Vancouver Island Scenic Tour
The spectacular views of the Saanich Peninsula and the Gulf Islands seen from the viewpoints along the way create some memorable photo opportunities.
The fresh local produce found in the farmers markets, glass blowing artisans and the perfect greens on the golf courses along the way will definitely entice you off the highway.
Sample the latest vintage from one of the many wineries found on the Saanich Peninsula and along the wine route towards the Cowichan area. Tour one of the farm wineries and learn more about the growing of grapes and wine making before you reach the home of the murals, Chemainus.
Walking is the best way to see everything in the friendly seaside village of Chemainus. Get out of your vehicle and let the painted footsteps guide you on a journey through time as you tour the historical murals covering many of the downtown buildings. Or hop on a horse drawn trolley or carriage and watch as the stories of the village’s history and heritage of forestry, fishing and mining unfold in front of you.
Nanaimo is known as the Harbour city for a very good reason. Its scenic Inner Harbour is a continuous bustle of activity. Pedestrians enjoy strolling along the waterfront promenade overlooking the harbour where commercial fishing boats, kayakers and canoeists share the waters with the float planes landing and departing regularly. Walk along the wooden docks and read the far-away destinations painted on the sides of the visiting luxury yachts and sailboats tied up here. Riding the little passenger ferry across the harbour for a tasty meal of fresh seafood at the Dingy Dock Pub and an interesting walk around Protection Island is a treat.
It’s all about the outdoors on Vancouver Island and Nanaimo’s walking and cycling trails throughout the city and surrounding wilderness parks are amazing with awe-inspiring views and well marked paths. The many golf courses offer great course conditions and there’s one for every level of play. For the more adventuresome, bungee jumping 150 feet off of a trestle bridge with the waters of a river rushing past below, can be a lot of fun.
It’s the home of the famous Nanaimo Bar. Follow “The Nanaimo Bar Trail” starting at the Nanaimo Museum where a map is available of the local eateries who have created their own version of this special treat.
Study the prehistoric First Nations rock carvings at Petroglyph Park south of town or kayak over to historical Newcastle Island, a Marine Provincial Park minutes away from the waterfront promenade. Meet Nanaimo’s ghosts in some of the historic buildings where strange and unexplainable things take place, take a cemetery tour and learn more about the hardy early pioneers who helped make Nanaimo what it is today – a vibrant, productive and interesting city.
A diver’s paradise
There is much more to see and do if you choose to go further north on Vancouver Island towards Campbell River, considered to be the salmon capital of the world or even further north to Port Hardy, the gateway to Cape Scott Provincial Park. Before returning to the mainland take the opportunity for an interesting side trip to Tofino on the west coast of the island with a stop along the way to see the old-growth forests at Cathedral Grove.
I hope you enjoy these pieces on Vancouver Island, one of my favourite places to visit and return to often. Traveling in an RV here is great – lots of campgrounds, manageable roads, plenty of places to park while enjoying the scenery and there is every amenity you could possibly want. One huge drawback is the cost of the ferries to get here. However, if you plan for a longer period of time and average out the cost, plan for a bit of boondocking the cost may be manageable. One tip – if traveling with two people in a motorhome. Remove the tow car from the back and drive on the ferry separately – the cost will be less because you don’t have the hitch included in the overall length and the ferry fee for RVs is based on the length of the unit.
Happy travels everyone,