Saturday 13 June 2009

British Columbia A Hot Destination This Winter

Lift accessed hiking at Fernie – image courtesy Fernie Alpine Resort and Robin Siggers

A new Nicklaus golf course, alpine hiking, and award-winning cuisine served al fresco is just the beginning.

It may seem counterintuitive to look to Canada when planning a warm-weather holiday, but when the rain falls and the temperatures dip Down Under, in British Columbia the mercury is rising. With average (northern) summer temperatures of about 26 degrees amidst the gentle breezes of the Pacific, and 30 degrees in the interior of the province, BC also boasts over 16 hours of glorious sunshine in early July—plenty of daylight hours to experience province's wealth of incredible summer experiences.

What does this mean for golf enthusiasts heading to Bear Mountain Resort in Victoria? That they can book economical "dusk" tee times after 7pm and still get in 18 holes. Victoria is now home to the only 36 holes of Jack Nicklaus Design golf at any one facility in Canada, with the opening of the new Valley Course on May 31, 2009. The new golf course, a 6,807 yard, par 71, 18-hole championship course is built at a lower elevation than the current Mountain Course, but will boast the same spectacular west coast rock and water features.

What does this mean for those looking for a Rocky Mountain high? That in Fernie they can experience lift-accessed hiking trails—including guided tours, and mountain biking with more than 37 bike trails and something for all levels.

What does this mean for those with a penchant for patio dining? That while dining al fresco, visitors' eyes may indeed be larger than their stomachs as they stare at jaw-dropping vistas whilst savouring the province's much lauded cuisine. If high-end vineyard dining is your style, there's no better time to head to the interior of the province where a drive south from the stunning city of Salmon Arm will take you straight through award-winning vineyards and past its warm inland lakes, eventually winding up in Osoyoos, Canada's only desert.

What does this mean for soft adventure seekers? That kayaking, white water rafting, canoeing, camping, surfing will not require a parka or beanie—but don't forget the sun block. And if you've always wanted to alpine ski in your T-shirt and Bermuda shorts, Whistler's Horstman Glacier is open until the end of July.

With such economical airfares to North America including direct from Sydney to Vancouver on Air Canada, or Auckland to Vancouver on Air New Zealand, there is literally no better time to visit BC.

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