We visit Beautiful Banff & Lake Louise, in the throws of winter, it’s a truly captivating destination, a place we’d never ventured before. A direct flight from Brisbane to Vancouver, is around 14 hours and If time is on your side, we suggest a stopover in Vancouver.

Arriving in Calgary (the city of cowboys), we discover a city bursting with pride and history, wth a evolving music, arts and foodie scene. The city is easy to get around, built on a grid system, we walk the Avenues and discover a hive of activity- the treelined streets border the picturesque (and frozen) Bow River.

We stay at the popular, Fairmont Palliser on 9th Avenue, a charming, re-invented railway hotel built in the early 1900’s.  The exquisite art deco style, includes a grand 50’s ballroom, newly renovated rooms, and the elegant Hawthorn Dining and Bar.

Leaving Calgary, for a 2 hour drive to Banff National Park, picturesque mountains and frozen lakes unfold in front of us. The town of Banff, is built around the vast river system, with endless, snow capped mountains as the backdrop.

Banff is a beautiful Rocky Mountain village, all about adventure and the natural environment. A town of souvenir shops, a brewery, distillery, cinema and restaurants. The crown in the jewel is the stunning castle on the hill, the Fairmont Banff Springs- located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

A year- round luxury mountain resort with all the trimmings, we arrive as snow is falling. As picturesque as it is sprawling, the resort has several dining experiences- from authentic Italian to a Spanish tapas bar and German inspired Taphouse.

We try the Italian and delight over the freshly made pasta dishes, like the Charred, Sweet Corn Ravioli with lashings of crispy porchetta and fermented chilli. For dessert we can’t go past the traditional tiramisu with a glass of Grappa e Limoncello- to warm the cockles.

The award-winning Fairmont Springs Spa has framed the natural surrounds, with steamy hot springs, indoor magnesium pools, eucalyptus sauna and steam room and treatment suites. We indulge in a ‘Majestic Blue’ with mountain lavender, mineral salt exfoliation, massage and body wrap.

A must see and do, is the Banff Gondola that takes you to the top of the mountain, with 360’ degree views across the Rockies and beyond. A short, elevated walk to the peak of the summit and you’ll feel on-top of the world. On the way back down visit the educational centre and gondola restaurant with, quite possible the best views we’ve ever seen.

The resort is well equipped with a championship golf course during summer, and mountain resorts for skiing in the winter, including an ice-skating rink on the resort’s frozen lake, surrounds.

A short drive to Canmore Caves, we brave the narrow entrances into the caves, and crawl our way along a 4km grotto to rats nest cave. The ancient caves are home to 7,000-year-old bones, the friendly staff are well equipped to lead the way in (and out) of this natural wonder.

We take a one-hour drive from Canmore, back into the National Park, destination Lake Louise. A stately hotel, takes pride of place next to the grand lake, frozen in all its glory. The hotel services over 500 rooms and is as elegant as it is relaxed in style. Friendly staff welcome you at every turn, we dine at the most picturesque and opulent Lakeview Lounge.

After we acquaint ourselves with the hotel, and the awe-inspiring natural surrounds, we head to the Lake Louise Ski Resort. A day well spent on the mountain, is followed by a night beside the Chateau’s outside fire, we enjoy a mulled wine at the ice bar, adorned with chiseled ice sculptures. Dining options at the Chateau include comfort food at the pub, modern and hearty cuisine at Lakeview and Mediterranean fare at the newly appointed Louiza restaurant.

We book dinner at Louiza and try the Homemade Empanadas, Galician Mussels and Basque Lamb shank, with a delicious Elderberry Sorbet with Crispy Basil to finish. The Hotel wraps around the lake, capturing the sublime, snow-capped mountains and is all about the serenity. As summer fast approaches the lake melts, the wildlife awakens (bears) and the environment transitions.

We vow to return to Banff National Park, a desirable destination for snow lovers in the winter months, with hikers and nature dwellers to discover a different look and feel in the summer months.

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Castello Italian



Banff Gondola-



Fairmont Banff Springs


Fairmont Lake Louise


Fairmont Palliser, Calgary