Queen Charlotte Islands - Haida GwaiiThe Queen Charlotte Islands, a magnificent wilderness area and an archipelago first discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Perez in 1774, are situated 160 km (100 mi) off the Northwest Coast of British Columbia. Its moderate climate and considerable precipitation make the area rich with an abundance of flora and fauna, endemic to the area. Homeland of the Haida People for thousands of years, it is a land of spectacular scenery, rich ecology and aboriginal culture. In the language of the Haida People the Queen Charlotte Islands are Haida Gwaii - Our Land.
Queen Charlotte Islands - Galapagos of the North
GWAII HAANAS IN COMFORT
BALLAD OF NINSTINTS - Queen Charlotte IslandsYou are interested in Haida First Nation Culture, wildlife viewing and much more? You prefer to have a dry, warm and cozy berth every night rather than a tent? Well, here we go ...
The Queen Charlotte Islands consist of approx. 150 islands with a total landmass of 10,180 sq km (3932 sq mi) that make for a diverse landscape; from windswept beaches and rugged steep coastlines on the west side of the islands, to the sheltered bays and gentle slopes on the east side.
The two main and largest islands, Graham and Moresby, are accessible by air and ferry service. Each community is unique and offers its own history, culture and beauty. The relative isolation of most of the island’s villages makes this an ideal place to visit and take in the peace and stillness of some of the most pristine places on earth.
Graham IslandThe largest island to the north, is the most populated. The community of Skidegate is the cultural centre of the Haida. Visitors will be privileged to be exposed to many art and cultural artifacts. Massett, the oldest and largest of the municipalities on the island, is the Gateway to Tow Hill and Naikoon Provincial Park, an area abounding with migrating birds. The park offers visitors a number of established hiking trails as well as the opportunity to dig for razor clams at North Beach.
Moresby Island & Gwaii Haanas National Park
Moresby Island includes the town of Sandspit, the “Gateway to Gwaii Haanas”. This small community welcomes visitors who arrive by air to the only airport on the Island with daily scheduled flights to Vancouver, serviced by Air Canada.
The smaller of the two main islands, Moresby, extends and forms the southern part of the Queen Charlotte Islands encompassing Gwaii Haanas National Park, the jewel of the Islands. Called the “Galapagos of the North “, the area is a unique biological treasure. The largest sub species of Black bear makes the island its home along with sea lions, seals and a myriad of birds including great raptors such as the peregrine falcon and the bald eagle. It had been the site of the only naturally occurring Golden Sitka Spruce in the world until 1997 when the tree, sacred to the Haida people, was lost. Other species flourishing in the region are the Yellow Cedar, Western Red Cedar and the Western Hemlock just to name a few. This vast park is protected by Federal and Haida Legislation and has been named by “National Geographic Traveler” magazine as the #1 Park destination in North America.
Within the park are many smaller islands, one of them being Anthony Island, also known as Ninstints (Sgaang Gwaii) a declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It hosts the world’s finest display of Haida mortuary poles, all of which are over 100 years old. Ancient longhouses still dot the coastline as a reminder of this once thriving Haida community. The area is only accessible by air and water offering a sea kayaking and / or nature cruise adventure like no other. A place where culture meets nature and isolation has allowed time to stand still.