With its national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and acres of untouched wilderness, British Columbia is a picture-perfect destination to escape to. A dream holiday for nature lovers, this scenic Canadian resort has plenty to discover. Trek across the Kootenay Rockies and explore the great outdoors, go on a whale-watching tour from Vancouver, or get a taste of the local gold rush heritage and cowboy history throughout the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast. And thanks to its ten mountain ranges, the skiing, hiking and mountain biking opportunities, it makes it an ideal spot for sporty types too.
Day 1 – Vancouver: After arriving in Vancouver make your own way to your hotel for the first of two nights. The remainder of the day is free for you to explore.
Day 2 – Vancouver: Enjoy a five hour sightseeing tour of Vancouver. In downtown Vancouver, you'll visit historic Gastown and Chinatown, then head to Stanley Park and English Bay, before a stop at Granville Island to see the public market and galleries. It's then on to Vancouver’s oldest attraction, the Capliano Suspension Bridge. Here you'll see traditional totem carvers, a nature park with its Treetops Adventure and a Cliffwalk along the Capilano River.
Day 3 – Vancouver/Whistler: Leave Vancouver on a three hour coach sightseeing transfer to Whistler. Driving along the Sea to Sky Highway you'll make a stop at Shannon Falls, at over 1000ft high it's the 3rd highest waterfall in British Columbia. Once you check-in to your Whistler hotel for two nights the rest of the day is yours.
Day 4 – Whistler: Included today is a three hour guided canoe trip down the River of Golden Dreams, take time to enjoy amazing mountain scenery and wildlife. With plenty of activities to choose from in Whistler, you'll have lots to do for the remainder of your day.
Day 5 – Whistler/Victoria: Today you'll take a scenic floatplane transfer to Victoria. A 45 minute flight will bring you to Victoria harbour where you'll make your own way to your hotel for two nights. The capital of British Columbia has plenty of options for you to fill the remainder of your day, such as the Royal BC Museum and Butchart Gardens.
Day 6 – Victoria: A three hour whale-watching tour is included today. Take to the water and head out in search of orcas, minke whales, grey whales, harbour seals and other wildlife. On board, you'll have a certified marine biologist and naturalist to keep you informed throughout. Back on dry land, you might want to visit the Fairmont Empress for afternoon tea (subject to timings).
Day 7 – Victoria/Vancouver: Transfer back to Vancouver today by coach and ferry, return either to downtown Vancouver or the airport depending on your forward plans.
Please note: the tour is available from early May to mid-September.
Minimum age is 3 years.
Days 1 & 2 – Whistler: After collecting your car, drive up to your hotel in Whistler and check-in for a two night stay. Whistler has something for everyone, with hiking trails for the nature lovers on both Whistler and Blackcombe mountains or zip trekking and mountain bike trails for the more adventurous. The village also has a great choice of restaurants and shopping.
Days 3 & 4 – Whistler/Egmont: Leave Whistler on your journey to Egmont and the West Coast Wilderness Lodge. On your way, you'll stop in Squamish for a ride on the Sea-to-Sky Gondola. Next, you'll head to West Vancouver where a ferry ride will take you across the bay and then a drive up the Sunshine Coast brings you to the lodge, your home for the next two nights. A guided sea kayak tour takes you out along the forested coastline where you'll have the perfect opportunity to view birds, seals and marine mammals in their natural environment.
Day 5 – Egmont/Quadra Island: Drive through some of the most spectacular scenery of the West Coast as you travel to Quadra Island. A ferry will take you over to Vancouver Island; after a drive to Campbell River, a water taxi will transport you to Quadra Island and the April Point Resort & Spa, where you will stay for the night. You can either choose to relax with a Swedish massage or take one of the many optional activities such as fishing (activities are at an additional cost).
Days 6 & 7 – Quadra Island/Sonora Resort: Returning back to Campbell River, another water taxi will be waiting to take you on the one hour transfer out to the stunning Sonora Resort. After checking in for your two night stay you'll be able to take advantage of many activities on offer. Why not take an optional bear viewing excursion or a guided salmon fishing tour, both at additional cost? Or, you could take to the water on a kayak and head out to the Outer Discovery Islands in search of seals, dolphins and bald eagles.
Day 8 – Sonora/Parksville: Return by water taxi back to Campbell River and after collecting your car head south along Vancouver Island’s east coast to Parksville. Once you have checked in to your hotel, you'll be free to wander the wide boardwalks and beaches of this oceanfront town.
Days 9 & 10 – Parksville/Tofino: Cross the heart of Vancouver Island through forest lined highways as you head to Tofino. During your two night stay here you'll have plenty of time to explore, kayak on Clayoquot Sound or hike along one of the many trails. A four hour 'Rainforest Kayak & Hike' excursion is included here. You’ll also have plenty of time to relax in this tranquil setting.
Days 11 & 12 – Tofino/Victoria: Head back across the island and down to Victoria, the provincial capital. Along the way, you may want to stop at Horne Lake Caves or Chemainus where you can view First Nations murals. Included during your full day is a three hour guided cycle tour of the city, viewing many of the impressive mansions, gardens and seaside parks along the way. And then in the afternoon, a three hour guided kayaking tour of Victoria Harbour, which offers a different perspective of the downtown area.
Days 13 & 14 – Victoria/Vancouver: Take the ferry across the Strait of Georgia to Vancouver for the final two nights of your tour. With world-class shopping and cuisine to choose from along with some amazing sights, this city is a great place to finish. Included on your full day is a five hour guided cycle ride around the city; Stanley Park, English Bay and the Olympic Village complex are just some of the stops along the way.
Day 15 – Vancouver: Your tour ends today after checking out of your hotel. However, if your onward flight is not until the evening, you'll have a full day to do some last minute exploring.
Please note: the tour is available from mid-May to early September.
Day 1 – Campbell River: Arrive in Campbell River where you'll stop for one night.
Day 2 – Campbell River/Knight Inlet: Leaving Campbell River this morning, a floatplane departure will fly you over to Glendale Cove and Knight Inlet Lodge, right at the heart of the Canadian Wilderness and one of the world's best places for Grizzly Bear viewing. After arriving at the lodge, you'll receive a welcome orientation, a two hour marine cruise, two hours viewing bears with an expert guide and a boat ride around Glendale Cove (weather permitting).
Day 3 – Knight Inlet/Campbell River: If you're staying the one night at Knight Inlet, you'll depart this morning by floatplane back to Campbell River.
It's possible to spend 1,2 or 3 nights at Knight Inlet. If you choose to spend longer you'll have a selection of extra tours to choose from including extra bear viewing trips, forest hikes and local excursions.
Your hotel in Campbell River will be on a room only basis, while your stay in Knight Inlet will be Full Board beginning with lunch on day two and ending with dinner on the last day of your stay. House wine is included with dinner.
There's a luggage allowance of 14kgs per bag, plus a small carry-on bag, per person, on the floatplane transfer. Any additional luggage you may have can be stored at the floatplane terminal at no additional charge.
Please note: the tour is available from the end May to mid October.
It’s easy to see why Vancouver is one of British Columbia’s most popular destinations; the city is a vibrant mix of the natural and the cosmopolitan. Visit parks like the Grouse Mountain Refuge for Endangered Wildlife to see grizzly bears in their natural habitat, go on a whale-watching tour from the Fraser River, or get a taste of Vancouver’s modern culture with a theatre performance in the city centre.
With a natural landscape made up of mountains, forests and rivers, Northern British Columbia is perfect if you’re looking for a scenic place to stay. The region is mostly untouched wilderness, so it’s not unusual to spot a bear or two in the woods. It’s a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts, thanks to its fishing and hiking activities, and the Great Bear Rainforest is definitely worth a visit to see the elusive Spirit Bear.
Ranked as one of Canada’s best year-round resorts, Whistler is an ideal choice for a holiday to British Columbia. Despite its popularity as a skiing and snowboarding spot after hosting the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Winter Games, Whistler is much more than a ski resort. There’s shopping centres to explore, a lively nightlife scene to enjoy, and thrillseekers will love the annual Crankworx mountain bike festival.
With national and provincial parks aplenty, your holiday in British Columbia won’t be short of new places to discover. Explore Western Canada’s incredible natural landscape with a visit to the Kootenay Rockies. This mountain region in the southeast of British Columbia is a nature lover’s dream. Trek amongst the wildlife and unspoiled scenery on a walking tour, or stop for a picnic and take in the views across Slocan Lake.
Adventurers will have plenty to keep them entertained on a holiday to British Columbia. There are activities to suit all tastes and seasons, whether it’s trekking across snow-covered mountains or trout fishing in the lakes at Thompson Okanagan. Thrillseekers will love mountain biking around the scenic Mount Revelstoke National Park, or white water rafting down the Kicking Horse River in the Canadian Rockies.
For a taste of British Columbia’s local culture, a trip to the Cariboo Chilcotin Coast is a must. The former mining town of Williams Lake is a hub of exciting cultural events, such as art festivals, live music and theatrical performances; plus lots for the kids to get involved in, too. During the summer months, the town plays host to the Williams Lake Stampede, a famous rodeo event that has been a tradition in the area for nearly 100 years.
Time difference: GMT -8 hours. Most of British Columbia is on Pacific Standard Time, which is one hour behind Mountain Standard Time (Alberta and some eastern areas of British Columbia).
Currency: Canadian Dollar.
Language: English, French.
Flight time from the UK (London): Approximately 9 hours.
Arrival airport: Vancouver International Airport.
Entry details (for British passport holders): From the 29th September 2016, if you fly or transit through Canada, you must have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). If you travel to the US, you must adhere to the US Visa Waiver Programme (VWP). Your passport must be valid for at least the duration of your stay. Before you depart, check the latest travel advice at www.fco.gov.uk.
All images courtesy of Destination British Columbia
"SUPER, NATURAL BRITISH COLUMBIA" and "SUPER,NATURAL" and all associated logos/trade-marks are trade-marks of Destination BC Corp.
*All prices are per person, based on 2 adults sharing and do not include international flights.