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Vancouver Island Photography tours

Our most recommended Vancouver Island Photography tours

Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

1. Victoria: 3-Hour Zodiac Whale-Watching Tour

Experience the awe and inspiration of seeing whales in their natural environment on this unique whale-watching excursion from Victoria. Cruise along in an open zodiac boat on the Salish Sea, and get the chance to spot orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales, as well as porpoises and seals. After being collected from your downtown accommodation in a comfortable shuttle bus, you will venture down to the harbor where you will meet with your boat. After meeting your guides for the day, you will then depart from Victoria, setting off on your 3-hour whale-watching tour. Between April and October, you will have a greater than 95% success rate of spotting whales, including both transient and resident orcas, humpback, minke, and gray whales. Other wildlife you may encounter include Dall’s and harbor porpoises, harbor and elephant seals, and otters and marine birds such as cormorants and bald eagles. The zodiac vessels used on your tour are definitely recommended for the wild-at-heart. You can let the wind blow in your hair and be exposed to the true west-coast elements in an open-style, 12-passenger vessel. At the conclusion of your exhilarating tour, you will be returned back to the harbor, at which point you will be driven back to your accommodation in downtown Victoria.

Campbell River: Bute Inlet Grizzly-Watching Tour & Boat Ride

2. Campbell River: Bute Inlet Grizzly-Watching Tour & Boat Ride

Journey to the Orford River Valley aboard a high-speed vessel on a scenic boat ride. Admire the spectacular scenery on the way from Campbell River to Bute Inlet, renowned as one of the best places to observe grizzly bears in the wild. Observe this majestic species on a guided tour. Hop on a speedboat and travel among the Discovery Islands while searching for marine wildlife and whales along the way. Once you arrive at Bute Inlet, meet your Homalco First Nation guides and transfer to the van. Receive a short orientation and head over to the bear viewing platforms. From your perch in the viewing towers, situated above the salmon spawning channel, you will have an unobstructed view of grizzly bears as they roam the river banks. Make sure to have your camera ready, as the specially designed viewing platforms provide ideal photo opportunities. Stay energized and warm throughout your experience with a light snack, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and lunch.

Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

3. Victoria: 3-Hour Whale Watching Tour in a Zodiac Boat

This 3-hour whale-watching tour boasts sighting just about everything there is to see, including groups of predatory transient orcas and breaching humpback calves. Recently, a guest proposed to his girlfriend as a pod of killer whales cavorted in the background! Get suited up in a cozy cruiser suit, ensuring your comfort and safety for the duration of the trip. The tour departs from Victoria’s beautiful inner harbor. Your ride on one of the zipping Zodiac-style boats will be nearly as exciting as seeing the whales. Each of the boats seats 12, and there are great views from every seat. On the way out of the harbor, the boat passes the historic Victoria coastline. Once out of the harbor you’ll see a variety of different species of sea life, including orcas, humpback whales, grey whales, minke whales, porpoises, dolphins, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, and bald eagles. Every tour is guided by a Transport Canada-approved skipper, who will provide information and commentary on all of the wildlife you see.

Vancouver Island: Grizzly Bears of Bute Inlet in Orford Bay

4. Vancouver Island: Grizzly Bears of Bute Inlet in Orford Bay

χawgəs, the Grizzly Bear, knows that around mid-August the annual salmon run begins in Orford Bay on the edge of the Great Bear Rainforest. Bears journey long distances to Algard Creek and the Orford River to feast on the spawning salmon and their eggs. It’s part of a quest to fatten up before a long winter hibernation. In doing so, they continue a cycle that has taken place for millennia on the traditional territory of the Homalco First Nation people. Be our guest as we enter their world. Your full-day adventure begins in Campbell River and through the Salish Sea, learning about the lands of the First Peoples as you enter one of British Columbia’s greatest fjords - Bute Inlet. As an abundantly rich area for wildlife, there are opportunities to view marine animals while discovering the breathtaking scenery of Homalco territory. Your arrival in Orford Bay begins a 3-hour land experience. Indigenous guides transport you by bus to a variety of raised wildlife viewing platforms and prime ground viewing locations to look for the magnificent χawgəs (grizzly bear). Along the way, guides share knowledge about the bears, salmon, Homalco people and their ties to the land. Lunch is served at the dock in Orford Bay with an unobstructed view of the estuary and its spectacular mountain surroundings. The Bear Viewing Season: The Orford River and Algard Creek water channels provide salmon spawning grounds with different viewing locations that we use depending on where the bears are active. The following information offers what to expect in a "typical" year (note that climate change is having a significant impact on weather and bear behaviour, and this is our best interpretation in constantly changing conditions). - August has the hottest, most pleasant days and grizzlies are moving from up high into the area. Until early September bears are mostly foraging for grasses, berries and shellfish as they wait for the salmon to begin moving from the mouth of Orford Bay and up the rivers to spawn - From September and onward bears are hunting for salmon in the rivers - September typically has the highest number of bears, and is also the busiest time for visitor volume. The weather begins to change into our annual period of rain typical for BC's Coastal Temperate Rainforest - October offers intimate, quiet and yet spectacular fall bear viewing in spite of shorter days and more variable weather. Our experienced Indigenous guides know the area very well and will help identify wildlife through various bear viewing towers from which you can view the bears comfortably. Please keep in mind that these are wild animals and we cannot guarantee the number of bears to be seen. By travelling with us a portion of your trip price goes to supporting bear conservation, salmon restoration, Homalco language and cultural rejuvenation, plus employment and career options for the Homalco people. I:mote (it is good/thank you).

From Vancouver: Victoria Whale Watching Adventure

5. From Vancouver: Victoria Whale Watching Adventure

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see killer whales with your own eyes! Become a real explorer on this full day air safari including a 3-hour whale-watching trip. Guests meet at the Vancouver Seaplane Terminal. From here you will fly from Vancouver Harbor to Victoria. This is an opportunity to see the mesmerizing views of the Gulf Islands from above. With over 50 aircrafts, Harbor Air Seaplanes operate the largest all-seaplane fleet in the world. Guest will take part in a unique whale watching expedition from Victoria's Inner Harbour. Led by expert guides, you will learn about this ecologically diverse area and the whales that inhabit it. See these magnificent creatures in their own waters. This is an experience that no aquarium can provide. You can also spot seals, birds and the spectacular vistas of Southern Vancouver Island. Don’t forget to bring a camera!

Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

6. Victoria: Whale and Wildlife Semi-Covered Boating Tour

After gathering at the pier you will meet with your guides before boarding your boat. The vessel for this tour will be a semi-covered catamaran with both indoor and outdoor seating. This vessel offers both an indoor viewing area as well as multiple outdoor viewing decks, and includes on-board restrooms. Once hitting the water, you'll begin your over 4-hour experience which includes a 98% sighting success rate. Your team members will be excited to share everything that this natural treasure chest has to offer, as you make multiple wildlife stops throughout your journey. At each stop your guides will provide world-class interpretation and personalized service to help you best understand this unique ecosystem. Throughout the experience you will have the chance to encounter whales, seals, and eagles, among other residents of the region. At the conclusion of your tour, you'll make your way back to the tour starting point.

Campbell River: Discovery Passage Wildlife Boat Tour

7. Campbell River: Discovery Passage Wildlife Boat Tour

Journey through the islands of the Discovery Passage, making your way between Vancouver Island and the mainland, on this wildlife boat tour. See different sea and land animals like bears, whales, dolphins, or seals while hearing about the region's history and nature from your guide. Board your boat at the marina and set off into the Strait of Georgia, towards the Northern Gulf Islands, going between the islands of Quadra and Vancouver. Continue north until the passage widens into the Johnstone Strait. Enjoy live commentary on the wildlife and history of the region. On your way have the chance to encounter, orcas, minke whales, Pacific white-sided dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals, black bears, cinnamon bears, and grizzly bears. Use the hydrophone to listen to the whales as you float along the water. Cap off your boat tour with a thrilling ocean rapids experience, including “Devils Hole” and the “Aaron Rapids,” also known as “The Drain,” before returning to Campbell River.

Victoria: Carriage Tour By The Victorians

8. Victoria: Carriage Tour By The Victorians

Relax as you glide through the tranquil streets of James Bay, a diverse neighborhood that is host to unique shops and community. Feel a burst of fresh air before meeting the stretch of coastline along the Dallas Road waterfront. While following the coast, take in views of the Salish Sea and the magnificent Olympic Mountain range. Clip-clop back through the historical district of James Bay and enjoy an unforgettable horse-drawn carriage experience.

Campbell River: Salish Sea Whale Watching Adventure

9. Campbell River: Salish Sea Whale Watching Adventure

Explore the Discovery Island waterways with an experienced marine wildlife naturalist. Travel on modern and comfortable boats to through the Salish Sea in search of humpbacks, Orcas, dolphins, sea lions, other marine mammals, and a variety of sea birds in their natural habitat. Depart from downtown Campbell River at the Coast Marina aboard a custom-designed tour vessel. Search for different species of whales, birds, and other marine mammals. You may even spot black bears, sea otters, or rarer species of whales. Admire views of the mountainous coastline which serves as a magnificent backdrop to the Discovery Islands. The region is also the home of the Homalco People and other First Nations. Guides and skippers will share their expert knowledge of local history, legends, stories, and culturally significant sites throughout the excursion. A portion of your trip price goes to supporting whale research, salmon restoration, Homalco language, and cultural rejuvenation, plus employment and career options for the Homalco people.

From Vancouver: Whale Watching and Victoria Trip by Seaplane

10. From Vancouver: Whale Watching and Victoria Trip by Seaplane

Discover the picturesque and popular old town Victoria, the capital city of British Columbia, on this all-day tour from Vancouver. Enjoy a spectacular seaplane ride through the scenic Gulf Islands headed to Victoria, one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy 3 hours of whale watching adventure and your own hours visiting some of Victoria's most popular points of interest. This tour includes all transportation, pick-up from your hotel, private residence or Airbnb in Vancouver. Return by seaplane arrives at downtown Vancouver. Sample Itinerary 7:00 am - Meet your driver at your place 8:30 am – Meet your pilot and depart on a seaplane to Victoria 9:30 am – Arrive for check-in at Orca Spirit Adventures 10:00 am – Embark on a three-hour whale-watching tour by boat 1:00 pm – After your whale watching tour, enjoy free time exploring downtown Victoria. Recommendations will be provided. 4:30 pm – Return to the seaplane terminal to check in for your return flight to Vancouver 5:05 pm - The driver will meet you at the arriving gate and bring you back to your accommodation. Upon your request, you can adjust your return flight to Vancouver by 6 pm flight.

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What people are saying about Vancouver Island

Overall rating

4.8 / 5

based on 21 reviews

The whale watching tour and company was fantastic. No issues with going through a third party. The contact section in the app does not get through to the actual guide company, so go through the company’s website for any further inquiries. Get your guide customer service is unfortunately not helpful or knowledgeable to assist with specific questions (very friendly, however).

This was the most amazing experience EVER. We went as a group of 4. We were all kitted out with body length wetsuits. Please don’t wear flip flops like I did as my toes nearly fell off with frostbite lol. We see a huge whale that went under the boat and played around for a while. We then seen some sea lions and a bald eagle. Our guide was fantastic and so enthusiastic.

Friendly knowledgeable captains. Jordan was very witty and entertaining on top of being a great whale finder. Ive been out with them 2 years in a row now. Great price for 3 hours on the water. Highly recommend this company!!

Excellent trip. Saw lots of wildlife including two different whales.

Great experience! Knowledgeable staff. Very enjoyable.