Canada,

Natural History Highlights of British Columbia

Scroll
Tailor-Made Tour
12 Days
From £5563
GEOIP Not Available
Whale Watching
Photographic

Tour Introduction

12 Days from £5563
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Prices based on rates applicable at the time of costing which may vary. Please ask for a definitive quote

Taking in the top wildlife experiences of British Columbia, this leisurely paced holiday combines two of the very best wilderness lodges in Canada to bring you wildlife encounters to last a lifetime.

Watching magnificent grizzly bears chasing salmon or foraging along the shoreline and observing pods of orcas in their natural habitat are among life’s greatest wildlife experiences and this itinerary offers intimate experiences with both these iconic animals.

The holiday begins with the rich marine environment of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound where you can enjoy some of the finest whale watching in the world from an excellent wilderness lodge, located right in the heart of the action. The sheltered waters of this region offer some of the most reliable orca (killer whale) watching in the world. These impressive top predators are joined by humpback whales, porpoises, harbour seals and huge Stellar’s sea lions and they can all be enjoyed against a stunning backdrop of seemingly endless forests, snow-capped mountains and uninhabited islands.

Heading further into the British Columbian wilderness by floatplane you will then be based at a floating lodge with some of the highest concentrations of grizzly bears in Canada as your neighbours. A stay here offers some of the most intimate and memorable bear viewing anywhere, with excellent photographic opportunities and accessibility. Black bears are also regularly seen and other wildlife includes super pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, bald eagles, marbled murrelets and much more. Depending on the season you can enjoy the bears at eye level from flat bottomed boat, kayaks or purpose-built viewing stands. Leaving the wilds of the Great Bear Rainforest behind, there is some time to experience vibrant and diverse Vancouver.

Full Itinerary

Price from £5563
GEOIP Not Available
per adult. Based on sharing double / twin room in the May - July season.
Day 1
Arrive Vancouver

Arrival in Vancouver. On arrival at Vancouver airport take the hotel shuttle to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure.

Staying at Pacific Gateway Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 2
Johnstone Strait

Take the hotel shuttle to the Vancouver Airport South Terminal. Take Pacific Coastal Airlines flight to Port Hardy. Met on arrival and transfer to Alder Bay by vehicle. Continue the transfer by motorboat into wild Johnstone Strait and to your lodge on Berry Island, part of the Broughton Archipelago.

After settling in perhaps take your first excursion. For example explore Johnstone Strait by boat in search of orcas and humpback whales.

Staying at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Includes Breakfast and Dinner.

Day 3
Johnstone Strait

Enjoy a day of wildlife viewing on various excursions from the lodge. Each day’s itinerary will be decided locally based on your interests.

Excursions include a full day exploring the marine environment of Johnstone Strait and Blackfish Sound for its celebrated population of northern resident orcas. The best period to see these charismatic ‘wolves of the sea’ is from late July to mid-September.

Besides these impressive marine predators, you are also likely to spot humpback whales, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific harbour seals and Steller’s sea lions. Birdlife includes numerous bald eagles and a wealth of seabirds such as rhinoceros auklets, marbled murrelets and surf scoters. During one of the days you will also have opportunities to learn about the local Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations culture and history perhaps with visits to their villages and pictographs.

Staying at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 4
Johnstone Strait

Today the focus could perhaps be on bears. From the lodge you could travel (approx. 90 mins) to one of the remote estuaries in the Great Bear Rainforest. Transportation will then switch to a zodiac or quiet paddle boat as you travel quietly in search of grizzly and black bears.

Depending on the season, you may find bears feeding on coastal sedges, crabs along the shoreline or hunting returning salmon. Depending on conditions you may also spend time tracking and observing bears on foot, under the expertise of your local guides; a very special and intimate experience.

Staying at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 5
Johnstone Strait

Enjoy a final full day exploring the wilds of Johnstone Strait in search of its orcas, whales and bears. Perhaps also spend some time paddle-boarding or kayaking in sheltered bay next to the lodge where humpback pass through or looking for black bears around Berry Island. Enjoy an evening presentation by the guides.

Staying at Farewell Harbour Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 6
Campbell River

This morning perhaps take a final excursion for orcas or just simply relax in the beautiful surroundings.

Return by boat and road to Port Hardy airport. Take Pacific Coastal Airlines flight to Campbell River via Vancouver. Pick up in Campbell River and transfer to your hotel.

Staying at Combort Inn and Suites. Includes Breakfast and Lunch.

Day 7
Knight Inlet

After breakfast pick up from the hotel and transfer (20 minutes) to Campbell River Floatplane Dock.

Enjoy an exhilarating floatplane journey over vast forested mountains and remote fjords to land on the water in front of your next wilderness lodge.

After an orientation, begin bear watching in Glendale Cove. Most excursions are in small flat-bottomed boats enabling outstanding eye level viewing and photography of the numerous grizzly and (less common) black bears that feed in the cove.

Staying at Knight Inlet Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 8
Knight Inlet

A full day to explore Knight Inlet and Glendale Cove on various water and foot-based excursions.

The Glendale Cove area next to the lodge, supports one of the largest densities of grizzly bears in British Columbia due to its abundant and year-round food supplies. Bear watching in the spring and summer consists of boat-based viewing as they feed on sedges and shore crabs along the tide line.

While from late August though to October the annual salmon run, brings the spectacle of fishing grizzlies from specially designed viewing platforms or boats in the estuary. A thrilling experience.

Besides some unforgettable bear watching, other excursions available include a scenic marine life tour of Knight Inlet by powerboat and interpretive hikes into the temperate rainforest. Large pods of Pacific white-sided dolphins, harbour seals, mule deer and Douglas squirrels are also commonly seen, and birdlife includes several pairs of bald eagles, cedar waxwings, marbled murrelets, Great northern divers, red-necked grebes and more.

Staying at Knight Inlet Lodge. Includes All Meals.

Day 9
Campbell River

Enjoy a last morning excursion from the lodge, before saying farewell to new found friends as you return to Campbell River by floatplane. On arrival back in Campbell River transfer to the hotel and enjoy the day at leisure. Perhaps visit the Campbell River Museum to learn more about the local area and First Nations history.

Staying at Comfort Inn and Suites. Includes No Meals.

Day 10
Campbell River

This morning take a local transfer (arranged locally through the hotel and not included) back to Campbell River airport to take Pacific Coastal Airlines flight back to Vancouver. Met on arrival at Vancouver airport and transfer into Downtown Vancouver to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in Vancouver.

Staying at Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 11
Vancouver

A day at leisure to explore Vancouver or its surrounding attractions independently. Excursions that can be arranged include a city tour of this vibrant city via a hop-on hop-off bus, whale watching tours into the Salish sea or a tour of Stanley Park, home to urban wildlife such as racoons and beavers.

Staying at Coast Coal Harbour Hotel. Includes No Meals.

Day 12
Vancouver

Morning transfer to the airport for your departing flight or onward travel.

Includes No Meals.

Tour Accommodation

Canada The Great Bear Rainforest

Farewell Harbour Lodge

Overview

Located on remote Berry Island with 10 acres of acres of undisturbed forest on its doorstep, Farewell Harbour Lodge is a beautifully peaceful family run wilderness lodge. Berry Island is within the border of the world-renowned Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, between Vancouver Island and the mainland of British Columbia with Queen Charlotte Strait to the west and Knight Inlet to the east. Farewell Harbour itself is a beautiful protected anchorage along the famed inside passage route to Alaska.

Farewell Harbour Lodge takes inspiration from typical West coast décor, using local materials and artwork to create a relaxed, friendly and home from home atmosphere. The main lodge building and eight of the suites are on land, whilst the floating portion comprises four more suites which was the original and relocated floating Bones Bay Lodge. Accommodation on land is in comfortable en suite rooms with a wood burning stove and plenty of rustic charm.  There is a lovely lounge area and dining room and bar serving delicious fresh and local cuisine with plenty of seafood, but all diets can be catered for. For the warm summer evenings there is a large outside deck with good views of the harbour for evening drinks and sunset views.

Farewell Harbour is a fantastic location from which to pursue many different activities. For wildlife, there are outstanding opportunities for whale watching with orcas and humpbacks right on your doorstep and a large colony of Steller’s sea lions nearby. The lodge also offers wonderfully intimate and exhilarating bear watching often on foot in remote estuaries and there plenty of opportunities to experience the local culture too. The lodge is also ideally placed for those that enjoy wildlife viewing and exploring by kayak and paddle board too with many sheltered bays. Wildlife packages of various lengths are available and are designed to incorporate all the best natural attractions around Berry Island. The staff are always happy to customise each guest experience as much as possible around their interests and requirements.

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
No
Rooms
12
Facilities

Main lodge building with dining room, bar, lounge area and wrap around decking. Rooms have private decks, wood stoves and two queen sized beds each.

Local Wildlife

The Broughton Archipelago and the southern Great Bear Rainforest on the lodge’s doorstep is home to a great concentration of orcas in the summer months. The famous orcas are joined by humpback whales, Dall’s and harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins, Pacific harbour seals and colonies of Steller’s sea lions for most of the season too. Black bears are common throughout the area and the lodge has good access to some great grizzly bear viewing areas. Birdlife is also rich with bald eagles and marbled murrelets particularly common while depending on the season a wide range of seabirds can also be seen including many auklets, scoters and harlequin ducks.

Optional Activities

Wildlife viewing of orcas, humpbacks, Steller's sea lions, dolphins, grizzly and black bears. Kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, fishing, visits to First Nations villages and interpretative walks.

Canada Vancouver Island

Coast Coal Harbour Hotel

Overview

Located in a prime location in Downtown Vancouver, close to many attractions and the waterfront, the Coast Coal Harbour hotel is an excellent choice for an affordable base to explore the city from. It is a modern, contemporary hotel with 220 rooms of varying category from standard doubles to two-bedroom suites with outdoor terraces. Every room features floor to ceiling windows affording fabulous views over the city and harbour of Vancouver. All rooms are equipped with modern facilities and ensuite bathrooms, and some are pet friendly or wheelchair accessible.

The hotel’s Preston’s Restaurant and lounge serves food all day, showcasing local ingredients, as well as being a nice location for an evening drink. The hotel’s prime location in Vancouver city means there are also many exciting dining options in the vicinity, allowing guests to take advantage of the city’s exciting food scene.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
220
Facilities

Rooms have free Wi-Fi, flat screen TVs, music dock, tea and coffee facilities, mini bar, electric bidet toilet seat, hairdryer and ironing board and iron. Accessible rooms also have roll in showers, emergency lights and widened door frames for wheelchair access. There is also a fitness centre, pool and hot tub, Preston’s restaurant and lounge bar, a ballroom and many meeting rooms, valet parking, ice machines, and a Japanese themed spa.

Optional Activities

Onsite: spa treatments; use of the gym, pool and hot tub. In Vancouver, guests can explore the city's culinary, cultural and natural attractions. Hotel staff can advise guests as to where they might like to visit.

Canada Vancouver Island

Comfort Inn and Suites

Overview

The Comfort Inn and Suites is located at the Being fairly centrally located for but opposite Located by the Campbell River, the Comfort Inn and Suites is a convenient choice to explore the attractions on offer here. The hotel has many rooming options, including traditional rooms, deluxe rooms, accessible rooms, pet-friendly rooms, suites, and ocean view suites.  The hotel also has all conveniences of a modern hotel, including pool, fitness centre, business centre, and other facilities to make your stay comfortable.

Take advantage of the riverside location by partaking in activities such as: fishing (Campbell River has long been revered as the ‘salmon capital of the world’); whale watching and wildlife tours; adventures sports such as rafting and kayaking; or visiting cultural museum and nearby traditional peoples.

Situated just outside of the centre of Campbell River and 30 minutes’ drive from the airport, this comfortable hotel overlooks Discovery Passage and snow-capped mountains in the distance. It offers 58 well equipped, ensuite rooms including a/c, flat-screen TV and mini-bar with tea and coffee facilities. There are special access rooms as well as pet-friendly and ocean view all with the same modern amenities.

Other facilities in the hotel include a continental breakfast bar serving local delicacies, indoor swimming pool and jacuzzi and free Wi-Fi. The hotel is a short walk from the centre of town where many restaurants, shops and bars can be found.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Facilities

Rooms have free WiFi, flat screen TV, mini fridge, microwave, coffee machine, telephone, daily newspaper and some rooms are pet friendly. The hotel has an indoor pool and hot tub, fitness centre, free car park, business centre, frozen storage for fishermen’s catches, business centre, dry cleaning and laundry services.

Local Wildlife

The discovery passage opposite Campbell River is famous for its salmon and orcas and humpbacks can sometimes be seen on day trips. Black bears often visit the Quinsam River Hatchery just out of town during September and October.

Optional Activities

Fishing, whale watching, wildlife watching (Bute Inlet or Knight Inlet), rafting, kayaking, mountain biking, hiking, museums and cultural excursions.

Canada Vancouver and the Salish Sea

Pacific Gateway Hotel

Overview

The hotel is one of the closest and most convenient for Vancouver airport, which is just 3 km away and for which it provides a regular complimentary 24/7 shuttle service. It is also just a 20-30-minute drive from the main city centre and is located adjacent to the Fraser River and marina with mountainous views in the other direction.

Several rooming categories are available, ranging from deluxe rooms to club rooms, and one or two-bedroom suites. All rooms can have different bed arrangements to suit individual requirements. Each ensuite room offers modern amenities including flat-screen cable TV, free Wi-Fi tea and coffee machines and a hairdryer. The hotel is ideal for those that need an overnight in Vancouver before or after a flight and do not wish to add extra travel time by going into the city centre.

Swimming Pool
Yes
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
382
Facilities

Rooms provide flat-screen cable TVs, free Wi-Fi, hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities and bathroom amenities. The hotel has a small outdoor pool and fitness centre and a small souvenir stand. It also offers a business centre, airport shuttle service, atmospheric restaurant and bar and coffee and snack shop.

Optional Activities

City tours and shopping in Downtown Vancouver.

Canada The Great Bear Rainforest

Knight Inlet Lodge

Overview

The wonderful floating Knight Inlet Lodge has been offering world class bear viewing and wilderness exploration since the early 1990’s. The lodge is located 60 km up the wild Knight Inlet Fjord (one of the longest in British Columbia) and at the entrance to the peaceful Glendale Cove which offers some of the finest grizzly bear viewing in the world. The lodge accommodates guests in 18 charming and spacious bedrooms each with two comfortable queen beds, private bathrooms and hot water showers (no hairdryers).

The main building houses a homely dining room where tasty locally sourced meals are taken often featuring local seafood and special diets can also be well catered for. There is also a small bar and lounge next door, where complimentary house wines, soft drinks, snacks, films and presentations can be enjoyed. International and local beers, spirits and wines are also available for an additional cost. There is no Wi-Fi at the lodge but each evening the resident guides and local experts give educational talks and presentations on the wildlife, ecology, history and culture of the region. The lodge has an extensive equipment room with all the raingear and rubber boots required for the excursions, as it can rain a lot in this part of Canada.

Please note that this is one of the wettest parts of British Columbia and as such the lodge has a well stocked kit room with all the wet weather clothing and rubber boots neccessary for this. During the summer there is usually only a long shower every four days and comfortable temperatures.

 

Swimming Pool
No
Air Conditioning
Yes
Rooms
18
Facilities

All guest rooms feature comfortable queen size beds and private bathrooms with showers. There are a couple of rooms with 1 queen size bed plus bunk beds as well as a couple with 1 queen size bed and 2 single beds for families of 4 looking to visit the lodge.The guest rooms all have a view of either Glendale Cove or the shoreline behind the lodge where we often see bears.

Local Wildlife

Glendale Cove is home to one of the largest concentrations of grizzly (brown) bears in British Columbia. It is not uncommon for there to be up to 40 bears within 10 kilometres of the lodge in the peak fall season, when the salmon are returning to the river.

Marine tours are also very rewarding. In the spring, the tours travel throughout the inlet viewing the seals, Steller's sea lions, Dall's and harbour porpoises, Pacific white-sided dolphins and the occasional whale that may travel though these waters. From July onwards, the tours have the added attraction of the Orca (killer) whale and when guests journey to the world famous Johnstone Strait, they are almost assured of spending some great viewing time with these magnificent marine mammals. Not only do the tours focus upon viewing the whales, but also include all of the spring marine viewing as well, so the program lasts for up to 10 hours. In recent years humpback whale numbers have bounced back in the area. Some spend the whole summer feeding here while others pass through on their way from Alaska to Hawaii.

Optional Activities

The lodge guarantees at least one bear viewing excursion at the stands for guests during their stay, but cannot guarantee how many visits to the stands will be possible in advance as this depends on numbers, local conditions and recent sightings. In addition to the viewing from the stands, bear watching will also be offered in the Glendale Cove estuary where some incredible salmon chasing can often be observed in September. Besides dedicated grizzly bear viewing, a range of other wildlife activities are included and available each day including kayaking, scenic cruises up the inlet, interpretive and tracking focused walks in the Great Bear Rainforest for a range of abilities. The lodge has an excellent fleet of boats available for the different activities enabling guests to get the most out of their time in this wilderness.

From the lodge, marine tours are also spectacular, with chances to see miles of untouched wilderness, along with Black Bears, Porpoises and other Marine animals and birds. The Humpback has been making a comeback to the region and they have been seeing them breaching and blowing as well as many sightings of the Orca. From about mid July until October the expert guides will make every possible effort to locate and provide intimate encounters with these beautiful beasts. In every case, our guides will lead you to the wildlife which is best viewed in that particular season. As well, they offer hiking or walking tours, tracking tours and kayaking tours.

Route Map

loading map - please wait...

Pacific Gateway Hotel: 49.190967, -123.140476
Comfort Inn and Suites: 50.028719, -125.244481
Farewell Harbour Lodge: 50.601022, -126.670164
Knight Inlet Lodge: 50.676839, -125.725309
Coast Coal Harbour Hotel: 49.288361, -123.122198

Departure Dates

This tour has no set departure date and can be tailored to suit your travel requirements. Contact us for more details.

Travel Information

Are International Flights Included?

No. Please contact us for a quote if required.

Flight Info:

There are direct flights from the UK to Vancouver with British Airways, Air Canada, Air Transat and WestJet.

Best Visited:

June to October

Are you ATOL Registered?

Yes. This means we are legally able to book your international flights in conjunction with your ground arrangements so you can book with us with complete confidence. Read more about our ATOL license here.

Ian Loyd

Area Specialist

If you have any questions regarding this Tour, please feel free to contact me on +44 (0)1803 866965