Dominated by big-time copper mining, a large fishing fleet and the usual logging concerns, PORT HARDY, a total of 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 thence to Alaska) and the more recently introduced Discovery Coast Passage. If you have time to kill waiting for boats, which leave from Bear Cove 10km away from the town centre, you could drop into the modest and occasionally open town museum at 7110 Market St (donation) or visit the Quatse River Salmon Hatchery (Mon– Fri 8/9am–4.30pm) on Hardy Bay Rd, just off Hwy 19 almost opposite the Pioneer Inn.
If possible, though, time your arrival to coincide with one of the Inside Passage sailings that leave every other day in summer and once or twice weekly in low season. Bus services aren't really scheduled to do this for you, with a Laidlaw bus generally timetabled to meet each incoming sailing from Prince Rupert. The Port Hardy ferry terminal is visible from town but is actually 10km away at Bear Cove, where buses stop before carrying on to terminate opposite the infocentre, 7250 Market St (year-round Mon– Fri 9am–5pm; early June to late Sept 8am–8pm; Tel: 250/949-7622, www.ph-chamber.bc.ca ).
If you stay in town overnight, leave plenty of time to reach the ferry terminal – sailings in summer are usually around 7.30am. North Island Transportation provides a shuttle service between the ferry and the town's airport, main hotels and the bus station at 7210 Market St just south of Hastings St and the infocentre, whence it departs ninety minutes before each sailing (Tel:250/949-6300 for information or to arrange a pick-up from hotel or campsite); otherwise call a taxi (Tel:250/949-8000).