Read Before You Leave – Vancouver

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver locals are bursting with enthusiasm for their city and it’s easy to see why: the sea on one side, mountains on the other, plus a vibrant dining scene, abundant green spaces and an easy, hospitable vibe. But don’t focus so much on “things to see” in Vancouver. Instead, try to pick up on “how to be”: grab a green juice and wander along the stunning foreshore of Stanley Park, stay for a sit-down coffee in Gastown or gaze up at Grouse Mountain as you plot your next snowy adventure. Welcome to the good life. Here’s what you need to know before visiting Vancouver.

Entering Canada

Australian passport holders must apply for an electronic travel authorisation (eTA) before travelling to Canada by air. This generally enables Australians to stay for periods of up to six months on the proviso it’s for travel and leisure purposes but it’s up to the customs officer to make an official decision upon landing. As such, it is wise to have a return ticket booked before arriving and to ensure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date.

Flying into Vancouver International Airport (YVR)

Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver International Airport (YVR) is Canada’s second busiest airport. Located 12 kilometres south of downtown Vancouver, the airport is best reached via The Canada Line, the city’s rapid transit rail that whisks you from airport to city centre in under 30 minutes. Access to this service is possible from both the International and Domestic Terminals. 

The service from YVR to Vancouver City Centre runs every six to seven minutes from 5.07am until 12.56am and costs CA$4.25. Those who leave YVR on the Canada Line are subject to an additional CA$5, in addition to the regular zone fare. This fee, called AddFare, is automatically added when you purchase your fare card and doesn’t apply if you’ve purchased a day or monthly pass.

SEE ALSO: These Are Canada’s Most Epic Experiences

Vaccine Advice

There aren’t any specific vaccinations for Australians visiting Canada but make sure your basic vaccinations are up to date. Visit Travel Doctor for more information.


Travel requirements

Please check Smartraveller to stay up to date with the latest updates.

Vancouver has the most temperate climate in Canada, bucking the prevailing preconception about the country’s frosty conditions. During the summer, average temperatures sit just over 20°C but winter temps are chilly; the December average is around 1°C.

Grouse Mountain

When to Go 

Vancouver’s summer is undoubtedly the best time to visit, when the days are long and mild. Winter has its notable drawcards, too: the very skiable Grouse Mountain is just 30 minutes’ drive from downtown Vancouver. The only period you might want to avoid is November to March, when the city is at its rainiest – December has an average monthly rainfall of around 160mm.

Dress Code

Not much is out of place in Vancouver, although it’s never a bad idea to dress in layers for temperature dips (and don’t forget to pack a very warm jacket for the cooler months and an umbrella for the rainy ones). 

Stay Central

The heart of Vancouver is Downtown – a mall-lined district where you’ll mostly find skyscrapers and commuters. Directly to the east is the lively historic quarter of Gastown, paved with cobblestones and packed with trendy eateries. The breezy Kitsilano will give you a taste of the life of a young professional Vancouverite, all Lululemon and beach picnics. South Main is for the trendy tourist – it’s here you’ll find brunch spots and boutique shops, while Yaletown is all Spin classes and celeb spotting (restaurants here attract everyone from George Clooney to Ryan Reynolds).

Vancouver, Canada


A power adapter is necessary for items that are fitted with an Australian plug socket. Additionally, standard Canadian voltage is 120V, less than that of Australian devices, which are typically 230V. You’ll need a voltage converter in order to use your electronics while travelling.

Handy Apps and Websites

SEE ALSO: 15 Ways to Discover the Real Vancouver

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Image credit: Jeffrey Eisen; Matt Wang (Vancouver skyline); Jennilee Marigomen/Destination Canada (Stanley Park); Destination Canada.

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