Dominated by copper mining, a large fishing fleet and the usual logging concerns, PORT HARDY, 485km from Victoria and 230km from Campbell River, is best known among travellers as the departure point for ships plying one of the more spectacular stretches of the famous Inside Passage to Prince Rupert (and on to Alaska) and the Discovery Coast Passage.

If you have time to kill waiting for boats, you could visit the Quatse Salmon Stewardship Centre at 8400 Byng Rd, just off Hwy-19 almost opposite the Pioneer Inn.

The visitor centre also has details on the immense wilderness of Cape Scott Provincial Park, whose interior is accessible only by foot and which is supposed to have some of the most consistently bad weather in the world (and some of the most voracious biting insects). As a short taster you could follow the forty-minute hike from the small campsite and trailhead at San Josef River to some sandy beaches. Increasingly popular, but demanding and requiring eight hours plus, is the historic Cape Scott Trail, part of a complex web of trails early Danish pioneers hacked from the forest. Around 28km has been reclaimed, opening a trail to the cape itself.