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Vancouver Island Mini-Safari: Leg 3
8 days · Victoria, BC → Port Hardy, BC · Easy
Leg 3 is our small group tour of Vancouver Island. We visit historical and unique places that characterize the Westcoast lifestyle, its people and culture.
Nestled along Canada’s west coast, Vancouver Island is a paradise of tranquil islands, pristine coastlines, and emerald forests. Here, the ever-present Pacific Ocean shapes the scenery, softens the climate and supports a thriving marine and land mammal population. Parks visited on this Vancouver Island holiday include Goldstream Provincial Park, MacMillan Provincial Park and Pacific Rim National Park as welll as smller provincial parks and eclogical preserves.
On this leg of the Canada West Safari, we explore old-growth forests where the trees form a cool canopy over walking trails, saunter along on sparkling, wave-swept beaches and wind our way to Vancouver Island’s distinctly different west and east coasts. Travel by packed frieght boat to a secluded wilderness lodge and "chill" or try your hand at kayaking.Heading north, we learn the history of First Nations and see how their ceremonies and traditions are woven into the fabric of Vancouver Island culture. Optional activities include grey whale watching in Tofino and grizzly bears viewing from Alert Bay.
- 8 days, 7 nights
- Victoria, BC
- Port Hardy, BC
- Activity Level
- Max Group Size
- Maximum: 8. Minimum to confirm: 2
- The properties we stay at include inns, cabins and small hotels. At a minimum you will have one queen bed and a private bathroom. Our properties all underscore our philosophy to utilize small-scale accommodation that offer character and cleanliness, pursue sound environmental practices and support other local operators.
- Air conditioned 15 passenger van mini van or SUV.
- 7 breakfasts, 2 lunch, 2 dinner
- Activity Notes
- This tour enables guests to get out and explore the front country of the six parks we visit. Escorted hikes and walks vary in length from 20 minutes to two hour.
- Fully escorted with one driver/guide
- 7 nights’ accommodation in hotels,lodges, motels and inns
- 15 passenger van with air conditioning/ mini van or SUV
- 7 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 2 dinners
- Tours of local villages
- Escorted walks and hikes
- All entrance fees to provincial, national parks and protected areas
- Return ferry transportation from Port McNeil to Alert Bay
- Entrance fees to Craigdarroch Castle, Fort Rodd Hill and Fisguard Lighthouse, McLean Historic Mill and Umista Cultural Centre
- Two Wine Tasting
- Whale Whatching Tour or Marine Tour
- Return Air to Vancouver from Port Hardy ( for those people carrying onto Haida Gwaii the return airfare will be substituted for accommodation in Port Hardy).
- Meals where not indicated
- Airfare from Port Hardy to Vancouver
- Optional activities
- Travel, cancellation and baggage insurance
- Driver/guide gratuities
- 5% GST
Entrance to Craigdarroch Castle
Guided Horse Carriage Rides
2 hour guided Kayak Tour
Guided Cultural Tour in Voyaguer Canoe
Grey whale watching in Tofino (approx. $90)
Grizzly bear viewing from Alert Bay (full day - approx. $268)
View Vancouver Island Mini-Safari: Leg 3 in a larger map
Schedule & Prices
Leg 3. Victoria, BC to Port Hardy, BC
|Jul 9–Oct 1, 2019||$||—||—|
Vancouver Island Mini-Safari: Leg 3 Itinerary
Day 1 Port Renfrew, B.C.
Today we travel along the southern western shores of Vancouver Island and visit some of the historic sites that shaped not only this island but also the province of British Columbia. Our first stop is at the
Historic home of the Robert Dunsmuir Family, Craigdarroch Castle. From here we’ll visit the National Historic sites of Fisguard Lighthouse and Fort Rodd Hill – Fisguard is the first lighthouse to be built on Canada’s Western Shores and still in operation today while Fort Rodd Hill is home to a 19th Century Artillery Fort. Our last stop before leaving the Victoria area is at Hatley Castle – home to the son of Robert Dunsmuir. We leave Victoria behind and travel to the village of Sooke, originally a sawmill town and now a bedroom community of Victoria. Here we’ll enjoy lunch at a local eatery. After lunch its off to do some wine tasting before hitting the road to Port Renfrew and Botanical Beach Provincial Park. At Botanical Beach we take a 30 minute walk to the beach and explore the amazing intertidal marine life that must adapt to a wide range of tidal and temperature conditions. We overnight at a local guesthouse.
Day 2 Port Alberni, B.C.
After breakfast we head out for a 40 minute hike to the “gnarliest” cedar tree in Avatar Grove. And then on to view the world’s tallest Douglas Fir Tree. Our travels into the forest take us down gravel roads and require passengers to wear proper hiking boots. The trails that we travel and rough and often wet with lots of root systems covering the forest floor. After our adventure in the forest we take the Pacific Marine Road over to the east coast via the Cowichan Lake where we’ll take lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch passengers will be able to sample some local wine from the Cowichan Valley before we head off to the town of Duncan to learn about the famous Cowichan Sweaters from local Coast Salish People. From Duncan we make a stop in the tiny old logging turned tourist village of Chemainus made famous by the large murals on the sides of the towns’ buildings depicting its history. We follow the highway north on the east coast turning inland again at Parksville to the town of Port Alberni. We stop at Cathederal Gove and enjoy a short walk through the giant stand of Douglas Firs, Red Cedar and Helmock before checking into our hotel. We hit the sheets early in preparation of an early morning.
Day 3 & 4 Barkely Sound
Your guide will drop you off at the dock in Port Alberni where you board the packet freighter to take through the Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound and Broken Group Islands. During the summer months the ship will dock directly at our wilderness lodge and during the off season passengers will disembark at the village of Bamfield and take a local water taxi to the lodge. Once at the lodge your schedule is your own. Relax and doing NOTHING! Enjoy the scenery and watch the world go by! For those who cant’ be still – rent a kayak, take a walk in the forest or enjoy the hot tub. Take in the ambiance of he westcoast and all its beauty –stop and smell the roses! All meals are provided for you during your stay at the lodge.
Accommodation: Wilderness Lodge
Meals Breakfast lunch and dinner
Day 5 Tofino/ .Ucluelet / Pacific Rim National Park
Back to reality. After breakfast you will board a local water taxi and be taken to Toquart Bay where our guide and van will be waiting for you to continue your journey along Vancouver Island. We’ll stop for lunch in the village of Ucluelet before we make our way to Amphitrite Point Lighthouse and the Wild Pacific Trail. This 2.6 km loop trail takes about 40 minutes to walk and takes us along the wild pacific coastline of Vancouver Island. Our easy hike takes us through a mossy rainforest to windswept coastlines past rocky headlands and to fantastic views of the lighthouse and Barkley Sound. Our day ends at our lodge/yurt located near the beach bordering Pacific Rim National Park. In the evening we can enjoy a campfire and roast marshmellows!
Day 6 Campbell River,
We begin our day visiting Pacific Rim National Park and make our first stop at Kwisitis Centre. Here we can learn a bit about the local history, people and wildlife before we visit Long Beach and tour the rainforest trails. We’ll stop in the village of Tofino for lunch and passengers will have some free time to tour the shops before we head back across to the east coast and Campbell River. Enroute back to Campbell River we’ll stop at the McLean Historic Mill. This mill was the only steam powered mill in all of Canada, here at the mill we’ll visit steam powered donkeys, restored logging equipment and buildings, logging trucks and graders. Our final stop is in Fanny Bay to view a curiosity of philosophy and political statements in the woods! We check in to our hotels in Campbell River at the end of the day.
Day 7 Alert Bay
Our day begins with a walk in the woods at Elk Falls Provincial Park. Here we take the short but scenic walk across a suspension bridge to the view the falls and learn about the life cycle of the salmon at the Quinsam River Hatchery. We leave Campbell River and stop at the village of Sayward for lunch and to view interesting novelties of the village including cable wrapped restaurants, ship reefs, landed donkeys and wild garden trails. Time permitting we’ll visit the town of Woss and do some bushwacking at the Nimpkish Ecological Preserve to view a magnificent stand of Douglas Fir. Our last stop is at the tiny village of Telegraph Cove. Here passenger can enjoy al Whale watching or sign up for a grizzly bear tour early tomorrow morning. We catch the 5:00 ferry to Cormorant Island for our last night in the village of Alert Bay. We’ll tour the visit of Alert Bay including the chiefs’ burial grounds, Big House and Ecological Gardens.Weather permitting we can enjoy a fire on the beach.
Day 8 Drop-off Port Hardy
In the morning passengers have the option of whale watching, grizzly bear tour or visiting the Umista Cultural Centre. Passegers will have some free time to explore and take pictures of this lovely village before we take the ferry back to Vancouver Island to Port Hardy. Passengers finishing the tour today will have the option of being driven to the airport. Airfare back to Vancouver can be arranged at the time of booking this tour. Passengers continuing onto Haida Gwaii will be dropped off at our hotel where they can check in for the next tour.