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8 Day Haida Gwaii Wildlife Tour in British Columbia, Canada
This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences

This listing has no upcoming availability. Check out these similar experiences


(No availability) 8 Day Haida Gwaii Wildlife Tour in British Columbia, Canada

Port Hardy, Regional District of Mount Waddington, North-Island Region, British Columbia, Canada

Cultural Safari in Canada

Join this cultural safari with Midnight Sun Travel in Canada. This cultural trip to Haida Gwaii visits villages on Graham and Moresby Island, explores the splendour of Naikoon Park, and includes a zodiac trip to remote Louise Island. You will depart from Port Hardy, British Columbia and arrive at Moresby Island, Haida Gwaii, British Columbia to start the exploration of the island. This safari trip is rated as easy. However, while Midnight Sun Travel rates this tour as easy, you should be prepared for uneven walking surfaces and bouncy ocean conditions on the zodiac trip. Walks and hikes vary from 20 minutes to one hour.

Overview

  • Minimum group size: 2 persons
  • Starting point and ending point: This safari will start in Port Hardy and end in Sandspit
  • Main wildlife to be viewed: Gray and humpback whales, orcas, porpoises, dolphins seals, black bears, and white bears

Highlights

  • 1 cruise safari and 1 walking safari
  • Including all entrance fees to national parks and protected areas
  • Chances to spot whales, orcas, porpoises, dolphins seals, and white bears
  • Tour of the Port Hardy, Inside Passage, and Haida Gwaii
  • British Columbia ferry transportation
  • 7 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
  • 7 nights accommodation

Styles


6 activity days
Group size: Maximum of 6 participants
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Accommodation

The properties you will be staying at include inns, cabins, lodges, motels, B&Bs, and small hotels. All rooms will have either queen, or double bed, and a private bathroom. The properties all underscore the philosophy to utilize small-scale accommodation that offers character and cleanliness, pursue sound environmental practices, and support other local operators.

Program

Overview

In Haida Gwaii, surround yourself in flourishing rainforests, windswept sand-dunes and endless beaches. Visit the totems that honor 10,000 years of history and meet a Haida Watchman. Sit down to a traditional feast of seafood, fresh from the ocean. This is where ancient culture is infused with relevance for all.

You will take in all this and more on their cultural exploration of the remote Queen Charlotte Islands, a colonial name recently replaced with Haida Gwaii which means “Islands of the People”. A globally unique ecosystem that partially escaped the last ice-age, this archipelago of more than 150 islands evokes comparisons to the equally isolated and biologically diverse Galapagos Islands.

There are no shopping malls, chain stores or man-made attractions here. Follow the guide and delve into quaint shops and galleries and meet the Haida artisans they have come to know over the last decade. Experience Ninstints, the village of Skedans, Mary's Spring, Tow Hill, Balance Rock and the site of the Golden Spruce. Yo will immerse ourselves in the wild, ocean-swept landscape of Naikoon Provincial Park. Reconnect with your life-force. Leave calm, strong and inspired.

Itinerary

Day 1: Vancouver to Sanspit/ Queen Charlotte City, and British Columbia

Your travel begins at Vancouver South Terminal Airport when you board your flight to Sandspit. The two-hour fight skirts the Coastal Mountains, swings north-west over Hecate Strait and then crosses over Gwaii Haanis National Park and Reserve.

At Sandspit Airport, your Midnight Sun Driver/ Guide will load your luggage and then escort the group to Ailford Bay where you will take the 20-minute crossing to Skidegate on Graham Island. A stop the Queen Charlotte Visitor Centre will give you “the big picture” and you will load up on local maps. From here you will check into the bed and breakfast and tour the village of Queen Charlotte.

In the evening, you will experience a taste of Haida culture and lifestyle by dining in a truly unforgettable way. At Keenwaiis Kitchen the Haida Chef, Roberta Olson who specializes in traditional Haida and local foods, will prepare an authentic three course dinner for the group. From her home, Roberta, whose Haida name is Keenawaii, has served dignitaries, government officials and celebrities. The seafood and venison are locally harvested as are the berries, mushrooms and other wild edibles.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Dinner

Day 2: Queen Charlotte City and British Columbia

After an early breakfast, you will make your way down to the float dock and get ready for your full day of adventure. The floatplane flight from Queen Charlotte City will take you to Rose Bay, a former whaling station where you will meet up with your local tour boat operator and put the survival suits for the 20-minute ride to Anthony Island.

A Haida Watchman will meet the group to provide an interpretative tour of some of the best-preserved ancient villages on Haida Gwaii. Ninstints/ S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay embodies the rugged Pacific beauty and rich ecology of the coast and the 10,000-year Haida connection with the land and sea. You will see original totem poles, many of them toppled or tilted, and the remains of longhouses. This site evokes strong feelings of the past and spiritual life of the Haida People.

At mid-afternoon you will return by boat to the floatplane and the dock at Graham Island. Later you will head down to the local watering hole and enjoy a refreshing libation and reminisce about the adventures of the day.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast and lunch

Day 3: Tlell and British Columbia

During the morning, you will head to the village of Skedans and the Haida Culture Centre at Kay Llnagaay. More ambitious passengers may want to walk the six k’s along the coastal road to the Centre.

There at the center, guests will get a guided tour of this award winning aboriginal cultural tourism attraction. The Centre sits on the ancient site of Kay Llnagaay or “Sea Lion Town,” and is designed to resemble the traditional Oceanside Haida Village that once stood in its place. The Centre houses a museum which contains thousands of Haida artifacts including the largest argillite collection in the world. You will also see poles, traditional and ceremonial clothing as well as everyday household objects.

At the Performance House stories, drumming and traditional dances are performed. You will also visit the carving house/ Gyaa K’id Naay and Tluu Naay Canoe Shed / Skaajang Naay. The large open-walled building of the carving house is designed to hold monumental poles, canoes and any other work that would be too large to fit in the enclosed space of the carving shed.

Guests are invited to walk around and tour artists at work in this work space. Currently, the Skidegate Pole carved by legendary Haida artist Bill Reid is housed in the Carving House until it is ready to be raised again inside the walls of the Haida Gwaii Museum.

At the canoe shed, learn about the Haida mode of travel, transportation, food/resource gathering and trade by exploring the history and importance of canoes in Haida lives. Haidas were fierce warriors and well-known coastal travellers, having ventured to Victoria for trading purposes in earlier times during the 1800's. Critical to the sustainability of Haida culture was the canoe which the Haida depended on to trade with neighboring coast First Nations and travel between communities.

Those guests feeling in need to get out and stretch their legs elect to take a walk around Spirit Lake. The trail is hard packed and well maintained rated easy to moderate with some steep parts at the beginning.

After lunch at the local bistro you will head north on the Yellowhead Highway. Along the way, nestled behind a stand of tall cedars, a narrow trail leads to the ocean and one of the most mysterious and uniquely photographed sites in all of Haida Gwaii: Balance Rock. Here you will stop and explore the area known to the Haida as a spiritual site.

Enroute to Tlell, you will stop at the Jungle Beach and St Mary’s Spring where those who take a sip are destined to come back to Haida Gwaii. You will check into the local B&B and enjoy dinner at the local restaurant.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Tlell and British Columbia

Enjoy a quiet morning, take a walk on the beach, watch the sun rise. After a leisurely breakfast, you will head out to the village of Port Clements, and the protected lands of Yaaguun Gandlaay. There, you will visit the site of Kiidk'yaas, also known as the Golden Spruce.

An easy hard packed trail takes you to the banks of the Yakoun River where this mighty tree once stood. The Golden Spruce was a Sitka spruce tree that had a rare genetic mutation that caused its needles to be golden in colour. This tree was considered sacred by the Haida people. On the trail you will learn about the tragic end of this tree and the efforts today to save and create a new Golden Spruce, as well as visit the new Golden Spruce growing in Port Clements.

After lunch, you will head out to the Crystal Cabin, a small gift shop founded by the Dutheil family of jewelers 25 years ago. This shop is home to the Tlell Stone Circle, an outdoor exhibit of Haida Gwaii’s Geological Past. These stones, which are arranged in a medicine wheel, mark the intersection of two harmonic leylines and an entryway for light into the universe. You can stand in the middle of the circle to become more spiritually connected to Haida Gwaii.

Inside guests can discover local and international selection of crystals, and gemstone jewelry. Be sure to pick up the Dutheil Family local signature specimens, including the Serenity Stone, Star Spirit Thunder Eggs, or Island Mist Agates. At the end of the day, guests have the option to return to relax at their accommodation or take a hike to near Misty Meadows in Naikoon National Park. This hike leads to the Pesuta Shipwreck and takes three to four hours, there and back.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast

Day 5: Masset and Tow Hill B.C.

After breakfast you will continue with another big adventure day. You will head to the village of Masset where you will meet the local guide for a marine tour to the village of Yan or Kung (depending on weather conditions). Unlike Ninstints/ S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay, in the south, there is not much left of these villages but the giant most covered poles of the long houses.

Yan was once one of the larger villages of the north in Haida Gwaii and had up to seventeen long houses but was abandoned in the late 1800’s. Kung was also once a thriving village of fifteen long houses with a rich history. You will have time to visit one of these places with the local guide and enjoy the stories, surroundings and atmosphere. Later, you will check into your local bed and breakfast and enjoy a delicious dinner.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 6: Masset and Tow Hill B.C.

Everyone needs a chill day and today is it. After a relaxing morning you will check the tides and head out to explore Tow Hill and Naikoon National Park. You will walk along the boardwalk trail up Tow Hill with panoramic views of the sandy beaches and Masset Inlet.

Naikoon National Park encompasses 72,640 hectares along the Northeast tip of Graham Island with 97 kilometres of sandy beaches, making it a beachcomber’s delight. The park is mostly lowland forest with stunted lodge pole pine, red and yellow cedar, sitka spruce and helmlock.

After the visit to Tow Hill you will walk along North Beach and sink out toes into the soft sand and do some beachcombing. You will take refreshment at a funky local bakery set in the forest. In the afternoon passengers can visit the Dixon Maritime Museum and Delkatla Nature Sanctuary.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 7: Masset and Tow Hill B.C.

Your last full day on Haida Gwaii is spent touring the village of Old Masset. You will visit the local chiefs’ Big House are guided by a local through the canoe shed. For a first hand and personal understanding of the Haida People you will visit local carvers of argelitte, cedar and painters in their homes.

You will tour the more recent poles put up in the village and enjoy lunch with the locals at their favourite eating place. Other stops will include Sarahs ‘Gift House and the Raven Gallery. You will stop for pictures of the local sites whenever and wherever possible, watch the eagles ride the wind along the shoreline or enjoy the treats thrown out to them by local fishermen.

By the end of this week you will have slowed down and become tuned to the unique rhythm of this place, of the peace and quiet that is Haida Gwaii. Your spirit will be renewed and love of nature awakened once again.

  • Accommodation: One or two queen beds and private bathroom
  • Meals: Breakfast and dinner

Day 8: Fly Out

After breakfast, you will get an early morning start and load the luggage and checkout of the accommodation. Your driver/guide will drive you to meet up with the airport shuttle back to Sandspit. Check in at the Sandspit Airport and fly back to Vancouver, B.C.

  • Meals: Breakfast

Note: Even during the summer, the weather in Haida Gwaii is changeable. Consequently, the itinerary may be altered to accommodate floatplane and boat tour departures. If for any reason a floatplane or boat tour is cancelled due to inclement weather, they will endeavor to re-organize the tour to accommodate the change. Failing this, funds be refunded for floatplane and boat tours that are cancelled.

Included excursions

  • Full day zodiac tour to Skedans and Louise Island
  • Tour of local carving studios
  • Tours of local villages and escorted walks and hikes
  • Visit Haida Cultural Centre

Location

This safari trip will start in Port Hardy and end in Sandspit, British Columbia. You will pass through the Inside Passage and explore the Haida Gwaii area during this trip.

Food

There will be seven breakfasts, one lunch, and one dinner provided by Midnight Sun Travel.

The following meals are included:

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner

The following dietary requirement(s) are served and/or catered for:

  • Regular (typically includes meat and fish)
If you have special dietary requirements it's a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation

Things to do (optional)

You will have a chance to visit abandoned villages with local guides.

What's included

  • Fully escorted tours with knowledgeable driver/guide
  • Tours of local villages escorted walks and hikes
  • Transportation in 15 passenger vans, minivans, and taxis
  • Return airfare from Vancouver to Sandspit
  • All entrance fees to provincial, national parks and protected areas
  • Floatplane to Rose Bay and boat tour to Ninstints / S'Gaang Gwaay Llinagaay and visit with Haida Watchmen.
  • British Columbia ferry transportation from Skidegate to Alliford Bay
  • Tour of local Haida Chiefs’ carving studios, canoe sheds, and Big House
  • Entrance to Haida Cultural Centre, at Kay Llnagaay
  • Entrance fees to Port Clements and Dixon Maritime Museums
  • Boat tour to either the northern village of Yan or Kung on Graham Island with local Haida Guide
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in hotels, motels, and inns
  • 7 breakfasts, 4 dinners, and 1 lunch

What's not included

  • Meals that are not indicated
  • Optional activities
  • Travel, cancellation, and baggage insurance
  • Driver / guide gratuities
  • 5% GST

Cancellation Policy

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.
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