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Vancouver Island & the Grizzlies Fly Drive

  • Vancouver
  • Victoria
  • Tofino
  • Campbell River
  • Great Bear Lodge
  • Port Hardy
  • Parksville
  • 15 nights from
  • £3,439 per person
  • Trip Code: 601

Holiday Overview

A superb Canada fly drive holiday featuring wildlife and cities

 

A 15-day Canada holiday self drive road trip that includes Vancouver Island, Great Bear Lodge and Vancouver. Great Bear Lodge is located 50 air miles from Port Hardy, British Columbia. The fully self-contained floating lodge is situated at an outstanding wildlife viewing location. This is a place of spectacular beauty where one can still find the silence and solitude of another era. From this location Great Bear Nature Tours operate their Grizzly Bear viewing programme. The BBC used the lodge as their base while filming for the series "Secrets of Our Living Planet".

From May through October, Great Bear Nature Tours offers world-class wildlife viewing excursions from Port Hardy to the central coast of British Columbia. Known as the Great Bear Rainforest, this area is one of the best places in the world to observe grizzly bears and other wildlife such as wolves, black bears, otters, pine martins, mink and bald eagles.  

The Great Bear Rainforest is home to a significant concentration of coastal grizzly bears. During Spring (May and June), grizzly bears come down from the mountains to graze on the sedges, succulents and grasses that make up the dense biomass of the river estuary. There we will observe and photograph them from boats, floating quietly in the estuary sloughs. Coinciding with breeding season, we often see large males interacting with females. Additionally, the estuary is bustling with other bird and animal life at this time of year. The return of tens of thousands of salmon marks the beginning of our Fall season in mid-August. We have constructed a series of enclosed viewing stands along the river, providing a variety of settings to view and photograph grizzly bears as they gorge on fish in anticipation of their coming hibernation.

Vancouver Island & the Grizzlies Fly Drive includes:

  • Return flights from the UK
  • Airport Transfer to downtown Vancouver
  • Car hire
  • Ferry crossings from Vancouver Island
  • 14 nights accommodation
  • Bear viewing sessions
  • Interpretive discussion and welcome orientation for wildlife viewing
  • Afternoon and morning bear viewing sessions, guided by a wildlife biologist
  • Wilderness-gourmet meals including complimentary wine with dinner
  • Transportation to and from the Great Bear Lodge (departing Port Hardy)
  • Slide shows and video presentations of the local natural history
  • Guided hiking, boat cruises or sea-kayaking
  • Rubber boots and rain wear, if required
1

Day 1 - Fly UK to Vancouver

On arrival at Vancouver Airport, transfer to your chosen downtown hotel. (transfer included)

 

Featured accommodation

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel

Enhance your experience

Loden Hotel

Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

2

Day 2 - Explore Vancouver

Day at leisure to explore the delights of Vancouver.

 

Featured accommodation

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel

Enhance your experience

Loden Hotel

Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

3

Day 3 - Vancouver to Victoria

This morning pick up your hire car and head for Tsawwassen Ferry terminal for a 90 min ferry ride (ferry toll included). On-board BC Ferries enjoy the scenery of the Gulf Islands as you cross the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver Island.  Stay 2 nights at a centrally located Victoria hotel.

Featured accommodation

Oswego Hotel

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Hotel Chateau Victoria

Magnolia Hotel & Spa

4

Day 4 - Explore Victoria

Today is free to explore Victoria, with its turn-of-the-century architecture, British traditions such as high tea, and shops full of woollens and china. Take in Butchart Gardens and/or a Whale Watching trip (optional)

Featured accommodation

Oswego Hotel

Enhance your experience

Hotel Chateau Victoria

Magnolia Hotel & Spa

5

Day 5 - Victoria to Tofino

Travel to the rugged West Coast of Vancouver Island and head to Pacific Rim National Park. En-route stops should be made at Duncan the ‘City of Totems’, where you may visit the Quw’utsun’ Heritage Village, which will provide you with an insight into the lives of the  northwest  coast people (admission not included). Make a stop in the artist community of Chemainus, where you can admire the giant murals which adorn the exterior walls throughout the town. Drive through majestic Sutton Pass and the Sawtooth Range of the Cascade Mountains to arrive in Tofino around mid afternoon

Featured accommodation

Middle Beach Lodge - at the Beach

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Cox Bay Beach Resort

Wickaninnish Inn

6

Day 6 - Explore Pacific Rim National Park

Mid-afternoon you may opt to enjoy a 3-hour whale watch cruise (not included) through the Clayoquot Sound, revealing sensational scenery and wildlife such as Gray Whales, Sea Lions, Porpoises and Orcas. The area is also known for its variety of birds, including tufted puffins and resident bald eagles. Tofino is famous for it's beaches - no less than 6! Make sure to catch one of the stunning sunsets from one of the beaches - Tonquin is one of our favourites for the sunset..

Featured accommodation

Middle Beach Lodge - at the Beach

Enhance your experience

Cox Bay Beach Resort

Wickaninnish Inn

7

Day 7 - Tofino to Campbell River

Travel to Campbell River for your 2 night stay at Painters Lodge.

Featured accommodation

Painters Lodge Campbell River

8

Day 8 - Campbell River

Enjoy your day at leisure enjoying the resort facilities and take the complimentary water taxi over to Painters Lodge sister hotel April Point Resort across the Inside Passage to Quadra Island. There are various wildlife excursions and even a guided Salmon fishing excursion on offer, ask for details and prices.

Featured accommodation

Painters Lodge Campbell River

9

Day 9 - Campbell River to Great Bear Lodge

Drive to Port Hardy this morning for your seaplane transfer to Great Bear Lodge. The seaplane is an adventure in itself, travelling over the breathtaking scenery of the central coast and over the rich waters of Queen Charlotte Strait, the home of orca, gray and humpback whales. Upon your arrival at the lodge, your hosts will be on the dock to welcome you to your wilderness retreat. Settle into your private room at the lodge, before joining the group for your first wildlife viewing session. We have a range of different viewing sites, and will choose one according to where the bears have been most active. Estuary sites are reached by boat, while river sites are reached by a wilderness track. The viewing blinds on the river have been constructed with the photographer in mind, and are optimal and comfortable places from which to view bears. There is nothing quite like seeing your first grizzly emerge from the forest. Returning to the lodge that evening, you will be treated to a wilderness-gourmet meal. Our biologist will present slides and videos, explaining the interaction of the grizzly bear with this unique ecology.

Featured accommodation

Great Bear Lodge

10

Day 10 - Great Bear Lodge

In the morning, you will be on the trail of the grizzly bear again after some good coffee and breakfast. A typical viewing session lasts three hours. After a morning of adventure, you will return to the lodge for lunch and a chance to relax. Spend the early afternoon exploring the surrounding area with the guide. A popular activity is the interpretive rainforest walk, examining bear sign and the general ecology of the area. In mid-afternoon you will venture out to see the bears before relaxing in the lodge for dinner. On clear nights, the stars are amazing.

Featured accommodation

Great Bear Lodge

11

Day 11 - Great Bear Lodge

The bears are generally most active in the early morning and late afternoon hours, which is why we focus our viewing sessions on these times. Over the course of your stay we will take you to a variety of sites, depending on the bear activity.

For the afternoon recreation today we may a boat cruise to explore the glacier-carved inlet. Or you may prefer to relax and enjoy the view from the lodge. The Great Bear Rainforest is home to many animals, including grey wolves, otters, black bears, mink and bald eagles.

Featured accommodation

Great Bear Lodge

12

Day 12 - Great Bear Lodge to Port Hardy

After your parting session with the bears, lunch and an afternoon activity, you will be returned to Port Hardy by floatplane in the afternoon sometime between 4pm and 6pm.

Featured accommodation

Quarter Deck Inn

13

Day 13 - Port Hardy to Parksville

Make your way from Port Hardy this morning to Parksville. Spend your afternoon at leisure exploring the resort and enjoying the facilities on offer

Featured accommodation

Quality Resort Bayside

Enhance your experience

The Beach Club Resort

14

Day 14 - Parksville to Vancouver

Depart Parksville and pick up the ferry from Nanaimo to Horseshoe Bay. Continue your journey to Vancouver before dropping off your rental vehicle

Featured accommodation

Rosedale on Robson Suite Hotel

Enhance your experience

Loden Hotel

Fairmont Waterfront Hotel

15

Day 15 - Fly Vancouver to UK

Enjoy your final morning in Vancouver. Check out from your hotel and head to Vancouver Airport (transfer included)

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