Lumberjacks, beavers, hockey fanatics, Mounties and maple syrup spring immediately to mind. While Canada certainly provides all of these traditional associations in abundance, this awe-inspiring country has so much more to offer than a slew of cliches. With its unrivalled outdoor adventure facilities, its unforgettable natural landscapes and its exceptionally cosmopolitan and progressive cities, Canada has plenty to offer those seeking cutting-edge culture as well as adventure junkies looking for a serious adrenaline kick. Popular tourist destinations include: the magnificent Rocky Mountains around Banff and Lake Louise, high-end luxury ski resorts such as Whistler and Blackcomb, the French-speaking cities of Montreal or Quebec, or the uber-cool and perpetually bustling urban centres of Vancouver or Toronto. Whether visiting an Inuit lodge in Nunavut, taking a dog-sled ride through the Yukon to view the spectacular northern lights blaze across the night sky, or indulging in some lovely high tea on Vancouver Island, you are bound to find plenty of activities to keep you blissfully engaged in this exceptionally diverse and incomprehensibly vast nation.
Days 1 - 2
Situated on the Comox Peninsula, on the eastern coast of Vancouver Island, the Comox area is renowned for its rich cultural heritage. Within the Comox Valley lies the seaside town of Comox. While it is a thriving cosmopolitan urban centre it still retains the charm of a small town; boasting quaint boutiques, fascinating museums, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants. Visitors to the Comox area can look forward to an array of exciting activities including: fishing, golfing, bird watching, hiking, skiing, diving, paddling, and rafting. Don’t miss Strathcona Provincial Park, the oldest and largest park on Vancouver Island featuring the spectacular flat-topped Comox Glacier; and Della Falls, the highest falls in Canada.
Days 2 - 4
Set on the Ucluelet Peninsula on Vancouver’s scenic west coast in British Columbia, Canada, Ucluelet is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes, thriving ecotourism and its ample culinary charms. It is a tranquil fishing village surrounded by the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve and provides an excellent base from which to explore the incredible surrounds such as Barkley Sound and the Broken Islands. Nature lovers will delight in this natural paradise scattered with magical ancient rainforests, remote beaches and offering epic coastal views. One of its main attractions is the Wild Pacific Trail, a popular walking circuit. Other popular activities include: surfing, kayaking, hiking, wildlife-viewing, biking, fishing, boating, camping, birdwatching, sailing, picnicking, swimming, scuba diving, sightseeing, and golfing.
Days 4 - 5
Dubbed the ‘Salmon Capital of the World’, Campbell River is a coastal city in British Columbia located on the eastern shore of Vancouver Island. This thriving adventure and eco-tourism hub is renowned for its breathtaking scenery, eco-adventures, and world-class salmon fishing. Campbell River is home to all five species of Pacific Salmon, which makes it a sought after fishing destination popular with sports fisherman and draws anglers from all corners of the globe. While Campbell River is a big city, it boasts a small town charm and offers visitors plenty to explore with a choice of museums, art galleries, boutique shopping, fine dining, and countless cultural and historical treasures. Popular activities include: fishing, boating, skiing, whale watching, diving, hiking, bear watching, camping, golfing and scenic flights.
Days 5 - 8
Located on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, the Canadian community of Telegraph Cove is a former fishing and cannery village which is a renowned launching point for ecotourism. It was once home to just one solo telegraph shack which served to connect loggers, fishermen and pioneers with the outside world, today it is a picturesque bustling seaside community. It features a rugged coastline, crystal-clear lakes, majestic scenery, and unique wilderness. Visitors can look forward to strolling along the picture-perfect waterfront featuring a colourful collection of wooden buildings perched above the water on stilts. Other highlights include: the self-guided historical boardwalk tour, whale watching tours, grizzly bear viewing tours, the Whale Interpretive Centre, and fishing charters. Don't miss the opportunity to spot migratory orcas, humpbacks, dolphins and sea lions and enjoy an array of outdoor activities including kayaking, fishing, diving, and hiking.
Days 8 - 9
Great Bear Rainforest
Days 9 - 12
Extending across thousands of square kilometres of land and coast, Great Bear Rainforest makes up a vast section of the world’s biggest surviving coastal temperate rainforest. It is a natural wonderland of glacier-carved gorges, snow-capped mountains, ancient cedar groves and sparkling rivers that teem with salmon. Named for the bears that inhabit it, the park is the only place on earth that you have a chance of viewing the Kermode or ‘spirit’ bear – a subspecies of the black bear of which roughly one in 10 are pure white. Other species that inhabit the park include grizzly bears, wolves, cougars and eagles, while whales, sea otters, dolphins and sea lions frequent its coastal waters.
Days 12 - 13
Nestled on the edge of the Queen Charlotte Strait at the northern tip of Vancouver Island lies Port Hardy, population 4 500. If that isn’t already appealing, then the area’s marine life, cosy sheltered bay and rich heritage certainly will be. Originally settled by the Kwakwaka’wakw First Nations 8 000 years ago, whose descendants make up the thriving community, the port’s legends – and talents – are displayed in the many carvings and artworks on display around the town. The Cape Scott Provincial Park, North Coast Trail and British Columbia Marine Trail offer spectacular wilderness adventures – including kayaking, caving, world-class scuba diving, fishing, wildlife charters and camping. Black bear and bald eagles sightings and a host of other fauna and birdlife add the final touches.