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Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

New York City, New...
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Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

Hi All,

I'm planning a trip to BC for late July/early August and I want to maximize my time but take in as many outdoor activities and as much nature/wildlife as possible. What are the main differences between Campbell River and Telegraph Cove? Are certain sights available at one area and not the other? Is one more easily accessible? I wouldn't want to miss bears and whales but not sure what else is available.

Also, I'm traveling from NY and not sure of the best route. Do I fly to Victoria? Vancouver? Since I'm from a big city I try to avoid them when I travel. Lastly, I would love to do some hiking in Banff. To my understanding this means flying from NY to Alberta (Banff) the. Taking a small flight to the Campbell Island area. Is this feasible? Looking to spend about a week in total.

Thanks so much


Port Moody, Canada
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1. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

With only a week you need to choose either Vancouver Island or Banff/ Rockies..otherwise you'll spend all your time on planes.

If you absolutely will never be back this way then look at flying New York to Calgary non stop spend 3 days Banff which is 1.5 hour drive from Calgary. Back to Calgary for flight on West jet from Calgary direct to Comox. Rent a car here and spend 4 days in north island area. Do day tours with operators for whales bears etc.. Or do a 3 day kayak tour. Then fly back from Comox to Vancouver to New York. Telegraph Cove is smaller than CR and further north..excellent tour operators go from both...you're closer to Knight Inlet from TC but in August bears may not be as easily seen as in September.

Vancouver, Canada
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2. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

I find wrapping my head around distances of unfamiliar places can be challenging. Your question is the same as my asking you about 7 days to spend in NYC and Charlotte, NC. Its a long way between the two.

T47 has given you the best option for getting between the two locations, but unless you have some sort of fatal illness that will cut short your traveling years, then you would be best off to choose one location for this trip and then just do the other one another time. Neither one is going anywhere in the near term.

There is a large, international airport near Victoria (its actually in Sidney, but its called Victoria International). Smaller airports exist at Nanaimo and Comox, so if you are only interested in the central and north island, then you might want to look into a connecting flight into one of those two locations. It is possible to get flights on small craft to the more remote locations like Port Hardy and Tofino, but then you are limited with your luggage and it can get expensive. Its always a trade off of time and budget.

Personally, I would fly to a point on the island and plan 7 days from there. Its a really beautiful location with plenty to see and do, especially if you are an active, outdoorsy type. Fly into Nanaimo, rent a car, drive to Tofino for 3 or 4 days, up to Campbell River for the remaining days, fly back out of Nanaimo.

Vancouver, Canada
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3. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

You won't be able to take a bear tour from CR in July, only in September. Telegraph Cove has bear tours from mid-May.

You say you want to see as much nature/wildlife as possible and IMO, you will do that by going to one place and actually getting your feet on the ground. Calgary airport is 2 hours drive one way to Banff, double for the return to the airport. The flight to Comox will be 1.5 hours or so. So of your week, a day's equivalent time will be used for internal travel.

IMO, the coast will give you more opportunity for seeing wildlife because of the water opportunities. Consider flying NY > Calgary > Comox, renting a car and visiting both Telegraph Cove (3 hours) and Tofino (6 hours from TC) > Comox > Calgary > NYC.

You could fly NYC > Victoria but again, there would be added and arguably unnecessary travel time to get up Island and/or to the west cost of the Island. You would know by comparing the flight and flight time choices for both flight routes.

As far as the Rockies go, you will certainly have an opportunity to see wildlife, and solid forest and lake experiences on the trails and hikes in the area.

New York City, New...
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4. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

Thanks everyone!

Edmonton, Canada
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5. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

a week is a nice amount of time on vancouver island. fly into victoria or comox rent the car and head out. check, there might be some car rental companies that don't charge an arm and a leg for "drop off fees" between comox and victoria. that would allow you to fly into one and out of the other so you aren't back tracking. ideally, i like 2 weeks on the island so you don't want to spend time back tracking.

Port McNeill
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6. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

If planning just to visit the north end of the island (and with whale watching, bear tours, multi-day kayak tours, etc you can easily fill a week) a travel option to consider is flying from Vancouver to Port Hardy on Pacific Coastal Airlines http://pacificcoastal.com/ . Flights are about one hour and 15 minutes and return flights start at under $280 including all taxes and fees. Pacific Coastal departs from YVR's South Terminal, a short shuttle from the main terminal. Then rent a car at the Port Hardy airport - Budget and National are the two choices,

Nanaimo, Canada
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7. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

And yet another option ....

Fly into Nanaimo (from Calgary on Westjet or from Vancouver on Air Canada), hire a car and then stop in Nanaimo. Walk around Newcastle Island Provincial Park or climb Mt. Benson from Witchcraft Lake.

Drive north to Courtenay and head up to Forbidden Plateau to hike from the Nordic ski lot at Mt. Washington. Beautiful area.

Then head either up north to Telegraph Cove / Port Hardy area and do some of the items mentioned above or go to Tofino and visit Pacific Rim National Park. Walk on Long Beach, walk the Wild Side Trail on Flores Island, walk the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet.

Head back to Nanaimo and fly out.

Decisions, decisions, decisions ....

8. Re: Vancouver Island Options for active outdoorsy types

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