Family ‘Kayak with Whales’, Vancouver Island (4 days)

Adventure Summary:

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures' family kayak tours are designed for families with children aged 6 to 14 and are a great way for the whole family to better appreciate wildlife and nature. The tour involves three days of kayaking and three nights of comfortable camping at the Family Orca Waters Base Camp. 

The trips depart every Saturday during the summer and leave from Port McNeill on Vancouver Island and make an excellent addition to an adventurous family holiday in British Columbia.

Key Information:

Type of Adventure:

Family Suitability:
A Little Bit Adventurous

Starting Age:
From Age 6

4 days / 3 nights

Trip Details

Trip Description

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures are a Green Tourism Gold member based out of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island. As a Green Tourism badge holder, the company is committed to sustainable business and sustainable tourism.

The Family Orca Waters Base Camp kayak tours are designed for families with children aged 6 to 14 and are a great way for the whole family to better appreciate wildlife and nature. The tour involves three days of kayaking and three nights of comfortable camping at the Family Orca Waters Base Camp.

The trips depart every Saturday during the summer and leave from Port McNeill on Vancouver Island and make an excellent addition to an adventurous family holiday in British Columbia.

Where is it?

Kingfisher Wilderness Adventures depart from Port McNeill on the northern part of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The Family Orca Waters Base Camp is in the heart of the Johnstone Straight and surrounded by old growth rainforest and is an area which is incredibly rich in wildlife.

You will need to overnight in Port McNeill before the trip starts and it is highly recommended that you stay a night after the kayak trip is finished too.

Port McNeill is about a 5.5 hour drive from Victoria or 4 hours from Nanaimo. It is also possible to fly directly from Vancouver.

Departure Dates:

The trip departs every Saturday to Tuesday from late June until late August (Triptoes will confirm the dates with you)

Accommodation Types:

The Family Orca Waters Base Camp offers a very comfortable camping experience and with Kingfisher's knowledgeable kayak guides this tour is suitable for adventurous families even if they have little or no kayaking or camping experience.

Roomy tents, each raised off the ground on wooden platforms, are situated throughout the forest. The tents provide standing room for most guests (1.9 metres tall) and are outfitted with wooden beds with the thickest and widest Therm-a-rest mattresses available. Sheets, fleece blankets, full-size pillows, warm barrel-style sleeping bags, and hot water bottles are all provided to ensure a good night’s sleep.

A recharging station for digital cameras, an extensive library of natural history books, a propane-heated shower, and a large covered kitchen and dining area made from locally milled red cedar make for a very comfortable camping experience.

What's Included?
Kingfisher provides you with all the necessary kayaking and camping equipment, including kayaks, paddling jackets, PFD (life jacket), group shelters, tents, sleeping pads, camp chairs and sleeping bags (you may bring your own if you prefer). A comprehensive list of required personal items will be sent to you when you book. All meals during the kayak trip are provided and prepared by your guides. We’re proud of our menu that includes abundant fresh fruits and vegetables, a wide variety of international dishes, and freshly baked treats. Most dietary restrictions can be accommodated given sufficient prior notification. Transportation is all-inclusive from Port McNeill by our network of vans and water taxis.


Please note that exact kayaking routes may vary depending on possible wildlife sightings, currents, tides and weather.

Day 0:

Plan to be in Port McNeill the night before the kayak tour departs. Triptoes can book this for you. There is a pre-trip meeting at 7:00 pm with your guides at the Kingfisher office.  Your guides will then provide you with an overview for your trip, distribute dry bags to pack your clothing, and answer any questions you may have.

Day 1:

Meet at 8:30am to head down to the marina to load onto the water taxi. It is just a short walk from the hotels and all your bags are transported by van. Vehicles and extra luggage can be left at your hotel while you are on your kayak tour.

The 45 to 60 minute water taxi ride takes everyone to the base camp. Upon arrival at camp your guides will provide a site orientation, plus a kayak and safety briefing. Then you head out kayaking before lunch, giving you time to get used to the kayaks, the wilderness setting, and each other.

Meals Included: Lunch – Dinner

Days 2 and 3:

Each day brings a new journey; the base camp is ideally situated for exploring the area and is right on killer whale travel routes and close to humpback whale feeding areas. Numerous islets which are home to sea birds, bald eagles, and seals are also close by. There is always plenty to see. Your kayak guides plan each day according to weather conditions, wildlife viewing opportunities and guest interests. Lunches are usually spent on a secluded beach, each night returning to the comforts of the base camp.

Every day is different, but rest assured - they will include plans for exploring, kayaking, whale watching, wildlife viewing, and enjoying the scenery.

Meals Included: Breakfast - Lunch – Dinner

Day 4:

On the last day of your journey, you will enjoy a hearty breakfast and pack up personal gear before the water taxi pickup at approximately 10:00 AM. This takes everyone to the village of Telegraph Cove, a historic logging and fishing community. Here, you have a chance to visit the “Bones Project” whale interpretive center and walk around one of the last boardwalk communities on Vancouver Island.

A van transports you back to Port McNeil just after lunch. Arrive back in Port McNeill around 2:00 pm giving enough time to fly out of Port Hardy or catch a late ferry back to the mainland, but delays do happen. We suggest that guests spend the last night in Port McNeill to enjoy a hot shower and rest before the rest of the holiday. Most guests choose to do this, and guests and guides often get together for a no-host farewell dinner at a local restaurant.

Meals Included: Breakfast – Lunch

Stuff for Kids
This trip is excellent for children aged between 6 and 14. Families with older children are encouraged to join one of Kingfisher's Explorer tours. Stable double fibreglass kayaks with an adult in the rear seat and a child in the front are normally used. Kingfisher also has triple kayaks that allow a smaller child to sit between two parents. In addition to the regular adult-sized gear provided, special child-sized personal floatation devices and waterproof kayaking jackets are also provided.

How to Book

If you would like to speak to us about this property or hand-crafting a holiday for your family, please call us on +44 (0)1225 471893, email or fill in the form below and we'll get back to you.
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