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Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

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Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

My wife & I are planning a week on Vancouver Island in late August, and would appreciate particularly advice on:

Where we might find fjord-like country accessible by car,

Where the best one-day wildlife tours are (marine & on land),

Where would be a good base, somewhere in the middle of the island, for our explorations.

Thank you!

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Vancouver BC
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1. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

I'd start with a Google of the Lady Rose. The ship is retired but the company is still going. See if that appeals.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

Hi roadtrekker, welcome to the forum ~

Vancouver Island is deceptively large. It takes 7 hours or so to drive from Victoria (southern tip) to Port Hardy (northern tip.) And it takes about 3 hours to drive from Nanaimo (east side) to Tofino (west side.) Nanaimo is about 2 hours drive from Victoria and Campbell River is mid Island, about 3 hours drive from both Vic and PH.

Fjord-like country accessible by car. One place that comes to mind is Port Alberni, about half way between Nanaimo and Tofino. From Port Alberni you could take a day cruise on a working vessel out into Barkley Sound, the MV Frances Barkley.


OregonExplorer just gave us a Trip Report about a day trip on the Frances B:


There are two locations that I will address for day trips for wildlife viewing: Campbell River and Telegraph Cove at north Island. Grizzly bear tours depart from Campbell River beginning September when the salmon start to run. They head over to Bute Inlet (definitely a fjord) for the day where there is a viewing platform. Until then, most boats offer a wildlife viewing experience out in Georgia Strait. I've done this grizzly tour and it was pretty impressive for scenery and bears. Here is Bute Inlet on the map: http://goo.gl/maps/xhV0

At Telegraph Cove, you can take a grizzly tour during the summer with Tide Rip. These tours go over to Knight Inlet (definitely another fjord) for the day. Here is Knight Inlet on the map: http://goo.gl/maps/Bptz


Also from TC you will find whale watching tours with Stubbs Island Whale Watching:


The north Island will be "wilder" and may give you a better experience. Best to stay up at north Island though for a couple of nights.

If you go onto the Campbell River Forum and look to the left side at "Things to Do," open that and then choose the Tours tab. You can read reviews of all the companies that leave Campbell River for wildlife/grizzly tours. Note especially the effective dates for grizzly tours, as most of those particular ones will start up early September.

Edited: 03 July 2012, 03:27
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3. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

No better boat ride than the Uchuck and just driving to the departure points puts you far from the regular tourist haunts.


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4. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

It just isn't practical to try and base yourselves in a single spot and try to explore the whole island. You pretty much have to spend a night in order to see the place you have driven to.

I'd agree that the trip up the Alberni Inlet from Port Alberni would give you a good view of the type of scenery you are looking for. The other trip to look at would be heading up Knight Inlet from Port McNeil. Fjords are, by definition, very difficult to build roads through. The drive out to Tofino and the drive through Strathcona Provincial Park to Gold River would be the best options that I'm aware of. Not sure if the drives out to places like Tahsis or Quatsino would offer anything better.


(Oh, look, I've just discovered a new ferry trip I wasn't aware of. Now I'm going to have to plan a trip....!)

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5. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

When I think of fjord country, I immediately think of the Sunshine Coast around Lund, Powell River, Sechelt, and Egmont. Not sure how you're getting to/from Vancouver Island, but you'd get fjords galore if you were to take the ferry from Vancouver Island (Comox/Courtenay) to the Upper Sunshine Coast (Powell River), then the ferry from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove (on the Lower Sunshine Coast), then drive to the Langdale ferry terminal to Horseshoe Bay (Vancouver). That is, assuming you're going to be venturing over to Vancouver during this trip.

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6. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

I agree with BCRobyn. Fjords and Vancouver Island just don't scream out at me. The Sunshine Coast is your better option.

As Sam noted the Uchuck would be the best ride on Vancouver Island.

If you are looking for beautiful scenery, the ride up Alberni Inlet has always been a bit of a let down for me (ducking to avoid the incoming missiles). Too many clear cuts. The Broken Group, on the other hand, is spectacular and is worth the trip alone.

Other than the Uchuck I'd suggest a day out of Telegraph Cove to go whale or bear watching.

The ferry ride from Saltery Bay to Earls Cove on the Sunshine Coast is one of the nicest around IMO.

7. Re: Fjords and wildlife on & around Vancouver Island

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