There are plenty of viewpoints on the Sunshine Coast, but none better than the one you get from the air. Floatplane and aerial tours are a great way to take in the natural beauty of the Coast, from cascading waterfalls and raging rapids to craggy peaks and snow-capped glaciers.
Companies like Sunshine Coast Air, Harbour Air, and Fly Coastal Air Taxi offer a range of tours, from short 30-minute flights that maximize your time to epic, once-in-a-lifetime flights that take you to remote peaks and lakes. Read on for details on floatplane and aerial tours that are worth adding to your trip.
Sunshine Coast Air: Talaysay Land, Sea & Air Audio Tour
Departs from Sechelt
The lands and waters of the Sechelt Inlet have been home to the shíshálh peoples for millennia. Indigenous owned- and operated Talaysay Tours has partnered with Sunshine Coast Air to bring you an enriched cultural-historical audio tour—from a bird's eye view. Listen to narrator Candace Campo as she shares stories, drumming, songs, and the history of the shíshálh.
Following the Sechelt Peninsula, you'll fly over the sacred and magnificent fjords of ?alhtulich (Sechelt Inlet) and smait (Hotham Sound). Imagine life 10,000-plus years ago as you soar above dense, green forest, before circling above the ocean coastline and white sandy beaches of Thormanby Island and the Smuggler Cove. Along the way, you'll learn how the shíshálh fished, hunted, gathered, cultivated, stewarded and lived on these lands for thousands of years.
Harbour Air: Powell River Commuter
Departs from Vancouver and Powell River
Fly like a local! Harbour Air operates a daily flight that connects Powell River and the qathet region to downtown Vancouver. On this route you can skip the ferry, but not the views. From the minute you board the plane in downtown Vancouver, you'll be treated to soaring mountain views and classic (but no less exciting) coastal scenery before landing on vast Powell Lake.
The trip is short but sweet, and your adventure can continue when you touch down. Stay for a while and wander seaside trails, mountain bike world-class singletrack, paddle the Powell Forest Canoe Route, or even trek hut-to-hut along the Sunshine Coast Trail. You can also head straight to a great meal and a drink upon arrival at the Shinglemill Pub.
Oceanside Air – Desolation Sound Aerial Tour
Service from Qualicum Beach (Vancouver Island), Powell River, Sechelt, Vancouver (Boundary Bay)
Oceanside Air is based in Qualicum Beach but offers a variety of air tours and charter flights. Their Desolation Sound Aerial Tour includes a 60-minute tour and 60 minutes of flight time. The tour takes you over spectacular Desolation Sound, where views of islands, glacial fjords, waterfalls, and more abound.
Oceanside Air also offered chartered flights from Qualicum Beach to Sechelt, Powell River, and Texada Island.
Sunshine Coast Air: Chatterbox Falls Tour
Departs from Sechelt
There's nothing like (safely) witnessing the sheer force of a waterfall up close and personal—especially one as grand as Chatterbox Falls. As one of the tallest waterfalls on the Sunshine Coast, it tumbles 40 metres (120 feet) from the edge of a granite cliff at the end of Princess Louisa Inlet to the waters below.
Sunshine Coast Air offers this brag-worthy tour that starts from Sechelt Inlet before transporting you to a world of rugged beauty and untamed nature. Watch as some 60 waterfalls cascade down the sheer rock of this stunning fjord before coming in for a landing at the base of Chatterbox Falls. Here, you can disembark the floatplane and carefully make your way via a wooden boardwalk to a safe distance in full view of mother nature's force. It's a sensory experience—sight, sound and spray—and one you won't soon forget.
Kenmore Air – Desolation Sound
Approximately 3 hours
Departs from Washington, USA
Kenmore Air offers seasonal service to Desolation Sound and other parts of the Sunshine Coast. While this isn’t a tour per se, your flight from Kenmore Air’s Lake Washington Terminal will whisk you over beautiful landscapes before touching down at your destination. Kenmore Air flies to several different anchorage points in Desolation Sound, including Bliss Landing, Gorge Harbour, and Prideaux Haven.
Fly Coastal Air Taxi: Sky High Tetrahedron Tour
Departs from Sechelt
From the ground, the soaring peaks of the Tetrahedron mountain range serve as a pretty backdrop to adventures on the southern Sunshine Coast. But up close, these giants can inspire new perspectives—and can help you to see the bigger picture. Fly Coastal Air Taxi, which operates out of the Sechelt Airport in ts’uḵw’um (Wilson Creek) and the Sechelt Inlet, offers both charter flights by bushcraft (think your classic Cessna and Beaver planes) and floatplane tours.
On their Sky High Tetrahedron Tour, you'll start from sea level before soaring 5,000 feet into the Tet (as locals affectionately call this range), and above its namesake peak, for a photo-op of epic proportions. You'll loop over the Sechelt Peninsula, hugging the spectacular Sunshine Coast shoreline and taking in views of the town and neighbouring islands. Back on two feet, you might just be inclined to hike or ski tour or snowshoe to those very same peaks—Tetrahedron Provincial Park is accessible via foot, and makes for one incredible flight-to-foot adventure.
Sunshine Coast Air: Flights to Flights Ale and Air Tour
This views to brews tour comes courtesy of Sunshine Coast Air and Sunshine Coast Art Tours. Here you get the best of both worlds: an epic, 25-minute aerial flight that takes you on a highlight reel through the Sechelt Inlet, followed by stops at your choice of three craft breweries, cideries or distilleries on the Sunshine Coast.
Your flight is no doubt something to toast to—and with this tour, you'll get one complimentary flight of beer or cider. Your tour also comes with a one-hour lunch, snacks to keep you fueled and fed in between, and historical commentary from a knowledgeable local and tour guide.
Harbour Air – Sechelt Classic Panorama
Departs from Sechelt
This 40-minute, seasonal Harbour Air tour includes 30 minutes of flight time. Your adventure begins in Sechelt, as you fly over Porpoise Bay and towards Skookumchuck Narrows and Sakinaw Lake, exploring Sechelt Inlet and the Sechelt Peninsula.
Post-flight, grab a meal and a beverage at The Lighthouse Pub, which sits adjacent to the Harbour Air Terminal. Dine on seafood chowder or some fish n’ chips while taking in the waterfront views out on the patio.