The heart of Vancouver is undoubtedly the sprawling oasis that is Stanley Park. This 400-hectare park, complete with old-growth rainforest, is best explored on two wheels. Hire a bike from one of the handful of shops nearby and follow the curling 10-kilometre seawall cycle path. Take a break at Vancouver Aquarium to meet rescued sea otters and harbour seals, before enjoying a picnic at pretty English Bay.
If you’re craving beach time, hop on a local bus headed for trendy and laid-back Kitsilano. There, you’ll find the haven that is Kitsilano Beach, where you can chill out among the strategically placed driftwood, go for a flatwater paddleboard or join a yoga session in the foreshore park.
At the end of the beach you’ll spot Kitsilano Pool, the only public saltwater pool in the city. At 137 metres long, this popular attraction has two slides and an on-site café, and is heated on cooler days. It’s open from May to September.
After you’ve dried off, walk a few blocks (or grab the bus again) into the main shopping area of Kits, as the locals call it, to stock up on outdoor apparel. While you’re wandering, be sure to grab a coffee at 49th Parallel on West 4th Avenue.
More fantastic coffee and food is awaiting your tastebuds along the cobblestoned streets of Gastown, the “birthplace of Vancouver”. There are amazing eats in Vancouver, but one particularly in-vogue eatery worth your loonies is Tacofino, a Mexican eatery with a dizzying array of burritos, while it’s also worth having a bite at MeeT, a vegetarian café with plenty of quirky creations on the menu. Ever tried kimchi poutine?
Revolver is a favourite among those who know their beans. Pick from the dozen of different ways you can have them brewed, or simply order a flight of three coffees for that ultimate caffeine high.
Grouse Mountain is best known for being Vancouver’s local ski hill, but in summer it offers a challenge of a different kind. Just 15 minutes from downtown, join the hordes of Vancouverites tackling the 2.9km trail that zigzags up the face of the mountain. Put simply, it’s gruelling, even for the reasonably fit. Expect it to take at least 1.5 hours.
If you’re visiting the city in winter, swap the hiking boots for ski boots and cruise down the fun trails of Grouse Mountain ski resort. There are 33 runs all up and a nice mix for beginners, intermediates and advanced riders.
While you’re out that way, stop off at one of British Columbia’s most popular and photographed tourist attractions, Capilano Suspension Bridge. Seventy metres above Capilano River, walking across the narrow bridge is sure to get your heart racing.
With your daily exercise taken care of, get your cultural fill at Vancouver Art Gallery. Guided tours of various exhibitions are held a few times a week and are free with general admission.
If you’re a cinema buff, time your holiday with the annual Vancouver International Film Festival. Over a whopping 17 days in September and October around 350 films from 70 countries are shown.
No visit to Vancouver is complete without popping over to Granville Island, where the biggest attraction is the wonderfully vibrant Granville Island Public Market (open seven days). Grab a lunch of delicious British Columbia blueberries and cherries, before sampling a pastry or two, and then perusing the second-hand bookstores. The island is also home to cafes, art galleries and souvenir shops. If you’re into street food, there’s no going past Vancouver. It’s been named the third best food truck network on the North American continent.
Words by Jennifer Ennion.
Stroll along a hikers paradise in British Colombia's West Coast Trail. Originally established in 1907 along Vancouver Island’s wild south-western edge to se..
Lisa Perkovic heads to Vancouver Island and discovers how this once-sleepy region awoke to become the domain of small-scale producers that have let their taste bud..
It truly is about the journey, not the destination, as Alissa Jenkins travels the forgotten southern route from Vancouver to Calgary. ***This article was cr..
Experience one of the world's great train journeys aboard Canada's Rocky Mountaineer. Frequently named as one of the world’s great rail experiences, the Roc..
Meet one of the cutest Canadian critters off gorgeous Vancouver Island. Cruising quietly through glassy water to where the wild things are on a kayak tour in ..
Experience one of Canada's most tranquil city parks in Vancouver. Vancouver’s Stanley Park offers myriad recreational opportunities, be it swimming off one ..
Brett Atkinson munches his away around Vancouver's burgeoning food truck network. From Vietnamese bánh mí sandwiches to slow-cooked pulled pork, mobile food t..
Vancouver is renowned for the multitude of outdoor adventures that lie just beyond her Downtown skyline, but dig a little deeper and you’ll find a wealth of gems..
This staple of ‘World’s Most Beautiful Cities’ lists combines a wealth of natural and man-made assets with a stunning setting between the Pacific Ocean and N..
A ferry hop from the mainland, Vancouver Island is crammed with local culinary experiences well worth hunting down. Local writer John Lee loosens his belt for a f..
An Australian living overseas - Alissa Jenkins- Freelance travel and lifestyle journalist. Where are you originally from? I grew up in Tumut, a smal..
Insider's guide to Vancouver in Canada, ranked #17 in our countdown of '100 Most Incredible Cities in the World'. Insider’s tips Sonu Purhar Communications ..
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..
Why Banff is so special Luring thousands of Aussies to its snow-covered streets every winter, Banff is one of Canada’s major ski centres, with three mountains o..
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..