Thursday, August 16, 2012


Four Aussie girls took off from Toronto for a long weekend, across the country and landed in Calgary. I picked up our hire car when I arrived, a flight after the others, and whilst in two minds about the 'compact' description of our car category, was totally sold when we were offered a convertible - we'll squeeze in, surely!

The next morning we jumped in our little car, with the top down, and headed out of Calgary to the highway and on to Banff. Having the Canadian Rocky Mountains appear on our horizon and then loom closer, was enough to build the anticipation of a great weekend ahead.

As we drove into the cute little town of Banff, nestled there in the middle of the mountain range, I was in awe of the view from the streets. At the end of every street was a view of the Rockies....

After a lunch stop in town, we went to check out the Hot Springs, but were pretty confused to find that the much hyped attraction was just a pool, with hot springs water in it. We had pictured a rock pool at the least, rather than something that may have awaited us back at the hostel. So, we skipped it.

We checked in to our HI-Alpine hostel, and then got ready for our dinner date with the mountains. Kylie, Chloe, Meg and I boarded the gondola and were lifted up to the peek of Sulphur Mountain, with just the ride up into the sky giving us a spectacular view!

Taking out table, and eventually scoring the much coveted window table, we tucked into one of the best steaks I have had, as part of this 2 course meal. The ride up and back is usually $30, and so for $20 extra you can get this dining experience - well worth making the booking and spending that extra time at altitude. After dinner, we checked out the observation deck and the view of Banff below, with the mountains all around. Just gorgeous!

The next afternoon was one of the many highlights for me of this awesome weekend - horse-riding in Banff. We arrived at the horse yard near the Banff Springs Hotel, and were each allocated a horse. We had needed to shop for closed-toed shoes for the adventure, and Meg had even found a cowgirl shirt for the ride.

Donned with pigtails each, we were introduced to and then assisted onto our horses by the (Aussie!!) lead of the ride. As a small group, we were led through the nearby woods, through streets and trails, and then along Spray River. This ride gave us a view of Bow Falls, which we would not have seen at all otherwise, and then took us on horseback through the River.

Riding further through the woods and up and around the hills and trees of the area, we crossed the Spray River again, each horse figuring his way through the stones underwater. Hanging on for dear life, this was scary and exciting, and spectacular all at once. Such fun - we rode through the Rockies!

That evening we went on a bear hunt - a wildlife safari which took us to spots around the outskirts of town, to see the local wildlife. We spotted a deer and her foal, and were shown a baby osprey in his nest, trying to pluck up the courage to fly. No bear spotted, but our very enthusiastic guide taught us much about the local animals and their habits, which were all pretty foreign to us!

The town of Banff is so pretty, with it's streets, shops, and amazing food range within the restaurants. The position within the Rocky Mountains gives it a special isolated feel, with spectacular views from every angle - such a friendly place, which we completely fell in love with over this long weekend.


  1. That looks lovely! It was much colder on my visit -->

    1. Brrrr! You photos do look cold!
      We kept think it would look so completely different covered in snow....


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