British Columbia’s Vancouver Island

Allow me to dispel a misconception.

The city of Vancouver, British Columbia is actually NOT on Vancouver Island. Weird, huh? Yeah, I think so too. No, the city of Vancouver is actually on mainland B.C., just to the east of Vancouver Island. It’s about a six-hour drive from the southern point of Victoria up to the northern Port Hardy and Winter Harbour. With an endless array of stops in between.

Take note: the main road runs up the eastern side of the island. There is no road going straight up the west coast side, so if you want to travel to, say Tofino, you will have to drive up the 19A road on the east side, then cut straight through the middle of the island to Tofino. Similarly, to get to any of the tiny towns on the west side, it’s a bit of a hassle – they are only accessible by boat or by going up the east side, then cutting through the island’s winding roads to get to the remote northern roads.

The climate is mild year-round, and it’s a delight to drive from town to town, just to explore. Thriving artistic communities abound, so there is never a shortage of art galleries to peruse, and interesting people to bump into.

The Cowichan Valley region is ripe with vineyards and farming communities that embrace the farm-to-table phenomenon. As you venture north of the island, the quiet life will engulf you as you meander through the wilderness, peppered by tiny coastal towns ready to greet new visitors.

The whole of Vancouver Island has way too much to cover in a single post. So allow me to whet your whistle with some eye candy:

Victoria

The main ferry landing with so many things to do just steps from the harbor! Experience authentic English High Tea in the Empress Hotel, shop the quaint outdoor mall, visit the Royal BC Museum and stroll the waterfront, just for starters!

Victoria BC

 

Butchart Gardens

just outside of Victoria

Butchart Gardens

 

Craigdarroch Castle

craigdarroch castle

 

Botanical Beach

Botanical Beach

 

Newcastle Island

 

Elk Falls Suspension Bridge

elk falls suspension bridge

 

West Coast Trail and Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

A 70km trail traversing the southwest coast of the island – a backpackers delight!

West Coast Trail

Hot Springs Cove

hot springs cove

 

Tofino

Where you can surf, whale watch, hike, beach comb, and camp at Mackenzie Beach.

Tofino

 

Port McNeill

port mcneill

 

Cape Scott

The Northernmost point on the island – very remote!

Cape Scott

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