First stop: Vancouver.
It’s a non-stop flight from Auckland to Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada. Just 12 hours over the Pacific Ocean and you’re there. We decided to begin our North America travels in Canada, and while it rained the two days we were there, it was such a fun city to explore.
Knowing we had limited time before we headed across the sea to Victoria on Vancouver Island, we decided to play it safe and book a hop-on hop-off bus. I’ve talked about these fantastic tourist buses over on The Wandering Jandal before, and I can’t praise them enough. They’re the perfect way to see as much as possible in the limited time that you may have. It’s also a great way to learn about the city, as there’s audio playing throughout the tour to inform of historical sites, points of interest and other bits and bobs as you go.
We stopped off at 3 places along the route and spent a good deal of time wandering around each one. I managed to get to all the places I really wanted to check out in Vancouver, so even though it was raining the majority of the day, I was definitely pleased with our adventure.
First on our day out was Granville Island. I had heard a lot about this prime shopping location, and was not disappointed. We wandered through the market, spotting everything from fresh produce to hand-made crafts, delicious bakeries and flower stalls. After picking up a coffee, we visited a few shops along the cobbled streets outside, before heading back to the bus stop to continue our tour.
The historic downtown area of Vancouver is Gastown. The cobbled streets and famous Steam Clock make up the oldest part of the BC capital, and it’s the perfect place to get in some shopping, especially if you’re after souvenirs. After taking a picture with Gassy Jack, we picked up some gifts at the tourist stores along the street, and popped into a food hall to have poutine, because When in Canada.
First Nation Totem Poles
Our last stop on the bus tour was the First Nation totem poles in Stanley Park. These were on my 3 Places I’m Looking Forward To In Vancouver list, and I’m so glad we battled the weather to get to them. We actually missed the bus from the town pick up point because we were standing on the wrong corner (argh!), so we had to grab a taxi out to them. But it was definitely worth it. I love the colours and the craftsmanship that goes into these totem poles.
With the sun setting and evening baring down, we jumped back on the bus and headed back along the route to the hotel. We were wet and cold, but collapsed into warm beds at the end of a fantastic day checking out the city. While we never saw the mountains that so famously form the backdrop of Vancouver, we did experience the city’s beauty in the leafy streets and welcoming locals. Would definitely go back again.
Have you been to Vancouver? What was your favourite part?