Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour

Canada
Wildlife Watching
Partially Guided
Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour

Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour

Prices

From $3,425USD

Difficulty

Partially-Guided

Hotels

Active Travel is what we do

10Adventures knows Active and Adventure Travel because everything we do is focused on Active and Adventure Travel. We understand the needs of travellers and partner with excellent local guides who specialize in active, experiential and adventure travel.

Real humans are always a click or call away

Your time is important, and you shouldn't have to deal with automated bots or a confusing phone system. At 10Adventures you are assigned an Adventure Concierge, who is a real person who has one job: to support you during the planning & booking of your trip.

Customize or go private and get the perfect trip for you

Taking a holiday can be the most fun you have all year. At 10Adventures we believe that you should have the ability to personalize the trip, to get it just the way you want. Sometimes that's joining a group, but more often it's going private with your loved ones, and getting the dates and itinerary that's just right for you.

Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews
Start Your Booking

Highlights

Go on exciting wildlife viewing expeditions as you explore magical Vancouver Island

See majestic Canadian wildlife in their natural habitats during viewing excursions by boat.

Enjoy plenty of free time to enjoy your favourite outdoor activities in the mountains, forests, and waters of the island.

Visit Vancouver, the enthralling city where the mountains meet the sky, and the charming historic city of Victoria.

Stay in Tofino or Ucluelet so you can enjoy the spectacular beach and hiking trails that lead through the temperate rainforests of Pacific Rim National Park.

Spend twelve incredible days wildlife watching during this self-drive adventure on Vancouver Island. This tour is for the animal and nature lover who wants to enjoy pristine environments and observe their favourite animals in their natural habitats.

The Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour provides a flexible itinerary with enough free time to choose how you want to explore this natural paradise. Everything from hiking in the rainforest to sea kayaking, surfing, or watching the sunset from the beach is on the menu. In between your personal adventures are incredible opportunities to get up close to the legendary mammals of the island. You’ll take different excursions to watch for whales, seals, eagles, dolphins, and the great grizzly bear, just to name a few! You won’t believe your eyes as you drive from one breathtaking spot to the next during this self-drive tour of beautiful Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour Itinerary

Day 1 Arrive in Vancouver

When you arrive in Vancouver, you can pick up your rental vehicle at the airport and drive to your hotel. Tonight, you can explore at your leisure. Choose from iconic spots to stroll like historic Gastown or around the sea wall in Stanley Park.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Vancouver
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 2 Scenic Ferry to Vancouver Island

You have the morning to explore Vancouver—get in line for brunch at some of the city’s best spots like Chickpea or Jam Café. Drive to Horseshoe Bay to take the ferry across to Vancouver Island. The trip is about an hour and a half, and the scenery is breathtaking. You may see some of the marine life that lives in the Strait. Tonight, you’ll spend the night in Nanaimo, the birthplace of the legendary Nanaimo bar. You’ll probably want to try a few locally made varieties before you leave.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Nanaimo
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 3 Cross Island Road Trip to Tofino

This morning, you’ll drive to Horn Lake Provincial Park, where you’ll explore the caves on your own or book a guided cave tour. The next stop on your way to Tofino is Cathedral Grove for a walk through the ancient forest of towering Douglas fir trees. End the day by watching the spectacular sunset over the ocean in Tofino.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Ucluelet or Tofino
Distance
200km
Meals
None

Day 4 Whale Watching and the Pacific Rim

In the morning, you can familiarize yourself with Pacific Rim National Park with a free walking tour. You’ll love hiking in the lush rainforest and along the spectacular stretches of rugged beach with views of the mighty Pacific Ocean. In the afternoon, you’ll board a zodiac for a whale watching tour of Clayoquot Bay. Keep your eyes out for sea lions, seals, sea otters, and eagles during the tour.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Ucluelet or Tofino
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 5 Search the Shores for Black Bear

Begin your day with a beach walk or visit the Botanical Garden of Tofino to see the rainforest flowers and plants they have on display. In the afternoon, you have another exciting zodiac tour, but this time you’ll patrol the shores in search of black bears. You’ll love being able to see the bears in their natural environment from the safety of your boat!

Overnight Location
Hotel in Ucluelet or Tofino
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 6 Waterfall Walk and Campbell River

Take a final walk through the fishing village of Ucluelet before you begin your drive up-island to Campbell River. Go for a quick hike in Elk Falls Provincial Park to visit the beautiful waterfalls and stretch your legs.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Campbell River
Distance
200km
Meals
None

Day 7 Whales and Grizzly Bear Expedition

Today, you’ll take an epic seven-hour boat tour in search of the great grizzly bear. Your guide will teach you all about the bears and the other animals you might see on your adventure. Humpback whales, orcas, Pacific white dolphins, and sea lions are all known to make an appearance in this area, so keep your camera ready!

Overnight Location
Hotel in Campbell River
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 8 Journey Further North to Telegraph Cove

As you continue your drive north on the island, you’ll take some scenic coastal roads that offer impressive views across the water to the mainland. You’ll spend the next two nights in peaceful Telegraph Cove.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Telegraph Cove
Distance
200km
Meals
None

Day 9 Wildlife Watching Boat Trip

This morning, you’ll embark on another early morning boat ride to observe the incredible coastal wildlife on the Knight Inlet Strait. From this remote location, you’ll look for Grizzlies as they hunt for berries, and you can observe the salmon run if you’re visiting at the end of August. You’ll also watch for eagles, dolphins, seals, and black bears as they look for food in the inlet.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Telegraph Cove
Distance
None
Meals
None

Day 10 Visit Beautiful Victoria

Enjoy the quiet drive to the southern tip of Vancouver Island and its lovely capital city, Victoria. You can spend the afternoon wandering Fisherman’s Wharf or visiting the iconic Empress Hotel. You can book an optional seaplane tour to see the city from the air and for amazing views of the Juan de Fuca Strait and the Olympic Mountains.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Victoria
Distance
460km
Meals
None

Day 11 Ferry to Vancouver

This morning, you’ll take the ferry back to the mainland. Watch the peaceful Gulf Islands go by as you cross the Georgia Strait—you may even be lucky enough to spot a whale during the trip! When you reach Vancouver, you can take a free city tour that visits popular sights such as Stanley Park and Granville Island. You can also choose to book an optional cruise of the Vancouver Harbour.

Overnight Location
Hotel in Vancouver
Distance
110km
Meals
None

Day 12 Tour Concludes

Today, your tour officially ends when you drop off your rental vehicle at the Vancouver International Airport.

Overnight Location
None
Distance
None
Meals
None

Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour Price and Dates

This partially-guided tour on the West Coast is run as private tour for your group only, and the price per person depends on how many people are in your group.

Prices below are per person:

  • Groups of 2+: $4,475CAD per person
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Accommodation on the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour

This tour is based on hotel accommodations. Hotels on this trip are 3-star standard hotels that offer comfortable rooms in fantastic locations along your route.

In some cases, the accommodation listed below may need to be substituted for other comparable accommodations.

Single Rooms and Solo Travellers
Rooms are double occupancy. Single rooms, including those for solo travellers, are by request and may incur an additional fee.

Night 1

Hotel in Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver! Settle in and sleep off any jetlag at your comfortable hotel.

Night 2

Hotel in Nanaimo

Enjoy this ever-growing urban centre on Vancouver Island. The charming downtown core has several yummy restaurants and wonderful thrift stores.

Night 3-5

Hotel in Ucluelet or Tofino

You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a mystical land when you see the sandy beaches at the edge of the forest. These popular surf towns keep their cool and haven’t been over-developed.

Night 6-7

Hotel in Campbell River

This mid-island adorable town has rustic charm written all over it. Make sure to try some local salmon after a full day of exploring the surrounding nature.

Night 8-9

Hotel in Telegraph Cove

Tucked away in the wilderness where the forest meets the ocean, you’ll spend two magical evenings in the tranquility of Telegraph Cove.

Night 10

Hotel in Victoria

Victoria draws visitors year-round for its pleasant climate, undeniably kind and laid-back people, and charming downtown core. Check out the Inner Harbour, Cook Street Village, and Dallas Road.

Night 11

Hotel in Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver! Settle in and sleep off any jetlag at your comfortable hotel.

Hotels on Standard Tour

What’s Included in the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour?

Meals

Meals are not included in this tour.

Accommodations

Accommodations for 11 nights are included. Accommodations before and after the tour in Vancouver are not included but can be added as a supplement.

Transportation during the Tour

This is a self-drive tour, and you’ll be provided with a rental vehicle for the duration of the itinerary.

Also Included

  • Standard vehicle rental, Category B
  • 24/7 access to helpline
  • Canadian taxes
  • Clayoquot Bay whale watching zodiac tour from Tofino
  • Black bear watching zodiac tour with naturalist from Tofino
  • Bear watching covered boat tour from Campbell River
  • Grizzly bear expedition from Telegraph Cove (Available August 15 to October 15)
  • Roundtrip Vancouver Island ferry

Not included

  • Flights to and from Vancouver
  • Meals, drinks, or snacks not previously mentioned
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses
  • Optional activities
  • Entrance fees to national parks
  • Gratuities for tour guides or other staff if desired
  • Vehicle insurance
  • Fuel

Optional Extras

  • Additional nights before or after the tour
  • Single occupancy upgrades
  • Optional activities or excursions
    • Zodiac wildlife watching tour in Campbell River
    • Seaplane tour of Victoria and the Juan de Fuca Strait
    • Vancouver harbour cruise

Frequenty Asked Questions about Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour

How hard is the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour?

We rate this tour as a 1 / 5. This tour has a flexible itinerary, so you can choose how you want to explore the great outdoors. Note that many of the excursions are on boats, and participants should be comfortable spending up to 7 hours on the water.

Is my driver’s licence valid in Canada?

Most standard driver’s licences are valid in Canada; however, International Drivers Permit might be required, or some exemptions might apply. Please check this source about driving with foreign license in Canada.

Is the vehicle insurance included?

No, vehicle insurance is not included in the package. We strongly suggest having one for this tour to avoid liability in case there is damage caused to the vehicle. You can either book vehicle insurance during the booking process, or get one by yourself.

I’ve never been on a self-guided trip! How does it work?

Self-guided travelling is not difficult! For many, it is a preferred type of travel, since you are in charge of your own time and pace. You are provided with all the information you’ll need to follow the route each day and often have access to phone support or other kinds of assistance. However, self-guided travelling requires good navigation skills and those who don’t feel confident in unknown places should consider booking guided tours.

Do I need a visa to travel to Canada?

Check with your local country about visa requirements. You could also try this website, though you should verify with your government.

Are meals included on the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour?

Meals are not included in this tour.

Do I need insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory to have health and medical insurance to join this trip, and your insurance should cover any activities you plan to do. Get your Travel Insurance.

How do I get to Vancouver to start this tour?

Fly into Vancouver International Airport (YVR). You’ll pick up your car rental from the airport.

What is the best time of year to see the animals on this tour?

Whales can be seen around Vancouver Island from May to October. The grizzly bear excursion from Telegraph Cove only operates from August 15 to October 15. The end of August is a great time to see the salmon run.

Is the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour in English?

Yes, all instructions and guide services are in English.

Where does the Vancouver Island Wildlife Self-Drive Tour end?

This tour ends at Vancouver International Airport (YVR), where you’ll return your rental vehicle.

Do I need special vaccines to travel to Canada?

Check with your family doctor.

Are there any travel restrictions for Canada?

Please check with your local government about travel restrictions before you book your tour. This map from the US Department of State provides an overview of the current status in countries around the globe. The UK‘s Foreign Office and Government of Canada also provide advice on foreign travel. Note that the travel advice may change depending on your nationality.

When is the best time to travel to Canada for this tour?

In the two decades since Toundra Voyages Inc. was founded in 1998, the company has become North America’s go-to travel agency in customized independent and group tourism.

Tounda takes a flexible, responsive approach to developing adventure travel tours. By listening to the wants and wishes of travellers, they’ve been able to create memorable, affordable tours complemented by impeccable service.

Toundra’s mission is to create and organize tailor-made travel. They select, adapt, and personalize travel experiences in North America for each and every guest, ensuring your adventure is one you’ll never forget.

Meeting your expectations is just the beginning of what Toundra aims to accomplish. Exceeding them by providing exceptional experiences in beautiful North America is their standard, and their track record of knockout customer service and customized tour planning speaks for itself.

Learn More

Prices

From $3,425USD

Difficulty

Partially-Guided

Hotels

Active Travel is what we do

10Adventures knows Active and Adventure Travel because everything we do is focused on Active and Adventure Travel. We understand the needs of travellers and partner with excellent local guides who specialize in active, experiential and adventure travel.

Real humans are always a click or call away

Your time is important, and you shouldn't have to deal with automated bots or a confusing phone system. At 10Adventures you are assigned an Adventure Concierge, who is a real person who has one job: to support you during the planning & booking of your trip.

Customize or go private and get the perfect trip for you

Taking a holiday can be the most fun you have all year. At 10Adventures we believe that you should have the ability to personalize the trip, to get it just the way you want. Sometimes that's joining a group, but more often it's going private with your loved ones, and getting the dates and itinerary that's just right for you.

Rated 4.9 on Google Reviews
Start Your Booking

What travellers say

When can I do this tour?

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Tour Difficulty

We rate this tour as a 1 / 5. This tour has a flexible itinerary, so you can choose how you want to explore the great outdoors. Note that many of the excursions are on boats, and participants should be comfortable spending up to 7 hours on the water.


Read about our scale for Tour Difficulty Ratings.

Get in touch

+1 (587) 327-9828

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