The island is also home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, where beaches, rainforests, marshes, meadows and mountains jostle for space and create habitats for a plethora of wildlife. The island is one of the best locations for whale watching worldwide, the birdlife is prolific, and the salmon spawning season ensures Grizzly Bears put on quite the show each autumn. The salmon and trout fishing opportunities are a big draw for keen anglers, too.
Luxurious lodges sit amid protected parkland of fir and cedar forest, each offering truly spoiling accommodation, food and wine for guests weary after a day exploring the wilderness on foot, or by bike or kayak.
The island's capital is quaint Victoria, a picture perfect provincial town which also happens to have more cycle routes than any other city in Canada, so is the perfect spot to explore by pedal power. An increasingly young and hip crowd are also giving the city somewhat of a bohemian revival, with artsy cafes, shops and restaurants popping up weekly.
Heading northwest from Victoria, crossing the Beaufort Mountain Range which runs along the spine of the island, and landscapes become much wilder. The eco-conscious resort of Tofino is a popular weekend escape for Vancouverites, drawn by the rolling surf and long stretches of beach, while the Strathcona Provincial Park, Pacific Rim National Park and Clayoquot Sound are ripe for exploration by active travellers. Clayoquot Sound also happens to be home to one of the coolest and most luxurious glamping experiences in the world: Cloud Camp.