INTRODUCING VANCOUVER ISLAND

For a small island, Vancouver Island certainly packs a big punch. From its spacious and sophisticated cities in the south to the remote wilderness of the north, its landscapes are nothing short of epic. It has stunning national parks, snug harbour towns, a vibrant arts culture and some of the most awe-inspiring wildlife on the planet. But it’s not just a place for getting lost in nature. With luxury hotels and a cosmopolitan food scene, it’s also somewhere to rest, recharge and indulge.

Beautiful beaches and snow-topped mountains, where bears roam and whales rule the oceans.

Things to do

WILDLIFE

Vancouver Island’s very identity has been carved from the beauty of its landscape. And though they’re season-dependent, you can almost always have some truly once-in-a-lifetime experiences here. Head to Victoria or the North Island to see orcas, humpbacks, minke whales, and dolphins. Spy black bears in Port Hardy or in Pacific Rim National Park. Turn to the sky to watch bald eagles swoop for salmon in Goldstream Provincial Park. Just remember to pack your camera – and those all-important binoculars.

WATER

Boat-lined harbours, windswept beaches and serene mountain lakes: Vancouver Island’s relationship to water – like its wildlife – is an integral part of its makeup. Paddle up hidden inlets on a canoe and marvel at deep emerald waters. Bathe in hot natural springs. Catch legendary waves in Tofino – or simply barefoot it along Long Beach as the sun sets. If all of this connection to water makes you hungry, a menu of just-caught seafood comes as part of the bargain, wherever you are.

CULTURE

From the early Finnish settlers of Sointula to the 13,000-year history of the Kwakwaka’wakw in the north, each region of Vancouver Island has a fascinating cultural story to tell. Headed for Victoria? Wander to Thunderbird Park to see authentic totem poles of the First Nations people. Then marvel at the Victorian splendour of Craigdarroch Castle. There’s a year-round calendar of live music, theatre and events all over the island, including the family-friendly Pacific Rim Whale Festival and Victoria’s Film Festival.

Go kayaking from Telegraph Cove to see magnificent humpback whales and orcas in their natural habitats.

Top tip from SLH

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