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The Queen Charlotte strait is between Vancouver Island and British Columbia's mainland. It forms part of the Inside Passage and, during the summer months, is considered to be the best place in the world to view orca.

Orca can be regularly viewed at close quarters in Johnstone waters, usually swimming over to the boat on the surface, giving a chance to see their full profile and offering some fantastic photo opportunities.

View suggested itineraries

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: orca, brown bear, Steller’s sealion, tufted puffin, humpback whale
  • Where: British Columbia, Canada

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itineraries:

The Bear Essentials

Focus on seeing British Columbia’s largest carnivore - the brown or grizzly bear. Fly by floatplane to your wilderness lodge of choice, and enjoy daily bear watching trips, either by boat, kayak or from hides, affording some remarkably close up encounters and an unforgettable experience.

  • When to go: May-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 8 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,345 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Vancouver Island Self-drive

This two week self-drive itinerary takes in the mountains, dense forests and coastlines of Vancouver Island. Travel at your own pace to ensure that you get the most of the wilderness interior, with hikes, sea kayaking and boat excursions to watch grey whales, orcas and black bears.

  • When to go: May-Oct
  • Duration inc. flights: 15 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,695 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Kayaking with Whales & Grizzlies

Seeing a humpback whale lunging through a school of bait fish, or a pod of killer whales surfacing in unison, are often considered to be once in a lifetime experiences, yet they are both possible on this water-based tour, along with the other star of British Columbia’s extraordinary wildlife – the grizzly bear.

  • When to go: Jul-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,345 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Orcas, Bears & Totems

This trip visits a stunning archipelago in British Columbia, one of the best places in the world to watch orca as they gather to forage for salmon. Sailing on board a specially designed yacht, the adventure continues to Knight Inlet, where brown bears come to feed in the summer.

  • When to go: Jul-Aug
  • Duration inc. flights: 10 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,795 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Whales & Dolphins in the Haida Gwaii

This trip offers unparalleled opportunities to explore the Queen Charlotte Islands, a remote archipelago and area of true wilderness and cultural importance. Cruise the Gwaii Haanas National Park on a comfortable yacht, spotting black bears, humpback whales, orca, Steller’s sealions and up to a million seabirds.

  • When to go: Jun-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,795 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Orca Waters Base Camp

The Orca Waters Base Camp is situated in the heart of the wildlife rich waters of Johnstone Strait, off northern Vancouver Island. The spacious tents are situated in the rainforest and all face the ocean, offering a wooden bed and thick mattress to ensure a good level of comfort.