Last week we headed over to Vancouver Island for 6 days. We tried to hit some of the most popular destinations, but it is hard when everything seemed to have a good review on Trip Advisor! Our first day was probably my favourite in terms of scenery. We drove to the port at Horseshoe Bay, which is just past West Vancouver to catch the ferry over with our car, then headed to Coombs, saw a couple of waterfalls and then drove to Port Alberni for the night.
The view from the ferry was great. There are lots of small islands and rocky outcrops which I am sure makes navigation interesting and ensures some good scenery. Mikayla enjoyed her time on the ferry, playing on the kids equipment (which is pretty lame) and looking at the view. Chris spent is time eyeing off waterfront houses and dreaming a little.
Click the collage to view the slideshow:
From the falls we headed to Coombs for lunch to see the famous ‘goats on the roof’. And this is what we saw…
Lots of grass, but no goats. Apparently, the goats don’t arrive until May. In fact a lot of things over here don’t arrive / open until May. Traveling at this time is a great way to avoid the crowds, but you may miss out on lots of attractions. It contrasts with New Zealand where you can swim with dolphins and hurtle down white water rapids, then go skiing the next day.
Tim Tams were on sale in Coombs – they obviously make them specifically for Canada, since the labeling is in both French and English, but they aren’t really cheap enough to buy. You can also get them in most supermarkets (grocery stores), but the shop in Coombs had a lot of international wares. For those who are not from Australia and have not experienced Tim Tams, they are chocolatey biscuits of the best kind – particularly good in a Tim-Tam-Slam!
We then headed to the Butterfly World and Gardens in Coombs. I was a little worried when we arrived and the carpark looked like this…
Obviously a top tourist attraction!
But we enjoyed the butterflies and Mikayla particularly liked the land tortoises (I forgot to get a photo). It was a fairly cheap attraction, so actually okay value.
We moved on to Little Qualicum falls, which is a series of waterfalls, much of which is situated in a gorge. There was really only one lookout which I could manage to photograph well:
Next we had a quick stop at Cathedral Grove, “one of the most accessible stands of giant Douglas fir trees on Vancouver Island” to quote the BC Parks website. There are a lot of big trees, forests and moss over here and I’m afraid this is one is no more spectacular (to us) than the other parks / trees.
Our stop for the night was Port Alberni, a medium sized port city with not much going on in the way of natural beauty. But it was a good resting point before our long drive to Tofino the next day. The view in port Alberni:
We also headed out to the McLean Steam Sawmill in Port Alberni, not knowing quite what to expect since the attractions there seem to vary considerably from season to season. At the time of our visit (mid-April) the place was pretty much deserted, but open for a self-guided tour.
And most importantly, there were plenty of muddy puddles to jump in!