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Whales & Bears of British Columbia

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Explore Vancouver Island, the largest island on the North American Pacific coast
Includes return economy airfares

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Escorted Journey
Beautiful British Columbia - where sensational wildlife regularly presents itself amidst a backdrop of rugged scenery.

Highlights

Whales and bears are the big draw picture cards but other players like seals, elk and beaver ensure a truly authentic British Columbian encounter.

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Explore Vancouver Island, the largest island on the North American Pacific coast
  • Observe Orca, Humpback and Grey whales with experienced naturalist guides
  • Look for Grizzlies in their natural surroundings

Holiday Type

Wildlife & Nature
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Off the Beaten Track
  • Y
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  • N

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What's included
  • International flights
  • 9 nights hotel accommodation
  • Transport: Travel by minibus, ferry, motorboat and Zodiac
  • All activities as listed
  • Tour leader throughout
Need to know
  • This is a small group adult holiday
  • The group is usually between 4 and 16 in size, with an average of 12
Your route
Grand American Adventures: WHALES & BEARS OF BRITISH COLUMBIA MAP Vancouver Island Pacific Rim National Park Elk Falls Provincial Park Victoria Cathedral Grove

Itinerary

Day 1
Vancouver

Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver! Today, you can arrive at any time and get out and explore this bustling seaport city.

Day 2
Vancouver

Vancouver

Vancouver is often hailed as Canada's most beautiful city. This cosmopolitan and diverse metropolis is in stark contrast to the rest of British Columbia, but always proves to be a highlight. Take a guided city tour this morning, mostly on foot. In the afternoon, transfer to the port to board a ferry to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, a one and a half hour journey across the Strait of Georgia. Spend some time visiting this gateway city before settling into our hotel for the night.

Day 3
Ucluelet

Ucluelet

This morning there is an optional excursion to explore the ancient fossils and crystal formations of Horn Lake Caves Provincial Park. In the afternoon you'll transfer to Ucluelet (near Tofino), where you'll stay for the next three nights. Stop on the way at Cathedral Grove Provincial Park to see the last remains of the temperate rainforest that covered the island more than a thousand years ago. This is one of the most accessible areas of giant Douglas-fir trees in the province and there are many trails enabling us to meander through Douglas-fir, Western Hemlock, Grand fir and Western Red Cedar trees. Today's total journey time is around 3.5 hours.

Day 4
Pacific Rim National Park

Pacific Rim National Park

The Pacific Rim National Park is nestled between the mountains of the Vancouver Island Range and the Pacific coastline. Take a walk inside the park this morning in order to admire the rich natural heritage of the west coast of Canada. In the afternoon, board zodiacs with a naturalist guide who will lead a 2.5 - 3 hour whale observation excursion. The goal is to see Humpback and Grey whales, but it is also common to come across seals and sea lions amongst the rocky headlands. Today's driving time should not exceed 2 hours.

Day 5
Tofino Botanical Gardens

Tofino Botanical Gardens

Obtain a greater understanding of the rainforest environment this morning at the Tofino Botanical Gardens. There is a lovely birdwatching area where woodpeckers, songbirds and hummingbirds can be found and Bald eagles are sometimes seen circling overhead in search of prey on the neighbouring Tofino Mudflats. Late this afternoon, board zodiacs for a 2.5 hour expedition to observe Black bear and Bald eagle (depending on the low-tide schedule, this activity may take place earlier in the day). In the wilderness of Clayoquot Sound, Black bears can be found searching for crabs and clams on the rocky beaches. Travel the fjord inlet by zodiac, looking in sheltered bays and stopping to observe any Black bears that you find from the comfort of our zodiac.

Day 6
Elk Falls Provincial Park.

Elk Falls Provincial Park.

Depart Ucluelet and drive for four hours to Campbell River on the North Shore of Vancouver Island. Campbell River is known as the 'Salmon Capital of the World' for its hugely impressive salmon runs where five species of Pacific salmon can be found in the river. It has been designated as a Heritage River for its importance in British Columbia - following the fish are bears, seals, kingfishers and eagles. This afternoon you'll take a short walk in Elk Falls Provincial Park with its thundering, impressive waterfalls.

Day 7
Orford River

Orford River

Today, board a covered boat for a full day excursion to the Orford River area (on the mainland of British Columbia) to observe Grizzlies in their natural habitat. Conservative estimates suggest there are 10,000 Grizzly bears living in British Columbia, with 92% of the original habitat of Grizzly bears still occupied. The abundance of spawning salmon in the Orford River at this time of year brings Grizzlies down to feast. A two hour journey by boat with a spectacular backdrop of mountainous scenery brings you to the mouth of the Orford River. From here you'll take a short bus journey inland, where there are five viewing platforms from which to spot the bears. Visit one (or maybe two) of these, from where you'll hopefully observe the bears catching and feeding on salmon, sometimes with cubs in tow. On the boat journey to and from the Orford River you may also see Black bears, Grey, Orca and Humpback whales, dolphins, porpoise and sea lions.

Day 8
Quadra Island

Quadra Island

Drive for around four hours to Victoria, making stops along the way to enjoy the scenery of Vancouver Island for the last time. This afternoon, board a ferry across the Strait of Georgia, admiring the small islands and breathtaking panorama of the city of Vancouver as it comes into view. In the late afternoon there will be some free time to explore Vancouver at your own pace, visiting Stanley Park or China Town.

Day 10
Vancouver

Vancouver

Your wonderful tour concludes today. You can leave at any time, or ask your travel consultant about extending your trip.

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We're open every day from:
9:00am to 8:00pm Mon-Fri
9:00am to 6:00pm Sat
10:00am to 5:00pm Sun and Public Holidays

We're open every day from:
9:00am to 8:00pm Mon-Fri
9:00am to 6:00pm Sat
10:00am to 5:00pm Sun and Public Holidays

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