Now that I have been home for just over 2 weeks, the memories of my amazing road trip through Canada are already feeling distant. I have traded the 31 degree days in Kelowna for the 122km/h winds and rain and sun and hail and everything in between of Wellington!
Kelowna was just meant to be an overnight stop on our way from Vancouver to Banff, but we really wanted to do a wineries tour so we extended our stay to allow an extra day to do this (with no driving afterwards!)
A bear sculpture on the lake waterfront
We stayed at the Samesun Kelowna – great hostel by the way, if you go to Kelowna it is such a great budget option! They recommended the Club Wine Tours, which was a 4 hour tour for $80 (I think we may have got a discount booking through the hostel as on their website it says $95). Our guide connected well with the whole group – us 4 girls in our 20s, the 2 couples in their 60s, the 1 couple in their 20s and a mother and her daughter. For such a diverse group he did a great job of keeping us laughing and entertained. Even though the tour said 4/5 tours, we went to 5 vineyards for tastings plus Mission Hill Winery for a photo opp!
Of all the wineries we went to, Grey Monk and Kalala Organic Winery were my favorite two. Grey Monk because of the views – over the stunning Lake Okanagan, with flowers in bloom and rolling grapevines… pure bliss (the wine isn’t too shabby either). Then Kalala Organic Winery which has award-winning wines – their iconic 2012 Chardonnay Ice Wine won a gold medal at the prestigious Chardonnay Du Monde competition in France! For a winery that is so successful, it was really cool to meet the owner and see how humble and modest he was. They support a number of charities, but one that is really close to his heart is the project to build a school in his home town of Kalala, India.
After we got to the stage where we were tempted to turn down more wine (yes, it’s possible) we went to Earls restaurant for a bite to eat and some cocktails (I would never rule out alcohol completely!) Normally I prefer not to go to the chain restaurants when in a new destination, however the view from Earls was too hard to resist. The rooftop bar looked over Lake Okanagan, and the $5 cocktails went down a treat. Keep in mind though it was a good 30 minute wait to get a table, but definitely worth the wait!
It was just a quick visit to Kelowna, but unless you are wanting to do a lot of water sports or adventure activities then a 2 night stay is the perfect length of time. Now I would give anything to be back there, drinking wine in the 31 degree heat… Home is just not cutting it for me!
Grey Monk Winery with views over the Okanagon Lake
The view at Mission Hill
Mission Hills Winery
Wind down drinks… after a long day of drinking!