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Experience Vancouver Island


by Melissa Tolmie

A little about me 

 I am a Vancouver Island Local currently living in Edmonton, Alberta.

As a Travel Agent for the past 7 years, I want to use my passion and expertise on travelling and adventure to uncover the beauty behind this hidden Canadian paradise that I am proud to call home.

Whether you are looking to explore your own backyard, get the inside scoop on a new vacation destination or simply be informed on all this island has to offer then this is the spot for you. 



 

 
Comox Valley



The Comox Valley is on the East Coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It includes the City of Courtenay, the town Comox and the Village of Cumberland. It also includes the communities of Royston, Fanny Bay, Denman & Hornby Island, Merville and Black Creek.

How to get there

By Plane: You can fly from most major airports in Canada directly to the Comox Valley by flying into the Comox Airport (YQQ airport code) 

By Boat: You can't take the ferry directly into the Comox Valley from the mainland, however you can take the ferry to neighboring cities and drive, the fastest route is to ferry from the Vancouver area to Nanaimo, once you arrive into Nanaimo you're looking at approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to get to the Comox Valley. You can drive your car onboard or walk on. Be sure to check the BC ferries website for updated live time ferry schedules and making a reservation ahead of time is highly recommended when driving on. 

Where to stay

The Comox Valley has a variety of accommodation options no matter what you're looking for. 
Anywhere from luxury golf & spa resorts, bed & breakfasts, affordable hotels, motels and hostels.
Here are some of the accommodation options in the Comox Valley: Crown Isle Resort & Golf, Kingfisher Oceanside Resort, The Old House Resort & Spa, Best Western the Westerly Hotel, Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Kye Bay B&B, The Riding Fool Hostel and much more. 

What to do
There are so many things to do in the Comox Valley, here is my list of must do's when visiting my home town! 

 Coastal Black Winery Tasting Tour 

Coastal Black is an award winning estate fruit winery and cidery nestled at the base of Mt. Washington on the outskirts of the beautiful Comox Valley. Our family farm is made up of four generations living and working together to produce product of the highest standard, whether it be wine, cider, fresh market fruit, veggies and raw honey.
*Please note there is a  $5 per person tasting fee (but this will be waived for anybody who purchases $15 or more worth of wine or cider!)

 Explore Mount Washington 

Mt. Washington Alpine Resort is a year-round recreation destination located on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  In the winter guests enjoy accessing over 1,700 acres and 505 vertical metres of alpine terrain, 55kms of cross-country skiing and 25kms of snowshoeing trails along with a dedicated Nordic lodge, Tube Park and Fat Bike trails. Far from ordinary, the Resort is home to a rising generation of Winter Olympic and Team Canada Athletes.

Summer features a new 2.3-kilometre ZipTour, lift-accessed mountain biking, quad bungee trampoline, scenic chairlift rides, disc golf, miniature golf, boardwalk chess and checkers, shopping and dining. 


Outdoor Adventures
Seal Bay Nature Park 
Seal Bay Nature Park | Comox Valley Regional District


Seal Bay Park lies within the unceded traditional territory of the K’ómoks First Nation and contains many cultural and natural values meaningful to generations of K’ómoks families. Indigenous people historically visited the bay and forests to collect supplies and to camp during canoe trips. They refer to these lands as Xwee Xwhya Luq (pronounced Zway Why Luck), meaning “a place that has beauty, beauty that is not only seen but also felt.”

Bates Road divides Seal Bay Park into two sections. The water side (on the east side) has well groomed meandering trails leading through a second-growth forest of Douglas fir, big-leaf maple and red alder, with steep ravines lined with gigantic sword ferns and a seasonal waterfall. Three trails lead down to the waterfront: Seacliff, Don Apps and Seabank. There is nearly one kilometre of beach front to spot seals, birds and maybe even a whale. You will find harbour seals loafing on rocks dotting the bay throughout the year. Paths to the water unfortunately come with a somewhat strenuous climb back up from the beach. No bikes or horses are allowed on this side of Bates Road and dogs are to be leashed year round.



Paradise Meadows

Paradise Meadows is located in the southeast of  Strathcona Park and sits at the entrance to Forbidden Plateau. The hike to Mt Albert Edward is the highest mountain of the Plateau at 2093 meters (6867 ft). Paradise Meadows provides great short hikes that are easier than the hikes to the mountains nearby.

Paradise Meadows is home to a large variety of flowering plants and low growing bushes. Many types of birds and wildlife frequent this area. During the spring and summer the meadows are a lush green.

Short Trail Options:

Centennial Loop Trail : 30 mins, 2 km

Wheelchair friendly, this section has boardwalks and hard packed gravel. The grade is 5-8% in some sections, but most of the trail is easy. This project took 14 years of volunteer time and fund raising. RThe trail took 5 years to construct (2005-2010).

Paradise Meadows Loop: approx 50 mins, 3.5 km return. Here is the map for both trails: http://strathconapark.org/w/wp-content/uploads/SWI-Flyer-FINAL1.pdf
 

Medium Trail options:

Helen Mackenzie/Battleship/ Lake Loop: 2.5 hours, 6.8  km

Once on the trail, take the second junction toward Battleship Lake. Coming towards the Lake there are some smaller paths that provide great lookouts to the lake.

Paradise Meadows Trailhead to Kwai Lake: Approx 3 hours, 7 km, Elevation gain: 250 meters. Here you can get some great photos of  lakes, Castle Crag and Frink Mountain.

Paradise Meadows Trailhead to Canyon Lookout: 4 hours, 8.5 km: At the first intersection stay right and then follow the trail straight through several more intersections to Canyon Lookout.

 

Kye Bay


 

Kye Bay offers beautiful sandy beaches and many shallow tidal pools perfect for the kids. If you plan it just right when the tide is coming in the water is in credibly warm as it passes over the hot sand.

Kye Bay is the perfect place to pack a picnic, bring the kids and the dog, and spend the day at the beach.

Directions
Follow Ryan Rd till you get to the very end (at the base) and turn right on Pritchard. Follow along till you get to the round-about and turn left (Knight Rd). Keep going for a while – you’ll pass the airport (on your left) and a number of farms. (If they’re open, pop into Sieferts Farm for a little treat). Continue along Knight Rd till you find your next left. (Its the last, and only street, before the hill down to the water at Pt. Holmes. This road will lead you right to the beach.



Puntledge Park


Puntledge Park is a great place to spend a nice summer day. Complete with a small network of easy forest walking trails, places to relax on the rivers edge and enjoy a refreshing dip, a field to toss a ball or just run about, and a playground, Puntledge park has something for everyone.

Swimming

For experienced swimmers the river is usually slow enough to allow for a great time in the water. For children who can not swim however, close adult supervision is of course highly recommended. It is very possible for kids to be swept down stream which could pose a great danger for those who are not strong swimmers.

Hiking / Walking

Puntledge park does offer a small network of trails that are great for a short walk in the forest. These trails are very kid friendly and accessible for most. The trails are mostly a fairly packed gravel so while they are not impossible for those in wheelchairs, they are not exactly wheelchair friendly either. There is a steep paved path that leads down into the park, so those in wheelchairs or with mobility problems may have a difficult time or require assistance.

Playground and Field

A small playground with a climber, slide, and swings sits next to the forest in a large open greenspace. The space is great for tossing a ball or frisbee, or simply having a picnic.  While this park is a “dogs on leash” park, it is not uncommon to find dogs running free here.

Bathrooms / Changrooms

At the 1st street entrance, bathrooms and change rooms are provided for the public.

Parking

Plenty of parking is available along 1st street



Nymph Falls




Nymph Falls Nature Park protects 61 hectares (151 acres) of second-growth forest located on the north side of the Puntledge River. The river and falls rage over series of exposed bedrock ledges, from fall to spring, to the delight of white water enthusiasts. In summer, the glacial waters run calm, clear and cool, making the park and nearby Barber’s Hole popular spots for a refreshing dip on hot days.
The spectacular Nymph Falls cascade over fish ladders blasted out in 1977 to help spawning salmon swim upstream. Watch fish returning in October and November to leap their way up the falls. A rock outcrop at the shore provides a good location to view the river, the falls and fish ladder, as well as a sunny site to picnic, sunbathe and swim. Steps to the river located just 40m downstream of the falls provide access to the rock outcrops and pools of clear water. The falls are an easy ½ km stroll from the parking lot along a wide and gentle trail. The trail to the falls is wheelchair friendly with designated parking stalls at the trailhead. Anyone using mobility aids can reach the falls and enjoy a one of the most scenic views in the Valley.
Dogs
Leashing is optional
River Trail
Closed to cyclists
Wildlife
Bears and cougars pass through the forest regularly, although they’re seldom seen
Always keep children and pets in sight
Use the park at appropriate times – predatory animals are more active at night, so always use park between dawn and dusk
Make noise while on trails to avoid surprising wildlife and triggering an attack
Swimming
Swimming is unsupervised and at your own risk – changing currents and water depths can present a drowning hazard, as can branches and trees in the river
The river rocks are often slippery with green algae
Recreational Trails
Nymph Falls Nature Park has hike-only, bike-only and multi-use trails
More advanced mountain bike trails are noted in red on the map
Cog The Log and Tree Bender – these trails include technical features and obstacles which serve to challenge more experienced riders (not all features have ride-arounds) 
Purple trails on the map are multi-use trails suitable for hikers and beginner bikers, so be prepared to share with bikes and horses
Trails marked in green on the map (long loop and short loop) are pedestrian-only and are not open for biking
Parking
Carpooling recommended especially in summer
No parking on north side of Plateau Road

Blackfin Pub

BLACKFIN PUB, Comox - Updated 2020 Restaurant Reviews, Menu ...

The Blackfin Pub is located just minutes from Courtenay and steps away from the Comox Harbour.

Here you can enjoy a fun nautical atmosphere while taking in the ever changing view that includes the majestic Comox glacier, Beaufort Mountain range,  and the Comox Marina.

Enjoy our waterfront patio dining in the summer, cozy fireplace in the winter, and year round menu items that feature fresh flavours from Vancouver Island and beyond.

The Comox Valley is an especially scenic area on Vancouver Island, attracting visitors from around the world who come to experience a unique lifestyle that combines relaxation and recreational opportunities.


Comox Lake



Comox Lake is a freshwater lake located in mid-Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. It is located northwest of the smaller Beaufort Lake in the Comox Valley near Cumberland, British Columbia, and about 10km southwest of Courtenay. The lake is a reservoir for drinking water and for hydroelectric power.

There are two main access points to get you to Comox Lake. There is the Village of Cumberland side and the Courtenay Side.

Cumberland Lake Park is located on the shores of the glacier-fed Comox Lake and offers sandy beaches, swimming, watersports rentals, concession, campground, coin-operated showers, boat launch, hiking trails and climbing crags.

Cumberland Lake Park is located 5 km west of the Village of Cumberland, known for its legendary mountain biking, pubs, eateries and rich coal mining history.  

Cumberland Lake Wilderness Society (CLWS) is a nonprofit society that operates the campground as a social enterprise in support of their mission to create wonder and connection through outdoor experiences.


Then there is the Courtenay side of the lake. Which has the BC Power Authorities Hydro Dam separating it from Puntledge River and is also part of the Courtenay water works that supplies most of the town with fresh drinking water. 

The Dam was built in 1912 then further expanded and updated in later years.  It gives Hydro to a large portion of land and is greatly needed by the Valley. They have many nice fishing spots on this side of the lake, bathrooms, picnic area, and historical signs near the dam and the Courtenay Fish and Game Club not far away. 

Atlas Cafe

Courtenay's Atlas Cafe celebrates 25 years, and a re-opening ...
A family favorite! Amazing spot located downtown Courtenay. A variety of options for Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner. Great seating area and a great spot for families, couples and friends. 

Locals Restaurant 

Set on the beautiful ocean side. Locals restaurant is committed to closing the producer-consumer gap by through putting a name to all our local suppliers and identifying them on our menus. Since opening in 2008, Locals has set a new standard for the Comox Valley’s renowned food culture. A ton of local flavor to be found here, A must try when visiting the Comox Valley. 

Sushi Wara

Menu options, Sushi Wara 2082 Comox Ave, Comox - Picture of Sushi ...
Delicious Japanese restaurant and my absolute favorite Sushi in the world! I crave this place and always go here when I am back home. A must try and a very well priced menu. The quality of seafood is incredible. A must try for all the sushi lovers out there. Located in Comox


Goose Spit 

Goose Spit Park is a unique landform, a flexible sand spit fed by the Willemar Bluffs that, together with Gartley Point, creates the Comox Harbour. Goose Spit Park offers excellent views to the south, east and west. On the inside is a sheltered lagoon that provides food and habitat for many migratory and resident waterfowl. Brant geese use the park as a migratory stopover from March to May every year. During those times, leashing of pets is mandatory in the park. The park lies within the provincially rare coastal sand ecosystem and is home to a number of provincially blue and red listed plants and animals

A log wall in the high tide area helps prevent the road from being washed out during winter storms.  It also helps to trap sand and encourage vegetation to establish. Goose spit is a popular spot for kite-boarding in the fall and winter seasons. In the summer many people enjoy paddling and swimming on the beaches. 

Goose Spit's native name is Pelxqikw, which means “round on point.”  Both sides of the spit were used by local First Nations to collect clams and cockles in spring and to fish for salmon in winter.  The park is Crown land owned by the province. Since 1971 the province has granted the Comox Valley Regional District a licence to manage the land as a park.

Wildlife viewing (deer, otters, mink, Brant geese, eagles, herons, ducks, loons, starfish, jellyfish, sand dollars, crabs, fish, seals and sea lions)
Three accessible parking stalls
Two wheelchair accessible portals and a wheelchair accessible entrance area
Five interpretive signs
Four picnic tables and three benches
Port-a-potties
Three dog bag dispensers
Garbage bins
10 fire rings May 1 to Labour Day including one accessible fire pit on the beach, provided there is no fire ban in effect
Firewood for $5/bundle available after 2:30 pm, from May 1 until Labour Day
Park steward offering interpretive tours April to October
Links to walking trails along Hawkins Road (Hawkins Greenway) and a stepped path up to Yates Road and from there to Moore Road (Goose Spit Greenway)

 

Leashing of pets is required between March 1 and May 20, which gives migrating Brant geese a chance to rest and eat within the park
Do not remove driftwood as it helps to hold sand in place and promote plant growth
Do not remove rocks or sand

Airforce Beach



Air Force Beach features a Pavilion and Picnic Shelter adjacent to the beach with fantastic views of Georgia Strait and the Coastal Mountains.  Open April to October, come out and enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Looking right over our own beautiful private beach, the Air Force Beach Pavilion is used extensively by both the military and civilian communities, for a small rental fee
    
The Pavilion is a fully covered enclosed facility with a wrap-around balcony, two large covered charcoal barbeques as well as the availability of propane barbeques, picnic tables and chairs. 
Alcohol may only be consumed with the provision of a Special Occasion License!  Alcohol is not allowed outside of the deck area.     
  
To book, contact the Tee Pee Park Office @ 250-339-5271 or to browse facility availability, go to PSP Online.
 

PICNIC SHELTER

Enjoy a stroll down our mile long sandy beach!  
A covered picnic area with a fire pit is available on a first come first serve basis to authorized users, or to ensure accessibility can be booked for a small rental fee.     
    
There are four (4) picnic tables situated beneath the roof structure and fire pits directly alongside.   
Alcohol is not permitted on the beach or in and around the Picnic Shelter!   
  
To book, contact the Tee Pee Park Office @ 250-339-5271 or to browse facility availability, go to PSP Online. 

BEACH PASSES

Air Force Beach is accessible to users who are not affiliated with the Canadian Forces, with the purchase of an annual Beach Pass for a fee of $25.00 (plus GST).
    

These are just some of my favorites, there is still so much more to do, see and eat in the Comox Valley!  


 Some more photos of the Comox Valley 


Victoria




Victoria, the historic capital of British Columbia, located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island between the Juan De Fuca straights approximately 100 km south-southwest of BC's largest city, Vancouver. City vibes to be felt all around in this beautiful city! 


How to get there

By Plane: You can fly from most major airports in Canada directly to the Victoria by flying into the Victoria Airport (YYJ airport code) 

By Boat: You can take the ferry directly into Victoria from the Vancouver area. You can drive your car onboard or walk on. Be sure to check the BC ferries website for updated live time ferry schedules and making a reservation ahead of time is highly recommended when driving on. 

**Another note to make, if you would like to visit the Comox Valley as well as Victoria they are about a 3 hour drive apart, i'd recommend starting in Victoria and work your way up island**

Where to stay

Victoria has a variety of accommodation options no matter what you're looking for. 

Here are some of the accommodation options in Victoria:
Hotel Fairmont Express (One of my favorite locations), Hotel Grand Pacific, Victoria Regent Waterfront Hotel & Suites, The Embassy Inn, Red Lion Inn and Suites, Ocean Island Inn Backpackers Suites, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Victoria.
Another great luxury option a little bit outside of Victoria is the Oak Bay Beach Hotel which is a luxury boutique hotel and much more

What to do
There are so many things to do in the Victoria, here is my list of must do's when visiting this beautiful city! 

Butchart Gardens Tour 


 

With a former limestone quarry for her backyard, Jennie Butchart envisioned landscaping a sunken garden in its place, transforming the property for her family—and visitors—for generations to come. 1904 is where it all began. Coming from Ontario, husband and wife Robert & Jennie Butchart moved to Vancouver Island to build a cement plant on a rich limestone deposit at Tod Inlet. As cement production exhausted the limstone deposits, Jennie envisioned a grand garden in its place and began transferring top soil by horse and cart. Little by little the quarry blossomed into today's sunken garden. Between 1906 and 1929 the Butcharts expanded the gardens desiging the Japanese Garden on the seaside, the Italian Garden on their former tennis court. Grandson Ian Ross was gifted the gardens who transformed them into this world-renowned attraction adding outdoor concerts and night lighting in the summers, and the magic of Christmas in the winters. It is true family legacy and must see when visiting the Province's capital. 


Same day readmission is permitted. Please have your hand stamped at the Turnstiles before departure and present your original admission ticket upon return. The Gardens staff will collect your original admission ticket and issue a readmission ticket
Next day readmission is permitted. Please have your hand stamped at the Turnstiles before departure and present your original admission ticket upon return. The Gardens staff will collect your original admission ticket and issue a readmission ticket for

Check the current rates and directions on how to get there by visiting their website
https://www.butchartgardens.com/rates/

Royal BC Museum 


The Royal BC Museum Corporation is one of Canada’s greatest cultural treasures. The museum was founded in 1886; the Archives, in 1894. In 2003, these two organizations joined to become British Columbia’s combined provincial museum and archives, collecting artifacts, documents and specimens of British Columbia’s natural and human history, safeguarding them for the future and sharing them with the world.

Immerse yourself in IMAX Victoria, home of the largest IMAX Screen in British Columbia

Check rates and information by visiting the link below
https://royalbcmuseum.bc.ca/visit/tickets-admission#admission

Beacon Hill Park


With over 200 acres
park land, Beacon Hill Park is the crowning jewel in Victoria's park system. There are natural areas, manicured flower beds, footpaths and many sports and play features for the whole family to enjoy.
For thousands of years Beacon Hill has been a place of cultural significance to the Lekwungen People. The City of Victoria has adopted 2017 as a Year of Reconciliation, and has committed a portion of the hilltop to the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations to build a traditional longhouse. The longhouse will be used for cultural and educational activities.  
For thousands of years, Beacon Hill has been a place of historical, cultural and sacred significance to the Lekwungen People (now known as Esquimalt Nation and Songhees Nation). The Lekwungen People's activities of cultivating camas and other native plants for food helped to shape the landscape of this area.

Features:
2 Playgrounds
Cameron Bandshell stage
3 Washrooms
Water park
Golf putting green
Baseball diamond
Tennis courts
Cricket pitch
2 Sports fields
Lawn bowling
Picnic shelter
Garry oak meadows
Footpaths
Flower beds
Petting zoo
There are two water parks in Beacon Hill, the giant watering can, which is near the park entrance off of Douglas Street and another  within the playground in the centre of the park.  In 2017 these water parks opened on Friday, June 16.  They are open from 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily throughout the summer. Enjoy!


Parliament Buildings


The British Columbia Parliament Buildings are located in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, and are home to the Legislative Assembly of British Columbia. The Speaker and the Serjeant-at-Arms are amongst those responsible for the legislative precinct, which by statute include the Parliament Buildings and grounds. The Parliament Buildings are a dominant feature of the Inner Harbour, residing on a 5 hectare (12.5 acre) section of land situated on the waterfront in Downtown Victoria, BC.

Victoria Bug Zoo


 

The Victoria Bug Zoo opened its doors in 1997 and has been showing visitors of downtown Victoria our awe-inspiring bugs ever since. A visit to this must-see mini zoo offers an excellent opportunity to view and experience live tropical bugs from around the world. All the animals are alive and in tanks.

Discover roughly 50 fascinating species including giant walking sticks, beautiful praying mantis, glow-in-the-dark scorpions, hairy tarantulas, and Canada’s largest ant colony. Knowledgeable tour guides will introduce you to the wonderful world of bugs, give a wealth of information about the animals on display, and provide a safe bug handling experience for the more adventurous. No need to be shy, none of our critters are going to hurt you! You can choose the level of interaction you have with our friendly animals. Don’t forget your camera to document this unique experience!  

http://www.victoriabugzoo.ca/location-and-contact/

Butterfly Gardens

Thousands of tropical butterflies (up to 70 species) fly through our large facilities – the size of almost 3 basketball courts.

With surprises at every turn, you’ll encounter poison dart frogs, tortoises, large iguanas, flamingos, tropical ducks, free flying tropical birds and more. Stroll through and marvel at our lush gardens including tropical flowers, carnivorous plants and fruits of the world. Experience impressive insects & invertebrates from around the world.

https://www.butterflygardens.com/admission



Rebellion Barbershop 


Guys! This is my amazing brother Michael, A Victoria local, stop by his shop and say hi and tell him Melissa sent you.
Rebellion opened its doors in the summer of 2018 owner Michael Bodie took advantage of the unique opportunity to breathe new life into this historic space, which opened as a barbershop in 1957. Many years have changed the shape and purpose of the beautiful building, but its restoration is a testament to the care and appreciation the residents of Victoria have for our city’s history.
This shop is so unique, it is a walk in only style with comfy couches and Mario Kart! 


Whale Watching


Majestic mammals and marine wildlife abound in the waters surrounding Victoria, including the orca, or killer whale, and gray, humpback, and minke whales. Other aquatic neighbours include sea lions, seals, porpoise and many marine birds. There are three orca pods totaling over 80 whales in Victoria’s waters alone. There is an abundance of companies that offer all different types of whale watching trips. You can feel free to contact me for recommendations on how to book these amazing adventures! 

Victoria Carriage Tours



Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage experience that is a charming, romantic and relaxing way to see Victoria. Hear stories of the lives of Victorians, past and present, while travelling through the charming heritage district of James Bay, Victoria’s oldest neighborhood, and experience the breathtaking air while enjoying a short journey along the Salish Sea waterfront.
https://www.tallyhotours.com/tours/
https://www.victoriacarriage.com/

Breweries 

The craft beer scene on Vancouver Island is huge and there are now over 25 breweries and brewpubs you can visit during your travels around Vancouver Island. 
Here are some of the breweries in the Victoria area 

Phillips Brewing & Malting Company

Victoria Caledonia

Swans Brewery

Lighthouse Brewing 

Mount Tolmie


So I am a little biased with this one as my last name is Tolmie but it is still a beautiful spot to see when visiting Victoria! 
Located near the University of Victoria, Mount Tolmie is easily accessible and has a 360-degree view of Victoria from the top. Driving up the windy Mayfair Drive takes you past several parking areas, including some right at the top of the mountain. There are gravel trails that start from the bottom and also loop around the mountain park area, exploring the giant concrete slab near the top and passing several picnic areas with viewpoints.

Lighthouse Cake Company
Lighthouse Cake Company - Bakeries - 742 Goldstream Avenue ...
A local gem! Lighthouse Cake Company is a family owned bakery specializing in custom cakes and pastries. Vikki Smith, a red seal certified baker,  puts her heart and soul into her company and it reflects in the quality of her products. The bakery is located in Langford just outside of Victoria. A MUST try when visiting the area. 

ingredients.Goldstream Railway Trestle

The hike to Goldstream Trestle is one of the more popular hikes around Victoria. The hike is located within Goldstream Provincial Park and can be accomplished within about 2 hours. The hike to the Goldstream Trestle has a fair amount of elevation as well, making it a good workout.
Goldstream Park has great picnicking facilities so you can relax and eat after your hike. The rainforest is full of massive Douglas-fir and western red cedar trees.
To get to the Goldstream Provincial Park day-use area, follow Highway #1 / Island Highway north out of Victoria. As you pass through the city of Langford, you will see signs that you are entering Goldstream Provincial Park. On your right there will be signs for the day-use area on Finlayson Arm Road. As you exit the highway onto Finlayson Arm Road, there are parking lots immediately on your left and right.
Driving Time from Victoria: 20 Minutes


Breakfast


Victoria is basically the breakfast capital of Canada, and everyone's list will be different, however a few of the most notable spots are The Blue Fox, Mo:Le and Jam Cafe. Tons of different breakfasts foods to be found here. 


Dinner

Photo: Ferris Grill & Garden Patio

So many amazing restaurants for dinner in the Victoria area, here are three of my favorite options. Pizzeria Prima Strada, Ferris Grill & Garden Patio and Agrius. Depending on what you're looking for these 3 options will give you a well rounded idea of the culinary options available. 

These are just some of my favorites, there is still so much more to do, see and eat in Victoria!




Tofino 



Tofino is loacted on the West Coast of Vancouver Island within the UNESCO Biosphere Reserce of Clayoquot Sound. Perfect for Hikers, Surfers, Bikers and anyone looking to explore the great outdoors! A very different beach landscape from the other areas we have talked about. 

How to get there

By Plane: Fly non stop to Tofino-Long Beach Airport (YAZ airport code) from Vancouver with Pacific Coastal Airlines or into the Tofino Harbour with Harbour Air

By Boat: You can't take the ferry directly into Tofino from the mainland, however you can take the ferry to neighboring cities and drive, the fastest route is to ferry from the Vancouver area to Nanaimo, once you arrive into Nanaimo you're looking at approximately 3 hours to get to Tofino. You can drive your car onboard or walk on. Be sure to check the BC ferries website for updated live time ferry schedules and making a reservation ahead of time is highly recommended when driving on. 

Where to stay
Tofino has some unique and beautiful accommodation options. Camping, Hostels, Inns, Bed and Breakfasts, Motels, Resorts and Vacation Rentals. 
Here are some ideas: Ocean Village Resort, The Shoreline Tofino, WILDPOD Glamping, Long Beach Lodge Resort, Wickaninnish Inn, Clayoquot Wilderness Resort, Cox Bay Beach Resort, Tofino Hostel, Tofino Trek Inn B&B, Ecolodge at Tofino Botanical Gardens and much more 


What to do
There are so many things to do in the Tofino, here is my list of must do's when visiting! 

Rainforest Trail 

Located in Pacific Rim National Park, the scenic Rainforest Trail is one of the most popular hiking trails among locals and visitors in the Tofino-Ucluelet area. The trail has two routes, one on each side of the highway. From Tofino, drive south and into Pacific Rim National Park. Watch for signs to the Rainforest Trail and turn right into the parking lot area.

Cox Bay 

Great beach for surfing. Several of the largest resorts on the west coast are also on Cox Bay. Sunset walks are stunning here. The name was changed from False Bay to Cox Bay, taking the name of John Henry Cox who led one of the earliest fur trading expeditions to the area. There are two parking lot entries available. 

North & South Chesterman Beach


Great for beach picnics, fires and sunsets. Explore the tidepools at low tide on North Chesterman Beach. South Chesterman beach is where you can usually find surf instructors and watch new surfers learn the basics of riding their first wave. There are parking lots at North and South Chesterman Beach, with a few spots at Middle Chesterman. Street parking is permitted on the beach side of the road where indicated with signage. 


Long Beach

This is the longest beach in the area. This is one of my most popular beaches. Great to set up for the day and watch the surfers or have a picnic. Right before you get into town there is a large rock that you can take some amazing pictures at. 

Tacofino


We can't talk about Tofino and not talk about Tacofino, I personally know people that visit Tofino JUST for these tacos. They have a ton of different options from vegetarian, Vegan to different meats and fish. Delicious and diverse menu! 

Tofino Distillery

Tofino Craft Distillery
 

Come visit the Tasting Room to try some of our Mini-Cocktail tasters and to see what new infusions we have on the bar this week!  

Our flagship spirits include our Small Batch Vodka, Jalapeño Vodka, West Coast Gin, Old Growth Cedar Gin and our extremely unique Psychedelic Jellyfish Absinthe!  Additionally, we offer a Rose Hibiscus Gin (our pink gin!), Espresso Vodka and the all-new Tofino Beach Fire Cinnamon Spirit.  If you visit us in person, the menu is always evolving with new creations to sample.

In addition to our lineup of 375 mL and 750 mL Bottles of Spirits for sale, we also offer branded glassware, T-shirts, hoodies and other great gifts as well as Craft Tonics and Tofino Kombucha To Go to complete your beach day or camping kit!

Certified Organic Botanicals sourced from around the world

Commitment to the environment, our local community and to handcrafting premium quality craft spirits in our beautiful small town of Tofino, BC along the shores of the Pacific Ocean

Visit their website: tofinocraftdistillery.com

These are just some of my favorites, there is still so much more to do, see and eat in Tofino!

More Photos of the Tofino area



Beaches | The Official Tourism Tofino

For help planning your custom Vancouver Island adventure please contact me for exclusive accommodation rates, VIP guided experiences and much more! 

Melissa Tolmie
780-758-8747 ext 501
melissa@travelgurus.ca

This article is dedicated to my father. An avid outdoors-men who has always encouraged, taught and inspired me to explore our beautiful Island.