Canada Wildlife & Vancouver Island

15 day Small Group Tour - from £2689

This tour visits the unforgettable sights of the Rockies and Lake Louise, but also delves deeper, venturing far off the beaten track. Bella Coola and Tweedsmuir are rarely visited by tourists and offer a true wilderness experience.

Highlights:

  • Orca viewing tour around Victoria
  • Unforgettable Inside Passage ferry journey spotting whales and birdlife
  • Visit remote Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and Bella Coola Valley
  • Explore Jasper and Banff national parks
  • Drive along the stunning Icefields Parkway
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Your Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive 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 (1 night)

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 under way! 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: Howard Johnson Victoria (1 night)

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 (2 nights)

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 on-board 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.

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 (1 night)

Day 6: Inside Passage - 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 (2 nights)

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.

Day 8: Bella Coola - Tweedsmuir Provincial Park

Today is where your tour gets right off the beaten track as you journey through some incredibly wild regions en route to Tweedsmuir Provincial Park, often regarded as the most beautiful spot in the whole of British Columbia. Spend time in the southern area of the park this morning, joining a hiking trail through an area of thick forest and wildflowers.

A healthy population of Grizzly and Black Bears exist throughout the park, as well as elk, deer, moose and coyotes. Wildlife aside, the mountain colours combined with ultimate solitude will ensure that Tweedsmuir is a park you’ll remember for years to come. Please note, this area has basic facilities but is extremely beautiful, and far from the tourist trail.

Hotel: Eagle Nest Resort Cabins (1 night)

Day 9 & 10: Tweedsmuir Provincial Park - Spruce Hill Ranch

Spruce Hill Resort and Spa offers guests a place of peaceful refuge whilst also being surrounded by scenery which reflects the true Canadian west. Surrounded by 20,000 acres of Canadian wilderness and in the middle of a working cattle ranch, the area offers fantastic hiking, canoeing and biking. With over 100 miles of trails, acres of rolling range lands, lakes and meadows, your guide will lead you on hiking trails to see wildlife, high vistas, and mountain tops.

Hotel: Spruce Hill Resort & Spa (2 nights)

Day 11: Mount Robson - Jasper National Park

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 (2 nights)

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.

Day 13: Icefields Parkway - Banff National Park

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 (2 nights)

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.

Day 15: Banff National Park - 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.

This tour ends at approximately 17:00 hrs. We can book you post-tour accommodation at our gateway hotel if required. If you are planning to fly tonight, please do not book a flight that departs before 21:00 hrs.

15 day Small Group Tour - from £2689

With flights from £3119

OPTIONS

  • Extend your stay in Vancouver – from £67
  • Add extra nights in Calgary – from £51
  • Add a Rocky Mountaineer journey – from £975 
  • Choose to fly economy, premium, business or first class

 

Tours are subject to availability. Call 0333 234 0943 or enquire online to check your departure date

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All prices are per person, based on 2 sharing a twin room, and include meals where shown. Call Freedom Canada for departure dates and availability. Seasonal variations may apply – call or enquire now for more details. Itineraries may vary for tours departing from 1st April 2020 onwards.

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

Departure dates:

2019 2020
15 July 17 June
23 July 26 June
12 August 19 July
20 August 28 July
29 August 2 August

 

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For advice or to start planning your holiday

talk to a Canada Expert on 0333 234 0943