Haida Gwaii (Islands of the People), previously known as the Queen Charlotte Islands, and before that as "Xhaaidlagha Gwaayaai" or “Islands at the Boundary of the World," are in British Columbia, Canada. Though the archipelago comprises over 150 islands, the two largest, Graham and Moresby, dominate the visitor's itinerary.
This is a remote area where there are few big chain stores or high end amenities. Do not expect grand resorts choked with tourists, however opening in 2012 will be a world class resort owned by the Haida on the Tlell river, and there are B&B's, Cabins, and Motels that offer accommodations. Some of the reasons to come to the islands are to explore the outdoors as there are numerous options for hiking, hunting, beachcombing, kayaking, and fishing. Other visitors enjoy the vast artisan galleries and culture that can be found.
The official language is English. Some Haida words have entered the lexicon.
The only way to get a vehicle to the island is on the six hour ferry from Prince Rupert. There are also daily flights available. Air Canada flies into Sandspit from Vancouver daily, and Pacific Coastal flies into Masset daily. Flights are also available from Prince Rupert to Masset daily.
The islands have developed highway infrastructure, and Highway 16 travels from Skidegate to Masset on Graham Island.
Transportation between Skidegate Landing and Alliford Bay is provided by the Kwuna ferry. The ferry schedule is available on the BC Ferries website . There are also numerous vehicle rental companies on Island, and most communities have their own taxi services.
If these options don't work for you, try sticking out your thumb. Hitch hiking isn't uncommon here.
- Haida Gwaii totem poles. See the remnants of the Haida people in these totem poles still standing in their original locations. The youngest is 160 years old. The biggest group is in the Haida village of Ninstints, flanked by 26 totem poles.
The Queen Charlotte Islands are the site of some excellent sport fishing opportunities. Salmon weighing over 50 lbs as well as halibut ranging to over 100 lbs are routinely caught. There are also many hiking trails throughout the Islands, with most being easily accessible. The Visitor Centres on Island have information and maps for such activities. Visitor Centres can be found in Sandspit, Queen Charlotte, & Masset.
- Commercial Marine Charters, 424 4th Avenue East, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1N7, ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Chartered fishing trips on the Jennifer Gayle, a 65-foot converted fishing boat which can carry 7 people. The crew are happy to help you find good fishing, and then pack it up so you can fly it home.
Masset has few good places to eat and drink, although the most visited cafe in town is 'the ground'. located in central town. they provide a good coffee and a selection of organic baked goods.
A lot of great beaches, lakes, and camping grounds can be accessed via logging roads. As they are active, visitors are strongly recommended to check road access at a local visitor centre.