New Zealanders have always classed the Canadians as their friendly counterparts. Both countries have distinctively stunning scenery and nature, particularly mountains, lakes and glaciers. So, as a kiwi, I needed to make this comparison for myself.
We were heading for Whistler, the holy grail of snow villages. Our home in Queenstown, NZ, is a popular ski destination too, and it is where we initially learnt to snowboard. Japan is also well known for its unapologetic powdery snow, and this year we managed two trips to Yuzawa. So we were pretty psyched to be hitting the slopes again this trip.
Off to a bad start, aarghh! I am super prepared, or so I think. I realise a third of the way to the airport that I have left our passports behind! Frantically, I ask the bus driver to stop and let me off, jump into a cab (one of those ultra expensive ones), race home and back again. I am so stressed by the time I get back on the next bus that I break down in tears, ready to give up. I’m so glad I didn’t.
With relief, we meet dad at the airport, sort out our visas and nab the last seats on an Air Canada flight to Vancouver.
We are greeted with freshly fallen flakes of snow and clear skies. Riley is nestled into me in his baby carrier, acting as a nice warm hot water bottle.
Our standard procedure is to hire a car; we find it the best form of transport when travelling with limited time, and with luggage and a baby as well. On our travels, the hire car has been our absolute saviour – this way we are free to take our time exploring.
The one hour and thirty-five minute trip leads along jaw-dropping views of craggy peaks. Howe Sound and forest wilderness stand before us, as baby sleeps soundly in his seat.
We arrive into a winter wonderland; the roads are completely covered in snow, as are the wooden cabins, like scenes from a Christmas movie. Fire smoke fills the air as skiers, puffed in snow gear, cross the streets carrying their boards and skis.…
We wake up to fluffy white snow still slowly falling right outside our window. Our hotel (condo) is located in Blackcomb, with ski in and ski out access from our door. Our cosy room boasts fireplace, kitchenette for early morning breakfast and easy access to the slopes. Dad doesn’t delay and gets in an early run while Riley and I snuggle in, getting in a needed sleep to iron out my wrinkly eyes. Our plan is to switch and take turns but dad is enjoying himself so much we let him shred through the day. I decide to venture out dressed looking like the Michelin man and attempt to build a snowman for Riley’s amusement.
My snowman may not have impressed Riley but watching the children sled around the village parks definitely gets him giggling.
There are two villages – Riley and I explore the Blackcomb area. We stomp through the glistening snow with our matching rose-red noses, with blushed cheeks, and search for a spot for a hot chocolate – preferably with a fireplace.
The village is an active ski way, boarders gliding in with their mirrored goggles and stabbing their boards into the snow before walking in for a beer. Our days continue with slopes, walks and drives. We are wowed by the enormous snowcapped mountains, flowing streams and still lakes.
On our final day at Whistler, we meet a starving dad, find an uncrowded place for dinner and sketch out the next few days. Eight tacos deep, we have a plan! Our four days in the village was undeniably one for the books. We enjoyed the endless snow, great food and exceptional scenery. But we are ready to check out the bright city lights of Vancouver. We make the breathtaking drive back to the city, stopping along the way for scenic pics.
The lush urban parks have our attention. We head for Stanley Park, with views of the water and the city. The rain kicks in once we arrive, but this doesn’t dull our tourist moment and we still manage to set up a car breakfast picnic near the ancient Indigenous totem poles. Although a wet day, the city and park still showcase their beauty. When the rain takes a break, we run for the poles and take a look around. Dad is distracted by the seaplanes as baby and I duck for cover from the next wave of weather.
We are thrilled and fortunate to meet up with our lovely Canadian friends – glowing in the aura of pregnancy, awaiting the impending arrival of their little bundle.
Over burgers, beers (for the men) and lemonade for the ladies, we chat about babies, love and best wishes. They share with us some must see spots in Vancouver and they have cuddles and gifts for Riley.
Isla Rae joins the Canadian team a month later on the 8th of March. She is a little stunner like her mama with her daddy’s smile. x
We spend two days in the heart of the city and we take little sightseeing walks. We also make a visit to the forest of Lynn Canyon – popular with ecology enthusiasts, hikers and picnic goers. Riley is strapped to dad walking along a magnificent swing bridge, completely mesmerised by the crashing waterfalls. The giant redwoods kiss the clouds. The dark bark trails and cascading waterfalls remind us of home.
Belts of rain rush us back to the car and onto the airport. And so the Vancouver trip ends, and off to home we go.
The crazy three nomads travelling the world, one baby step at a time :)