Would it surprise you to know that I have lived in Kelowna for 15 years now and I’ve never been on a Kelowna boat tour? I’ve never been on a boat upon the Okanagan Lake!
I know, it’s not a fact I shouted from the rooftops. Although, maybe if I did I would have been invited on board sooner? SUP board, yes. Kayak, yes. But not cruising around the lake gazing upon Kelowna by boat.
Shop the video
Anyhow, I researched local boat rentals and cruises within the Okanagan which led me to Kelowna Water Taxis and Cruises.
Captain Peter Brady (seen in video), owner of the Gael Force and the aforementioned cruising company, offers taxi services and leisurely Kelowna boat tours that suit your pace and celebrations. For this instance, I was searching for a fun way to see Kelowna differently – at least an alternate view for myself – before heading into wine country for a wine tour for my mom’s birthday.
It was fascinating to see Kelowna and West Kelowna from the water. Many of the luxury homes along the lakeshore are hidden from the street and you can only get a peak from the water. Kelowna has very few spaces with beach access because it is so desirable and profitable for the city to have beach front as a residential lot rather than retail or public beach. Waterfront lot taxes are very high and keep going up.
I’m happy just to float by and enjoy the beach, mountain and vineyard views from a different perspective.
But we had more planned that day. In fact, I was checking off more than a couple of my Okanagan bucket list.
√ Boat tour
√ Tasting wine directly from the barrel
Captain Peter dropped us off directly across the lake from where we began (the Eldorado Boat Launch) at the West Kelowna Yacht Club. If you’re new to Kelowna, we have two distinct sides. West Kelowna you’ll find plenty of wineries to keep you busy but most of the “action” like nightlife, downtown walking and plenty of restaurants & bars can be found in Kelowna.
For our wine tour we decided to treat my mom to a special birthday surprise, the Legacy Wine Tour at Mission Hill Winery. You’ve probably read my previous posts about Mission Hill. It is really where I got my start as a blogger thanks to a local chef at Mission Hill’s restaurant, The Terrace, who invited me to cover dinner and an all-day cooking class back when I was writing for Vecu Magazine.
Nearly a decade later the chef has changed almost 3 times but I am still here enjoying the fantastic views and wine paired dinners. Since we’ve been so often – my mom is a wine club member – we took advantage of all the unique offerings wineries have been doing in order to attract more locals. Vineyard tours and, in this case, tasting directly from the barrel, are just a few of the bread crumbs left for us. Needless to say it seems to be working.
Our Okanagan Valley has been packed by Vancouver city goers and many Albertans (despite the suggestion to stay in your own province) looking for a getaway close to home during the pandemic.
Playing tourist for the day or weekend has become a way of life for me since the pandemic. I am looking for places I’ve never been and things I’ve never done before and finding a plethora of options.
Tasting directly from a barrel was something I figured I’d do if I became a friend of a wine maker or winery owner and definitely not at Mission Hill Winery.
But moments like these make me so glad that I live where I do. Despite the fact I can’t travel this year, considering the state of the world, I feel more fortunate than ever to live in Canada and in particular, British Columbia. Props to Doctor Bonnie Henry who has gotten us this far!