Escape to the orca waters of Canada’s west coast.

Escape to orca country with an eight-day kayaking expedition in Canada’s Wildcoast wilderness. Launching from the pristine Quadra Island, take an adventure on the glacial waters of Johnstone Strait to Wildcoast’s Orca Camp: prime killer whale territory, alongside porpoises, dolphins and humpbacks. Be encapsulated by misty forests lining the banks of northern Vancouver Island to the east, and mainland Canada to the west. After each day of exploring, nestle in a cedar hot tub and relax in your oceanfront glamping site. This is a nature lover’s dream to the remote Discovery Passage, without leaving any creature comforts behind.


Start
Quadra Island, Canada
Finish
Quadra Island, Canada
Destination
Canada
Style
Comfort
Theme
Expedition, Explorer
Code
STSO
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 4, Max 11

Why you'll love this trip

  • Orca whales are a sight to behold. Witness the huge mammals breaching while you paddle on the Johnstone Strait, and hear their calls with underwater microphones on your Zodiac experience.

  • The largely untouched Canadian wilderness provides an unforgettable backdrop to your water adventure. Paddle past inlets and uninhabited islands to the sight of bear cubs scurrying along the rocky shores.

  • See the Discovery Passage in style with waterfront lodging on Quadra Island and a unique orca glamping experience, with safari-style tents, hot tubs and a native-style sauna.

  • Kayaking is the best way to explore Canada’s Wildcoast, and with the ability to do as much or as little paddling as you’d like, your expedition is as free as the wild porpoises and orcas that’ll pass you by.

  • Explore the pristine Quadra Island before and after your sea life exploration, relaxing at the popular Rebecca Spit Marine Provincial Park and learning of coastal first nation’s history at Nuyumbalees Cultural Center.

Is this trip right for you?

  • No experience is required to participate in our kayaking tours. We recommend that you enjoy a challenge, have a positive mindset and that you are in good physical shape. Our kayaks are stable and safe to paddle. Wildcoast guides provide kayak instruction and safety procedures prior to your first launch, and assist during your kayak tour with tweaking your technique.

  • At Orca Camp, kayaking is the primary activity, next to always keeping your eyes out for orca, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to paddle. The advantage of basecamp is that you can paddle as much or as little as you would like. Kayaking is daily, and you’ll enjoy a shore lunch on a beach you’ve paddled to. Guides tailor all paddling excursions to the group’s ability, dynamic, and of course weather conditions, so paddle itineraries vary. Guests looking to do more whale watching from the beach are welcome to opt out of any paddling excursion, and guests wishing for more time on the water are encouraged to arrange with guides a sunset or sunrise paddle!

  • Travellers on this tour stay in Wildcoast’s spacious safari tents. You also will have use of our 10L durable dry bags for storing any day-bag items needed during kayak excursions.

  • The diversity of the seasons here makes for incredible scenery, but the weather in this region can be unpredictable. It’s best to wear layers at all times of the year in case conditions change during the day. At night the temperature can really drop, so bring your warm clothes. Camping can be especially cold at the start and end of the season. Even in the warmer months the temperature can be low.

Itinerary

Welcome to the pure west coast of Canada. You are able to check in to your accommodation on Quadra Island any time after 3 pm. To get there, the easiest way is to take a flight from Vancouver to Campbell River. Then, take a 20-minute airport shuttle to the ferry terminal, and hop on a 10-minute ferry to beautiful Quadra Island. From here, your transfer from the ferry terminal at Quadra Island to the resort is included. Relax in your waterfront lodging until 6 pm, when you will meet your group leader and fellow travellers at an important welcome meeting. If you do happen to arrive in the area early, we recommend staying in Campbell River: a larger town on Vancouver Island, at the south end of the Discovery Passage and nearby the stunning Elk Falls.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quadra Island - Transfer from ferry terminal to resort
Meals Included
  • Dinner
Special Information
Campbell River Regional Airport (YBL) is approximately 40-minute’s flight from Vancouver (YVR) and is serviced by Pacific Coastal Airlines and Central Mountain Air multiple times daily. An airport shuttle meets every incoming flight to Campbell River and is easy to locate in the small terminal. The shuttle charges around CAD 20 per person to take you to the ferry for Quadra Island. The ferry ride to Quadra Island is approximately CAD 10 per person.

It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.
Time to jump on the Discovery Passage for a day of exploring. Take a Zodiac boat for a full-day Marine Wildlife Tour, right into the heart of Johnstone Strait. This your will provide you with a different experience than that of a few days’ time at the Orca camp. You’ll get the chance to see Humpback and Killer Whales, Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, Bears, Stellar Sea Lions, and even some eagles circling in the sky. The boats have a radio connectivity to find wildlife, and if the whales are feeling extra chatty, your guides may drop onboard Hydrophones (underwater microphones) into the water to hear whale vocalisations. Lunch is included on the full-day tour, and once arrived back at the resort, enjoy an included group dinner in the evening.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quadra Island - Full Day Zodiac Marine Wildlife Tour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
This morning, take a visit to the Nuyumbalees Cultural Center, which houses the Sacred Potlatch Collection: a series of cultural artefacts and ceremonial goods of coastal First Nation communities. This unique facility came from over twenty years of negotiation with the Canadian federal government of reclaiming these treasures. The artefacts relate to a ceremony called the Potlatch (or Yaqwa), which provided a means of publicly recognising and documenting claims of status and privilege in these communities. After this tour, head to Rebecca Spit Marine Park for a picnic lunch and an afternoon of relaxing on the beach, and maybe a short hike. This is a great spot for tourists and locals alike to relax by the shores, to look around the park, soak up the sun and maybe take a dip in the clear waters! You’ll be taken back to the resort later in the afternoon to enjoy an included group dinner.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Quadra Island - Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre Tour
  • Quadra Island - Rebecca Spit Marine Park Excursion & Picnic Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Meet your expert guide at the resort dock and take a 2.5-hour water taxi ride to the Orca camp. However, it may take a little bit longer if you spot some porpoises, dolphins or whales along the way! The journey through the Discovery Passage and Seymour Narrows is a perfect start to your sightseeing expedition. Once arrived and settled in to the camp, go on an afternoon kayak around the area to get your bearings and begin to discover the pristine wilderness surrounding camp. It may be a little cold, but luckily the hot tub is waiting for you when you return.
Accommodation
  • Glamping (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Water taxi ride to Orca Camp
  • Orca Camp - Afternoon kayak orientation
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
The best thing about having a base at Orca camp is that you can start exploring straight away without having to worry about a morning pack down. This is roughing it the easy way. Today, you’ll head out on a kayaking adventure exploring the coastline and keeping your eye out for the unique sea life along the way. Your expert guides will give you a run-down on what wildlife can be found in this remote part of the coast, and the ongoing issues that threaten the habitats of certain species. You’ll even have time to venture inland to visit a waterfall, and if you’re up to it, brave the glacial waters with a swim!
Accommodation
  • Glamping (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orca Camp - Full day kayaking exploration
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Spend a full day crossing the Johnstone Strait to the island opposite your camp. With a slow paddle along the shores, keep your eye out for bears and cubs that call this island home. Each day, your guides will prepare and serve delicious meals to sustain you and keep your energies high. At night, retire to a spacious safari-style tent elevated on wood platforms. For even more comfort, you’ll also have access to hot showers, a wood-fired hot tub and a native style sauna. This is living.
Accommodation
  • Glamping (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Orca Camp - Full day kayaking exploration
  • Orca Camp - native style wilderness sauna
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Soak up the final morning of Orca camp, perhaps with a sunrise paddle, before returning to Quadra Island by water taxi (approximately 2.5 hours). Your tour will return back to the same Quadra Island resort, where you’ll have a chance to relax in the afternoon and enjoy a lovely group dinner at the restaurant.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Water taxi ride to Quadra Island
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Check-out today at the resort is at 11 am, and included is transport back to the Quadra Island ferry terminal. From there, it is recommended to take a ferry back to the mainland. If you would like to spend more time in this beautiful part of the world, we would suggest staying in Campbell River. For more information, see the 'Fact Box Notes' section.
Included Activities
  • Quadra Island - Transfer to ferry terminal
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts, 6 lunches, 7 dinners

Transport

Private vehicle, water taxi

Included activities

  • Quadra Island - Transfer from ferry terminal to resort
  • Quadra Island - Full Day Zodiac Marine Wildlife Tour
  • Quadra Island - Nuyumbalees Cultural Centre Tour
  • Quadra Island - Rebecca Spit Marine Park Excursion & Picnic Lunch
  • Water taxi ride to Orca Camp
  • Orca Camp - Afternoon kayak orientation
  • Orca Camp - Full day kayaking exploration
  • Orca Camp - native style wilderness sauna
  • Water taxi ride to Quadra Island
  • Quadra Island - Transfer to ferry terminal

Dates & availability

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Important notes

TRAVEL TO CAMPBELL RIVER & QUADRA ISLAND
Getting here is simple: Campbell River Regional Airport (YBL) is approximately 40-minute’s flight from Vancouver (YVR) and is serviced by Pacific Coastal Airlines and Central Mountain Air multiple times daily. An airport shuttle meets every incoming flight to Campbell River and is easy to locate in the small terminal. The shuttle charges around CAD 20 per person to take you to the ferry for Quadra Island. The ferry ride to Quadra Island is approximately CAD 10 per person.

If you wish to arrive a day early we suggest staying in Campbell River which is central to shops and restaurants. We recommend Comfort Inn hotel located in Campbell River on the waterfront in downtown Campbell River. The Comfort Inn offers comfort in distinctive, West Coast style. The hotel offers a free breakfast and free wifi.

QUADRA ISLAND ARRIVAL TIME
Please advise your arrival time to Quadra Island prior to travel for pick up transfer to hotel.

SINGLE SUPPLEMENT
A Single Supplement to have your own room is available on this trip however excludes nights 4, 5, & 6 (Orca Camp Glamping) where you will be in shared accommodation.

Essential trip information

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