First stop; Victoria, the capital of Vancouver Island. And the first stop of Prince William and Kate’s recent trip to Canada with their children George and Charlotte. A great place for wandering around the harbour, mooching around the street stalls and taking in the surrounding landscape. There was a fantastic takeout shack serving freshly made seafood meals – the perpetual queue a clear indication of the quality at Red Fish Blue Fish – where we watched the sea planes come and go whilst munching on perfectly seared tuna steaks and some deliciously seasoned chips.
Next stop; Cowichan Bay. Calm, rich, bright blue water with an abundance of sailing boats filling the bay. The view from our suite looked straight across it, to a hill.
A quick google and it appeared as though there was a trail up it – so we hopped in our Jeep and found our way to a gap in the trees with a faint map a nearby restaurant had given us guiding the way. The trail took us up high really quite quickly, into the clouds to a stunning 270 degree vista looking back across at Cowichan Bay and then all the way round to Genoa Bay.
We stayed at Ocean Front Suites at Cowichan Bay – a large and comfortable suite with fantastic views, and picked up our coffees and post run / hiking snacks from True Grain. We also visited Kinsol Trestle, an old timber rail trestle along the Cowichan Valley Trail, and hiked along the Cowichan River in the Provincial Park.
Last stop; Nanaimo. The real reason we picked this location was because of its proximity to the ferry terminal so that we were in a prime place to continue our exploring. We stumbled across a gem in Newcastle Island – a pedestrian island a short boat trip from Nanaimo, with lots of camping facilities and boat berths. As we walked round the island (about 10km), the landscape changed through woods, sandy beach, rocky outcrop and pebbles.
There were canoeists and paddle boarders going between Vancouver Island and Newcastle Island, and sea otters! In Nanaimo we stayed at the Travelodge and ate at the Modern Cafe.
What we packed: a light wind and water resistant jacket. I wore Rohan’s Windshadow Jacket and Andy wore Mountain Hard Wear’s Stretch Ozonic Jacket.