I found this forum really useful when planning our trip so I thought I'd add a report which may be useful to others. We flew into Vancouver International and went straight to the south terminal to fly to Nanaimo with Harbour air. Really great way to start our trip. We only had to walk up to the road and cross it to get to our hotel, the Coast Bastion. We had a lovely room on the 14th floor with great views of the harbour. We really liked Nanaimo. The water is crystal clear and when we walked along the seafront you could see crabs walking on the sea bed. We went to Newcastle Island the next day which is a really nice place. We walked along the trail by the sea then back through the forest. The following day we collect our car and drove across to the west coast. We stayed two nights in Ucluelet. We walked the Wild Pacific trail and especially liked the lighthouse loop. We were lucky enough to watch two humpback whales feeding off shore near the lighthouse. We walked the bog trail, rainforest trail and radar hill in the national park. All of which were interesting and enjoyable. We then spent 3 nights at Long Beach lodge. We really love this place. We had an ocean view room on the 3rd floor and were able to go to sleep each night to the sound of the sea. One night we saw the most amazing sunset. We visited the Botanical garden in Tofino which is very interesting. That was the end of our first week. The second week was spent visiting the east side of the island. We drove back across the island and up to Comox for two nights. The estuary walk was really interesting as we could see salmon coming up the river and then spotted seals. We were lucky enough to see the seals catch and eat the salmon. We went to Mount Washington and rode the cable car to the top for fantastic views and then moved on to Telegraph Cove for two nights. We went into Port McNeill and got the ferry to Alert Bay. Unfortunately the cultural centre was closed - after labour day they close on Mondays - but we had a good look round and walked round the ecological park. The next day we went whalewatching with Stubbs. Had the most amazing trip - we saw Orca catch a seabird, humpbacks breaching and lots of dolphins. Next stop was Campbell River. We stayed at Painters Lodge and really liked it. You can use the shuttle across to April Point their sister hotel. We did this one day and kayaked and had lunch on the deck. We went out with Aboriginal Journeys to see the grizzly bears. I had expected this to be the highlight of our trip but it was a bit disappointing. We were unlucky and didn't really see anything for the first couple of hours. We did see some bears in the distance just before we were ready to leave. I appreciate this is a risk you take and you can't expect nature to appear on demand. It did cost a lot of money though.
Last day we went to Nanaimo to take the hire car back and caught the ferry to Tsawwassen. We stayed in the Coast hotel and were really surprised when we checked in to be told we were guests of the day. We were upgraded to a lovely suite with full kitchen and given a goody bag. A great way to end our holiday. We were really lucky and had two weeks of great weather - sunny and warm every day. We really enjoyed our trip and hope to return again some day.