We were up bright and early on our second morning in Toronto (although not entirely by our own doing, our body clocks were still stuck on silly UK time – I’m sure time changes never used to affect me this badly – am I getting old?!) but getting up early was for good reason – WE WERE GOING TO NIAGARA FALLS!
I’ve said before that the areas of North America that interest me the most are the National Parks and places of natural beauty, so it’s safe to say that Niagara falls has been on my North America bucket list since the beginning of time!
My family wanted to book a guided tour for Niagara as we weren’t in Toronto for long, so ease was more important than cost (for once in my life!) – we wanted our tour guide to pick us up from the hotel, tell us everything we need to know and bring us back when we want with no hanging around waiting for public transport. My dad found Gerardo on “Tours By Locals” and his tour fit the bill!
After a long chit-chat with Gerardo in the car about anything and everything, from the history of the area to Brexit and Trump, we arrived at the falls! Before heading down to explore immediately, Gerardo spotted that there wasn’t anyone in the car park for the heliport, so we headed straight over for a spontaneous flight!
Getting to the falls early in the morning means that you are ahead of all the coaches and tour bus’ that arrive later in the day – apparently the queues for the helicopter rides can become horrendous.
Flights are around 144 CAD per person, so it’s a pricey experience but definitely worth it. As you are lifted into the air, you are reassured that the model of the helicopter is one of the newest, safest and quietest on the planet – so if you’re scared of flying, this could be the best place to have your first helicopter trip!
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves now!
Next up, we drove closer to the falls and were given some free time to explore, wander around and take pictures. We started near the American falls and walked down to the Canadian “horseshoe” falls, stopping at practically every photo opportunity along the way (yes… I know it’s just falling water and can’t look THAT different).
Visiting in Winter meant that there was a lot of mist coming off of the falls, but we were still able to see everything and the surrounding area had a light layer of snow – perfect!
Journey Behind the Falls
You’ve probably all seen photos of people standing on a ridge right next to the falls, unfortunately, this access point was closed during Winter, but we were still able to complete the rest of the “journey behind the falls” – and because of the closure, the tickets were discounted to about 8 CAD!
This experience takes you through tunnels behind the falls. Along the way, there are openings in the tunnel which mean you are quite literally standing behind a sheet of water – don’t worry you can’t get wet (unless you are a bit silly and jump over the protective barriers).
The Journey Behind the Falls marked the end of our time at the actual waterfalls, so we headed further in-land to explore the local area before meeting up with Gerardo for the rest of our tour/the ride home.
Clifton Hill is located on the Canadian side of the falls and was described to us as “Canada’s answer to Orlando or Las Vegas” – to me it gave off more of a “Southend-On-Sea” or “Great Yarmouth” vibe.
Essentially, this road is a tourist trap filled with amusement rides, tourist memorabilia shops, waxwork museums, candy shops etc. It’s safe to say that Clifton HIll is not my cup of tea, but whatever floats your boat!
On a serious note, how many waxwork museums can you fit in one small area?! We saw SO many!
On our way back to Toronto, we stopped at the SUPER cute town of Niagara on the Lake. Every shop was perfectly designed and adorable! We spent about 30 minutes walking around, visiting all of the shops (and trying the foods they had to offer hehe).
During our trip, Gerardo mentioned “ice wine” which we had seen advertised in different shops but didn’t know what it meant! Apparently ice wine is a Canadian speciality where the wine is made from grapes that have been frozen on the vine.
On our way back to the city, Gerardo took us to a ice wine tasting session (unfortunately I didn’t catch the name of the place). We sampled 3 different types of ice wine and ended up buying a bottle with apricot undertones – yum!
As always, I didn’t get to do absolutely EVERYTHING that Niagara has to offer, but to make sure you are as filled-to-the-brim with knowledge as physically possible, here’s all the other bits and bobs you can do during your visit!
As we were visiting in Winter, we were unable to do a boat ride up to the falls, however I’ve heard great things about the trip in Summer!
IMAX Niagara Falls
If you’re not feeling too adventurous, there’s an IMAX theatre to show you sweeping views of the falls with a 4D twist!
Skylon Tower Niagara
Do you fancy food with a great view of the falls? Head to Skylon Tower! We decided to skip out on this experience given that we ate dinner in the CN Tower the night beforehand and the two look pretty similar, albeit the views are completely different!
Fireworks and Illuminations
During the Winter, the falls are lit up in varying different colours at night – we didn’t get to experience this as we took a day-time trip but it looks great!
Have you ever been to Niagara Falls? What was your favourite part? Or if you’re planning a trip, what are you looking forward to the most?!
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post and all thoughts are my own.
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