Visiting Canada's Queenstown
You’ve no doubt seen pictures of the beautiful Canadian Rockies on any Canada calendar or tourism piece. Thankfully, they are just as beautiful as the pictures would have you believe, which is why no visit to Canada is complete without a trip up the Icefields Parkway.
Just an hour from Calgary Airport is the alpine resort town of Banff. Amazingly, the road here is four lanes and you find yourself in the middle of the Rocky Mountains without having crossed any mountain passes.
Banff is a beautiful town and will instantly remind you of Queenstown, minus the lake. Easily the centre of tourism in the area, Banff is home to many touristy shops, restaurants and bars. If you’re here in winter, you’re most likely here to ski, there’s three ski fields within a short driving distance from the town.
The town really comes alive in summer, with a lot more activities and tours to choose from. Top of everybody’s list is wildlife and you won’t be disappointed. Everything from deer, elk, caribou, moose and even bears are regularly seen roaming around the village.
Heading further into the National Park you come to the stunning Lake Louise. The stunning contrast of aqua blue water against the grey stone of the Rockies is a photographer’s delight.
You can't help but feel incredibly small as you stare up at the Victoria Glacier hanging precariously above the lake. Situated on the shores of the lake is the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, a monstrosity of a hotel that should never have never been allowed to be built, but it does have beautiful rooms with unbeatable views.
The next journey takes you through the park from Lake Louise to the small town of Jasper. Keep your eyes peeled for wildlife as you travel deep through the park. Mid way along the road is the Athabasca Glacier. You can stop off here and do a quick tour up onto the glacier on huge vehicles that resemble buses with the wheels of a Tonka Truck.
Eventually you arrive at the northern end of the parkway in the small town of Jasper. Jasper is not as touristy as Banff (think Wanaka vs Queenstown) but still has plenty to offer such as wildlife tours, lake cruises and skiing.
Jasper is also a terminus for the Rocky Mountaineer train journey through to Vancouver, a wonderful way to cap off your visit to the Great Canadian Rockies.
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This article was originally published by House Of Travel on this page.