I think the first thing you’ll notice planning a trip to Vancouver Island is, “wow, that’s bigger than I thought”. And you will think the same thing when you drive on the highway from Victoria to the north. Some Canadians told us that it’s a bit funny that the Island got the highway they are longing for on the mainland. But the first discovery on the island was: “wow, this is a lot of people going to the north” :) But here’s how we started. After arriving in Vancouver, we took over the rental car and took the ferry to Victoria. We went in the evening and the atmosphere on the sea with the setting sun and the cute little islands on the way is amazing.
The ferry to Victoria arrives in Sidney and after a 30km drive you’ll enter Victoria, the capital of BC. We spent the night in a nice inn with friendly stuff and spacious rooms, which was located close to the center and next to the Highway 17, so that it was really easy to reach. From there we started our trip to Tofino the next day. And we took it really easy stopping at almost every single viewpoint and checking out a winery (one out of plenty) on the way. The scenery on the highway 1 is amazing and it is definitely worth to take a rest every now and then, just enjoying it.
After Nanaimo you have to go towards Port Alberni. Once it’s reached, the roads get really tight and you should be able to reach Tofino without a stop at a gas-station as there isn’t any on the way anymore. This scenic road brings you directly to the coast and most likely you will notice, that the sunshine might hide behind clouds towards the coast. When we drove there in the end of July the road was really busy, and besides the wonderful view unpleasant to drive on. In Tofino we had a wonderful cottage next to the sea, in the so called ocean village. It’s a bit south of Tofino and it takes a 30 minute walk to get there. Like everything in and around Tofino, it’s a bit overpriced during the season, but the staff was really friendly and helpful and the cottage quite comfortable. The resort is really calm and it was easy to enjoy the time there. But if you want to go surfing it might be a better idea to be located closer to Long Beach a little further to the south.
The goal of our stay in Tofino was basically being in the nature as much as possible and enjoying the island. We wanted to do some hiking, but this is definitely not within the expertise of the tourist information. The only thing they suggested to us were the official trails in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, which are actually nice but not quite as exciting as in the adverts you get. The longest one of those is the wild pacific trail. The path is really wide and it’s a really easy hike. But nevertheless it offers nice views onto the pacific and the uncountable boats, which are ready to chase a whale whenever one appears. That looks almost a bit sad, even though I heard it’s a great experience to see one. Along the path there are many view-points and benches to relax and enjoy. If you walk the trail with these expectations, you won’t be disappointed. Just take it easy and don’t expect too much of a hike. After the trail, we continued our day by a long walk on the beach close to long beach, got the feet into the water and made our little one touch sand the first time in her short life. The reaction you can see in the picture :)
We finished the day with a nice dinner in Tofino. After looking around for a while we ended up in a little restaurant in one of the side streets called spotted bear. I had some local salmon, which was really delicious. To drink we had some beer from BC, which was sooo refreshing after the long day. Be aware that you can order a crab dinner, if you tell them in advance. We ordered it for the next day and it was fantastic as you can see in the pictures :)
The hike of the first day wasn’t so hard, so we checked other options for the second day. So we ordered a water taxi to bring us to Meares Island. After some help of a local we decided for the path to Lone Cone. This was much more demanding than the Wild Pacific trail. It goes straight to the rain-forest and you have to crawl under fallen trees and cross some other demanding climbs. But all in all it is doable. Linnéa didn’t like the whole idea of crawling with daddy on the ground to get past some trees, so that we had to turn back after a while. But if you are used to getting up mountains in a demanding terrain this I can just recommend, without taking any responsibility for the result :) I have never been in a rain-forest, so for me the experience was stunning. After the hike we had our crab dinner, and on the last day before we went back to Victoria, we even saw the sun. Now the beach looked much more inviting :)
The last day on Vancouver Island we spent in Victoria. Lonely Planet says that it’s the most British town in BC, and they might be right :) The Queen was due to the anniversary this year visible anywhere, as the union jack was. It is a small town with nice sights and a museum about the history of BC, which is interesting but a bit expensive for the exhibitions. The little China town is worth a visit, too. Finally we went back to Vancouver after a couple of really nice days on a really special island.
Finally check out all the photos from the island: