Victoria & Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island, North America’s largest west coast island, is a land of old-growth rainforests, wave-swept beaches, snow-capped peaks, rolling farmland, lush vineyards, and friendly seaside towns. The Island’s many parks and protected areas are prime destinations for outdoor pursuits, from surfing, kayaking, whale watching, and fishing to hiking, mountain biking, and skiing. And, with Canada’s mildest climate, the Island supports a wealth of wineries and organic farms. Highlights include the historic sites and gardens of Victoria, BC’s capital city; the wineries of the Cowichan Valley; the sandy beaches of Parksville and Qualicum Beach; and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve on the Island’s west coast.

Victoria

Only 62 miles from Vancouver, Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada’s Pacific coast and is a unique blend of old world charm and new world experiences.

The capital city of British Columbia, Victoria boasts many historic buildings and some of the most fascinating museums in Western Canada. The city benefits from one of Canada’s mildest climates, which allows its visitors to enjoy outdoor pleasures year round. Victoria also enjoys some of the country’s most exhilarating scenery: there’s an ocean or mountain vista around every corner, while the city’s flower gardens are famous the world over. Whether your taste runs to golfing, hiking, biking and fishing or you’re more the shopping, dining and theatre type, there are no end of delights in Victoria.

 

Savour the sights of Victoria’s downtown Inner Harbour, which includes the historic Legislative Buildings, home of the provincial government; the Royal BC Museum; and Thunderbird Park, with an amazing display of 15 impressive totem poles. End your journey at the imposing, yet elegant, Fairmont Empress Hotel with a traditional high tea. Victoria is famed for its gardens, and none more so than Butchart. Over 100 years old, more than one million people visit this botanical wonderland each year for the rare, dramatic and colourful displays. Enter through the Gate of Harmonious Interest to North America’s second oldest Chinatown to view such fascinating sights as the narrowest street in Canada. Explore the city in a variety of unique ways: by horse-drawn carriage, double-decker bus, rickshaw, scooter, bicycle, water taxi as well as by canoe or kayak.

Tofino

Tofino is a small picturesque town which is located on the west coast of Vancouver Island and provides the terminus for the Trans Canada Highway. While Tofino is technically ‘the end of the road’ it is actually the gateway to spectacular Clayoquot Sound. Clayoquot Sound is home to a large number of black bears. You can take a tour and watch them amble along the beach as they forage for food while you remain at a safe distance in the boat. Also expect to see eagles, seals, sea lions and other wildlife as you cruise along the shoreline.

The activities in Tofino are endless – As Canada’s Surf Capital try the art of surfing or on a more mellow level paddle boarding. Head off shore for a fishing excursion or experience a Tofino kayak adventure. From March to mid October head out on a Zodiac and see the whales at play.

The hiking and biking trails offer absolutely stunning views around every bend. If you’re seeking stories for a lifetime, hop aboard a seaplane or a helicopter and explore Clayoquot Sound’s different remote islands and their beaches.

Parksville

Parksville is located on the sheltered east coast of Vancouver Island. It possesses an abundance of natural beauty and warm hospitality and is world-renowned for its wide tidal sand flats and sun-warmed salt water. The popular beaches in downtown Parksville and at Rathtrevor Provincial Park are heaven for sun worshippers, kite flyers, and wildlife watchers.Head to the quiet lakes closeby for kayaking, canoeing and fishing.

Take a visit to Morningstar Farm, the home to Little Qualicum Cheeseworks & MooBerry Winery and enjoy a little wine and cheese tasting. Head to Qualicum Beach and discover the Horne Lake Caves or take the kids to Paradise Fun Park.

Just five miles west of Parksville is Coombs a tiny rural community with one of the most eclectic arrays of retail shops and its old country market. The area of Parksville has a diverse range of restaurants in the heart of the town, on backcountry roads and in oceanside resorts.

 

Barkley Sound

A maze of islands, bays and inlets comprises Barkley Sound. Lying on the west coast of Vancouver Island between Ucluelet and Bamfield, Barkley Sound and the Broken Group Islands are one of the three main recreational components in Pacific Rim National Park.

Enjoy many outdoor activities such as diving, kayaking, fishing and hiking. The nutrient-rich bottom water of Barkley Sound is one of the reasons the region has some of the most diverse marine life found anywhere. Killer whales, porpoises, salmon, shrimp, rockfish and others call the area home.

Wild Pacific Trail is a beautiful hike offering spectacular scenery at every turn and is accessible to all levels of hiking. By sea go whale or seal watching or by land look out for those bears.

Ucuelet

Ucluelet located on the west coast of Vancouver Island, beside Long Beach in BC’s Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts offering surfing, hiking, kayaking, fishing, diving,whale and bear watching.

Whilst sandy Long Beach on Vancouver Island’s west coast is the region’s most famous, the unique beaches of Ucluelet and the southern peninsula are great for hikes and beachcombing. Many of Ucluelet’s beaches have access to the Wild Pacific Trail, with its incredible vistas of ocean, forest and islands.

The town of Ucluelet offers waterfront promenades, restaurants, unique shops and galleries, a mini aquarium and a range of accommodation choices.

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