This curated road trip will see you move out from Vancouver’s urbane charms and into the wilderness of Vancouver Island. Here, ultra-scenic drives, ferry hops and even floatplane flights will see you spot grizzly bears and humpback whales among hidden waterways and old-growth forests. Throughout, you’ll enjoy a full spread of expert-led excursions, from island bike rides to whale-watching cruises and bear-spotting walks. You’ll even stay in a floating lodge so remote that it’s only accessible by seaplane.
Days 1-3: UK/Vancouver
Begin with complimentary airport lounge access before your day flight to Vancouver. On arrival, you’ll make your way to your handpicked accommodation, its spa and chic rooms just a few steps from the Vancouver waterfront. While you’ll have free use of your hotel’s Electra-Townie bikes, we’ve also included a Stanley Park Bicycle tour, to get your bearings. Flung out into the harbour, it’s the chance to leisurely explore rainforests, beaches and spectacular coastal routes just a hop away from the city’s skyscrapers. Otherwise, be sure to spend your time here wandering Vancouver’s mountain-backed waterfront and cobbled-street historic districts before tasting your way through its culinary delights.
Day 4: Campbell River
You’ll pick up your hire car today to hop over the Lions Gate Bridge and weave along the cragged coast of North Vancouver. You’ll then arrive into Horseshoe Bay where an included ferry ride will see you over to Vancouver Island. Setting off back on land, you’ll travel north along the coast, watching as towns slowly slip behind before arriving into Campbell River, where you’ll drop your car off. Historically renowned as the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’, be sure to sample the local seafood in between marvelling at its spectacular setting. The Cascade Mountains rise to the east while the evergreen forests of Strathcona Provincial Park spread out to the west.
Stay: Comfort Inn Suites (Standard)
Day 5: Knight Inlet Lodge
Your wilderness adventure starts today with a thrilling included seaplane flight out to Knight Inlet Lodge – a true Canadian icon that’s only reachable by air. Flying out over winding straits and carpeted swathes you’ll arrive at this remote floating retreat, kept stable by giant cedar booms. Here, you’ll treated to a full-board spread of hearty meals, with crab and prawn harvested fresh from the surrounding glacier-melt waters. But, it’s the wildlife that’s the real star, showcased on a series of included excursions. The lodge’s resident naturalists will bring you out to spot salmon-hunting grizzles with walks, boat rides or elevated hides.There is the option to spend longer here – please contact us for details.
Stay: Knight Inlet Lodge (Standard)
Days 6-7: Tofino
Waking early, you’ll head back to the bear-viewing platforms this morning in the company of your expert guide. Then, it’s time for the equally spectacular return leg on the floatplane, arriving back to Campbell Rive to pick up your hire car You’ll then head inland to hop over the high mountain passes of the Sawtooth Range to arrive at the rugged west coast and your chic accommodation. Suggested stops include the 800-year-old fir-tree giants of Cathedral Grove and the Mars Water-Bombers at Sproat Lake – the world’s largest firefighting planes. While you’ll then have forest and beach walks on your doorstep, we’ve also included a choice of two excursions – either a whale- or bear-watching cruise.
Days 8-9: Victoria
Travelling south, you’ll head towards Victoria, the island’s largest city. Along the way, be sure to pause at Chemainus – an artist community adorned with giant murals – and Duncan, the ‘City of Totems’. Further First-Nations heritage can be found at the Quw’utsun’ Village where aboriginal history stands strong to this day. You’ll then arrive into your contemporary waterfront hotel to take in Victoria’s quaint charms. In among its English-heritage architecture – best exemplified by its Renaissance-Revival Parliament Buildings – you’ll discover bohemian boutiques, seafront cycle paths and whale-watching tours.
Stay: The Inn at Laurel Point (Superior)
Days 10-11: Depart for UK
Your included return ferry leg will see you back across the water to Vancouver, where you’ll drop off your hire car at the airport and board your overnight flight home.
Travel dates: 21 May to 14 Oct 2019
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website