Western Canada and the American Heartland

21 Aug - 13 Sep 2020

This tour includes the gentile beauty of Vancouver Island, a spectacular railway journey through the Canadian Rockies, the fertile prairies of western Canada right though to the American Heartland complete with midwest Farm Shows, Mississippi moments and Nashville notes – all the while meeting up with innovative farmers and other impossibly hospitable inhabitants of one of the world's most fertile and vast swaths of agricultural land.


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Day 1

Friday 21 Aug

Depart Australia for Vancouver (Canada) with connection to a direct flight to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
At around 500 km long and 100 km wide, Vancouver Island offers a wide and fantastic range of sights and activities including the world renowned Butchart Gardens. The island is also home to a thriving agricultural industry which benefits from a maritime climate of warm, dry summers, mild and wet winters and a long frost-free season. There is a wide range of farming including field crops, berries, tree fruits, dairy products, pigs, sheep, poultry, floriculture and ornamental crops.

Day 2

Saturday 22 Aug

Guided touring around Vancouver Island including Bouchart Gardens.

Day 3

Sunday 23 Aug

A leisurely morning to take in the sights of this beautiful and unique portside capital at your own pace. At 1.15 pm we board our chartered float plane for a spectacular flight and water-landing arrival into downtown Vancouver.
We are met at the float plane terminal by our local Vancouver guide and bus. We then enjoy a guided city tour to help get our bearings before checking in to our hotel.

Day 4

Monday 24 Aug

Guided touring around Vancouver and the fertile Fraser River valley.

Day 5

Tuesday 25 Aug

This morning we board The Rocky Mountaineer eastbound for Kamloops. We will see dramatic changes in scenery today, from the lush green fields and farmlands of the Fraser Valley, through forests and winding river canyons surrounded by the peaks of the Coast and Cascade Mountains, to the desert-like environment of the British Colombia interior.
Highlights include the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon and the steep slopes and rock sheds along the Thompson River.
We overnight in the historic town of Kamloops where the North and South Thompson rivers meet.

Day 6

Wednesday 26 Aug

This morning we board our train to continue our journey eastward bound for Canada’s stunning Rocky Mountains. Once again we will see a spectacular array of scenery as we travel across ranchlands, along rocky lakeshores, over high mountain passes and through the remarkable tunnels that form part of the rich rail history of the Canadian Rockies. Today’s highlights include Craigellachie, where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven, the climb over Rogers Pass, Kicking Horse Canyon, the Spiral Tunnels and, of course, the glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies. Our rail journey ends this evening in Banff where we are met and tranferred to our hotel.

Day 7

Thursday 27 Aug

This morning we visit the nearby and majestic Moraine Lake and afterwards, the equally majestic Lake Louise to drink in its incomparable beauty. We also enjoy a very special high tea in the luxurious Fairview room of the Fairmont Chateau. There's time for a paddle on Lake Louise, or whatever else floats your boat, before returning to Banff for some free time.
An option this afternoon is an unforgettable 30 minutes chopper flight over the Mt Assiniboine Glacier region. The flights depart from Canmore, around 15 minutes east of Banff. Dubbed the ‘Matterhorn of the Canadian Rockies’ Mt Assiniboine rises majestically to 3611 metres along the Great Divide. The surrounding valleys, glaciers and icefalls are astounding.
This evening we take a spectacular gondola ride to the top of Sulphur Mountain, overlooking Banff, where we will enjoy dinner.

Day 8

Friday 28 Aug

Today we board our charter coach and travel north. We are travelling the lcefields Parkway – one of the most spectacular drives in the world. This is a wilderness habitat for elk, big horn sheep, moose, mountain goats and bear. Waterfalls, emerald lakes, alpine meadows and snow-capped peaks complete the scene as we wind along the shoulder of the Continental Divide. The Columbia Icefield covers nearly 325 square km. Melt water from the icefield feeds rivers emptying into three different oceans: North to the Arctic; East to the Atlantic; and, West to the Pacific.
We visit the Colombia Icefield Discovery Centre and travel by specially adapted vehicles onto the glacier.
We continue onto Rocky Mountain House – nestled on the eastern foothills of the Rockies and the edge of the Great Plains – for overnight.

Day 9

Saturday 29 Aug

With our Canadian farm specialist, Norm Flore on board, we set out from Rocky Mountain House this morning to meet with farmers and ranchers typical of the region. Over the next few days we will visit highly successful farming operations. We will also visit a Hutterite colony where very traditional lifestyles belie the sophistication of their large scale farming operations.
Our general route takes us from Rocky Mountain House, through to Red Deer and onto Drumheller.
Nearing Drumheller, we enter an area of amazing landscapes dubbed the “badlands”. We will discover that this moniker does an injustice to the very good farms, and farmers, in the area.
The unique soils and geology around Drumheller also create a unique window into the world of fossils, particularly dinosaurs. We visit The Royal Tyrrell Museum – a world-famous centre of palaeontological research – located on the outskirts of town.
We also enjoy a BBQ tonight at a unique country pub – the Last Chance Saloon – located a short distance out of Drumheller.

Day 10

Sunday 30 Aug

Some more farm visits this morning as we head towards Calgary and a brief city tour to get your bearings before a free evening.

Day 11

Monday 31 Aug

Early (direct) flight to Minneapolis, the biggest city in the US state of Minnesota - the northern gateway to the mighty midwest. Minneapolis lies on both banks of the Mississippi River, just north of the river's confluence with the Minnesota River, and adjoins Saint Paul, the state's capital.



Day 12

Tuesday 1 Sep

More visits around Minneapolis before travelling south and into Iowa.

Day 13

Wednesday 2 Sep

Today we visit the Farm Progress Show at Boone, Iowa. This is the US's largest outdoor farm event and annually hosts more than 600 exhibitors displaying new farm equipment, tractors, combines other farm implements and inputs. We then travel east to Davenport/Moline.

Day 14

Thursday 3 Sep

Today we visit the world headquarters of John Deere at Moline before continuing west towards Chicago.

Day 15

Friday 4 Sep

Touring around Chicago.

Day 16

Saturday 5 Sep

Travel south to St Louis

Day 17

Sunday 6 Sep

Travel to Nashville

Day 18

Monday 7 Sep

Touring around Nashville.

Day 19

Tuesday 8 Sep

Travel to Atlanta

Day 20

Wednesday 9 Sep

Travel to Savannah

Day 21

Thursday 10 Sep

Touring around Savannah


❮ South America 2020
28 Jul - 20 Aug 2020