British Columbia Circle Tours - North Vancouver Island Circle Tour

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British Columbia Circle Tours & Driving Tours

4 to 6 days

Your destination in this tour is some of the best and most remote scenery on BC's islands. It also offers you spectacular taste of West Vancouver Island weather and if you enjoy trekking windy coastlines, you'll love this particular tour.

Head to the east coast of Vancouver Island, where you will pick up Highway 19 north. Follow Highway 19 to Port McNeill. You will probably want to stop along the way, as it is 391 km/245 miles to Port McNeill from Nanaimo.

Port McNeill is the ferry terminal for Malcolm Island and Cormorant Island. The ferry to Cormorant Island takes you to the fishing village of Alert Bay (45 minutes). Renown for its unusual Aboriginal art, Alert Bay is well worth the out of the way excursion.

Sointula on Malcolm Island was founded by Finish settlers and offers a different look at BC coastal life and culture. Sailing time from Alert Bay to Sointula is 35 minutes.

Port Hardy is 36 km/23 miles north of Port McNeill. The BC ferry terminal for the Queen Charlotte Islands, it sits at the intersection of several secondary roads. Cape Scott Park, the Island's most northerly point, can be reached by a gravel road and a hardy 27 km/17 mile hike. Be forewarned: the winds you will experience on this hike are fierce. If you are less interested in being blown about and more interested in the breathtaking scenery, a shorter hike takes you to San Jose Bay (2.5 km/1.5 miles).

Sea Lions
Photo Courtesy of Sean Percy

Marble River Provincial Park is accessible by a good secondary road that intersects Highway 19 halfway between Port McNeill and Port Hardy. The park has 33 camp sites that sit on the edge of Alice Lake, at the head of Quatsino Sound. There is a boat launch and a beach for swimming.

Your return south on Highway 19 takes you past the turn off to Telegraph Cove, where you can sign up for a whale watching cruise, or rent a cabin for a peaceful beachside rest. Travellers who have access to a boat have an endless list of possibilities at their fingertips. There are dozens of provincial parks along Vancouver Island's coasts, and an unlimited wealth of places to explore.

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British Columbia Circle Tours - North Vancouver Island Circle Tour