Travelling in BC
August 11, 2004 8:27 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is planning a trip to B.C. in September. She and her husband will be doing the "circle tour" in British Columbia which has them travelling north from Vancouver to Powell River, taking the ferry to Comox and then heading south on Vancouver Island to Victoria (with a detour over to Ucluelet for whale watching). Her agenda in Vancouver (spending time with party hardy Grandma-in-law and her much younger boyfriend) and in Sechelt (kayaking) is pretty well arranged. However, she'd be most appreciative of any suggestions for what to see and do and eat between Sechelt and Victoria. They do not have time to do detours to the Gulf Islands due to time and relative-visiting contraints.
posted by orange swan to Travel & Transportation around British Columbia (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
In Victoria, a trip to Butchart gardens, especially on Saturday nights, when they have fireworks is well worthwhile. Afternoon Tea at the Empress is also fun. Don't miss a chance to buy some chocolates at Rogers, either, yummy.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:48 AM on August 11, 2004

The Sooke Harbor House is both a hotel and an incredible restaurant featuring gourmet Pacific Northwest cuisine. Even if your friend can't stay the night there, a meal will definitely be memorable. Close to Tofino is the gorgeous Wickaninnish Inn which is spectacular as a hotel, spa and restaurant. Dinner in its amazing restaurant overlooking the water (literally, it features huge windows and is right on the water - spectacular for watching whales, storms, clouds, birds, waves...) would be high on my list. The hiking near Ucluelet and Tofino is second to none - many of the trails are built on a boardwalk so as not to excessively disturb the local ecosystem and coastal rainforest floor. Here are some hiking ideas. Also in Tofino is the Tough City Sushi featuring some of the best wild salmon sushi (and other local seafood) you will ever taste. Ucluelet and Tofino feature many levels of hotels/cabins/camping - depending on their budget level, I'd recommend trying to eat at one of the nicer restaurants one evening on the water.

The Coombs Old Country Market has delicious food and has a living roof and mountain goats that live up there! Coombs is close to Nanaimo and Parksville. When the tide is out there, you can walk for kilometers from the coast out to the beginning of the ocean - if they are there during a full moon, be prepared for absolutely massive tides.

Are they going to Whistler? I was just up there and went on the Ziptrek -- it's an amazing system of ziplines across a valley between Whistler and Blackcomb. Anybody can do it - our group had older folks as well as kids. It's a little pricey but it's a couple of hours and gets you into the forest canopy like no other experience! I went with some people who had been on other zip trips in other parts of the world and said this was by far the best of the bunch.

The Pacific Rim National Park is not to be missed. There are a variety of hikes and activities there and will impressive even in hard rainfall (which is definitely possible). September is known to be a dry month in BC, but it is the PNW so definitely pack rain gear and sturdy footwear if your friends would like to get outdoors most of the time.
posted by fionab at 9:33 AM on August 11, 2004

Downtown Nanaimo is pretty cool. Chemainus (SP? - The town with all the murals between Nanaimo and Victoria) is pretty cool.

I did this trip in May, and I have to say, just being there is amazing, wherever you are. The place is just so beautiful. My favorite place on Vancouver Island however was a forest reserve called "The Cathedral Grove," which has all these enormous trees. It is about one hour west of Nanaimo, but there is lots to see on the way (including this reallyneat town called Coombs that has the famous "Goats on the Roof" market, where you can find a tonne of neat stuff for very cheap).

Here is information on where to find those places.
posted by Quartermass at 9:40 AM on August 11, 2004

Lunch on the deck of the Fish and Duck Pub on Sproat Lake on the way to Ucluelet. They might get to see the Martin Mars water bombers working or practicing and it's a nice view anyway.

Here's a list of Tofino and Ucluelet restaurants. Tofino's definately worth the side trip from Ucluelet and you get to go through Pacific Rim Park on the way.

Pretty much any detour off the highway south of Nanaimo is rewarding, particularly in the Cowichan valley. The views from Maple Bay and Bird's Eye Cove are spectacular.
posted by timeistight at 10:12 AM on August 11, 2004

« Older Are the interwebz to blame for typos?   |   Working From Home Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.