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A Grizzly Bear at Knight Inlet

(Sean Scott photo)

Trip Ideas

Wildlife Viewing on Northern Vancouver Island

Northern Vancouver Island is home to an abundance of wildlife. One of the highest concentration of Orcas in the world roams the waters and grizzly bears feed on swimming salmon in the Great Bear Rainforest. Explore this rugged coastline on a sea kayaking expedition or venture out on a journey in search of bears with local First Nations guides. This is a remote place where nature thrives and Mother Nature still reigns.

Things to Do

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Telegraph Cove

Stroll along the boardwalk at Telegraph Cove, one of the last surviving – and best... Read more preserved – of BC’s traditional coastal fishing villages. Among the brightly painted houses, built on pilings over the water, is the Whale Interpretive Centre, home to a 18-m/60-ft-long fin whale skeleton.

Explore the village then tuck into a plate of alder smoked salmon at the Killer Whale Cafe. Stay the night in a boardwalk cabin, a suite in the manor house, or even in an extension of the village’s old floating hospital.

Alert Bay

Alert Bay is a remarkable Aboriginal cultural destination steeped in history, natural beauty and... Read more living tradition. Located on the south side of Cormorant Island, Alert Bay sits on the edge of Vancouver Island's Inside Passage, a famously wild and scenic ecotourism mecca of mountains, islands and ocean. The internationally renowned U'mista Cultural Centre showcases a remarkable collection of potlatch regalia, celebrating the culture and traditions of a local First Nations community that is millennia old.

Port McNeill

The famed “Gateway to the Broughton Archipelago” is surrounded by the staggering... Read more grandeur of mountains, rainforest and the islands of the archipelago – part of the larger Great Bear Rainforest.  Whale watching, hiking, and sea kayaking adventures are in abundance and First Nations culture thrives in this small community on the northeast side of Vancouver Island.

Port Hardy

The last bastion of civilization, remote and wild north end of Vancouver Island. An abundance of... Read more wildlife thrives in the coastal water, wilderness parks and woodland habitats. The gateway to the Great Bear Rainforest on the mainland and where travellers can hop aboard ferries destined for Alaska.

© John E. Marriott/All Canada Photos

Whale Watching in Johnstone Strait

See the ocean’s biggest attraction at Telegraph Cove, where approximately 265 Orcas populate nearby Johnstone Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. In summer, Orcas (killer whales) congregate to feed on returning salmon. Whale-watching boats and kayak tours can take you from Telegraph Cove, Port McNeil and Alert Bay to see these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat. And don’t miss Telegraph Cove's Whale Interpretive Centre, set in one of the village’s historic boardwalk buildings.

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Sea Wolf Adventures

Reconnect with nature and learn all about First Nations culture in an all-in-one experience that combines respectful wildlife viewing with a sustainable tour through the super natural scenery of northern Vancouver Island and the Great Bear Rainfor...
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Stubbs Island Whale Watching

Committed to ethical & educational wildlife viewing, we are the first whale watching company established in BC, now in our 37th season. Based in Telegraph Cove, the whale watching capital of BC, we offer tours through Johnstone Strait, Blackfish S...
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North Island Kayak Rentals & Tours

Sea Kayak Tours from Telegraph Cove providing you with the best opportunity for the unforgettable experience of viewing orca or killer whales & many other marine mammals in their natural, wilderness environment.

Two hour, half day & day g...

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Wildcoast Expeditions

Kayak in killer whale territory at our orca base camp in Johnstone Strait or venture out on a kayak expedition to Desolation Sound or the Discovery Islands. Trips range from four to seven days in length.

As an adventure traveller you wil...

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(Anton Cepeliauskas photo)

Whale Interpretive Centre

No trip to Telegraph Cove would be complete without a visit to the Whale Interpretive Centre. This interactive learning centre on a quaint boardwalk overlooks the wildlife-rich waters of Johnstone Strait. See displays of marine mammals, including a suspended skeleton of a fin whale (the second largest species in the world). After visiting, take a guided wildlife tour – whale and grizzly bear tour boats depart just steps from the centre, or rent a kayak – the waters around Telegraph Cove are renowned for Orca (killer whale) viewing.
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Great Bear Lodge Nature Tours

Journey to the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to view and photograph grizzly bears. The floating Great Bear Lodge, with a maximum of 16 guests, is the perfect place to enjoy the wildlife & wilderness of British Columbia. Upgraded in 2014, the ...
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Grizzly Bear Safari Tours

Our grizzly bear/wildlife safari is for the adventurous person wishing to see & photograph the most complete wildlife population of the BC coast. Grizzly & black bears, orca & humpback whales, white-sided dolphins, eagles, sea lions & many more. A...
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Aboriginal Journeys Wildlife Viewing & Adventure Tours

Family owned business offering whale watching, wildlife, adventure tours & grizzly bear viewing. Our Grizzly Bear Journey is on Aboriginal lands with viewing platforms at the Klite River, in the Toba Inlet. Explore with us the beautiful water ways...
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Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures - Sea Kayaking Tours

Guided sea kayaking tours of northern Vancouver Island, The Great Bear Rainforest & Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands). Base camp & expedition-style tours ranging from four to fifteen days. Join us at our Orca Waters Base Camp for the best in w...
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(AboriginalBC.com photo)

The U'mista Cultural Centre

View priceless First Nations treasures at the U’mista Cultural Centre. In the tiny village of Alert Bay on Cormorant Island, 45 minutes by ferry from Port McNeill, this striking building is home to the world-renowned Potlatch Collection. The collection spent much of the last century in the likes of the Smithsonian Museum and the British Museum. These treasures and artifacts, including masks and ceremonial objects, are now preserved and displayed in a traditional Big House-style building on Alert Bay’s waterfront.

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Places to Stay

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Great Bear Lodge

Journey to the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest to view and photograph grizzly bears. The floating Great Bear Lodge, with a maximum of 16 guests, is the perfect place to enjoy the wildlife & wilderness of British Columbia. Upgraded in 2014, the ...
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Knight Inlet Lodge

Canada's premier grizzly bear viewing destination, Knight Inlet Lodge has been featured in productions by the BBC Natural History Unit, National Geographic, Time Magazine & many others around the world as one of the best places to view wild grizzl...
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Broughton Archipelago Paddler’s Inn

Located in Simoom Sound (Gilford Island) which is approximately 50 kilometers (30 miles) east of Port McNeill. The Broughton Archipelago Paddlers' Inn offers travelers wilderness, float-house & ocean side accommodations, as well as water taxi ser...
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Telegraph Cove Resorts

We offer cottages, a small hotel, a wooded campground, a pub/restaurant, washrooms, showers, laundry facilities, a boat launch, store, marine fuel and freezer facilities.

Activities nearby can include; whale watching, salmon fishing...

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Getting Here and Around

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Offer

BC Ferries

From the countless inlets of the Southern Gulf Islands to the untamed wilderness of the rugged North, BC Ferries is the gateway to your next coastal BC journey. Sail through spectacular scenery aboard one of our modern, well-appointed vessels, ser...
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Getting to Northern Vancouver Island

Travel by land, air and sea: getting to Vancouver Island is a journey in itself. BC Ferries has... Read more three routes that offer regular service between the mainland and Vancouver Island. Travel by car to reach Northern Vancouver Island is the simplest route. Travelling via Highway 19 from Victoria or Nanaimo, through Campbell River and up to Telegraph Cove, Port McNeill or Port Hardy.

Victoria International Airport

Victoria International Airport (Airport Code: YYJ) is the 10 busiest airport in Canada with over 1.5 million passengers per year. Victoria is well served with more than 120 daily flights.

The airport is situated approximately 25KM (15.5...

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Comox Valley Airport

The Comox Valley Airport (YQQ) is centrally located on the east coast of Vancouver Island, within easy driving distance of Mount Washington, Parksville, Nanaimo & Tofino. It is the second largest airport on Vancouver Island and offers daily non-st...
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