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Great Bear Lodge

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Great Bear nature tours run from May to October and guide people into the wilderness from Port Hardy to see grizzly bears. Excursions run at the remote Cape Scott, a beautiful river valley on British Columbia's central coast. Known as the Great Bear Rainforest, it is one of the best places to see brown and black bears, wolves, river otters, pine martens, mink, harbour seals and bald eagles.

The self-contained, floating ecotourism lodge, nestled at the mouth of a pristine salmon river, is the ideal base for wildlife viewing tours and photography. It is wind and solar-powered, surrounded by natural timber decks where guests can enjoy wine before a gourmet meal. A typical dish is fresh salmon roasted on a cedar plank with a marinade of maple syrup, mustard seeds and balsamic vinegar.

The lodge takes a maximum of 10 guests at a time. Between viewing sessions you can sea kayak, enjoy a hike or just relax with a book.

Experienced wilderness guide Tom Rivest holds a master's degree in biology and has enormous knowledge of bears. He also loves helping guests to get the exact photo they are looking for. Viewing blinds have been constructed for photographers.

Two daily viewing sessions are tailored around the activities of the bears, observing them when they are most active. When the bears move from the river to the estuary, they are viewed from a boat.

Spring allows you to see the grizzlies as they graze and engage in mating behaviour. Long hours of daylight and abundant birdlife make it a pleasurable experience. The bears move between habitats to maximise feeding opportunities. They gorge on berry patches, estuarine grasslands and scout for early salmon. In autumn they take advantage of the best food available — Pacific salmon. The bears have individual fishing styles, varying between checking under riverbanks with their paws and charging up the river.

Reservations can be made through Natural Focus Safaris in Australia.


Off the north-eastern end of Vancouver Island.


Great Bear Lodge three-night packages start at $2040 per person twin-share. They include light aircraft flight from Port Hardy, boat charter to and from the Lodge, full board, including wine with dinner, two grizzly bear viewing sessions a day with a wildlife biologist guide and activities at the Lodge. They depart daily in spring and summer and there are scheduled tours in autumn, which can be booked through Natural Focus Safaris in Australia.

Starting in November, Air New Zealand will have three services a week to Vancouver all year round.

From fare

Valid for sale until September 23, 2007, and for travel between November 4-23, 2007. Prices correct at 13.09.2007.

For more information

Natural Focus Safaris
Ph: 1300 363 302
Ph: (03) 9249 3777 for Victoria

Great Bear Nature Tours
Box 1168, Post Office
Port Hardy BC V0N2P0
Ph: 0011 1 250 949 9496
Fax: 0011 1 250 949 9467

Tourism British Columbia

Canadian Tourism Commission Australia
Ph: 02 9571 1866

Air New Zealand
Ph: 132 476

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