In the early 1900’s, hardy Danish colonists headed inland from windswept coastal settlements and named their new village after Baron Ludwig Holberg, a distinguished historian and dramatist.
Once the site of the world’s largest floating logging camp, Holberg is now entirely land-based.
The route to this small hamlet of 200 people passes brilliant blue lakes and forested valleys. The area’s lakes and waterways are well protected for boating and kayaking.
Keep your camera handy, as the northern region of Vancouver Island is a remarkable area teeming with wildlife, and the chances of seeing bear and deer are good.
Location: Holberg is located 42km west of Port Hardy at the head of Holberg Inlet. Port Hardy is the closest commercial Airport providing flights to Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo and many coastal communities.
Ronning Gardens: Visit the garden and homestead established by Norwegian settler Bernt Ronning in 1910. Ronning wrote to all corners of the world asking for exotic seedlings, planting nearly 5 acres with many species of trees, shrubs and flowers collected from all over the world. His house and garden became a regular way station for the settlers hiking from Cape Scott, Raft Cove, and San Josef Bay.
After Ronning died in 1963, the garden was reclaimed by the temperate rainforest until the property was purchased some years later and the garden freed from the invading rainforest. Find old and new Monkey Puzzle Trees; drifts of bulbs in spring; old rhododendrons in early summer; maple, beech, and oak leaves in fall; and gnarled branches in winter. The Ronning Gardens are located beside San Josef Wagon Road near Holberg, and can be reached by a pleasant 10-minute walk on a restored section of the old San Josef Wagon Road. Take bug repellent with you.
The Shoe Tree began as a lark by Holberg resident Tracey Anonson in 1989, when he tossed a pair of shoes up into the tree. The old cedar snag now bears hundreds of shoes, sneakers, sandals and boots left by passing travellers. The Shoe Tree is located on the north side of the Holberg Road, at the eastern end of Kains Lake.
Cape Scott Provincial Park is reached via Holberg. The park is a rugged and rain-soaked wilderness, but a network of trails originally cut by those enterprising Danish settlers makes it a paradise for the well-prepared hiker. From the park’s main parking lot, historic trails traverse the upland areas in two directions, either north to Cape Scott or southwest to San Josef Bay. The North Coast Trail extends a further 43.1 km from Nissen Bight to Shushartie Bay. There are more than 35 miles of ocean frontage within the park, composed of rocky headlands and promonotories interspersed with wide, sandy beaches such as at Nels Bight.
The north coast extends about 11 miles from Cape Scott to the park’s eastern boundary. It features three large bays at Experiment Bight, Nels Bight, and Nissen Bight, where backcountry explorers will find white sandy beaches.
The western (Pacific) coast is vunerable to southwesterly storms, which makes it a more rugged, exposed shoreline. The three sandy beaches here at Guise, Hansen, and Lowrie Bays are smaller than the northern ones and are separated by long stretches of rocky coast. Cape Scott’s strategic location means that it is a natural gathering place for migratory birds. The park is also home to both wolves and bears.
Raft Cove Provincial Park is a wonderfully scenic park that attracts wilderness adventurers on day hikes, or backpackers carrying in overnight gear to set up camp on the 1.3-km sandy beach – a great place to really get away from it all. The hike in from the car park is a challenging hike on a very rough and muddy trail. Accessed via the Ronning Main logging road.
Golf: Golfers can head to the public, 9-hole, Par 35 Seven Hills Golf & Country Club in nearby Port Hardy, the northernmost golf course on Vancouver Island. Seven Hills offers the golfer meadering fairways and undulating greens, with scenic views of the North Island Mountains. Open year round. Vancouver Island Golf Vacations.
Quatsino Provincial Park is located on the north side of Quatsino Sound, southeast of Holberg. The park includes the Crown land on the east side of Koprino Harbour, and the adjacent peninsula to the east, as far as Shapland Cove. The Koprino River estuary is noted for its critical fish rearing and waterfowl habitat, and is a popular eagle viewing area.
Port Hardy is the largest community of the North Island, located at the northern end of the Island Highway, 42km east of Holberg. Travellers arriving by road will pass through Port hardy en route to Holberg.
Winter Harbour is an outpost community on the edge of the Pacific Ocean west of Holberg.The docks at Winter harbour are always busy, providing modern fishing boats with a welcome respite from the rugged northwest coast of Vancouver Island.