Vancouver Island is famous for its wildlife; Gray Whales, Humpback Whales, Orcas, Black Bears, Eagles, Sea Lions and Sea Otters, to name the ones we Brits see infrequently, but perhaps in particular the annual migration of around 20,000 grey whales which come close to the shore at Tofino, on the Pacific side of the island.
Tofino is a small town located at the centre of Clayoquot Sound -the most stunning hiking country, in our opinion, and recently designated British Columbia’s first UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
The surrounding Pacific Rim National Park is a natural habitat for the Orca amongst the Discovery Islands east and north of Campbell River and (in autumn) grizzly bears which are found in the Johnston Strait.
On the east coast of central Vancouver Island, The Campbell River has long been known as the Salmon Capital of the World, although it is also a great place to spot sea otters, eagle and sea lion all eager to have a share of the running salmon.
Every year, millions of migrating salmon travel through Discovery Passage from mid-July to late October on their way to spawn in their birth river. This is also where the deep-swimming resident Chinook of Georgia Strait gather to feed on herring and needlefish and opportunities to enjoy the sport of fishing abound.
To relax after your wild life adventures, try the hot springs at Maquinna Provincial Park. Combined with a walk through old growth rainforest that takes you along the peninsula and out to the geothermal hot pools you may even get to wild life spot at the same time!