Explore BC - Wildlife & Beaches of Vancouver Island
13 nights from €1,669 per person
We have created this itinerary as the perfect way to explore Vancouver Island – seeing the best of the landscapes, seascapes and wildlife. It’s a circular route from the lovely waterfront capital of Victoria in British Columbia. Explore this laid-back city on foot or by kayak and then drive through stunning provincial parks and along spectacular coastal routes. You’ll have the opportunity to see orca and grizzly bears in the wild, along with sea lions, seals, dolphins and eagles. Tailormade
If you’d like to add on a few days in Vancouver at the beginning or end of this holiday, then we can extend the itinerary to include this wonderful city.
- Take a bear watching excursion at Campbell River to see grizzlies in their natural habitat
- Hit the surf capital of Tofino on the west coast, enjoying the endless beaches and exhilarating waves
- Book a whale watching cruise to see Orca in the area with one of the highest concentration of killer whales in the world
- Explore the coastal provincial parks, hiking the trails through forests and along beaches to admire the stunning coastline
Fly into Victoria BC stay 1 night – Sooke 2 nights – Parksville 2 nights – Tofino 2 nights – Campbell River 2 nights – Telegraph Cove 2 nights – Nanaimo 1 night – Victoria 1 night – Return flight from Victoria
Fly to Victoria BC
Fly to Victoria on Vancouver Island, the capital of British Columbia and check in to your hotel for two nights. You could start this itinerary in Vancouver if you would like time in this great city, and then take a ferry ride over to Vancouver Island. Just let us know and we can extend this itinerary.
Overnight: Coast Victoria Hotel
Explore coastal city of Victoria, and we recommend a stroll along the harbour footpath that will take you all the way to Fisherman’s Wharf. Here you will find a bright array of food kiosks and quirky shops – a lovely place for an al fresco lunch. There is also a great urban kayak tour you could take around the harbour, to see both sides of the city taking in landmark buildings such as the Fairmont Empress and sea life such as seals and eagles.
Overnight: Coast Victoria Hotel
Days 3 & 4
Victoria – Sooke (25 miles)
It’s just a short drive along the coast to Sooke where you will be staying for a couple of nights. Here you will find gorgeous parks, with marked hiking trails to help you enjoy the best of the scenery. You’ll find sandy shores backed by dark green forests, beaches strewn with driftwood and handy picnic areas with good facilities. French Beach Provincial Park is a particular favourite and the Sooke Potholes are also worth a visit – if you don’t mind cold water, then this is a great place for a swim!
Overnight: Prestige Oceanfront Resort
Sooke – Parksville (97 miles)
Today drive up the south eastern coast of Vancouver Island to the coastal town of Parksville. Before arriving at Parksville, you could take a detour the North Island Wildlife Recovery Centre where you see rescued birds and animals as they recuperate. Rathtrevor Beach Provincial Park is on the outskirts of the town and offers huge stretches of sandy beach at low tide, great for a stroll and spotting sea creatures in the tidal pools. Englishman River Falls is also just outside the town, and you can take the short walk to a couple of lovely waterfalls and natural swimming pools.
Overnight: The Beach Club Resort
Days 6 & 7
Parksville – Tofino (107 miles)
Traverse across Vancouver Island to the surf capital of Canada – Tofino. It will be a scenic drive to your destination today, with the route pass through several Provincial Parks, skirting various lakes and with the final stretch running through the Pacific Rim National Park. You’ll be staying two nights in this fun seaside town, so you have plenty of time to explore the fantastic beaches where you can swim (if you can brave the cold water), stroll and watch the surfers. We would also recommend a bear watching excursion from Tofino, by boat to visit the black bears feeding grounds along the coastline. You could also take a kayaking excursion through the sparkling waters of Clayoquot Sound, with a chance to see other wildlife including eagles, seals, porpoise and river otters.
Overnight: Cox Bay Beach Resort
Days 8 & 9
Tofino – Campbell River (168 miles)
Today you’ll be crossing the island back to the east coast and then heading north to Campbell River for a couple of nights. Campbell River is an excellent centre for wildlife viewing and we can advise on the best excursions to book. You could choose a grizzly bear expedition, where first you will take a 2 hour boat ride to Bute Inlet and then here you will be taken to various viewing platforms to see the grizzly bears foraging and fishing for salmon. Alternatively you might want to book a rather unique excursion – a rafting tour to see salmon and if you want you can snorkel with amongst these teaming fish. As you raft through the waters, you’ll also spot other wildlife such as kingfisher and beaver.
Overnight: Coast Discovery Inn
Days 10 & 11
Campbell River – Telegraph Cove (125 miles)
Head further north to Telegraph Cove where we recommend a watching trip as this area has one of the biggest concentrations of Orca’s in the world. The best viewing is mid July to the end of September, and you’ll also have the opportunity to see minke whales, dolphins, porpoises, sealions and seals. You’ll be spending two nights here, so that you can devote a full day to a whale tour.
Overnight: Telegraph Cove Resort
Telegraph Cove – Nanaimo (221 miles)
After days of wildlife viewing, today is a quieter day as you drive back south down the island to Nanaimo. This is Vancouver Islands second biggest city, and has beautiful mountain views and a bustling harbour. The city offers wonderful seafood restaurants, and you can enjoy a lovely walk along the harbour front walkway, where you’ll also be able to shop for souvenirs.
Overnight: Best Western Dorchester Hotel
Nanaimo - Victoria (221 miles)
Time now to head back to Victoria and drop off your hire car. We’ve included another night in this lovely city, to give you chance to enjoy some of the great restaurants, visit the Royal BC Museum, stroll through Beacon Hill Park or visit the beautiful Butchart Gardens. But you could head over the water to Vancouver for a few days in this fun city and then fly home from there.
Overnight: Coast Victoria Hotel
It's tome to fly home
- International flights to Vancouver
- Fully comprehensive car hire
- Personalised printed roadbook
- 13 nights accommodation (or similar) as detailed above on a room only basis
What’s not included
- Activities and excursions – we can book these for you, here is a selection, with approximate prices per person:
- Victoria Harbour Urban Kayak Tour £66
- Bear Watching in Tofino £88
- Discover the Rainforest Kayak & Hike from Tofino £81
- Rafting & Snorkel with Salmon Tour from Campbell River £128
Johnstone Strait Whale Watching from Telegraph Cove £97