Port Hardy, the largest community on the North Island, is the terminus of the Prince Rupert Ferry, and boasts an active harbour that hosts cruise ships, commercial fishing boats, and sea planes. Charter a boat or sea plane, visit the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre, or visit historic Fort Rupert.
Port MacNeil is the heart of the North Island logging industry, a busy harbour town with a walkable sea wall. All water activities are available here, including boat and sea plane charters.
Alert Bay, located on Cormorant Island is accessible by ferry which provides stunning views of the many totem poles facing out to sea. This is the place to learn more about Aboriginal culture and to explore First Nations history.
Telegraph Cove is Mecca for fishing, diving, kayaking, and wildlife watching. Originally a one room telegraph station founded in 1912, it has grown into a lovely small community.
Near Nootka Sound and Kyuquot Sound lies the town of Zeballos. These protected waters offer an abundance of salt water fishing, and the nearby Zeballos and Kaouk Rivers offer fly fishing. Kayaking, surfing, scuba diving, and hiking are at hand. The Zeballos River Estuary provides opportunities to observe local bird life along its pleasant and winding paths.
Holberg is the gateway to the Cape Scott Trail and the North Coast Trail. Located 50km (31 miles) from Port Hardy, this tiny town offers the last stop for hikers wanting a hot meal (Scarlet Ibis Pub). Nearby, the oddity of Ronning Garden, planted by Bernt Ronning, a Norwegian settler, sports exotic trees, plants, and shrubs from around the world including the tallest Monkey Puzzle tree in North America.
Cape Scott Provincial Park is a hike-in park located in a magnificent area of rugged coastal beauty. It boasts 115 km (72 miles) of coastline, with over 30 km (18 miles) of remote beaches. This area offers backpacking excursions or day hikes such as to San Joseph Bay.
The historic fishing village of Winter Harbour has sheltered sailors since the 1800s, and is North America’s western most point. Explore the boardwalk, and take in the coastal marine life (sea otters, bald eagles, and others abound). Puffins, oyster catchers and all manner of shorebirds can be seen here. Fishing charters are available, with salmon, cod, snapper, and halibut all caught locally. Winter Harbour is located 75km (50 miles) from Port Hardy via gravel logging road, or accessible by float plane.
Raft Cove, a spectacular, rugged beach, is accessible via a challenging 2 km (1.25 mile) hike on an unmaintained trail. Here you can see old growth forest, and beautiful scenery. Waterproof clothing, good shoes, and proper equipment is a must.