West Coast Discovery

West Coast Discovery Tour of Northern Vancouver Island

Please check out this updated information on Rolf Hicker's private custom photo tours & photography workshops on Vancouver Island.

Departing the coastal community of Port McNeill at 9:00am, we travel north along the main highway, passing a melting pot of colored foliage, scenery, and wildlife. We may make some brief stops along the main highway to photograph wildlife and scenery if time permits.

We turn off the main highway and leave the paved road behind us, as we enter the heart of Northern Vancouver Island. Along the road we will see natural lakes, stunning rainforest, and some interesting "uniquely" west coast sights. We will take time to stop along the way at a few of these locations. Black bears are also frequently seen on our trips.

We will drive through the township of Holberg, which was named after a distinguished Danish historian and dramatist - Baron Ludwig Holberg. The small community of Holberg is home to only 200 residents, but was once the site of the world's largest floating logging camp.

ronning´s garden picture From Holberg we drive directly to the historic Ronning's garden. Be sure to pack your macro! Bernt Ronning originated from Norway and established his homestead here in 1910. He cleared five acres of rainforest to make way for the planting of many unique and exotic plant species from around the world. There are two mature Monkey Puzzle Trees, which are a native of Chile, found at the entrance to Ronning's house site. These Monkey Puzzle trees are among the oldest and largest in British Columbia.

starfish picture We will have lunch at Ronning's Garden - picnic style (weather permitting).

After lunch we continue our journey on the back roads of the North Island, then don our hiking boots for a hike! We access Raft Cove by a 30-40 minute walking trail which is suitable for most fitness levels. You will be well rewarded for your efforts as we exit onto the coastal beach of Raft Cove. (Note: if there has been substantial rain fall in the area in the days prior to our tour, we may opt to go to an alternate beach, where the track is less effected and not as muddy).

Featuring a maze of rocky outcrops, this spot is tide pool heaven! Here, tide permitting, you will see an abundance of diverse marine life such as starfish, crabs, sea anemones, and so much more. The crashing waves against the outer perimeter of the rocks, form a dramatic backdrop for the protected, still tide pools. You will be stunned by the ruggedness and beauty that surrounds you at the cove.

We will spend some time here to explore and enjoy the ambiance, before heading back out on the same track.

If, after Raft Cove, you still have a yen for more coastal vistas, we have one other location to take you to. A short drive brings us to the end of the road, and with an easy 2 minute (200 metre) walk, we will find ourselves on an open pebbly beach. Clamber over the large pieces of drift wood and breathe in the fresh west coast air. If we are lucky we may see Gray Whales far out at sea, making their extraordinary migration to or from Alaska. Their journey begun in the protected lagoons off the Baja Peninsula in Mexico.

We return to Port McNeill around 6:00pm after a full day of discovery, and stunning scenery.

West Coast Discovery - round up:

west coast picture
  • Departures:
    From Port McNeill at time stated.
  • Includes:
    Transfers from anywhere within Port McNeill
    Photography workshop

Long light pants or shorts (with a change of long pants), t-shirt, sweater, comfortable walking/hiking shoes, parka in case of rain, sunglasses, and hat. Additional layers should also be considered for the evening, particularly for sunset trips.

This tour operates from June 1st until October 31st, with a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 4 passengers.

Ask us for details on our 3 day North Island Explorer Tour which incorporates 3 of our tours, the West Coast Discovery, Sunset, Wildlife and Islands, and Hidden Secrets, and save! We can also help with accommodation in Port McNeill.

Reservations and Payment:

To reserve space on this tour, please contact us. Limited space available.

50% of the ticket price is due within 2 weeks from the date of reservation to secure your booking, with final payment being due 14 days prior to departure. CA$100.00 of the deposit is non-refundable.

Other Photography Workshops:

Kiwiana - New Zealand:
On this 17 day organized photo tour, we will circumnavigate the South Island of New Zealand. Our mission .. is to photograph stunning scenic vistas, rugged coastlines, and discover this land of diverse cultures, and artistic landscapes. Join us on a trip down-under to Aotearoa - land of the long white cloud.

Sunset, Wildlife and Islands:
A 4-5 hour workshop, putting you in the action for a fabulous sunset shot with naturally beautiful landscape and wildlife as the backdrop. In the late afternoon other tours are returning from their day out, leaving the waters peaceful, and more or less to ourselves.

Hidden Secrets:
Allow us to take you where no photographer has been before. Port McNeill is fringed by old lush rainforests and the sparkling waters of the Broughton Strait. Over the years Rolf has discovered many of this area's nearby hidden secrets and the photo opportunities abound with different techniques put to use.

North Island Explorer:
This 3 day tour combines our 3 popular Northern Vancouver Island tours - namely Sunset, Wildlife and Islands, West Coast Discovery, and Hidden Secrets. This informative and packed tour will show you the best of what's on offer in this stunning scenic region.

Aurora Borealis - Alaska's Brooks Range:
During this 8 day tour you will be stunned by the magnificient arctic scenery and wildlife of the Brooks Range of Alaska. Evenings will be spent photographing the mystical veils of dancing lights known as the aurora borealis. The days will be spent scouting locations and photographing the incredible scenery of this arctic wonderland.

Footsteps of Vikings - Newfoundland & Labrador:
Coming soon ... contact us for details

Aurora Borealis Gold Rush from Dawson City:
Coming soon ...contact us for details

Bald Eagles of Brackendale:
Coming soon ...contact us for details

Customized Tours:
We are also able to provide customized tours. Please contact us for details

Tourism Info

Links to Photography Workshops