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Canada Wildlife Holidays which will blow your mind – Number 5

Posted in: Canada, Posted in: Bear Safari Canada


Canada Wildlife Holidays which will blow your mind – Number 5

Vancouver Island Wildlife Tour

Imagine that just 2 hours away from the busy streets of Vancouver city, you have a beautiful island just teaming with wildlife. Where you have the chance to see and photograph Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Orcas, Bald Eagles, Humpback Whales, Pacific White-Sided dolphins and Sea Otters. With luck on your side, all this can be achieved in a dynamic and exhilarating one-week tour; which allows you time to visit the east and west coasts of this fascinating Island.

Grizzly bear tours on Vancouver Island

It can be a little confusing that Vancouver Island is famous for the chance to see Grizzly Bears, while having no resident brown bear population – that’s a strange one! This is because the east coast of Vancouver Island – in particular the coastal communities of Campbell River and Telegraph Cove – are the access points for grizzly bear viewing tours to various inlets on the west coast of mainland BC. As well as world famous Knight Inlet, where we have our signature Grizzly Bear Lodge safari; where you first take a spectacular floatplane journey from Campbell River to Minstrel island to start your wildlife adventure. You also have superb local operators running small group bear viewing tours to Bute Inlet. If you plan on spending 2 to 3 days on the east coast, you will have a great chance to see Brown Bears, Orcas, Humpback Whales, Harbour Porpoises, Dolphins and Bald Eagles.

Whale watching on Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island is one of the best locations in the world for whale watching, with the scientific study of the Orcas in Johnstone strait, being one of the longest and most informative whale studies ever under taken. These studies help the local whale watching companies track the whales and maximise the chances for whale watching enthusiasts to see them. Although many visitors short on time organise their whale watching from Victoria, we consider the communities of Campbell River, Telegraph Cove and Tofino to offer the best whale watching on Vancouver Island – especially as the size of the boats and number of people permitted on each trip is much lower than Victoria.

If you are short on time, then simply look at bear and whale watching options out of Campbell River – located just 2 hours north of Nanaimo. This busy seaside town has a marina full of options for bear and whale excursions and if you visit in September you will have the chance to see grizzly bears catching salmon in Bute Inlet and then go whale watching in Johnstone Strait. Check out one of our client favourites; the 7 day Grizzly Bear tour at Campbell River

With a little more time and a desire to see as much marine and terrestrial wildlife as possible we would strongly advice a twin location holiday on Vancouver Island, split between Telegraph Cove in the north east and Tofino on the Pacific west coast. Not only will the variety and the beauty of the landscapes impress you, you will have the chance for some of the best grizzly bear viewing in Knight Inlet, superb whale watching in Johnstone strait; before arriving in Tofino to continue you wildlife adventure. Tofino whale watching is famous throughout the world and here the focus is to see both Gray and Humpback Whales. Humpback whales are always the most interesting to photograph, as they exhibit a lot of different behaviours – such as, breaching, spyhopping, lob-tailing, tail-slapping and pectoral fin-slapping . We have a superbly priced 7 day Grizzly Bear viewing at Knight Inlet plus whale watching at Tofino.

How to get to Vancouver Island

If you enjoy driving along scenic highways, with not too much traffic, then it makes a lot of sense to pick up your hire car at Vancouver Airport and then take the ferry from BC Ferries Tsawwassen terminal to either Victoria (Swartz Bay) or Nanaimo (Duke Point). If your main aim is to get on with your Vancouver Island wildlife tour, then the ferry to Nanaimo would make more sense from a geographical point of view.

Another option, which will give you the bonus of s scenic flight between Vancouver and the Island is to take a Pacific Coastal Airlines flight from Vancouver Airport (South Terminal) and fly into Campbell River. There are car rental options at this airport (the per day costs will be higher than from Vancouver Airport) and you arrive close to the Campbell River marina, where so many bear and whale watching tours are on offer.

Best time of year to visit Vancouver Island for wildlife

As a quick summary we can say that some of the highlights on Vancouver Island are the spring bear viewing season during the months of May and June and the Autumn bear viewing season from September to mid-October; where it is possible to see grizzly bear catching salmon at Knight Inlet and Bute Inlet. As well as the chance to see lots of different wildlife on Vancouver Island at that time, you also will see less tourists on the road; as the peak season for both Canadian, American and other international visitors is July and August. That is not to say that travelling in peak season is bad for wildlife – infact, this is probably the best time to see Orcas in Johnstone strait – just that bear viewing on Vancouver Island can ‘slow down’ a little in the hotter month, as some of the bear stay in the cooling shade of the forests.

Expert wildlife guides on Vancouver Island

As you can imagine on such a beautiful island with its scenic richness and amazing bear and whale watching tours; you will find superb local wildlife guides willing to share their expert knowledge on locations which they call home. Because we lived on Vancouver Island for many years ourselves, we have ‘networked’ with the best guides and local whale and bear tour operators. Not only to we pick them based on their ethical approach, but also on their ‘small group’ philosophy; which helps you experience all of Vancouver Islands wildlife in a more meaningful and intimate way. Check out the huge variety of Canada wildlife holidays we offer and pick your personal favourite – we will take care of the rest!

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