Knocking Haida Gwaii Off The Bucket List

By Dawn Postnikoff

Haida Gwaii has always seemed slightly out of reach as a travel destination. In my mind it was difficult to get to, complicated to get around and a destination reserved primarily for fishing or high-end boating expeditions. In fact, my daughter worked for several years on a ship which sailed through Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve, helping visitors to explore the beauty, culture and abundant wildlife of the region. And yet, little did I know!


When the opportunity finally came for my husband and I to visit Hekate’s Retreat on Haida Gwaii, we weren’t quite sure what to expect.



For starters, it’s actually quite easy to get to. Air Canada has daily flights directly from Vancouver into K’il Kun (Sandspit) on Moresby Island, which is only a few minutes from Hekate’s Retreat. Pacific Coastal also flies to Haida Gwaii, landing at the Masset airport on the north tip of Graham Island.


We arrived in Sandspit on a sunny Friday afternoon and rented a car right at the airport. My expectations so far had been easily exceeded. After a short drive through town and a pit-stop to grab some snacks and a bottle of wine for later, we found our way to Hekate’s Retreat. Originally a sheep and cattle farm owned by the Mathers family in the late 1800’s, the homestead was converted to the Willows Golf Course in 1972.


And what a beautiful course it is—nine holes with 18 tee boxes, located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean with incredible views and challenging fairways. The course has been refurbished over the past few years, and is getting attention from across the province as a new destination golf experience. The newly renovated clubhouse restaurant offers casual bistro-style fare and local Haida Gwaii specialties, with fresh seafood a regular feature on the menu. In fact, as we found out the following day, if you happen to bring some fresh salmon back after a day on the water, the chef will happily cook your catch for you.

We were able to tour the original Homestead House and would love to return with our families to stay there. It has been completely refurbished and is available as a vacation rental for small groups.


Our home-away-from-home was a modern “Dwelly” cabin, located alongside the first fairway with a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. The cabin was so cozy, and perfectly equipped for the two of us.

The thing we loved most about Hekate’s Retreat was the central location. Located at the north end of Moresby Island, it served as the perfect basecamp for all our adventures. We drove down to Gray Bay one day for a picnic, joined a fishing charter from the Sandspit marina, and jumped on the BC ferry to explore the rest of Haida Gwaii. So much to explore and so little time. We had three full days, and it wasn’t nearly enough.


If you’re interested in visiting Haida Gwaii, you can learn more about Hekate’s Retreat at

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