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Explore BC - Coast & Culture

14 Nights Tour from €1,769 per Person Including Flights

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Overview

A fabulous exploration of British Columbia, taking in the beauty of Vancouver Island coast and views over the Inside Passage to the BC mainland. You'll learn all about the history of British Columbia from First Nations to the early settlers and understanding the real character and culture of this spectacular province. This is a suggested itinerary and we can tailormake it to suit your interests. If you'd like some more inspiration, then have a read of these articles: Ideas for a stay in Vancouver and Top things to do in Victoria

Highlights

  • Discover the museums and galleries of Vancouver and Victoria
  • Visit stunning Provincial Parks and hike beautiful trails along the coastline and inland to waterfalls and forests
  • Cruise on BC Ferries from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert, viewing the natural beauty of mountains and fjords and spotting wildlife such as orcas, eagles and seals
  • Stay in remote communities, enjoying their friendly hospitality and understanding their history and culture

Itinerary Overview

Fly into Vancouver stay 2 nights – Victoria 1 night – Nanaimo 2 nights – Campbell River 1 night – Port Hardy 1 night – Prince Rupert 2 nights – Smithers 1 night – Prince George 1 night – Williams Lake 1 night Kamloops 1 night – Harrison Hot Springs 1 night – Return flight from Vancouver

Details

Day 1

Fly to Vancouver and check in to your hotel for two nights

Overnight: Georgian Court

Day 2

Vancouver

Enjoy a full day in Vancouver where you can enjoy a massive array of experiences from foodie to floatplanes. As this itinerary has a cultural focus, we suggest starting at the Vancouver Art Gallery, where there is an excellent permanent exhibition of the work of Emily Carr, an artist and writer who lived in BC in the early part of the 20 century – the artwork will give you a great feel for the wilderness of the province, the lives of the indigenous peoples and the early settlers. Also visit the BC Museum of Anthropology, which is situated in a magnificent building overlooking the sea and mountains. It features impressive collections of Coast Salish and First Nations works of art and look out for the Raven and the First Men Sculpture, which features on the $20 Canadian bank note.

Overnight: Georgian Court

Day 3

Vancouver – Victoria (71 miles)

Pick up your hire car and take the ferry over to Vancouver Island, where you’ll be spending the next few nights. First stop is the capital of British Columbia – Victoria – a lovely walkable, waterfront city. Here the key cultural attraction is the Royal BC Museum, which you’ll recognise by the great collection of totem poles in its grounds. This museum focusses on the land and people of British Columbia, and features literally millions of artefacts and specimens!

Overnight: Coast Victoria Hotel

Day 4

Victoria

A full day to explore Victoria and its surrounds. If the Emily Carr exhibition in Vancouver piqued your interest, then you can visit her house her in Victoria, and there is also a slice of the Victorian era at Craigdarroch Castle – built for Robert Dunsmuir who was the richest man in western Canada at the end of the 19 century. We’d also highly recommend the Maritime Museum of British Columbia, which is a small but perfectly formed museum.    

Overnight: Coast Victoria Hotel

Day 5

Victoria – Nanaimo (69 miles)

Take the short drive northbound along the east coast to the second city Nanaimo. A must-visit is the renowned Nanaimo museum with engaging exhibits about indigenous peoples. Later in the afternoon, enjoy a stroll along the harbour front walkway, browse the shops and enjoy a drink and a bite to eat.

Overnight: Best Western Dorchester Hotel Nanaimo

Day 6

Nanaimo – Campbell River (96 miles)

Today you’ll continue heading north to the town of Campbell River, and after the drive, a good place to stretch your legs is the Elk Falls Provincial Park. Park the car and follow the trail through the forest to the suspension bridge where you’ll have a great view of the falls. Then you’ll have time this afternoon to visit the museum with its popular First Nation exhibits and galleries showing the history of logging and fishing. Or if the weather is good, you might prefer to take a longer hike with a picnic at Ripple Rock – follow the marked trail up to the top of the cliff where you will have spectacular views of the Inside Passage, Quadra Island and the Seymour Narrows with its super-strong tidal currents. You have a night in Campbell River so perhaps try out one of the restaurants overlooking the water.

Overnight: Coast Discovery Inn Campbell River

Day 7

Campbell River – Port Hardy (145 miles)

You might want a lie-in this morning, as tomorrow will be an early start. So after a leisurely morning continue with your journey to the north of the island. Arrive in Port Hardy perhaps visit the Port Hardy Museum and Archives where you will find some fascinating snippets of local history and also a good gift shop selling First Nation souvenirs.

Overnight: Pier Side Landing Hotel Port Hardy

Day 8

Port Hardy – BC Ferries – Port Rupert (325 miles)

Early morning you’ll board the BC Ferry “Northern Expedition” for a cruise along the British Columbia coastline to the remote port of Prince Rupert, close to the Alaska border. En route you will see stunning natural beauty with snow-capped mountains and jagged fjords. You’ll pass tiny fishing villages, and should be able to spot seals and eagles, and if you’re lucky you could see orcas too. You’ll be on board for around 16 hours, so we advise you book a cabin to allow you to relax in your own space. The ship has lots of panoramic seating areas, plus a dining room and gift shop.

Overnight: Crest Hotel Prince Rupert

Day 9

Prince Rupert

You’ll have arrived late the previous night after the cruise north, so you’ll probably want a leisurely start and then some exercise, and so head for the Butze Rapids Park to walk the beautiful trail for a couple of hours, through ancient forests and wetlands. If you can time your walk to be at the rapids viewing platform (about a mile from the car park) just after high tide, then you’ll see the natural phenomenon of the reversing tidal rapids.

Overnight: Crest Hotel Prince Rupert

Day 10

Prince Rupert

If you’re short of time, then you could leave Prince Rupert this morning, but we’ve built another day into this itinerary so that you can visit the grizzly bears of Khutzeymateen Provincial Park. Truly a bucket-list experience, when a camera really is a must. We can book this awe-inspiring day for you, cruising out of Prince Rupert through Chatham Sound then heading east into pristine wilderness, home to the largest population of grizzly bears on earth. On this trip you will also get up close to other wildlife including orca whales, eagles, seals, mountain goats and black bears.

Overnight: Crest Hotel Prince Rupert

Day 11

Prince Rupert– Smithers (216 miles)

Today you’ll be driving Highway 16, also known as the Yellowhead Highway after an early fur trader,  through northern British Columbia to Smithers. Visit Moricetown Canyon to see the fish ladders and admire the view, and you may be able to see First Nation people catching fish in the traditional way.  Pop into the Smithers Visitor Centre to learn more about the area.

Overnight: Aspen Inn Smithers

Day 12

Smithers – Prince George (230 miles)

Drive to Prince George today. A unique community where Highways 16 and 97 meet and the Fraser and Nechako Rivers converge. A regional centre for shopping, arts and sports, this is where the BC wilderness and urban life coexist. Relax in one of the parks, visit the railway museum, enjoy a meal or perhaps do a tasting at the local winery.

Overnight: Coast Inn of the North Prince George

Day 13

Prince George – Williams Lake (149 miles)
Today head south along Highway 97 to Williams Lake, and perhaps on arrival, stroll to the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin which houses memorabilia of local life through the ages including gold panning, ranching and the fur trade.  

Overnight: Coast Fraser Inn Williams

Day 14

Williams Lake - Kamloops (179 miles)

Keep on heading south to the town of Kamloops for an overnight stay to break up the journey. The name Kamloops comes from “T’Kemlups” from the language of the First Nation Shuswap people meaning “The Meeting of the Rivers”. Here you’ll find a handful of winery’s that you could visit for a tasting, or perhaps stroll the Kamloops River Trail.

Overnight: The Plaza Kamloops

Day 15

Kamloops – Harrison Hot Springs (153 miles)

Your exploration of British Columbia is now coming to an end, so what better way to wind down than a stay at the lovely resort of Harrison Hot Springs. Relax and enjoy the water!

Overnight: Harrison Hot Springs Resort

Day 16

Harrison Hot Springs – Vancouver Airport (82 miles)

After a relaxing morning, drive to the airport to drop off your car and fly home.
 

  • International flights to Vancouver
  • Ferry cruise from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert (cabins available at a supplement)
  • Fully comprehensive car hire
  • Personalised printed roadbook
  • 15 nights accommodation as detailed above on a room only basis (or similar)


What’s not included
Activities and excursions – we can book these for you, here is a selection, with approximate prices per person:
Hop on Hop off Tour of Vancouver 2 day pass £38
Victoria City Tour & Craigdarroch Castle £37
Grizzly Bear Viewing in Khutzeymateen from Prince Rupert £248
 

Book today

Talk to our travel experts for more information and to book or tailor-make your holiday.

Tralee 066 7164420

Dublin 01 6649910

9am - 9pm Mon - Sun

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