During our express passage in Toronto, we went – of course – to Niagara Falls, located between the United States and Canada.
Part 1: Travel Diary Part
2: Practical Tips
Part 1: Travel Diary
Access to the falls is completely free (they are on the side of the road and not in the deep jungle), but we opted for the Wonder Pass (25$/person HT) – which gives access AND to the buses, AND to some attractions.
Montreal – Niagara Route
We did it by bus, with the company Megabus, on time, clean and comfortable. 40$ round trip on average. The trip isn’t very nice but fast (1h30). The seats aren’t numbered so we don’t have the guarantee to be side by side
Get the Wonder Pass at Table Rock
We bought the wonder pass online, and as soon as we arrived at the bus terminal, we boarded directly into a WEGO bus. We don’t have a bus card, but by showing the receipt on the phone, the driver lets us get on – nicely. And tells us to pick up the physical pass at Table Rock.
At Table Rock, we are warmly welcomed, and the man gives us a badge that allows us to take the WEGO buses unlimitedly for 24 hours. And he asks us to reserve our passage for the attractions included in the wonder pass right away
- Journey behind the falls : we go down to the foot of the waterfalls and pass behind the waterfall
- Niagara’s Fury : a 4D show that explains the formation of the waterfalls and makes us see the waterfalls from above, below …
And two other attractions: Floral Showhouse and Butterfly Conservatory can be visited without prior reservation.
From the tourism center in Table Rock, we can see that: yes we are really very very close to the “Fer à Cheval”, being really on horseback between Canada and the United States.
I say that because 500m further on the left, you can see other waterfalls: they are the waterfalls on the American side.
Our brains are completely buggy because the pictures of Niagara – which abound on travel guides – have NOTHING to do with the real falls in front of us. There is a very commercial, “amusement park” atmosphere – just when we were expecting to visit an Iguazu bis in the middle of nature.
We take the bus back to our guesthouse Trillium Bed & Breakfast ( link Booking). The WEGO bus has a “bed & breakfast” stop, which is just a 10 minute walk from our B&B. Convenient! The houses in the area are beautiful, the breakfast is very good and the owner is charming. I highly recommend you.
Here I met a visiting Canadian nurse. We talked for 2 hours. It’s fascinating, the ability of people in North America to talk with anyone, anytime.
As it’s really ugly today (fog, rain, cold), we decide not to visit anything, and just go to the Casino near the Canadian Falls to eat and play slots (we bet $5 and… lose everything ahaha). Frankly, we should have gone to Butterfly Conservatory (which is obviously covered).
In the evening, we went to see the illuminated falls but frankly with such a fog, it was NOTHING very interesting.
Day 2 :
Journey of the Falls
It’s 10 am and here we are with an ugly poncho (included in the price) to go almost just to the foot of the waterfall. We are very numerous.
Frankly, the flow is so huge that you can’t see anything, as the waterfall causes a permanent cloud.
We then go along a tunnel to pass “behind” the waterfall (not in a romantic way like in Iceland). But the flow is so enormous that it is secured a max and it looks just like that. Disappointment!
A slightly disappointing 4D show, RAS
It’s a stop not far from Table Rock, very nice. We can see a lot of flowers (which I did not know the existence) and miniature houses.
Walking between Flower Showhouse and Table Rock, you walk along part of the lake at the origin of Niagara Falls, it’s really huge and the flow is impressive. There are still icebergs hanging around here and there.
A little disappointed that the view is obstructed by the fog, we decide to go to the observatory. To go there, we can take a funicular (included in our Wonder Pass), to go to the top of the hill (otherwise, we will have to make a huge detour on foot). Once again, everything incites to pay, pssss just to go up the hill seriously! At the top of this hill are several 5-star hotels (including Mariott), and casinos etc.
The view from the Skylon Tower Observation Deck (20$/person of memory) is totally satisfactory, so we can see the American Falls on the left, and the Horseshoe on the right. As you can see, the US are super close, just cross the bridge. But we didn’t do it because any border crossing by car (or on foot) to the US leads to a lot of questions from the US immigration. And then, everyone told us that there was nothing exceptional on the American side.
In this part of the city, it looks like the “throne fair”. In short, very commercial, very amusement park, very American 😀 You might as well say that the food isn’t very good, quite expensive, the parking too (between 15$ and 20$ a day).
In conclusion, we are very happy to have been able to discover Niagara Falls, it was very convenient because it was almost “on the way” between Iceland and Montreal
On the other hand, we would surely have been disappointed if we had planned a vacation especially for that. We found the Iguazu Falls much prettier. The artificial “shopping mall” aspect degrades this natural wonder. It is also necessary to say that we came to spend 15 days of roadtrip in Iceland to see different waterfalls every day in full nature, we perhaps had an overdose: D
Part 2: Practical Tips
Budget & advice
- Megabus: $40 CDN per person per round trip from Toronto
- WonderPass: 25$CA + taxes per person. We are early spring, there are no thrill activities such as ziplining, boating etc. but when the weather is better, the 65$CA pass might interest you a lot more? For more information, please visit: https: //www.niagaraparks.com/
- If you don’t want to do attractions, you can buy the WEGO 24h pass at the bus terminal for $9 CAD. It will be cheaper than having to pay every time. Uber exists in the area if needed.
- Food: at the food court of the casino: between $15 and $20 per person (+ 13% tax)
- Lodging: Trillium Bed & Breakfast ( Booking link) $80 CAD
- Skylon Tower : 20$CA/person