Take this Grand Tour to see all of Kelowna
Perfect for couples and families alike, these self-guided tours will take you through stunning city locales and idyllic orchards to some of the Okanagan’s renowned wineries. This is the best way to explore our beautiful region, even if you’re not a wine lover. Bring your camera—photo-ready vistas await. Use the GPS function on your Smartphone to find your way.
Check out the article on “What you should know before you go on a Self Guided Wine Tour, “Take a Guided Wine Tour” will give you an idea of what to expect. Paying for a guided tour is the best way to get the best value for your time.[the_ad id=”3825″]
KELOWNA CITY CENTER
Start your tour of the City Centre in the Cultural District, the area around the Grand Hotel. Here you will find The BC Wine and Orchard Museum, the Kelowna Art Gallery, and the Rotary Centre for the Arts. A number of other great galleries and museums are located nearby. See “Downtown Kelowna”
Kelowna’s oldest winery, Calona Vineyards, is located at 1125 Richter Street, just North of the cultural district. It is home to 3 VQA Brands including Peller Estates, Calona Vineyards and Sandhill. An urban winery, there are no vineyards here, but the winery does do tastings and food and wine pairings. See the article on the Wine routes for more information, page 33. Just around the corner is BC Tree Fruits, where you can taste their apple cider and pick up some fresh Okanagan fruit.
Knox Mountain, located at the North end of downtown, just past Calona Vineyards, boasts a great view of the city. You can either hike or drive right to the top. See the article on page 39. Circle back to the city centre, by walking down Water Street. Take a tasting break at the Tree Brewing Tasting Institute, and pick up some “Thirsty Beaver”, also available in most pubs. Stop into the Kasugai Japanese Gardens behind City Hall, a blissful, peaceful retreat, and then hit Bernard Avenue for a bit of shopping.
If you are interested in having some fine food with your fine Okanagan wine visit La Bussola Fine Italian Dining; Mamma Rosa’s is another excellent spot.[the_ad id=”3825″]
To get to the Mission wineries head south on Pandosy Street. Water Street turns into Pandosy at HWY 97, which eventually turns into Lakeshore Road. Along Lakeshore Road itself, in the South Pandosy district, are several great restaurants, parks and beaches. A local favourite, Gyro Beach has beach volleyball, a kids playground right in the lake and lots of beachfront. Just past here is Rotary Beach Park, where you can rent stand up paddleboards and kayaks. On a windy day this is the perfect spot to watch the kite surfers.
Stay on Lakeshore Road until the set of lights where it veers right. Go straight ahead onto Chute Lake Road. The entrance to Summerhill Pyramid Winery is about 500 meters past the intersection. They have a wine shop, a restaurant and offer tours and are part of the Lakeshore Wine Route that is marked In the Okanagan Wineries section of the Kelowna Visitors Map.. There are 4 wineries in this area with spectacular views overlooking Okanagan Lake.
From Summerhill return to Lakeshore and head west along Okanagan Lake. Here you will find two other wineries: St. Hubertus Winery and Cedar Creek Estate Winery.
Just past Cedar Creek is Carmelis Goat Cheese Artisan, where you can buy a little goat cheese or goat’s milk ice cream to go with your wine. This is really the end of the road, but close by is both access to some great walking trails and a dog park right on the beach if your pouch needs a swim.
Backtrack along Lakeshore and turn right onto Dehart road for your last Lakeshore Wine Route winery – Tantalus Vineyards. On your way back towards town you can take a walk along the Mission Creek Parkway If you choose to see some more wineries, turn right (east) on KLO Road, to visit the FabFive wineries on the South East Bench of Kelowna.[the_ad id=”3825″]
East Kelowna is actually in the Southeast Bench area of the city. Start your tour from KLO road. Turn right on Benvoulin and visit both the Father Pandosy Mission (a step back into Kelowna’s past) and Sperling Vineyards. The Mission was established in 1859 and was the first non-native settlement in all of central BC. This is where the name for Mission Creek, which flows through this area, comes from. Mission Creek Greenway is the walking trail along the creek.
Backtrack to KLO and follow it to Spiers Road (just across the bridge over Mission Creek). Turn right here. This is another access point and parking area for the Mission Creek Parkway, or you can continue driving to visit The View and Spierhead Wineries, two wineries along the FabFive Wine Trail. The wineries in this area are all small and family owned – charming, intimate and fun. The Fab Five consists of The View, Spierhead, Camelot and House of Rose Winery. Both House of Rose and The View have tours. Make sure you visit them all, not only are they each different, the views as you drive are terrific.
During cherry season you will find several U-Picks in this area, particularly around House of Rose Winery. House of Rose holds free music concerts every Thursday night in the summer and have a very peaceful picnic area. It’s a great way to end your day.
On the way back, stop at the Mission Creek Greenway located between House of Rose and Camelot Wineries. Here you can access some great easy hiking trails as well as the Mission Creek Mountain Bike Skills Park. The East Kelowna bench is a beautiful plateau with paved country roads and lots of orchards and agriculture. Watch for tractors on the road as you drive!
On the corner of East Kelowna Road and McCulloch Rd is McCulloch Station Pub, which is a great place for lunch or dinner overlooking orchards and golf courses. Beside the Pub is Orchard Greens Golf Club which also has a restaurant, aptly named The Bunkhouse Restaurant. If you continue along McCulloch Road you will find a meadery as well as a cidery. Further up is also one of the access points for the Kettle Valley Rail Trail. The going is rough near the top – not a good road for a sports car if that is what you are driving!
If this all sounds like a beautiful way to spend an afternoon without driving, consider an afternoon sightseeing wine tour that goes through the Lakeshore and East Kelowna region.[the_ad id=”3825″]
Most of the North Kelowna wineries are actually in the District of Lake Country. The fold out Kelowna Visitors Map includes this area in the North Kelowna Inset Map portion. From downtown, head north on HWY 97 out of Kelowna past UBC Okanagan and the Kelowna Airport. If you are interested, you can take a quick tour of the UBC – Okanagan campus. Just past the airport turn right and follow the signs for Ancient Hills Winery. Double back onto the Highway and head past Woods Lake into Lake Country. Lake Country is a sprawling area that extends from the valley, over a gentle slope to Okanagan Lake on the Westwhere we find 3 more wineries. Take a left off HWY 97 to Berry Road and follow the signs to Arrowleaf, Ex Nihilo Vineyards and Gray Monk Estate Wineries.
Gray Monk Estate Winery has the Grapevine Restaurant and a new, enlarged wine shop. Pick up a bottle of Latitude 50, their well-known white wine: it is excellent and a good price to! These Wineries are located close to Latitude 50. Further along are three more wineries to explore, following this beautiful vineyard and orchard area with great views of Okanagan Lake. Explore the area while you are out there, it is beautiful.[the_ad id=”3825″]
West Kelowna offers some beautiful vistas and is just a10 minute from downtown Kelowna over the bridge. The Kelowna Visitors Map also includes West Kelowna and the wineries are marked on the map with a big pink dot. The first winery you will come to is the new First Nation owned Indigenous Winery, on your right just at Boucherie Road. After, cross the Highway onto Boucherie Road and follow it up and over the hill to get to most of the wineries. There are several wineries along this road including Volcanic Hills, with the blu SAFFRON Bistro, and right beside it Mt. Boucherie Winery.
Both wineries have wine shops and offer tours. Mt. Boucherie (the mountain) is a small mountain that looms over the wineries, and is an extinct volcano. Volcanic soil is very good for growing wine grapes. Further down Boucherie Road is the Hatch Winery. The next winery is the largest in the area. Mission Hill Family Estate is located on top of the hill, just up Mission Hill Road off Boucherie Road. It boasts a spectacular view from its high vantage point, impressive architecture and a large wine shop, tours and tasting and the Terrace Restaurant. Back on Boucherie Road, the last winery in this area in Quali’s Gate, again with beautiful views and a restaurant.
If you think it is time to hit the beach, just keep driving on Gellatly Road. West Kelowna Waterfront has the newly developed Gellatly Bay Water park with a Zip line over the water, a nice walkway, Willow Beach and the Gellatly Nut Farm. From this area you can see how Okanagan Lake bends, which marks a major bedrock cross fault for those interested in geology. In this area, many vineyards are located on Eocene sedimentary and volcanic bedrock.
Go a little further and visit both Off the Grid and Kalala Organic Winery on Glencoe Road which is just past downtown West Kelowna off HWY 97. These are both organic wineries, Off the Grid is truly off the grid, with goats and other farm animals wandering about. You will also find orchards and fruit stands along the way.[the_ad id=”3825″]
WESTBANK FIRST NATION
At Westbank First Nation (WFN), located between Kelowna and West Kelowna, you will find a variety of recreational and cultural activities suitable for the whole family. An afternoon spent at Two Eagles Golf Course—a state of the art golf facility overlooking Okanagan Lake—is the perfect addition to a weekend of winery tours. Then, following a round (or two) of golf, visit 19 Okanagan Grill & Bar, the course’s adjoining fine dining restaurant known as one of the most popular on the Westside.
Just minutes from downtown Kelowna, 19 Greens Premier Putting Course sits right next to the lake on Campbell Road. The 18-hole putting course, and 18-hole mini-golf course, offers a fun outing for all ages. Just off Hwy 97, between West Kelowna and Kelowna, sits Whiplash Cable Wakepark, Safari Ridge Adventure Paintball and Outdoor Laser Tag,
After an afternoon of golf, stop in at Indigenous Winery (mentioned above), a fully owned First Nations winery with a small restaurant on-site.
To learn about the Okanagan’s unique First Nations culture and history, drop in for a tour at the Sncwips Heritage Museum, which houses a collection of preserved and restored First Nations art and artefacts that reflect the heritage and natural history of the syilx/Okanagan Peoples.[the_ad id=”3825″]
SUMMERLAND, & PENTICTON
While staying in Kelowna or West Kelowna, a tour of the Peachland, Summerland and Penticton areas can easily be done in a day trip. There are several wineries here, so if you enjoyed touring the Kelowna wineries a day trip south would be well worth it. There are a couple of wineries off HWY 97 on the way. Go through downtown Summerland, a very nice little town, and follow Victoria Street to access several small wineries. Most are along the slopes of Giants Head Mountain, another volcanic mountain, and close to an existing stretch of the old Kettle Valley Railway.
You may also want to take a 90 minute ride on the historic Kettle Valley Steam Railway. After Summerland make your way to the East side of Penticton, first to Johnson Road and then Naramata Road. You will find lots of wineries along the Naramata Bench, far too many to mention here. Most are located on the Eastern slope of Okanagan Lake and have nice wine shops, some with restaurants and great views.
Written for Kelowna Guide Magazine by – Aura Rose