Travel Directions to Winter Harbour BC

Posted on January 28, 2013

Drive to Coal Harbour near Port Hardy BC and Launch your boat. Drive to Coal Harbour from Nanaimo Ferry (Departure Bay). Highway 19 North. Drive north past  Parksville, Courtney Comox Campbell River. Get fuel before leaving Campbell River as it gets much more pricey as you go further north.

Stay on Highway 19 north until you get to Port Hardy but turn left at the sign to Coal Harbour. There is Mandatory stop at the Ideal Cafe (on left just over Campbell river Bridge. She will make an old school Reel Crazy Breakfast or Lunch. Then don’t stop again until you get to Coal Harbour (about 2 hrs 10 mins). If you want to drive your car truck to Winter Harbour. then stay on Highway 19 for another couple of minutes until you see the sign that says “Winter Harbour” “HoldberG” Cape Scott”. Turn left there. Drive for about 1.5 hrs on good gravel road through Holberg and then arrive at Winter Harbour.If you chose to go to Coal Harbour  then Launch your boat in Coal Harbour at Joey’s Float Plane Hanger, it will cost 10 bucks  (Pay in the office). Park your truck trailer there or at the place across from the store. A five bucks a day. I always park my truck and Trailer around the back of Joey’s airplane hanger in the grassy area. The slope (angle) of the boat launch is slight because it is designed for Joey’s float planes or hauling out dead whales from another era

Try and launch on the top half of the tide.  Kick up your leg a bit to be on the safe side. You will have to power up on to your trailer a little. I have nicked my prop once while loading at low tide. You can buy gas (good idea) from the Indians right at the Gov’t wharf in Coal Harbour now. Their office is at the head of the dock in the grey building next to the bathroom. Price is very fair. They are slow.

Then head straight out from the launch going around a point on your port side, then head straight 1 mile until you get to the narrows. Bare to your starboard. It is a beautiful cruise through the narrows with the Indian Grave yard  and Quatsino village on your right.  It is a  1 hr and 10 minute boat ride at 26 MPH to Winter Harbour Government Wharf. Keep an eye out for Humpbacks, they frequent Quatsino Sound.  It is always a pleasant cruise but naturally a swell forms once your at the wide portion of the Sound. Winter Harbour Moorage is available  at the Winter Harbour Government dock and the Outpost  private marina and is .75 per ft. The Outpost Gas/Diesel Dock Opens at ten am (no exceptions) closes at seven. Takes cash or credit cards. ( it’s good to keep $500 cash onhand. If the CC machine goes down …..problem.

Lots of moorage is available. There are 2 fingers at the Winter Harbour Gov’t Wharf. I have not seen a day in July or August when there was not moorage space available. There is power on the Government Wharf but is a pain in the ass to use. You need about a 150 ft power cord. So I wouldn’t bother.  RV’s… If you drive in there is RV Parking through the Outpost marina & store (250) 969-4333. There is also a Forestry campsite with no amenities about 1/2 mile away from the docks. If you have a quad or small vehicle to get back and forth to the wharf and are self contained it is a nice quite spot. People that take there RV’s to Winter Harbour usually launch their boats at Coal Harbour at Joey’s. If your boat is behind your motor home it is best to take it off and have one of Joey’s guys launch it with a pickup truck. Cost a couple of buck more but makes life a whole lot easier than launching with a motor home on the low slope boat ramp. A few frequent flyers trailer their boats into Winter Harbour. My Advice is don’t. If your trailer calves on you, there are no services in Winter Harbour, just helpful people and a whole lot of no where. I site Murphy’s Law.