12 day safari

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Excluding international flights

Tour Highlights

Best time to see mother and cubs

Mating season for large male bears

Great chances for Sea Otters

Stunning Bald Eagle photography

Spring Grizzly Bear viewing on Vancouver Island

Grizzly bear viewing on Vancouver Island is often promoted as being at its best during the ‘salmon season’ from late August until early October, but that is to miss the opportunity to witness the Spring bear viewing season in Canada, which is equally impressive and has some unique photography opportunities that you will not have at any other time of the year. Firstly, female grizzlies are out and about with their beautiful spring cubs – twins are commonly sighted – and you will have a great chance to photograph them. Some of the best bear viewing action can be the posturing and aggressive behaviour of the large male grizzlies, as they look for the females to mate with. May and June are the peak mating months of Grizzly Bears.


When to Go:
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec

Best time to visit -


Safari Style -

Bespoke Wildlife

Day 1

Arrive and overnight at Vancouver Airport

On arrival you will be able to take a free airport shuttle to one of the good quality hotels we provide for our clients with easy access both to the airport, but also the car rental companies. Some of our clients use to include a couple of days to explore the city which is easily added in.

Accommodation: Pacific Gateway Hotel or similar

Best bear viewing tours Vancouver Island. Starts in Vancouver

Day 2

Ferry to Vancouver Island and overnight at Campbell River

Your wildlife adventure starts with the ferry crossing between Vancouver and Nanaimo, which is the gateway for the eastern side of Vancouver Island. Some of the best grizzly bear viewing on Vancouver Island is accessed from the busy and diverse town of Campbell River. It’s marina is home to many different specialist wildlife operators, so whether you want to go whale watching, or bear viewing in British Colombia, this is one of the best places to be.

Overnight at Browns Bay Resort or similar

Best wilderness lodges on Vancouver Island. Photo of Browns Bay resort

Day 3

Half-day boat based wildlife safari out of Campbell River

Most of the local companies we have hand picked ourselves while living on the island, have a maximum group size of approximately 12 people per boat. This provides you with better interpretation and a more intimate connection with the wildlife you observe during the course of the tour. You may encounter transient orcas; minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoise, sea lions, and seals on our way to Bute Inlet to comb the shores for close-up encounters with the bears as they forage for shellfish

Best bear viewing on Vancouver Island. Why Campbell river is the centre

Day 4

Chance to see hundreds of Bald Eagles feeding at Stuart Island

Campbell River and its surrounding areas are famous for having some of the most unique and fast tidal rapids in the world. Between May to July, we visit the Stuart Island area, located north of Quadra Island, when the currents are at or near their peak flows. Upwards of 300 bald eagles can be found gathering in the trees to feed here. It’s been nicknamed the “Eagle Show”.

Hopefully you will have glorious spring weather for your second half-day morning boat trip and after the @eagle Show’, you can get on the road for the 3 hour drive to your beautiful wilderness cabin near Telegraph Cove.

Overnight: One or two bedroom wilderness cabin

Best places to see Bald Eagles on Vancouver Island. Close up photo of a bald eagle in pine tree

Day 5

Full day grizzly bear viewing to Knight Inlet

We have been working with the same bear viewing company at Telegraph Cove since 2003 and although they recently changed ownership, they still have access to the world famous Knight Inlet estuary (the viewing stands do not open until late August!) and this is where you have the chance to see female grizzlies and their cubs n the Spring.


Best grizzly bear viewing on Vancouver Island. Check out Telegraph Cove boat safaris to Knight Inlet

Day 6

Second day of grizzly bear viewing at Knight Inlet

During the early spring love is in the air! May and June is breeding season and offers the opportunity to see otherwise large elusive males reluctantly reveal themselves in their pursuit of love. Courtship rituals, mating behaviour and defence of love interests are definitely a spectator’s sport.

Best places to see male grizzlies in Canada. Photo of two male grizzlies fighting

Day 7

Morning whale watching then drive to Port Hardy

Telegraph cove is the closest coastal community to Johnstone strait, which is famous amongst whale lovers as one of the best places to see Orcas in the wild. It is also home to one of the oldest and continous whale research projects in the world. Although the best time to see Orcas off Vancouver Island is July and August; there are still great opportunities for other marine wildlife during your 3 hour Zodiac tour with only 12 passangers.

Overnight: Kwa’lilas Hotel, Port Hardy

Best places tp see Wild Orcas in Canada. Photo of an Orca in Johnstone Strait

Day 8

Sea Otter and whale watching safari from Port Hardy

Spend the day exploring the wildlife rich waters, islands and shores off northern Vancouver Island. Search for sea otters, humpback whales, orcas, Dall’s porpoises, Pacific white-side dolphins, Steller sea lions, bald eagles and a multitude of sea birds. Surrounded by sea and cedar trees, connect with the breathtaking beauty of the natural world. The tour will last approximately 6 hours.

Best places to see Sea Otters on Vancouver Island

Day 9

Second Sea Otter boat safari out of Port Hardy

Our signature 5 ½ to 6 hour tour showcases the unparalleled waters of the Kwakwakaʼwakw First Nations. The speed of our vessel allows us to cover a large area and provides us with greater opportunities to see as much wildlife as possible.

Best places to see Sea Otters on Vancouver Island. Why you must visit Port Hardy

Day 10

Walking trail for Black Bear then drive to Golden River

Morning walk on the Fort Rupert Trail – a boardwalk trail close to Port Hardy with chance to see Black Bears. After finishing the work we will drive south west to the small pictereque community of Gold River.

Accommodation: Gold River Chalet

Best places to see black bears on Vancouver Island. Photo of a male black bear on the shoreline

Day 11

Cruise Vancouver Island's historic west coast from Gold River on the MV Uchuck

This 136-foot wooden hulled maritime vessel provides passenger and freight service through historic Nootka Sound, Esperanza Inlet, and Kyuquot Sound (departures every Monday)

The west coast of Vancouver Island is home to an abundance Killer Whales, Gray Whales, Black Bear, Sea Otters, Seals and Sea Lions, Pacific Dolphin and Bald Eagles so be sure to bring your binoculars and your camera!

Boat cruise in wooden vessel off Vancouver Island. Photo of MV Uchuck

Day 12

Self-guided Moose safari near Strathcona Park and ferry back to Vancouver

At Wildlife Trails we are always connected with the local guides in each destination and they are fundamental to the planning process. So when we were told ‘Elk are commonly seen in the areas of Strathcona Park off highway 28 (Gold River to Campbell River Highway) we had to add it to our Vancouver Island wildlife holidays.

Best places to see Moose on Vancouver Island. Take a drive on Highway 28 to Strathcona Park

Pricing Info & Dates

Costs £3375 based on two people sharing and not including flights. Valid for travel from May to October 2024


  • £100 donation to the Rainforest conservation foundation
  • Car hire which includes 3 drivers and a free tank of fuel
  • All wildlife activities with a focus on small groups
  • Breakfast at some of the wildlife lodges


  • Visa fees for visiting Canada
  • Fares for the ferry between Vancouver and the island.
  •  Gratuities for your guides on wildlife activities


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