The solemn beauty of British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast and Vancouver Island are revealed on a comprehensive itinerary designed for the active, independent traveller. Remote, activity oriented resorts treat guests to uninterrupted shorelines, teeming with native birds, seals and other fascinating marine mammals.
Guided kayaking tours explore these placid waters, and guided hikes lead small groups through ancient forests to destinations of unsurpassed beauty. These wilderness experiences are balanced by urban cycling tours on well-established biking lanes and parkland routes throughout Vancouver and Victoria, creating a complete West Coast experience.
Day 1: Whistler
Land in Vancouver and pick up your hire car (not included). Transfer independently to your Whistler hotel where you pick up your Out Of Office Roadbook at the front desk and check in. The rest of the day is yours to create your own alpine adventure amid the many pedestrian walkways and squares of the village, the many stores, parkettes, restaurants and casual eateries of this oasis in the mountains. Overnight in Whistler.
Day 2: Whistler
Today is a day for outdoor adventure. Discover the hidden beauty of Fitzsimmons Creek and picturesque forest valley between Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains. Take the included Tree Top Canopy Walk Ecotour. Overnight in Whistler.
Day 3: Whistler to Egmont
Departing Whistler, the first stop of the day is in the small community of Squamish and a ride on the Sea-to-Sky Gondola – the endless tracks of forest and rocky outcroppings conjuring feelings of majestic serenity. Arriving in West Vancouver, a short ferry passage across the bay followed by a winding, scenic highway drive up the Sunshine Coast takes you to West Coast Wilderness Lodge. The next two days are yours to experience the wonders of this luxury retreat with sweeping views of the inlet islands. Overnight at West Coast Wilderness Lodge.
Day 4: Egmont
A day of adventure lies ahead as you paddle the peaceful ocean waters along the forested coastlines of this remote location. You’ll take a guided kayak tour. The small bays and natural jetties of Sechelt Inlet are home to a wide variety of birds, seals and marine mammals and the sea kayaks provide the perfect, silent vessels to observe these creatures in their natural habitat.
Day 5: Egmont to Quadra Island
Departing the lodge, you embark on a day of travel through some of the most spectacular scenery of the West Coast. Combined with a ferry passage and a water taxi from Painter’s Lodge to Quadra Island (payable on site), you get a true sense of the dramatic landscapes and rugged environments that are home to both First Nations peoples and descendants of colonial settlers.
Crossing over to Victoria Island then over to the quiet shores of Quadra Island, you arrive at the tree-covered walkways and manicured grounds of April Point Resort & Spa. Everything from Swedish massages to fishing tours are available onsite (at additional cost). Overnight at April Point Resort & Spa.
Day 6: Quadra Island to Sonora Resort
Returning to the small community of Campbell River on Victoria Island, you board a water taxi that winds its way through the Discovery Passage and along the impressive coastlines of the Sunshine Coast islands for a one-hour journey to the welcoming docks of Sonora Resort.
This quintessential West Coast resort is widely known for its breathtaking location, luxurious amenities and available tours, excursions and wild life viewing excursions that showcase the incredible environments of the island and the creatures that thrive in them (at additional cost). Overnight at Sonora Resort.
Day 7: Sonora
Learn how to catch and land salmon from the deep waters of the ocean, or race along the waves in a rigid Zodiac boat to secluded bear watching habitats. Indulgent spa services, exquisite dining, or quiet refreshments on wide viewing decks – every luxury and adventure is available in this island paradise (all tours at additional cost). Overnight at Sonora Resort.
Day 8: Sonora to Parksville
Returning to Campbell River via water taxi, the day’s travels continue down the east coast of Victoria Island. This area is home to many small communities such as Courtney and Qualicum Beach that embrace the relaxed lifestyle of Pacific Northwest, blending local industry with tourism and an appreciation for the outdoors. Arriving in Parksville, take some time to wander the wide boardwalks and beaches of this oceanfront community. Overnight in Parksville.
Day 9: Parksville to Tofino
Today the true wilderness of Vancouver Island is revealed as you head inland to traverse the very heart of the island. Gigantic forests line the highway as you drive through some of the most untouched wilderness of the West Coast. Perhaps stop for break in the small town of Port Alberni before following the shores of Sproat Lake on your winding course to the wave-sculpted shores of the Pacific Ocean and the small community of Tofino. Overnight in Tofino.
Day 10: Tofino
A small artist community living in harmony with an ancient landscape creates the perfect setting for an eco-adventure by trail and waterway on a guided kayak and hiking excursion. The waters of Clayoquot Sound lead to the Big Tree hiking trail on Meares Island and the 1500-year old cedar tree boughs of the temperate rainforest that covers the island. Overnight in Tofino.
Day 11: Tofino to Victoria
Today you head back east across the island to the eastern coast, giving you an opportunity to stop and visit some of the many natural and cultural attractions unique to this part of Canada. You may enjoy the echoing grandeur of Horne Lake Caves, or the towering trees of Cathedral Grove.
For a taste of First Nations culture, pay a visit to murals of Chemainus, or perhaps the Quw’utsun’ Cultural and Conference Centre in Duncan, where representatives of the museum recall the Great Deeds – an oral history of the legends of the Quw’utsun’ people.
Arriving in Victoria, spend the evening enjoying the pleasant breezes blowing off the harbour on quiet walks along the sea wall. Overnight in Victoria.
Day 12: Victoria
Discover the changing face of modern Victoria with quiet paddle strokes and gliding bicycle wheels that reveal the perfect merging of colonial grandeur natural splendour. Spend the morning on a bike touring the neighbourhoods of mansions, gardens, and seaside parks that create a diverse and artistic community.
In the afternoon, climb into a kayak and let your guide reveal Victoria’s historic waterways, locations and buildings that make up the downtown area. Overnight in Victoria.
Day 13: Victoria to Vancouver
Crossing the Strait of Georgia, arrive in the bustling city of Vancouver. Known as the Gateway to the Pacific, this city on the edge of the ocean has been a landing point for visitors and immigrants from all over the Pacific Rim, as well as a colonial home for Canada’s original British settlers.
This mix of cultures has created a fusion of food, architecture, philosophies and art seldom seen anywhere in the world. Take some time to explore the many diverse neighbourhoods, restaurants and galleries that line the streets of downtown and the harbourfront. Overnight in Vancouver.
Day 14: Vancouver
Vancouver was one of the first major Canadian cities to embrace the bicycle as a popular form of transportation. As a result, a well-developed set of trails and bike lanes make the city one of the best urban centres to explore with this eco-friendly method of transportation.
Take a cycling tour today with a guide who takes the small group through expansive Stanley Park, along the shores of English Bay and includes a midday stop at Granville Island market – home to some of the most delicious delicacies in the city. The Olympic Village complex, Science World, Chinatown and Gastown round out the tour. Overnight in Vancouver.
Return to Vancouver International Airport in time to check-in for your return flight.