Escape to a winter wonderland with VIA Rail Canada
Whether through films or the books we read as children, it's fair to say that a number of us will have dreamed of exploring a snowy wonderland, kicking up fresh powder before we take refuge by a toasty fire.
For many people living in Australia, this isn't a scenario we'll come across in our everyday lives, but it is possible for your dreams of a wintry holiday to come true, with a little help from Rail Plus.
The Snow Train to the Rockies package is a seven-day tour taking you from the vibrant coastal city of Vancouver to the western Alberta city of Calgary through the soaring peaks of the Rocky Mountains.
Here is what you can look forward to seeing Canada by rail.
Vancouver in the winter is undeniably stunning. The city lights are set against the dramatic backdrop of the Rockies rearing up in the background, with snow covering the area like a dusting of icing sugar.
If you visit around the festive season, you'll find Stanley Park is glittering with Christmas lights, with the city's tallest Christmas tree set up in Jack Poole Plaza. You'll even find an ice skating rink in Robson Square, meaning you can give the old skates a whirl!
January heralds the beginning of Dine Out Vancouver, the country's largest food festival, which includes dozens of fabulous culinary themed events, with some of the city's greatest restaurants already registering for the 2016 event.
Once you've lived and breathed winter like the locals do, it's time to climb aboard your VIA Rail Canada train to continue your tour.
Bound for Jasper
From the city, you'll pull away towards the beckoning Rocky Mountains on the VIA Rail Snow Train. Snuggle up in the Sleeper Touring class, and awake the next morning in a frosted landscape as you pull into Jasper.
This magical alpine town is the perfect place to take in some of Alberta's breathtaking natural scenery before you retire to your cosy lodge accommodation.
You'll also have the chance to partake in the Maligne Canyon Ice Walk, the beloved Jasper experience that you won't find anywhere else. Taking you right up close to glimmering ice sheets and icicles, the Ice Walk is about 3.5 kilometres, mostly on a gentle downhill.
En route to Banff and Calgary
As you step back onto VIA Rail's The Canadian service, if you're lucky, you'll have the chance to spy some of the local wildlife that populates the Rockies, such as moose, elk, mountain goats and even bears. The Skyline Dome Car with its panoramic roof is ideal to do some animal spotting, as well as mingle with the other guests.
The next stop is Banff, a resort town nestled in the heart of the Rockies. Take a gondola ride up to Sulphur Mountain for stunning wraparound aerial views of the mountains and the town below. Alternatively, you can enjoy a spot of shopping, or thaw out at the Banff Upper Hot Springs.
Don't forget to take a stroll down to Banff Park Museum, a gem of a building built in the turn of the century style that houses a tribute to the country's national history.
Your final destination of Calgary isn't far off, and you'll find yourself arriving in this wonderful city in no time. Celebrate your adventure at one of the central city dining haunts - there are plenty to choose from, and once you've sampled the local fare, you can go on to explore such attractions as Olympic Park, Calgary Tower and Fort Calgary.
To find out more about the Snow Train to the Rockies package, or book your ticket, get in touch with Rail Plus today.