Hello from Nelson, New Zealand. We are a family of 4 (kids 6 & 8) visiting Canada in late April 09 and would appreciate some assistance. The main purpose of our trip is a holiday but we will no doubt find some caches along the way. We have been doing some basic research on possible routes to take while on holiday and places to stay and visit. However, we have quite a few gaps in our knowledge, if you can help that would be great.
This request has been posted on both the grondspeak forum and the bcgeocaching forum. Our current plan is as follows; fly into Vancouver 17th April and depart from Vancouver 8th May. Spending 3-4 nights in Vancouver before picking up a rental car. Intention is to head to Kamloops via Whistler and possibly staying at Lillooet. Then to Banff and stopping for 1 night at Revelstoke. Possibly stay in Banff for 3-4 nights with day trips to Lake Louise, Jasper Nat Park, explore around Banff. Next stop planned is Calgary 2-3 nights – possibly also visit Edmonton. We can see us spending approx 15 nights getting this far so that leaves us 6 nights to get back to Vancouver. A route after Calgary is a complete mystery to us. We need to get back to Vancouver and would like to take an alternate route, we had considered returning via the top of the US with a visit to Yellow Stone but know nothing of the possible stops along the way. We intend staying in cheapish hotels, looking at using the Armada and Howard Johnson chains.
What we would like to know in no particular order:
1. What are the road conditions like at that time of year on our intended route? We have some experience with winter alpine driving but don’t enjoy it. Would we need to ensure we have snow chains?
2. How does our intended route sound in terms of scenery and things to do/visit?
3. How much time would you recommend for visiting Vancouver, Banff, Calgary? Is a side trip to Edmonton recommended – why? What other must see spots are there – particularly the spots the tourists don’t normally go to – the places the locals know about?
4. Fun places or caches for kids would also be useful to know about.
5. Can you recommend an alternate return route to Vancouver from Calgary - doesn’t have to be a caching route just places worthwhile visiting (I guess they normally also have caches which is a bonus!)
6. Hiking/walking in the area around Banff – is it safe? What precautions would we need to take? We have no experience with bears – we don’t have anything like that in New Zealand – also does Canada have snakes or anything else we need to watch out for when trying to find a cache.
7. Any other recommendations about accommodation or anything else.
Any help you can provide will be much appreciated, thanks in advance.