Canada Wildlife & Vancouver Island

15 day Small Group Tour - from £3549

With flights from £3979

This tour visits the unforgettable sights of the Rockies and Lake Louise, but also ventures off the beaten track to Bella Coola and Tweedsmuir, rarely visited by tourists, for a true wilderness experience.

Highlights:

  • Orca viewing tour around Victoria
  • Inside Passage ferry journey, spotting whales and birdlife
  • The remote Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and Bella Coola Valley
  • Jasper and Banff National Parks and Icefields Parkway drive
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Your Itinerary

Day 1 - Arrive in Vancouver

Welcome to one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in the world, Vancouver. We highly recommend a stroll around this cosmopolitan city. A highlight for many people is Stanley Park, a 400-hectare green wonderland where you can see authentic totem poles erected in the 1920s or sit in one of the cafes and enjoy a spot of people watching. A welcome meeting will be held at 18:00 hrs in the hotel lobby, where you’ll meet your tour guide and fellow travellers.

Hotel: Ramada Vancouver Downtown or similar

Day 2 - Victoria

As you board the ferry to Vancouver Island and take in the amazing views across the Salish Sea, your Canadian adventure is underway! You’ll arrive in Victoria, an area well-known as an incredible place to spot Orca Whales. That’s why we’ve included a Zodiac boat tour to spot these magnificent mammals in their natural habitat. In the late afternoon, you’ll enjoy an orientation tour of the city, then you’re free to relax and explore under your own steam. The first Chinatown in Canada is well worth a visit.

Hotel: Victoria Strathcona or similar

Day 3 - Tofino/ Ucluelet

Beaches, trails and rainforest await in the Pacific Rim. Follow one of the most picturesque and rugged coastal routes in British Columbia and keep an eye out for wildlife while you enjoy the bracing sea breeze. Why not opt for a whale-watching zodiac tour or hit the nearby trails to get out into nature? Your hotel for the next two nights will be in Ucluelet (pronounced ‘Yew-Kloo-Let’) or Tofino.

Hotel: Canadian Princess Lodge or similar

Day 4 - Tofino/ Ucluelet

The west coast of Vancouver Island is well-known for its whale and bear sightings, and this morning you’ll undertake a boat trip that gives you a unique chance to get up close and personal with the iconic Black Bear, with experienced an onboard guide who knows the area. You may even be lucky enough to spot whales on your trip. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy as you wish, with kayaking, hiking or perhaps a whale-watching boat trip.

Hotel: Canadian Princess Lodge or similar

Day 5 - Port Hardy

Leave the west coast of Vancouver Island and head north on Highway 19, stopping en route to marvel at the huge Douglas Firs and Western Red Cedars at Cathedral Grove, before overnighting in Port Hardy. Port Hardy was named after Vice-Admiral Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, former captain of HMS Victory, and is the gateway to the amazing stretch of water known as the Inside Passage.

Hotel: North Shore Inn or similar

Day 6 - Bella Coola

An absolute delight for wildlife lovers, the Inside Passage offers one of the most incredible ferry crossings in the whole of North America, with everything from frozen fjords to forest-covered hillsides flanking your route. The scenery is simply spectacular: towering, forest-clad peaks surround the deep fjords and those with a keen eye can often spot Bald Eagles and bears.

The Inside Passage supports one of the world’s richest marine environments and it may be possible to see Gray, Orca, Pacific White Sided and occasionally Humpback Whales. The remoteness of the Inside Passage is its most stunning feature; the area is largely inaccessible by road and the tiny communities spread along it rely on boats for transportation. The journey is long and cannot be completed with one ferry, which is why we take two ferries with a total duration of 16.5 hours. You’ll spend tonight in the small community of Bella Coola.

Hotel: Bella Coola Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 7 - Bella Coola

Bella Coola is located at the point where the Bella Coola River joins with the saltwater of the Pacific Ocean. Here, amongst the lush valley bottoms and snow-capped peaks, some of the largest Grizzly Bears in the world reside – this little community is gaining a reputation as one of the finest places to spot them in British Columbia.

The best time of year to view Grizzly Bears is from the middle of August to the end of September when they descend from the mountains to catch salmon in the rivers and eat berries. In season, it’s possible to join an optional excursion in search of Grizzly Bears. Outside of bear season, there’s a selection of excellent hikes on offer and plenty of optional activities, such as fishing and wildlife viewing.

Hotel: Bella Coola Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 8 to 9 - Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

Get right off the beaten track as you journey through some incredibly wild regions en route to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park. The park was named after the 15th Governor General of Canada, Baron Tweedsmuir, who travelled extensively throughout the area by floatplane and horseback. The park has varied landscapes on offer, and you can expect to see rugged mountains, deep rolling valleys and majestic ocean fjords. Your overnight location is close to the shores of Anahim Lake, a popular lake for fly fishing that supports a diverse array of wildlife. There’s an optional canoeing excursion that takes you across Lonesome lake, which we recommend, followed by a relaxing night cuddling up by the fireplace! Please note, this area has very basic facilities but is extremely beautiful and off the tourist trail.

Please note: due to the remote nature of this property, some cabins will be more basic than others, often with shared bathroom facilities, with a capacity of two to four people maximum. On rare occasions, you may have to use the bathrooms in the main lodge.

Hotel: Eagle Nest Resort Cabins or similar

Day 10 - Wells Gray Provincial Park

Continue your travels to Clearwater, the gateway to Wells Gray Provincial Park, where you’re free to explore the park forest trails and bewitching waterfalls.

Hotel: Clearwater Lodge or similar

Day 11 - Jasper National Park (via Mount Robson)

As the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies, Mount Robson is indeed a stunning sight. Pause to take in over 3,000m (10,000 ft.) of snow-capped loveliness. You have the option to hike at Kinney Lake, located in the Mount Robson Provincial Park, or you could join a wildlife river safari with the chance to see bears, moose, eagles and osprey from Blue River. Your overnight location will be in Jasper National Park, around 40 minutes out of town. Enjoy a visit to Miette Hot Springs at the end of the day.

Hotel: Pocahontas Cabins or similar

Day 12 - Jasper National Park

Jasper is considered much quieter and less developed than Banff, which means it is easier to escape the crowds and spend the day getting to know Jasper National Park and its surroundings. One option is to take the SkyTram into the mountains for fantastic views over the Canadian Rockies. Alternatively, there are various hikes at Mount Edith Cavell, including a short hike in flower-strewn alpine meadows with chances to see caribou. From the top, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of Angel Glacier, a beautiful hanging glacier in the shape of angel wings.

Hotel: Pocahontas Cabins or similar

Day 13 - Banff National Park (via Icefields Parkway)

Brace yourself, as this morning you hit one of the most famous and beautiful drives in the world, the Icefields Parkway. This spectacular road traverses the Rockies, running parallel to the Continental Divide. Mountain passes, glaciers and high peaks are some of the many scenic highlights and there are opportunities to see elk, caribou, bears, Bighorn Sheep and goats, which often graze on the vegetation found at the roadside. You’ll stop at the ‘must see’ sights, including Bow Summit and Bow Lake, Peyto Lake and Crowfoot Glacier. There’s also the option to enjoy a guided glacier walk along the way.

Hotel: Brewster Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 14 - Banff National Park

Banff National Park is one of the highlights of any visit to Western Canada, with its magnificent mountains, lakes and forests. It’s Canada’s first national park and now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Banff town can easily be explored on foot and with plenty of optional activities, there’s more than enough to fill your time.

Check out the iconic Banff Springs Hotel where tourism in the Canadian Rockies first began, visit some of the many souvenir shops in town or take a short trail to the tumbling Bow Falls. You could also walk along Tunnel Mountain trail for a view of Banff and the Bow Valley. Why not take the gondola up to Sulphur Mountain for rewarding panoramic views of the Rockies? Or simply relax in the heated, natural pools of the Banff Hot Springs.

Hotel: Brewster Mountain Lodge or similar

Day 15 - Depart Calgary

Today will be the end of your tour of the Canadian Rockies as you head to the city of Calgary. Calgary has historically been known for its Wild West roots and is oozing with the Western culture which earned it the nickname ‘Cowtown’. It’s past remains evident in the rodeo and the Calgary Stampede, but it has become a dynamic and vibrant city of skyscrapers at the centre of Canada’s oil industry.

If you fancy extending your stay to take in the sights of Calgary after the tour ends, please make your accommodation reservation at the time of booking. For everyone else, it’s time to say goodbye – but rest assured, you’ll be leaving with plenty of wilderness memories, wildlife photographs and maybe even a few sticky maple syrup sweets for your journey home.

15 day Small Group Tour - from £3549

With flights from £3979

OPTIONS

  • Extend your stay in Vancouver from £67
  • Add extra nights in Calgary from £51
  • Add a rail journey on the Rocky Mountaineer from £1061 
  • Choose to fly Economy, Premium, Business or First Class

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All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a twin room, and include meals where shown. Seasonal variations may apply, please call Freedom Destinations for more information and availability. Itineraries may vary for tours departing from 1 April 2021 onwards.

Canadian Wildlife & Vancouver Island

YOUR TOURING EXPERIENCE

First class small group touring with the company of others. Our experienced guides will make sure you don’t miss a thing.

Your Small Group Tour includes:

  • Superb sightseeing, walks and activities
  • Air conditioned vehicle with free WiFi
  • 5 nights’ hotel accommodation
  • 4 nights in a lodge
  • 2 nights in a guest ranch
  • A friendly and knowledgeable tour leader

See more Small Group Tours in Canada…

Departure Dates

Check for departure dates that suit you:

2020-06-15

2020-06-24

2020-07-17

2020-07-19

2020-07-26

2020-07-28

2020-08-02

To confirm availability please call 0333 234 0943.

This tour is also available in reverse, from Calgary to Vancouver. Please contact us for departure dates.

For advice or to start planning your holiday

talk to an Canada Expert on 0333 234 0943

Coronavirus – Notice for Customers

We are currently contacting all customers whose holiday may be affected by the current travel restrictions in place due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

For the latest Government advice regarding travel to any particular country please visit the Gov.uk website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice