Port Hardy, British Columbia

Coastal Rainforest Safari’s tours depart from the town of Port Hardy, which is located at the northern end of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Port Hardy Office and Departure Location
7185 Market Street
Port Hardy, BC

You can travel to Port Hardy by car (and ferry) or plane. Get directions from Google Maps. 

Driving to Port Hardy is quite straight forward. When you are starting on Vancouver Island: From Victoria drive north on Highway 1 to Nanaimo. From Nanaimo head north on Highway 19 until you can’t go any further. The only other option to this route is north of Nanaimo just before you reach Parksville you can take the seaside route on Highway 19A. This route rejoins the main Highway 19 at Campbell River. The seaside route may add an extra hour to your trip.

Drive time from Victoria to Port Hardy is approximately 6 hours, from Nanaimo to Port Hardy is approximately 4 ½ hours and from Campbell River to Port Hardy is about 2 ½ hours.

If you are coming from the lower mainland of British Columbia (Vancouver area), you first need to sail on BC Ferries to either Nanaimo or Victoria on Vancouver Island and then follow the directions above.

If you are coming from central or northern British Columbia or Alberta, you could also drive to Prince Rupert and sail on BC Ferries to Port Hardy.

If you are coming from the USA, you can take the Coho Ferry from Washington State that sails between Port Angeles and Victoria on Vancouver Island. And follow the directions above for driving from Victoria.

Car rentals are available through various rental locations in Vancouver, Victoria or Nanaimo. If you are planning a one-way rental, your only option is Budget who have a location at the Port Hardy Airport.

Flights to Port Hardy (YZT) depart from the South Terminal of Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and are approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes. These flights are operated by Pacific Coastal Airlines.

Port Hardy airport is a 10 minute taxi ride from town. We recommend reserving a taxi with Waivin Flags Taxi.

There are various accommodation options available in and around Port Hardy. These are our recommended options:

Kwa’lilas Hotel
Cluxewe Resort – RV, Camping, Cottages

Additional Activities in Port McNeill and Northern Vancouver Island

 

The website www.vancouverislandnorth.ca provides lots of suggestions for things to do and places to stay and below we have compiled some of our favourites.

Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre  (Port Hardy)
Copper Maker Gallery (Port Hardy)
Cove Adventure Tours (Port Hardy)
k’awat’si Tours (Port Hardy)
Sea Wolf Adventures (Port McNeill)
Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures (Port McNeill)
U’mista Cultural Centre (Alert Bay)

  • 5 star ratingFun, informative and professional We had a wonderful time today with Andrew our guide, visiting the islands, coves and waters around Port Hardy. Andrew (one of the owners of the company) was a terrific host and guide, as he was very safety oriented, respectful of the wildlife and knowledgeable about the area. We saw Humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, bald eagles... read more

    NorthVanPat Avatar
    NorthVanPat
  • 5 star ratingOutstanding sea otter and wildlife tour with Coastal Rainforest Safaris! We had a fabulous wildlife tour with Andrew! We saw dozens of sea otters, Dall's porpoises, humpback whales, stellar sea lions, seals, and orcas! Andrew is an excellent and knowledgeable guide, who went the extra mile (many miles, actually!) to locate a large pod of orcas that had been spotted in the area. It was such as bonus to see... read more

    debr832 Avatar
    debr832
  • 5 star ratingA great tour of local wildlife! I took the 6hr tour from 10-4 and it was great. I don't expect any guides to produce wildlife for guests. I just expect that they put us in a position to see wildlife using their knowledge of the area. In this case our guide fully delivered. We saw a large pod of orcas, sea otters, 5-6 humpback whales, pacific... read more

    Justin C. Avatar
    Justin C.
  • 5 star ratingOutstanding sea otter and wildlife tour with Coastal Rainforest Safaris! We had a fabulous wildlife tour with Andrew! We saw dozens of sea otters, Dall's porpoises, humpback whales, stellar sea lions, seals, and orcas! Andrew is an excellent and knowledgeable guide, who went the extra mile (many miles, actually!) to locate a large pod of orcas that had been spotted in the area. It was such as bonus to... read more

    Deb R. Avatar
    Deb R.
  • 5 star ratingAmazing!! We had a great afternoon trip with CRS, and would highly recommend it to all of our family and friends. We saw sea lions, porpoises, eagles and lots of Sea Otters which were what we were most hoping to see! The boat was comfortable and our driver was awesome!!

    HR1890 Avatar
    HR1890
  • 5 star ratingIncredible day on the water! Loved the small boat experience, only 8 of us passengers and it was perfect - we all had prime seating, and the ability to move around and to chat with the guide. Our guide (/owner) Andrew was incredibly knowledgable about the area, the wildlife, the history, and daily life. He led us on a 6-hour tour through open channels... read more

    Pamela D. Avatar
    Pamela D.
  • 5 star ratingSpectacular wildlife experience Wow, did this trip deliver! Although the weather did not fully co-operate, we saw 2 black bears, hundreds of sea lions, 20+ sea otters, 2 minke whales, 28 northern resident orcas, 4 humpback whales, and Dall porpoises . Organization of the trip was very good and their equipment excellent. Covid-19 practices were also very good.... read more

    Helen Avatar
    Helen
  • 5 star ratingBe awed and inspired by the beauty of nature What an amazing experience. We were treated to sightings of numerous humpback whales, stellar sea lions, porpoises, and sea otters. Our guide was knowledgeable of the area and wildlife. If you get the opportunity to go on a tour, I recommend you don’t pass it up!

    zoeelaine83 Avatar
    zoeelaine83
  • 5 star ratingOtters Everywhere!! Our day on the water with guide Tommy Child was amazing - his professionalism, traditional knowledge, and the abundance of wildlife made for an epic day. We set out of Port Hardy in a fog bank but were quickly clear of it and learning about ancient First Nations use of all that the land and waters had to offer.

    We were...
    read more

    AJWheel Avatar
    AJWheel
  • 5 star ratingFun, informative and professional We had a wonderful time today with Andrew our guide, visiting the islands, coves and waters around Port Hardy. Andrew (one of the owners of the company) was a terrific host and guide, as he was very safety oriented, respectful of the wildlife and knowledgeable about the area. We saw Humpback whales, sea otters, sea lions, seals, bald eagles and... read more

    NorthVanPat Avatar
    NorthVanPat
  • 5 star ratingAn amazing birthday present! I had an incredible day on the water viewing wildlife with Coastal Rainforest Safaris! I enjoyed the scenery and all the amazing wildlife, especially the whales. The staff were knowledgeable and followed all the recommendations for COVID-19 protocol. Lunch was delicious and I felt comfortable and safe on the water. It was a wonderful day and I highly recommend... read more

    diannehL3443RJ Avatar
    diannehL3443RJ
  • 5 star ratingSpectacular wildlife experience Wow, did this trip deliver! Although the weather did not fully co-operate, we saw 2 black bears, hundreds of sea lions, 20+ sea otters, 2 minke whales, 28 northern resident orcas, 4 humpback whales, and Dall porpoises .
    Organization of the trip was very good and their equipment excellent.
    Covid-19 practices were also very good.
    Spectacular trip!

    ATL-YVR Avatar
    ATL-YVR
  • 5 star ratingIncredible day on the water! Loved the small boat experience, only 8 of us passengers and it was perfect - we all had prime seating, and the ability to move around and to chat with the guide. Our guide (/owner) Andrew was incredibly knowledgable about the area, the wildlife, the history, and daily life. He led us on a 6-hour tour through open channels and... read more

    PamDuyn Avatar
    PamDuyn
  • 5 star ratingLifetime experience I highly recommend doing a tour with Coastal Rainforest Safaris! They obey the Covid-19 rules and It was a pleasure to listen to Mike. Beside the tour he also told us more about life in the sea and Indigenous history. We really enjoyed and Mike made sure we took great photos!

    Quest262151 Avatar
    Quest262151
  • 5 star ratingBeautiful sea life adventure and tour! The experience was first class all the way. Captain William, guides Tyler and Ann were great hosts and knowledgeable. The flora, fauna and sea life unbeatable. We had great weather too! Thank you Coastal Rainforest Safaris.

    MaryLou L. Avatar
    MaryLou L.

Sea lions with a great backdrop! There are many Sea lion haul outs up this way. Sometimes we get to watch them surf the waves; amazing! A lot of times we get to watch them relax and recharge; like many of us should learn how to do:)
📸 @mikaelwillie #coastalrainforestsafaris #crs
...

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Another repost from @ianharlandphoto who joined us on a tour a few days ago. "A lone Coastal Wolf walking along the rocky coastline that covers much of Vancouver Island. These unique wolves spend lots of their time foraging along intertidal zones but are rarely ever seen. ⁠

The other day while on a tour with @coastalrainforestsafaris, we got incredibly lucky coming across a wolf while out looking for whales. Even though my eyes locked on it as we were passing, I dismissed it as a weird-looking log since it wasn't moving and was quite far away. Luckily our guide Andrew decided to slow down and examine it a bit closer! This was my third time ever seeing a wolf."

#wolf #coastalwolf #visitporthardy #gonorthisland #explorevancouverisland #explorebc #explorecanada #indigenousbc #indigenouscanada
...

57 0

repost from @ianharlandphoto who joined us on a tour the other day. "After watching a few Humpback Whales swimming by and occasionally seeing blows or their fluke (tail), I began wondering how often they breach. Pretty much right after, this fella breached multiple times in a row.⁠"

#whalewatching #humpback #breach #wildlifephotography #visitporthardy #gonorthisland #explorevancouverisland #explorebc #explorecanada #indigenousbc #indigenouscanada
...

85 0

Today we brought out students from the Gwasala Nakwaxdaxw School here in Port Hardy! We love bringing kids into their homelands! #schoolkids #fieldtrip #territory #homelands ...

26 1

Watching whales in humpback city:) we are now open and doing whale and sea otter tours! To learn more visit our website link in the bio. #coastalrainforestsafaris #crs #safetrueeducational #gonorthisland #vancouverislandtourism ...

22 0
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