Archive for the ‘summer-holiday’ Category

Free upgrade to SilverLeaf & GoldLeaf Service

06 May

Rocky Mountain Holidays have just released a free rail upgrade promotion. For a limited time, book a qualifying Rocky Mountaineer holiday package of four nights or more and receive a free rail seat upgrade on select dates in 2013. Space is limited and availability changes daily.

The Rocky Mountaineer train departs from Banff and so can easily be integrated into your Banff National Park vacation plans. This spectacular 2-day rail journey will take you through to Vancouver (with an overnight in Kamloops). It is the only all-day sightseeing train which travels through the Canadian Rockies. There are 3 levels of onboard service available: RedLeaf, SilverLeaf and GoldLeaf.

For more information on this limited time free rail service upgrade promotion, be sure to check out the Rocky Mountaineer deals on This offer is expected to end by sometime next month (June 2013) and is subject to availability.

All aboard!


6 of the Best – Banff Bars

18 Aug

I’d like to introduce our guest blogger, Nick Coates. He wrote the following article for us based on his bar experiences in Banff. Here are his top six Banff bars:

Home of the infamous $2.75 high ball, Mel’s is a lively bar with a great atmosphere. A firm favourite with both Banff locals and visitors alike due to its chameleon nature; Mel’s is a sports bar, steak house, and party bar all rolled into one!
The ground floor restaurant serves up huge slabs of meat, chargrilled to perfection, while the 2nd Floor bar caters for all your sport watching and party needs. It’s also a great spot to pick up breakfast if you’re feeling a little fragile the next day!
Quick tip: don’t forget to tip the barman if you want to get served quickly and never ask to change the channel from Ice Hockey!

The Storm Cellar
Situated on the ground floor of the Banff Alpine Lodge at Tunnel Mountain, this lively bar is a firm favourite with young travellers and locals alike. Offering some of the most reasonably priced drinks in town along with regular open mic and karaoke nights, this lively little bar is the perfect place to start a night out in Banff. There’s also a darts board, table football, big screen TV, and an Ice Climbing wall outside. So if you’re feeling adventurous why not see if you can scale this icy behemoth… just leave the beers for afterwards!

This lively mountain bar can be found at the top of the Sunshine Village high speed gondola. Trapper’s boasts some of the finest food available on mountain; serving up huge plates of Nachos, delicious pulled pork sandwiches, as well as all the usual Canadian favourites. It’s also perfect for sunny days on the hill thanks to its extensive outdoor seating area and sun terrace.
There’s really no better place to grab a cold one after a hard day’s riding with your buddies!

Wild Bill’s Saloon
One of Banff’s more lively venues, Wild Bill’s hosts regular live music nights with both local and international acts passing through on a regular basis. As the name suggests there’s a bit of a western vibe going on here, where else can you cattle roping in the mountains?! So if you fancy playing cowboy/cowgirl for a night or just want to check out some awesome live bands head on down to Wild Bill’s! They also throw a mean Superbowl party…

The Dancing Sasquatch
Not only is this nightclub the number one contender for our “Best named club in the world. Ever” award, it’s also a great place for a night out. With local and international DJ’s gracing the decks playing the very best in Dubstep, Hip-hop, Techno and everything in between coupled with unbeatable drinks deals the Dancing Sasquatch is definitely the place to party after hours in Banff!

Aurora Nightclub
The other of Banff’s nightclubs, with a relaxed atmosphere and some of Canada’s finest DJs passing through Aurora is a great place to party. Complete with pool tables and its own take-away pizza stand Aurora ticks all the boxes for a great night out! It also throws a killer Australia Day party for all you Aussies out there!

The author, Nick Coates, recommends SnowSkool for snowboard instructor courses



Rocky Mountaineer Record Departure

30 Sep

The Rocky Mountaineer train departing tomorrow from Vancouver, October 1st 2010, is the company’s largest departure in their history, and will set a record for the largest passenger rail train in North American history – a total of 1331 guests!

Rocky Mountaineer Record Departure

This will be one of the last Rocky Mountaineer train departures for 2010 but 2011 Rocky Mountaineer packages are now available for booking with early-bird savings of up to $1,400 per couple.


Bear safety in Banff National Park

06 Apr

Banff is in the wild and beautiful Banff National Park and so there may be a chance that you are lucky enough to see a bear.

There are two types of bears here: the black bear and the grizzly (or brown) bear. Don’t let the names fool you, you may see a brown or cinnamon coloured “black bear” like the cub with her mother photographed below:

Black Bear, Brown Cub photo

Black Bear

A Black Bear in Banff National Park

Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear in Banff National ParkThe grizzly bear can be identified by it’s distinctive hump on the back of it’s neck.

A grizzly bear is also larger than a black bear.

Each year, people get too close to wildlife especially bears. I personally have seen families stand in front of a bear cub on the side of the road to take pictures. This is not fair for the bear, especially the mother who is watching and may decide to protect her cub at anytime.

Please don’t put bears, or any other wildlife, in this position, it simply isn’t fair.

The bear safety information below has been sourced through Parks Canada:

What should I do if I see a BEAR?

If you are driving: stay in your car, and consider not stopping.

If you are not in a vehicle:

  • Stay calm. If a bear rears on its hind legs and waves its nose about, it is trying to identify you. Remain still and talk calmly so that it knows you are human and not a prey animal. Bears may also bluff charge: run toward you and turn away at the last moment. A scream or sudden movement may trigger an attack.
  • Pick up children, stay in a group.
  • Back away slowly, don’t run.
  • Leave the area. If this is impossible, wait until the bear leaves; make sure it has an escape route.

To reduce your risk of a surprise encounter:

  • Make noise. Clap, sing or yell to announce your presence, especially where a bear might not otherwise smell, hear or see you coming. (Bear bells are not very effective.)
  • Travel in groups, on established trails, and during daylight hours.
  • Minimize odours by proper storage of food, garbage and toiletries.
  • Leave the area if you see a bear or fresh tracks, droppings, diggings; or if you come across a large dead animal (a bear may be nearby).

If you surprise a bear and it defends itself:

Use bear spray if you have it. PLAY DEAD, let it know you are not a threat: lie on stomach with legs apart, cover back of head and neck with hands, keep pack on to protect your back.

If a bear stalks you and then attacks, or attacks at night:

Try to escape, use bear spray if you have it. FIGHT BACK, let it know that you are not easy prey. (This kind of predatory attack is very rare.)

After many on-foot bear encounters myself with both black and grizzly bears, the best form of defence is avoidance. If you make lots of noise by talking loudly to your hiking friends, you are very likely not going to see a bear. Be aware of bear presence (scat/faeces), damage to vegetation etc. and leave the area. If you are unable to leave the area, make lots of noise.

Guides are easily available so if you are not comfortable hiking in the wilderness then local experts can certainly take good care of you.

rocky-peak Holidays is a local company based in Canmore, just 5 minutes outside of Banff National Park and can help you find a suitable guide. There are also group hiking tours available.

Have you had a bear encounter you would like to share with us and our readers? Please post it below!


Banff National Park – Best Places to Propose

22 Mar

Okay, so you have met “the one” and you want to drop on one knee and ask the big question – “do you want to go on holiday”. There are a large selection of potential “proposal” spots in Banff National Park year-round – most are quieter and away from crowds – perfect to avoid humiliation if there is an awkward silence after you ask the question “will you marry me” or worst still, they say NO! Asking someone to marry you in Banff National Park is an almost guaranteed YES (although we can’t 100% guarantee this*).

Here are a few ideas which should get you, and your partner’s heart pounding!

  • Banff Gondola. Reach for the skies with your loved one. The views from the top are spectacular and you can walk about 10 minutes along the boardwalk to get to Sanson Peak. Some tour operators such as rocky-peak Holidays issue vouchers with expiry dates so you don’t have to commit to a day in advance (in case the weather is not perfect).
  • Canoe. Paddle your way to happiness. Canoes can be rented on the Bow River where you can paddle UP stream or along the channels to Vermillion Lakes. You can take a romantic picnic and sit on the shores. Other spectacular locations include Moraine Lake and Lake Louise as well as Emerald Lake which is located in Yoho National Park.
  • Bow Falls. Fall to your knee at these beautiful falls. A romantic location where a 2-minute walk will get you to a quieter pebble beach with a great view of the falls.
  • Johnson Canyon. Listen to the water fall as you fall to your knee. This is the most accessible Canyon you will find in Banff National Park – there are 7 waterfalls in total. A short walk gets you to the lower falls and a cave where you have a close up view of the lower falls. Walk a little further and you will get to the upper falls which are quieter and allow you to avoid any “gorpers” when you ask the question.
  • Lake Louise Gondola. You may see a bear and if you do, the answer won’t be grizzly. Take the gondola or chairlift at the Lake Louise ski resort up the mountain for amazing views of Lake Louise. There is a viewing platform at the top – perfect for proposals.
  • Horseback Ride. Giddy up and clip-clop your way to life-long happiness. You will have to have a guide on this one – they will of course back-off when you decide to ask the question! Horesback rides get you to quieter locations along the Bow River.
  • Cave and Basin. This is where Canada’s National Park system all began – the place for beginnings! This is a great alternative if the weather is not so good for your entire stay (unlikely as Alberta is Canada’s sunniest province). This UNESCO World Heritage site is a good spot and a place to remember.
  • Viewpoints. Show your loved one a sight they won’t forget! There are many sights to see, some of which require a short walk if you are the active type. Sights include the Hoodoos, Mount Norquay viewpoint (on the road up to Mount Norquay) and a short walk up Tunnel Mountain. All of these spots are particularly romantic at dusk.
  • Hot Springs. Warm up your partner before you pop the question! This could be a challenge as these Banff hot springs are popular and getting a ring out when you only have swim gear on could be interesting – worth a try through. Note that you may have an audience.
  • Helicopter Flight. Take your relationship to new heights! For the ultimate in indulgence take a private charter out of nearby Canmore  – you can rent a helicopter (and pilot!) on a hourly basis and they can take you to romantic remote location for you to wonder off and do your thing. Champagne can also be included in the package. Note that no sightseeing helicopters are permitted in the National Park so you have to leave Banff National Park for this. This is pricey but how often are you going to ask this question – just once we hope!

There are great spa facilities such as the Willow Stream Spa in the romantic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel. I would recommend you stay in this historic hotel. Spa access at this hotel is complimentary with the purchase of most spa services (excluding Salon services) and is just currently $69 per person when you stay at the hotel for full day access.

If the answer is yes – congratulations! Now, it’s time to start to plan your wedding and what better place is there to where you proposed – Banff National Park?! Places to get married in Banff National Park? – well that’s another post altogether.

Banff Wedding

This is a lot of information to take in and we recommend rocky-peak Holidays to help you plan and book all this for you as you don’t want to leave anything to chance!

*A “YES!” from your loved one is not 100% guaranteed, just 99%. We can not be held accountable if your partner says “NO!” or doesn’t answer. We have tried to help by providing suggestions in this post, and if it doesn’t work out, we are sorry and it is time for you to move on.


Canadian Rockies – Things to Remember

20 Aug

15 things to remember when you visit the Canadian Rockies in the summer: Canadian Rockies – Things to Remember in the Summer

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