Port Hardy , "Where the highway ends and adventure begins" is the largest community on North Vancouver Island. This scenic coastal community acts as the transportation terminus for the area. A rugged region, dubbed "The Untamed Wilderness" is a popular destination for spelunkers of every skill level. Ranked among the most significant, there are more than 1,000 caves, many of which have not been charted. Cape Scott Provincial Park is the most popular destination for back country hikers. A rugged wilderness park, with miles of trails carved around windfalls, through Nahwitti lowland marshes and old growth rainforest. Gentler conditions prevail in the sheltered waters of Queen Charlotte Strait and Johnstone Strait, where the Kwakwaka'wakw First Nations are the traditional gatekeepers. The waters off northern Vancouver Island are amongst the finest in the world for diving, known for their profusion of invertebrate life, curious wolfeels, colonies of pink soft coral, a variety of sponges and starfish - sighting killer whales from the surface here is a common occurrence.
Port McNeill is the centre of aquaculture activity on North Vancouver Island. Explore Broughton Archipelago Marine Park, a wilderness area consisting of a maze of several small islands, numerous islets and adjacent foreshore at the southern extremity of Queen Charlotte Strait. Cruise to Robson Bight where pods of Orcas come each summer to rub on the barnacle-encrusted rocks. Stop off at Cormorant Island and visit the oldest town on the North Island. Alert Bay boasts the world's largest totem pole, towering 173 feet above ground. Don't miss the small, picturesque fishing village of Sointula, (a Finnish word meaning harmony) that began as a Utopian colony in the early 1900s. Stroll around the community and capture the unique essence, before taking the return ferry to Port McNeill.