Vancouver Island Grizzlies and Orcas

002611 - W20

Visit the amazing Orcas and Grizzlies of Canada’s West Coast. Get away to the remote community of Alert Bay, where you can step back and relax, enjoying all of the natural beauty that Canada’s west has to offer.

Not Included
Tour Notes
  • Guided coach tour from Victoria up the east coast of Vancouver Island to Port McNeill
  • Ferry from Port McNeill to Alert Bay
  • U’Mista Cultural Centre’s historic and contemporary artwork, including the reclaimed First Nations potlatch collection

2018 Departures:
Shoulder season:  May 15 – June 20
High season:  June 21 – September 20

2018 Pricing
Shoulder season:
CA$2,250 – twin
CA$2,725 – single

High season:
CA$2,395 – twin
CA$2,835 – single

Taxes:  7% PST / 5% GST

Rates are shown in CA$, per person, based on two people sharing a twin room or one person in a single room.

Tour Code:
002611 - W20

Open All
Day 1: Victoria – Port McNeill – Alert Bay

After an early morning departure from downtown Victoria, our sightseeing coach begins its journey up the east coast of Vancouver Island. The bus stops first at the Brentwood Bay Scenic pullout and then continue on to Duncan to view the Totem Poles. Further north is Chemainus, “the city of murals” here we have a 50 minute break to explore this unique town and for photos. The journey continues up island to the Coombs Country Market made famous for the goats that graze on the roof, where we stop for a 1-hour lunch break. (lunch not included) After lunch we follow the scenic route along the shoreline through Qualicum Beach then north on the island highway past Campbell River. At Cable Café, a unique building made of logging cable, we stop for a 15 minute coffee stop. The coach tour concludes in Port McNeill in time to make the 5:00 pm ferry sailing to Alert Bay. After a 35 minute voyage, catch a taxi (about $5.00) at the ferry terminal for the three minute drive down the ocean road to Alert Bay Lodge. You can also call the lodge from the ferry and the manager will try to get away to pick you up. Dinner is included in your tour program today.

Please note that your chosen tour dates will determine the actual bus schedule on Vancouver Island.

Day 2: Alert Bay

We’ve set this day aside for you to explore the village of Alert Bay. After breakfast, the lodge manager will provide you with a map highlighting attractions on the 5 kilometer long Cormorant Island, tickets to U’Mista Cultural Centre and a picnic lunch. The village can easily be explored by foot from your accommodation. Attractions include the Tourism Information Centre, shops and galleries featuring native art, and the U’Mista Cultural Centre which features historic and contemporary artwork, including the reclaimed First Nations potlatch collection (admission included). Venture up the hill for an exhibition of First Nations dancing at the Big House (dependant on schedule) and the Ecological Gardens and Big Tree Trail.

Day 3: Telegraph Cove Whale Watching

We’ve organized this day to take you off Cormorant Island to historic Telegraph Cove, the departure point for your whale watching tour. The excursion begins with a transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to the 9:40 am BC Ferry sailing to Port McNeill. From this Vancouver Island town, a taxi will escort you to the Village of Telegraph Cove (pop. 20), where you arrive by about 10:30 am.

As your whale watching tour begins at 1:00 pm, you’ll have some time to explore Telegraph Cove. Once the northern terminus of a telegraph line that began in Campbell River and stretched from tree to tree along Vancouver Island’s east coast, Telegraph Cove is one of the last boardwalk communities of eastern Vancouver Island. You’ll be able to stroll along the boardwalk, admire the historic buildings and perhaps decide to take lunch at the local pub. We also recommend visiting the displays at the Whale Interpretative Centre that highlight the biology, habitat needs and threats to orcas and other local marine mammals.

Your 3.5 hour wildlife watching tour departs Telegraph Cove at 1:00 pm. During the tour, the onboard naturalist will lead the search for orcas, humpback and Minke whales. Other marine life sighting opportunities include Dahl Porpoises, Harbour Porpoises, Pacific White Sided Dolphins and sea lions. Bald eagles and many species of birds are plentiful and, along the shore, black bear, deer and cougar may be spotted. You’ll also learn about how local whale watching practices conform to guidelines established by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

The tour returns by about 4:30 pm – plenty of time to stretch your legs for a few minutes before boarding a high speed boat to whisk you across Johnstone Strait back to Alert Bay, arriving there by 5:30 pm.

Day 4: Johnstone Strait – Knight Inlet Grizzly Bears

We depart at 6:45 am from Alert Bay for a full day on the water to seek out grizzly bears in their natural habitat. Our destination is Knight Inlet, a two hour ride by covered boat into Johnstone Strait. Becoming famous for its population of Grizzly bears, Knight Inlet a long and deep glacier-carved fjord surrounded by snow-capped mountains and steep-sided, forested cliffs. Here we drift, paddle and motor quietly around an estuary, looking to spot grizzly bears as they feed on the sedges and grasses at high tide. Low tide brings more bears out, and we may see them turn over large boulders in their search for crabs, isopods and beach barnacles. On some tides we transfer to our flat bottomed skiff to get into the shallows. Please bring your binoculars and camera! Lunch and dinner are included in your tour program today.

Day 5: Alert Bay – Port McNeill – Port Hardy – Vancouver

After breakfast we’ll call your taxi and get you on the right ferry to Port McNeill. Your up-Island journey continues when you’re picked up by taxi at the Port McNeill Ferry Terminal and escorted to Port Hardy Airport. Here, you catch an afternoon scheduled flight to Vancouver, BC.

The order of activities on Days 2, 3 and 4 may vary due to weather conditions and tour operator logistics.

  • Accommodation for 4 nights in Alert Bay
  • Meals: 4 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners.
  • Sightseeing coach tour from Victoria to Port McNeill
  • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to Alert Bay Ferry Terminal (Day 3)
  • Admission ticket to U’Mista Cultural Centre
  • Water taxi transfer from Telegraph Cove to Alert Bay (Day 3)
  • Full day excursion to Telegraph Cove including 3.5-hour wildlife and orca/whale watching marine tour
  • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to starting point for Grizzly Bear tour (Day 4)
  • 9-hour grizzly bear viewing marine tour
  • Taxi transfer from Alert Bay Lodge to Alert Bay Ferry Terminal (Day 5)
  • Taxi transfer from Port McNeill ferry terminal to Port Hardy Airport (Day 5)
  • Flight from Port Hardy to Vancouver International Airport
Not Included
  • Transportation to Victoria and from Vancouver International Airport
  • Meals unless otherwise stated
  • Taxi from Alert Bay ferry terminal to the lodge
  • Taxi from the lodge to the U’Mista Cultural Centre (about 2.5 kilometres)
  • Activities or equipment rentals unless otherwise stated
  • Return ferry passage to Alert Bay from Port McNeill ($9.00)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities to local guides
  • Items of a personal nature
Tour Notes

Disclaimer: We do our utmost to ensure that information posted on our website is correct at the time of publication, however trip details are subject to change without notice by the suppliers and operators involved. We update the information as soon as possible when changes are advised to us, however, we cannot assume responsibility for such changes made by the suppliers and operators.