Vancouver Island

Canada Holidays

Expert Opinion Our Expert
Rupert Hatfield

"Escape from it all with a trip to Vancouver Island. Tofino has to be in my top 5 places to visit - the scenery, the ocean, the food...."

Safari Details

Resorts & Cities

Driving Times

Whistler Vancouver Airport - Whistler 2 1/2 hrs
Vancouver Whistler - Tofino (via ferry) 6 hrs
Tofino - Victoria 4 hrs
Victoria - Vancouver (via ferry) 4 hrs

Our Vancouver Island Safari is a great addition to your Whistler holiday, combining a stay in the world’s best ski resort, with a trip across to breathtaking Vancouver Island. Explore rain forests, watch huge waves crash onto the beaches, see the whale migration from up close and perhaps see some black bears along the way!

After a week or more in Whistler transfer to downtown Vancouver for the night, before collecting your rental vehicle and heading to Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal the next morning. Take the scenic ferry ride to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island.

There are several great stop off points as you drive across to Tofino including Cathedral Grove - an area of huge old-growth forest. Although the distance is not great, the drive is fairly slow going – without stops it is about a 4 hour drive.

To really enjoy Vancouver Island we suggest a minimum of 3 nights.

Tofino, Vancouver Island

Whale Watching

The area is probably most well known for the abundance of whales that arrive there. Between March and May the entire North American population of Pacific Grey Whales migrate along the west coast of Vancouver Island, B.C which makes it a special place to view these whales in their natural habitat.

An estimated 22,000 grey whales make the journey from Mexican Baja Peninsula along the west coast to their summer feeding grounds in the Bering and Chukchi Seas near the Arctic. This makes it the longest migration of any mammal and during this period it is the best time to see groups of whales with their young.

The migration passes very close to the shoreline, which means that there are excellent viewing opportunities from the rocky headlands along the coast between Ucluelet and Tofino. To get even closer to these magnificent animals you will need to take a whale watching trip or a floatplane excursion from either town.

Remote Passages offer a wide range to trips out of Tofino, the trips offered depend on the time of year. These take you through the pristine waters of the Clayoquot Sound, revealing sensational scenery, and wildlife such as Gray whales, sea lions, seals, porpoise and Killer whales. The area is also known for its variety of sea birds, including tufted puffins, and the numbers of resident bald eagles.

Every year there is a festival to celebrate this amazing natural phenomenon - the 26th Annual Pacific Rim Whale Festival takes place March 17-22, 2012 and is an excellent time to visit.

  • Hot Springs Cove - Hot Springs Cove is a natural hot spring located in Maquinna Provincial Park in the remote north end of Clayoquot Sound. Hot Springs Cove is reached by walking along a 2 kilometre-long wooden boardwalk trail from the dock and is available from March to October.
  • Bear watching - Coastal Bear Watching from a Zodiac speedboat, available from April to October.
  • Storm watching - Tofino is renowned for storm watching - a wondrous West Coast spectacle, at its best during the fall and winter months. From November through to February experience the raw power of the mighty Pacific Ocean as ferocious waves roll in from Japan and pound the shores of the rugged west coast - nature in all it's fierce majesty! Storm watching is stirring for children and adults alike, whether snug in a room with a view or outside in the wild!

Accommodation options

  • Tofino - The Wickaninnish Inn or the Long Beach Lodge
  • Vancouver - We recommend spending the last night or two in the city of Vancouver, often voted the most desirable place in the world to live. This stunning city sits on the edge of the Pacific Ocean against a backdrop of snow-capped mountains. It’s the perfect place to shop, eat and relax and a great way to finish your Vancouver Island Safari.

Sample 12 night itinerary

All of our holidays are tailor-made to suit your dates and requirements, however below is a sample itinerary to show how the resorts might best be combined:

Day 1:

Land in Vancouver – transfer to Whistler.

Days 2-8:

Skiing. After skiing Whistler in the morning (optional) transfer to downtown Vancouver and check into your hotel and enjoy the cities great shopping on Robson Street.

Day 9:

After an early breakfast collect rental car from downtown location close to your hotel and drive to Horseshoe Ferry terminal. Upon arrival in Nanaimo start your drive to Tofino taking your time to enjoy the sights and checking Into your accommodation late afternoon.

Days 10-11:

Explore Tofino

Day 12:

Drive back to Nanaimo to take the ferry back to Vancouver. Check into your downtown hotel and spend a relaxing afternoon and evening enjoying Vancouver’s shopping and great dining options.

Day 13:

Drive to Vancouver airport – drop hire car - fly home.

Price Guide

A sample price for this 14 night Ski Safari including accommodation, direct flights and hire of an SUV starts from £2,000 pp for 2 adults, £1,800 pp for 4 adults, subject to availability at the time of booking.

Click here to request a quotation tailored to your requirements, or please call us on 01273 224 060.