awesome and added huge value to a family of four travelling!! The pool and SLIDE are also awesome! The kids loved it. The pinnacle though is the staff! Everyone was amazing. We would for sure stay here again! Quiet, well located and well-priced!”

The Royal Anne Hotel – bookable on TripAdvisor at $167 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “My wife and I stayed here recently and were completely impressed with the service, value, and rooms. Even the free breakfast is decent for a continental breakfast. The location can’t be beaten; we didn’t find it loud at all. Dog friendly as well.”

Things to do for free:

Myra Canyon Park – Myra Canyon is located South of Kelowna on Okanagan Mountain, along the former Kettle Valley Railway line. The canyon is so deep that when the railway was built, 2 tunnels and 18 wooden trestles were required to cross it. Now, visitors to the area can hike or cycle the landmark and take in the breathtakingly spectacular scenery along the way.

Lake Okanagan – This stunning lake spans 84 miles and boasts over 30 beaches. It’s very popular with travellers for swimming and water sports. Visitors planning to take a dip in the lake should beware, legend has it that the lake is home to a lake monster, Ogopogo! Away from the water, the lake is surrounded by vineyards and breweries located in the Okanagan Valley and for $143 on TripAdvisor, travellers can visit award winning Okanagan breweries and distilleries plus ride along the Kettle Valley Rail Trail on a 4-hour Okanagan Craft Distillery and Brewery Bike Tour.

Highly rated cheap eats:

Made in India – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 52 reviews

Basil Leaf Asian Fusion Restaurant – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 41 reviews 

Whitehorse:

Most residents of the far-north territory of Yukon live in Whitehorse, its capital city. The region boasts beautiful wilderness and the annual Yukon Quest sled-dog race. Nestled on the banks of the famous Yukon River, Whitehorse is named the Wilderness City and is surrounded by mountains and pristine lakes.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Sundog Retreat – bookable on TripAdvisor at $166 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Great fully equipped cabin in rustic setting. Need anything? One phone call and it is taken care of. The views are spectacular. The cabins are far enough apart it is like you are the only ones there.”

Westmark Whitehorse Hotel – bookable on TripAdvisor at $137 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The room was very comfortable and a good size. The hotel is close to the centre of town and the airport shuttle service is fantastic. We really enjoyed our short stay here and would stay again.”

Things to do for free:

Miles Canyon – Arguably the most dramatic natural feature located in the area, Miles Canyon is the result of the Yukon River cutting its way down through a flow of basaltic lava approximately 8.5 million years ago. For visitors to the canyon highlights include a suspension bridge, the Yukon River, a trail system, historic gold mining town and basalt cliffs coloured in an orange lichen. In addition, sightings of wildlife including bears, otters, beavers, cliff swallows and Bald Eagles are reported here. If you’ve got budget to spare, the Arctic Day Hiking Tour, bookable on TripAdvisor from $132, will ensure you get the most out of the Yukon, Miles Canyon and its surrounding scenery with a small group and professional guide.

Yukon Wildlife Preserve – Although not free, this attraction is a must see. Set in over 700 acres, this preserve features 13 species of Northern Canadian mammals and allows visitors to see them in their natural environment. Wildlife species are spread out around a 5km loop suitable for walking, biking and skiing (in winter). To make a visit to the preserve extra special, visitors can book the Yukon Wildlife and Hot Springs Tour on TripAdvisor from $147. Travellers will get up close to the wildlife with a local guide and then visit the nearby Takhini Hot Springs for a dip in the outdoor hot springs pool.

Highly rated cheap eats:

Georgios Cuccina – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 175 reviews

Pho Chez Noodle – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 45 reviews 

28th September – Whitehorse and Carcross, Yukon 

Whitehorse: 

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Days Inn Whitehorse – bookable on TripAdvisor at $123 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Although the hotel is showing its age, we found the room to be very nice and clean. The king size bed was extremely comfortable. The room came equipped with a microwave oven, coffee maker as well as a small fridge. We recommend this hotel.”

Coast High Country Inn – bookable on TripAdvisor at $159 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Recently stayed at this hotel for a few nights. Staff were friendly and helpful. Room was comfortable and clean. It is conveniently located.”

Things to do for free:

Emerald Lake – This makes for a fantastic photo opportunity or perhaps somewhere to just sit and take in the beauty of the lake and mountain ranges behind it. It is called Emerald Lake owing to its bright turquoise colour which is the result of sunlight reflecting off marl, which is a white calcium carbonate that settles on the lake floor. It is created by mixing the limestone remains from the ice age with the calcium in the alpine water.

S.S. Klondike – The S.S. Klondike was the largest of the fleet of sternwheelers which served the upper Yukon River in the first half of the twentieth century. Now sitting on the banks of the river in Whitehorse, the S.S. Klondike has been restored and is open to the public for free to get on board and get a feel for what it was like when she was in use.

Highly rated cheap eats:

The Cellar Steakhouse – 3.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 29 reviews 

Green Garden Restaurant – 3 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 17 reviews 

Carcross:

Located south of Whitehorse, the village of Carcross was originally named Caribou Crossing by miners who had reached this junction point of the Tagish and Bennett lakes en-route to the Klondike gold fields. The village is stepped in history from the gold rush and First Nations (Aboriginal Canadians) culture.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Spirit Lake Wilderness Resort – bookable on TripAdvisor at $114 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “This is truly a great place to stay. Home cooked meals in a friendly atmosphere. The rooms are very clean and comfortable. This is the kind of place where you could stay for a few days and really enjoy all that nature has to offer.”

Things to do for free:

Carcross Desert – Located one kilometre north of Carcross, the desert is often referred to as the world’s smallest desert. The 640 acres of sand was once the bottom of a large glacial lake but when the lake dried out, the ‘desert’ was left behind. Strong winds from nearby Bennet Lake keep the sand constantly shifting which makes it difficult for plants other than lodgepole pine and kinnikinnick to grow.

Carcross Railway Station – Carcross railway station is used by the White Pass and Yukon Railway train service. The station is the northernmost terminus for passenger railway services on the line. The building which was originally built in 1910, was designated a national heritage railway station in 1991.  The station has a little museum for those who want to learn its history before or after hopping on a train.

Highly rated cheap eats:

The Bistro on Bennett – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 47 reviews 

29th September – Victoria, British Columbia 

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

James Bay Inn – bookable on TripAdvisor at $150 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The hotel is older but very nicely updated, our room and other areas were spotlessly clean. We enjoyed an excellent eggs benedict in the attractive downstairs restaurant. Parking is free. We loved the quiet neighbourhood, full of flowering trees and beautiful gardens. Excellent value, we will return.”

Quality Inn – bookable on TripAdvisor at $166 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “A very nice room. Everything is clean and in good condition. We enjoyed our stay here. The location is practically perfect as the harbour area is within easy walking distance.”

Things to do for free:

British Columbia Parliament Buildings – Home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia, the Parliament Buildings are open to the public all year round. Visitors can join one of the regularly scheduled guided tours or stroll through the buildings on their own self-guided tour. Free guided tours are available Monday to Friday throughout the year, and seven days a week during the summer.

Scenic Marine Route – Admire the city’s picturesque oceanfront with a leisurely drive or cycle along the well-marked Scenic Marine Route.

Highly rated cheap eats:

Masala Bites – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 133 reviews

The Fernwood Inn – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 128 reviews 

30th September – Haida Gwaii, British Columbia

Haida Gwaii, formerly known as the Queen Charlotte Islands and the Charlottes, is an archipelago on the North Coast of British Columbia. Approximately half of its population is made up of the Haida people, the indigenous people of the region. The area is well-known for its vast mix of scenery and wildlife including rainforest and beaches. The SGang Gwaay UNESCO World Heritage Site found here is one of the last authentic examples of a west coast First Nations village.

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

Hiellen Longhouse Village – bookable on TripAdvisor at $167 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Beautiful cosy cabins. Perfect for families or for small groups. Loved the rustic feel without sacrificing electricity or indoor plumbing. The campsite very close to the beach and is only a short walk from the tow hill and blowhole hiking paths. Highly recommended.”

Things to do for free:

Haida Heritage Centre – The Haida Heritage Centre located at Ḵay Llnagaay, celebrates the Aboriginal culture of the Haida people on Haida Gwaii. The Centre was designed to resemble the traditional Oceanside Haida village that once stood in its place. There is a small cost to visit the centre but given that includes entry to the Haida Gwaii Museum, Performance House, Carving Shed, Canoe House, Bill Reid Teaching Centre, two multipurpose classrooms, a spacious Welcome House area, and Eating House, it’s well worth parting with the cash for.

Gwaii Haanas National Park – Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and occupies 1,470 square km. Visitors to the park can take in sights of abandoned Haida villages, hot springs, nature and wildlife of the rainforest and can also experience what is hailed as some of the continent’s best kayaking.

Highly rated cheap eats:

Charters Restaurant – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 96 reviews

Sherri’s Gas Bar & Grill – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 24 reviews  

1st October – Victoria, British Columbia 

Highly rated accommodation for less than $170 a night:

The Parkside Hotel & Spa – bookable on TripAdvisor at $161 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “Wonderful helpful staff and the hotel was spotless. We were received with smiles and staff were very friendly and helpful. The rooms were spotless and roomy and we were offered an upgrade which we took. We will be returning for another break.”

Royal Scot Hotel & Suites – bookable on TripAdvisor at $150 for the night.

A TripAdvisor reviewer said, “The Royal Scot is very clean, with great amenities and excellent customer care. It is a great location, walking distance to everything we wanted to do on the Harbour. The staff was extremely helpful. We particularly enjoyed the whirlpool.”

Things to do for free:

Government House –The ceremonial home of all British Columbians is open for public tours. Volunteer guides explain the role and responsibilities of the Lieutenant Governor and share the fascinating history of the building.

Fisherman’s Wharf – The docks at Fisherman’s Wharf feature charming fishing boats, floating homes and a children’s playground. This is the ideal place to take a leisurely stroll and if you are willing to spare a bit of cash, enjoy an ice cream and fish and chips along the way.

Highly rated cheap eats:

 Thai Green Elephant Restaurant – 4.5 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 41 reviews

Romeo’s Place – 4 out of 5 bubble rating on TripAdvisor and 66 reviews

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