(work in progress)I cannot recommend the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail highly enough - put simply, it has absolutely everything going for it, and I struggle to think of a type of person (bar rabid urbanites) who wouldn't enjoy it.It's such a good trail that it's hard to know where to start extolling its virtues. Firstly, it's just...more
(work in progress)It's a rare visitor to Vancouver Island who doesn't want to see bears, and if you're visiting in the Fall (September - November), you'd struggle to find a better place to do so than at the Thornton Creek Hatchery, about 10km out of Ucluelet.From a bear's point of view, it is a feeding paradise. Not only do they have the...more
(work in progress)A boardwalk has been constructed along the streambank from the Thornton Creek hatchery to the nearby waterfall to provide ease of access for staff collecting salmon for egg harvesting. It's only a couple of hundred metres long, but it's very beautiful and provides an excellent vantage point from which to observe the local...more
(work in progress)I'm a moderately keen birdspotter, but I've not had a lot of luck with spotting woodpeckers over the years, so it was a particular pleasure to come across this chappie along the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail.Woodpeckers are a pain in the proverbial to spot as they hang around in woodland where the light is poor - and...more
(work in progress)Oh my - seeing a bald eagle fishing has to be one of the highlights of our time on Vancouver Island!We encountered this eagle when we were hiking the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific trail in Ucluelet. Actually, we heard the eagle before we say it, as it was engaged in a robust dispute with a pair of seagulls over a fish. What...more
(work in progress)Vancouver Island is all about spectacular landscapes and exciting wildlife experiences, and, by comparison, the towns tend to pale into relative insignificance. With relatively few exceptions, the architecture is pleasantly utilitarian and undistinguished, which makes it all the more striking when you stumble across something...more
(work in progress)The Thornton Creek hatchery about 10km from Ucluelet is a wonderful place for bird photography due to a fortunate combination of circumstances.Firstly, it represents the juxtaposition of several different habitats: the forest, the stream and the open water of the northern shores of Ucluelet harbour into which the stream flows all...more
(work in progress)Salmon are genetically programmed to return to their place of birth when they reach breeding maturity, where they spawn and then die. It's not hard to appreciate the logic of this grand design in that it ensures that the fish return to an environment that is conducive to breeding - unless something has changed in the...more
(work in progress)The Thornton Creek salmon hatchery is a mecca for wildlife because it's the equivalent of a local takeaway restaurant for scavenging animals and birds.Salmon are genetically programmed to return to their place of birth when they reach breeding maturity, where they spawn and then die. In the case of this hatchery, what their...more
Amphitrite Lighthouse is accessible from Peninsula Road in south Ucluelet. You can park in the parking lot and walk down to the rocks by the ocean. We watched the ocean spray on the rocks and looked in tidal pools. Beautiful sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean. It would be great to watch a sunset here. We parked in the parking lot by the lighthouse...more
While travelling to Tofino or Ucluelet from the east to the west on Vancouver, be sure to stop at Cathedral Grove on Highway 4. A nice short and easy walk through towering ancient Douglas fir trees, some more than 800 years old.I took beautiful photos of the massive trees bathed in rays of sunshine. It is a nice break from driving and allows you to...more
PO Box 1068, Ucluelet, V0R 2Z0, Canada
Good for: Couples
1002 Peninsula Road, Box 96, Ucluelet, V0R 3A0, Canada
Good for: Solo
596 Marine Drive, Ucluelet, V0R 3A0, Canada
Good for: Solo
An old fashioned fried chicken shop caught our attention on the main road in Ucluelet, for frankly, there wasn't a whole lot going on in Ucluelet in the culinary department that our eyes could immediately see. After dining on gourmet meals at resort prices for the previous 2 days, our eyes widened at the menu of corn dogs, chicken strips and 2...more
46 Reviews and Opinions
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This lovely little activity book is available at the Thornton Creek hatchery and is pitched at primary (elementary) school children - although younger kids would probably still enjoy colouring in the pictures. It's well researched and designed, and at only C$2 a copy, it's an absolute bargain!
The hatchery 'shop' (which makes it sound much grander than it is) also has good free educational material on the life cycle of salmon and a range of salmon-themed stickers, so if you show more than a passing interest, then you're likely to emerge laden!
The shop also keeps Thornton Creek hatchery T shirts with a bear logo, although when we visited, there was a very limited number, mostly in adult sizes.
(work in progress)You realise how wet a place is when even the local dogs have been issued with their own waterproofs!This photo was taken at the start of the Lighthouse Loop of the Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet, and by the end of the hike, I realised exactly why the dog's rain coat was much more than a fashion statement!more
(work in progress)Usually I'm not bad at getting the hang of place names, but on Vancouver Island, I finally met my Waterloo - or, more accurately, my Ucluelet.I think my problem started from the fact that the name has a vaguely French appearance, which made me want to pronounce it as a Gallic "Oo-cloo-lay". In fact, it has an intensely English...more
(work in progress)Ucluelet is surrounded by forest, so I suppose that we shouldn't have been surprised to see a deer grazing on the verge of the road as we entered town - clearly the animals are pretty habituated to people and human activity.The deer look endearing (if you'll excuse the pun), but can be quite a pest as they tend to regard gardens...more
(work in progress)... just take a wild guess!Vancouver Island has a maritime climate, which is significantly moderated from extremes of temperature by the ocean, and I have seen numerous claims that it has the 'most pleasant/most liveable' climate in Canada. Which is probably true given that the temperature doesn't often drop below zero, but...more
(work in progress)By the entrance to the salmon hatchery, there is a notice warning visitors that bears access the boardwalk, and they're not joking!In this instance, this young bear popped up from underneath the boardwalk and unexpectedly found itself sandwiched between two sets of visitors. It was clearly looking for a way out, but as the tourist...more
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When it comes to wildlife photography, the old sexist adage holds true - size does indeed matter!
Vancouver Island boasts some wonderful wildlife, but it's often of the marine or feathered variety, and not necessarily easy to approach: if your previous experience of wildlife photography has been in a safari context, you'll find it a much more challenging setting. If you are a wildlife enthusiast and want to do justice to your subject matter, it therefore makes a huge difference if you bit the bullet and invest in a long lens, which will allow you to take decent photos over quite a distance. They can also serve double duty as makeshift binoculars if you have forgotten to bring these with you.
One word of caution about buying lenses, especially more expensive ones. Camera manufacturers are an infuriatingly protectionist lot, and so often you may find that a Nikon lens won't fit a Canon body because the manufacturers want to tie their customers in to their own brand. So before you splash out on a hugely expensive lens, make sure that you realise what inadvertent 'brand loyalty' you may be locking yourself into, and don't be shy to shop around. For example, our rocket launcher of a 50mm lens is a 'no name' brand that was a fraction of the Nikon original, but so far we've been delighted with the results, so bring your camera body along with you and be sure to ask whether there are cheaper generics available that will do the job equally well.