The beauty of this trip is that it covers the best of Vancouver Island in a fairly short space of time – a perfect trip to combine with our longer Canadian Rockies tour.. The island is best experienced outdoors, and this trip ensures that you have the freedom to take your adventure off the beaten track, or out onto the water.. Compact Victoria is perfect for exploring on foot, and its younger population is reflected in the thriving bar and dining scene of the city.. Spend two nights in Tofino and discover why this is one of North America’s most talked about coastal destinations, with year-round surf breaks and sandy beaches.
There’s nothing quite like Canada’s south-west coastline, with snow-capped mountains on the city skylines, top notch hiking and that fresh, crisp British Columbia air. See the coast at its best on this six-day adventure across Vancouver Island with Lonely Planet and Intrepid. Cruise over the Strait of Georgia and enter a world of possibilities – the seaside paradise of Tofino, the up-and-coming food and drink scene in pristine Victoria, and some of the world’s best waters for whale watching. Vancouver Island may be large, but this experience will make you feel like you’ve covered it all.
Breakfast Included: Lunches Included: Dinner Included:
Welcome to Vancouver, Canada. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. If you arrive early in Vancouver, why not take a walk around the city's historic Gastown neighbourhood, or wander through Stanley Park to see the carved totems and scenic views of the city and beyond.
To start the Vancouver Island trip, you’ll have to get over to the Island! Take a ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Victoria, BC (approximately 3.5 hours). With its landscaped gardens and preserved historical buildings, it is one of the most British-influenced cities in North America. However, with a recent injection of hip bars, shops, restaurants and young residents, the city is evolving into something more cosmopolitan. Wander through Victoria’s abundant parkland and make your way into town to kick back with the young locals in a bar or restaurant. The afternoon and evening are yours to explore.
Victoria is known for its outdoor activities so on your free day here, perhaps indulge in a spot of whale watching or take a tour of the famous Butchart Gardens. If that isn’t your thing, check out the excellent Royal BC Museum to learn about the natural and human history of the area. The city has also been hit by the craft beer revolution, and is home to Canada’s first brewpub, so why not meander your way to relax and experience the Canadian hospitality for yourself.
On your way out of Victoria, have a quick stop in the eastern port of Nanaimo before heading on to Cathedral Grove for a walk around the majestic Douglas fir trees, which are more than 800 years old and untouched by the modern world. A picnic lunch will be needed to admire this towering forest. You’ll continue on your drive to the relaxed seaside town of Tofino (total journey approximately 4.5 hours, not including stops). As well as being named the best surf town in North America, Tofino is also a perfect spot for storm chasing and outdoor activities such as kayaking, whale watching and hiking.
Today is free for you to explore Tofino and its surrounds, with many possible optional activities. Take a kayak out on Clayoquot Sound, relax on one of Tofino’s sandy beaches or take a stroll and go tide pooling. Alternatively, you have the option to sign up for a whale-watching tour. Tofino lies along the route of the annual grey whale migration. Each year, up to 20,000 grey whales leave the waters of the Baja Peninsula and head north to the nutrient-rich feeding grounds of Alaska and the Bering Sea. This 20,000 kilometre round trip is thought to be the longest migration of any creature in the world. Whale-watching trips can often be combined with wildlife viewing and hot springs tours. A bear-watching trip by boat through the calm waters of Clayoquot Sound near Tofino is another popular option.
From Tofino, you’ll travel to a ferry port and cruise back to Vancouver. The total travel time from Tofino on this day is around 5.5 hours. There may be time for an activity with your group leader in the afternoon, however there is no included accommodation for the night.