What month will you be here, and what kinds of outdoor recreation are you into? ie. big downhill skiier? into backcountry skiing? ocean kayaker? hiker? camper?
Whistler won’t really be on your list for cultural things, so it depends what outdoor things you like most, and what time of year re: weather…
I’ll be there end of May – so i’m unsure how cool or warm it will be??!
I’m thinking more kayaking, ATV quad biking … I know Whistler would be more about recreational sports & being outdoors …
Ditch Vancouver and Whistler entirely and go to Tofino on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Visit the Pacific Rim National Park and take Surfing lessons at Surf Sister (http://www.surfsister.com/) Although Vancouver and Whistler are lovely… If you do wind up going to Whistler, take a ZipTrek EcoTour (http://www.ziptrek.com/)
I’d recommend sticking with your plan. Vancouver is a beautiful city, very reminiscent of Sydney in my opinion and if you enjoy Sydney you should enjoy Vancouver.
Whistler is a good trip for an Auzzie as well as you will see some snow on the glaciers and in Whistler you are immersed in the mountains. There will be like minded tourists in Whistler and the outdoor activities there abound.
Tofino is a wonderful place to visit but I would rather take surf lessons in Auz than in Canada.
Vancouver’s top espresso:
Hines (Granville Island)
Also check out Zulu records for concerts.
You could stroll around Stanley Park, bring you own food and drink, and look at the people, trees and city sights. You could also rent a bike.
Then you can head for Granville Island; go to the food market at get yourself something to eat, and again watch people and city sights. Even though you didn’t like shopping, look into the different craft shops and have a chat without buying something. After that, you have deserved to spoil yourself with a visit at Granville Island Breweing Company. Take your time.
In the afternoon you can head for Gastown, have a look at the steam clock, walk around the street and visit a pub.
If you got a car you can take a drive south to Steveston by the river, and you can stroll the harbour and look at the fishing boats and have a fish on your plate. Then, head for Withe Rock and look around. You are so close to the border that you almost can throw a rock into the US!
If you are keen for a hike, go north of the city to Grouse Mountain and the Grind. You can park your car to the right just before you reach the Grouse Mountain Skyride. Follow the track so long as you care and enjoy the nature and city view. You will reach the Peak’s plateau in 2.9 kilometers. It should be perfect in May.
You can of course head for Whistler, thou downtown Whistler may not be so interesting. Take a stop when you still are by the bay and you may spot eagles. You may also take a short hike along the trail by the river.
Climate-wise, May temperatures should be really nice, and it’s the beginning of the dry season so you probably won’t get rained out. If you are coming from Sydney it might feel cool.
One nice thing about being so far north, you’ll be there close to the summer solstice so it will be light out until 9PM.
Vancouver Island and the other islands are a good choice for outdoor stuff too, especially if you like ocean kayaking (Whistler is inland). You can check out the BC ferries site (http://www.bcferries.com) to see which ones you can get to by car/foot ferry.
Squamish (on the highway between ) also has kayaking, windsurfing, mountain biking.
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