Luring thousands of Aussies to its snow-covered streets every winter, Banff is one of Canada’s major ski centres, with three mountains on its doorstep. It’s also the main hub of the Canadian Rockies, and its wide streets are lined with countless bars, restaurants and outdoor retailers.
If your thermals aren’t warm enough, don’t worry, you’ll find plenty of places to upgrade them. And while you’re at it, why not grab a new down jacket, too? You’re going to need one when you’re traipsing from saloon to club to early-morning pizza joint every weekend.
Before you hit the après, sample some of Canada’s game meat at Maple Leaf Grill, an iconic restaurant in downtown Banff. Here you can feast on dishes such as bison short ribs, 10-ounce “rancher’s steak” tenderloins, and elk burgers.
When happy hour rolls around – or has well and truly passed – you’ll be spoilt for choice with boot-scootin’ venues. A must-visit is another iconic spot, Wild Bills. Enjoy a cold brew before working up the courage to join the line-dancing crowd.
When it comes to skiing, Banff has everyone covered, with more than 3000 hectares of terrain shared between Lake Louise Ski Resort, Sunshine Village and Mt. Norquay, and a whopping nine metres of snow every season.
Lake Louise is the biggest of the bunch (and one of the largest in North America), with four mountain faces and plenty of variety among its trails. There are plenty of wide runs and open bowls, with 45 per cent of terrain catering to intermediates.
Sunshine is equally as impressive, with gentle terrain to suit first-timers, as well as gnarly off-piste for experts in an “extreme free-ride zone”. Google Delirium Dive to whet your appetite.
If you want to avoid the crowds, or simply prefer small resorts, jump on a shuttle to Norquay, known as the locals’ hill. This family friendly resort is only minutes from Banff town centre and has plenty of runs for all levels, including 28 per cent for advanced riders. There’s also a great little terrain park that’s under lights at night.
If you’re not sure where to head, try them all on the one lift ticket. The ski season is from November to April/May.
If you’re there in the warmer months, go hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, horse riding, fishing or caving in and around stunning Banff Mountain National Park.
Whether you’re into rock climbing, mountaineering or skiing, the annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival is one for the calendar. Over nine days in October and November, the mountain town comes alive with the world’s most inspiring adventure stories. Told by explorers, authors, photographers and filmmakers, this is one festival that promises to light a fire under your long-buried dreams.
There are countless places to rest weary legs at day’s end, but when it comes to luxury, Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise steals the show. Situated in Banff National Park, the historic chateau is the perfect launching point for outdoor activities. In winter, hire ice skates and take a twirl on the frozen lake, and in summer tour the shores in a canoe.
The hotel also has a reputation for its wellness offerings, with a health club and day spa, plus mindfulness retreats.
If you want to be in the heart of all of the action, book a room at Brewster’s Mountain Lodge, a family hotel designed in that quintessentially Canadian log-cabin style.
Words by Jennifer Ennion.
Want to go heli-hiking in British Columbia? Leave the gear at home but bring your sense of adventure, writes Katrina Lobley. Day three of heli hiking in the Bug..
Hike with all the wonder, but none of the effort aboard a helicopter. Seemingly insurmountable monuments to nature’s beauty, the furthest reaches of the Canadia..
When life gives you lemons, have yourself a solo adventure across Canada, lemonade spritzer in hand, says Alissa Jenkins. There’s something I should admit..
We have provided for you the A-list of Canadian adventure, here are 5 best ways to get the most of the non-stop action capital of the Americas. ***Advertising c..
There’s a bear in there. And a moose as well. Canada is where the wild things are but there are many other reasons to explore the world’s second-biggest countr..
There are 634 different First Nations in Canada and one of the best ways to learn more about them is with a cultural stay in Aboriginal-owned accommodation. By Nik..
Little things go a long way on a ski holiday, so it’s a good thing secluded Panorama resort, overlooking the Rocky Mountains, has details down pat. By Adam Bisby..
Ice is nice on the wonderful journey onto a centuries-old glacier. A sprawling frozen plateau six times larger than Manhattan – and as deep as the Eiffel Towe..
Spend some time on a lake whose scenery is on the money. In Banff National Park, Lake Louise tends to get all the attention, but many people don’t realise t..
This iconic national-park destination is full of winter pursuits such as ice-skating on frozen lakes and sleigh rides. Oh, and don’t forget three magnificent ski..
Christmastime in Alsace & Germany river cruise – save $650
Now from $2,164 per person twin share Based on 14/12/20 ..
Tulip Time Cruise – save $1150
Now from $3,000 per person twin share Based on 08/04/20, category E ..
Danube Symphony river cruise – save $950
Now from $1,925 per person twin share Based on 09/04/20 ..
The appeal of the Arctic Bone-chilling temperatures and unpredictable weather may not sound like the makings of a perfect holiday but if you crave adventure and w..
The appeal of the ‘Peg If Vancouver is Canada’s version of Sydney, then Winnipeg is Melbourne. It’s undeniably trendy, with a strong craft-beer scene, a d..
What to do in winter From gnarly double diamond trails to mellow greens, the twin mountains that make famous Whistler Blackcomb ski resort have something for ever..
Perching on a peninsula surrounded by crystalline ocean and backed by rainforests which roll to the foot of the mighty North Shore Mountains, Vancouver enjoys one ..
Click into your skis There is something very special about Canada's gateway province and there is no better place to feel this magic than when gliding through pow..
The four Atlantic provinces Canada is a country of contrasts and nowhere is this more felt than in the Atlantic provinces. Swap the spires of the Rockies and the ..
What to see in Whitehorse Nothing matches the Yukon’s impressive, wild landscape more so than the hardy locals who live there, and both are reason enough to vis..
What to see in the capital Ottawa is what a capital city should be: home to the country’s best museums and galleries, with a parliament to be proud of and plent..
Venture into the Rockies With amazing ski and mountain-bike trails, Insta-worthy alpine lakes, waterfalls you can climb in winter and one of the most picturesque ..
So where exactly are we talking about? Canada’s Prairie provinces are those landlocked between British Columbia and Ontario, beginning technically where the Roc..