Haida Gwaii Tourist Attractions
Haida Gwaii Tourist Attractions – Haida Gwaii means Islands of the People. This area consists of over 150 islands of different sizes. It is Canada’s most remote archipelago, situated parallel to the mainland British Columbia’s northwest coast, about 62 mi/100 km from Prince Rupert across the Hecate Strait.
Only two of the largest islands in the area are developed. There are six official communities in Graham Island in the north, and the majority of infrastructure and inhabitants. Just to its south, Moresby Island is home to one community, Sandspit.
Here are 10 best tourist attractions not to miss in Haida Gwaii:
1. Gwaii Haanas
Haida Gwaii’s southern third is a protected nature reserve together managed by the Haida Nation and Parks Canada. The land is home to great forests and different wildlife such as the black bear of Haida Gwaii and the waters around those islands feature a glut of coral reefs, kelp forests and all kind of sea life.
Jason Alsop of the Archipelago Management Board said that The biggest thing for people to understand was you have to visit it. He could not even use words to describe it.
In Gwaii Haanas as well, tourists can explore Haida cultural sites which existed for thousands of years. Guided tours are available during April to October from Haida Nation’s members who show tourists the remains of unique-constructed longhouses and the Haida people’s cultural practices.
3. Tow Hill
This massive 400 feet cliff is Naikoon Provincial Park’s part on Graham Island. It was shaped by erupting lava about millions of years ago and tourists can go ATVing and hiking, and explore cultural sites of both colonial origin and Haida. The Blow Hole at the base of the cliff is a surge channel which sprays large clouds of mist when large ocean waves hit into it.
4. Whale Watching
Orcas can be seen in Haida Gwaii during the spring. Skidegate Inlet creates an ideal spot to watch them and other whales in their authentic habitat.
A tour operator, Grace Broadfoot had a close assembly with a humpback on her first day working on a boat off Haida Gwaii.
She said that they had found themselves in the midst of around 100 humpbacks migrating, 360 degrees around them they had been feeding and calling to each other. You could smell them and hear them even at some points.
5. North Beach
The popular North Beach is another attraction within Naikoon Provincial Park. The sloping beach on the Hecate Strait features some rental lodgess, surfing and traditional activities such as clam digging.
6. Haida House at Tlall
A cedar lodge located on a river and between the sea and sand dunes is a modern resort in Tlall. It was rewarded the 2013 Aboriginal Tourism BC Award for leading accommodation and guest services. For tours and local knowledge of Haida Gwaii, Cultural ambassadors are offered to guest.
Haida Gwaii is known for the fishing chances. More than two dozen charter companies take fishermen out to fish for halibut and salmon. Shellfish, crab, and shrimp are also plentiful. Many of the fishing lodges offers valuable business chances for Haida people.
8. Haida Gwaii Museum
Established in 1976, Haida Gwaii Museum covers the history of the Haida people and Haida Gwaii through the pre and post contact times as well as their lifestyle now. The museum is also a honor to the Haida people’s ancestors, a lot of whom are buried nearby.
9. Haida Heritage Centre
Haida Heritage Centre is a multi-building facility in Skidegate. It is a place where the culture of Haida can be expressed in its plentyful forms.
In the auditorium, performances are held. Fine arts are taught at the Bill Reid Teaching Centre as well as large pieces such as canoes and totem poles are created in the carving house. The Centre also provides tours of the land and tours of the sea on traditional canoes.
10. The Gwaii Haanas Hot Springs
An earthquake in 2012 shut off the hot springs which used for generations by the Haida people. It was a famous tourist attraction as well, however there is some slim hope that the hot springs will come back.