Best wildlife encounters in Canada

It's true that Canada is home to some of the world's most incredible wildlife, be it fur, feathers or fins. Here we take you up close and personal with some of Canada's creatures with the most memorable animal encounters.
Dodge the frozen giants of Canada’s Iceberg Alley
See icebergs of every hue and shape in Canada's awesome Iceberg Alley. Read more
Experience the thrill of a dog sled ride across Yukon’s frozen lakes
Glide across the frozen expanses of the Yukon powered by man's best friend. No visit to Canada is complete without experiencing the energetic thrill of an authentic ride with a sled dog team across a frozen Yukon lake.   Bred to enjoy hurtling alongside their sled teammates across icy expanses, the excited barking of huskies anticipating their next outing will greet your ears before you even see them. [caption id="attachment_20709" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Dog sledding on Annie Lake; Yukon.[/caption] Typical tours involve riding either solo or duo, but in both cases you’ll be taught how to steer up to 16 dogs as they rocket full-tilt across one of the Yukon’s beautiful frozen lakes.   With up to 80 centimetres of ice below you covered with a cool 20 centimetres of snow on top, you’ll feel exhilarated as you and your team hurtle from the expansive white bliss of a frozen lake to pull up at your log cabin where a roaring fire awaits. Get going: Mushing is best between November and March. Book a Yukon trip with Adventure World (adventureworld.com.au). Location: Yukon is in the north-west corner of Canada, bordering Alaska. Connecting flights arrive here from Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. By bus you can travel the Alaskan highway on a Greyhound. [caption id="attachment_20710" align="alignnone" width="1024"] It's all smile while dog sledding on Annie Lake; Yukon.[/caption]  “Sway your hips and move from foot to foot as your yelping, barking team of excitable dogs strain at the leash.” – Nikki Bayley   <<Previous | Next >> Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');  Read more
Dust off your boots for Vancouver’s incredible West Coast Trail
Stroll along a hikers paradise in British Colombia's West Coast Trail. Originally established in 1907 along Vancouver Island’s wild south-western edge to serve as a means for shipwreck survivors to travel to safety, the Dominion Lifesaving Trail was incorporated into the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in 1973, and re-dubbed the West Coast Trail. [caption id="attachment_21020" align="alignnone" width="667"] Hikers on the West Coast trail.[/caption] These days it’s more famous as one of the best hiking trails in the world, allowing you to walk the same paths once (and still) trodden by the First Nations’ groups of the Ditidaht, Pacheedaht and Huu-ay-aht.   Stretching for 75 kilometres, you have the option of spending anywhere from four to seven nights making this iconic journey – you’ll climb ladders, make your way through forests, pass waterfalls, ford rivers and carefully navigate slopes to reach your destination. [caption id="attachment_21021" align="alignnone" width="1024"] The West Coast trail ferry arrives.[/caption] It’s an ideal trip for those who like to challenge themselves.   Guided tours off the main path are also available, taking you into a variety of First Nations’ cultural sites. [caption id="attachment_21022" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A waterfall on the West Coast trail.[/caption] For experienced hikers, Canada doesn’t get any better than this. GET GOING: The West Coast Trail (westcoasttrail.com) is accessible year-round, but its “season” is May 1 to September 30. Hikers visiting outside this period must be aware that not all facilities, including search and rescue, may be available. LOCATION: The West Coast Trail is in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve in Vancouver Island’s wild south-west, spanning 75 kilometres between Port Renfew at its southern end, and the fishing village of Bamfield to the north. The closest major cities are Port Alberni and Duncan, both of which are about two to three hours’ drive away. [caption id="attachment_21023" align="alignnone" width="1024"] One of the beautiful spots on the west Coast trail.[/caption] “Wild, pristine country – you'll feel you’re in the middle of nowhere. With beaches, lakes, rivers, tall mountains and wild rainforest, this is one of the best wilderness areas in North America.” – Craig Tansley   << Previous | Next >>  Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');  Read more
Go wild at the luxurious Sonora Resort in the Discovery Islands
Stay in the lap of luxury in the middle of the British Colombia wilderness.  Read more
Migrate to the Arctic north with Canadian caribou
Get amidst a giant Canadian caribou herd in the frozen Nunavut territory.  Read more
You’re guaranteed to be in awe of Canada’s mass reindeer migration
Watch a wildlife phenomenon like no other as the Canadian reindeer migrate. Read more
Forget the snow and follow Whistler locals to Russet Lake
Venture to an alpine lake that just begs to be plunged into. Read more
Frolic at sea with the orcas off Vancouver Island
Meet the ocean's most incredible mammal as part of a boat ride to remember. Ironically the great white whale of whale watching isn’t the white whale – it’s the elusive orca, which is actually a very large dolphin.   Sometimes (a little unfairly) known as the “killer whale”, from April to October each year the Canadian west coast boasts relatively large numbers of orca pods, and during a self-guided paddle or an organised tour from Vancouver Island, you’ll likely see orcas, dolphins, sea otters, tufted puffins, bald eagles and more. [caption id="attachment_20759" align="alignnone" width="1024"] An orca plays in the waters off Vancouver Island- photo courtesy of Shawn McCready.[/caption] What’s more, the better tours – such as those run by Orca Spirit, operating directly out of Victoria – are hosted by marine biologists who can talk you through everything you’re seeing and answer questions.   If the waters are calm enough, you may get to listen in on a hydrophone, lowered directly into the water to pick up the vocalisations of the travelling pods as they frolic and call to each other in and around the Haro Strait where the Canadian and US waters merge. GET GOING: Spot an elusive orca from April to October, when they’re at their most prevalent, with B.C.'s Coastal Adventure. For more on Vancouver Island's wildlife and nature experiences, go here. LOCATION: Vancouver Island is in the south-west corner of Canada, and Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, lies on its south-eastern tip. Near Victoria, orcas can be spotted in the Haro Strait to the east, and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the west. [caption id="attachment_20761" align="alignnone" width="1024"] An orca waves to sightseers.[/caption] “Watching these incredibly intelligent animals hunt for salmon in the wild waters off Victoria has to be one of the best animal experiences available anywhere.” – Craig Tansley   <<Previous | Next >> Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown   var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');  Read more
Join the Arctic Watch on Nunavut’s untamed tundra
Go deep into the frozen reaches of Canada in Nunavut with an Arctic Watch adventure. Read more
Conquer Canada’s Arctic on a wilderness adventure
Take all the polar you can bear in sub-Arctic Manitoba.  Read more
Soar above the craggy peaks of Canada’s Tombstone
Soar above a stunning Canadian scene that time forgot.  Read more
Going with the floe on a Canadian polar sea adventure
Discover a whole new world near the polar north of Canada. Read more
Befriend a sea otter off Canada’s Vancouver Island
Meet one of the cutest Canadian critters off gorgeous Vancouver Island. Cruising quietly through glassy water to where the wild things are on a kayak tour in the shadow of mountainous Vancouver Island can be a little daunting. [caption id="attachment_21182" align="alignnone" width="1024"] Kayakers search for sea otter off Vancouver Island.[/caption] But not when your intended target is this cute.   As you glide through the sea in your lightweight craft, tentatively probing the tiny floating islands of kelp, before you know it you’ll likely find yourself surrounded by a fleet of friendly otters.   As you float along, bask in a coastline of prehistoric forests and surf-pounded beaches, secluded sea caves and alien-looking vertical rock stacks. [caption id="attachment_21181" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A sea otter pops up to say hello off Vancouver Island.[/caption] As well as the 1500 sea otters that call the area home, keep an eye out for soaring bald eagles, black bears foraging for crabs and, if you’re lucky, migrating whales.   The daily kayak routes follow the tides and weather, as well as opportunities for guests to explore the local First Nations’ culture and community. [caption id="attachment_21180" align="alignnone" width="1024"] A man looks for sea otters off Vancouver Island.[/caption] At the end of the day, you’ll be welcomed back to your Spring Island camp-base where luxury tents, gourmet meals and chats with the locals await. GET GOING: Five-day sea otter kayak tours with West Coast Expeditions (westcoastexpeditions.com) operate from late June until early September each year. Find out more here. LOCATION: Vancouver Island, BC, is off Canada’s south-west coast, and the Sea Otter Kayak Tours have their camp-base on Spring Island in the Kyuquot Sound, 150 kilometres north-west of Tofino, on Vancouver Island’s western edge. [caption id="attachment_21183" align="alignnone" width="667"] Fits stand tall on Vancouver Island.[/caption] “The evening salmon feast around the campfire is the kind of memory that lasts a lifetime – especially if there’s a sea otter or two cavorting nearby.” – John Lee   << Previous | Next >> Return to the ‘100 Things to do in Canada Before You Die’ countdown var axel = Math.random() + """"; var a = axel * 10000000000000; document.write('');  Read more
Tundra buggy your way into Canada’s largest polar bear show
Spend a little time with an arctic giant in Canada's biggest polar bear show.  Read more
Go wild in Churchill on a polar bear safari
Test your nerves on a journey to meet one of the world's most amazing animals. Read more
Go in search of the elusive Canadian Spirit Bear
Journey into the soul of the Canadian wilderness and meet the Spirit Bear.  Read more
Why you should make time for Banff’s Moraine Lake
Spend some time on a lake whose scenery is on the money.  Read more
See red salmon fill Canada’s Fraser Canyon Rapids
See one of nature's great exoduses as salmon fill Fraser Canyon Rapids. Read more
Scale the Skyline Trail in Alberta’s Jasper National Park
Venture into Canada's gorgeous Jasper National Park, following the beautiful Skyline Trail.  Read more
Go grizzly cub spotting at British Columbia’s Knight Inlet Lodge
Meet one of Canada's most gorgeous animals - the grizzly cub.  Read more
Snorkel with Canada’s mystical beluga whales
Snorkel with Canada's wonderful beluga whales.  Read more
Catch your breath on British Columbia’s Sea to Sky Gondola
Ascend into heavenly views on the wonderful Sea to Sky Gondola. Read more
Learn how to howl with wolves in Canadian wilderness
Get in touch with the dog in you while you howl at the moon.  Read more
Go snorkelling with humpbacks in eastern Canada
Experience pure awe as you swim with the gentle giant of the sea.    Read more
Go in search of Nunavut’s mystical narwhals
Meet one of world's most mystical creatures  Read more