Vancouver Island Travel Guide

  • Vancouver Island
    by corysharon
  • Things to Do
    by mcuriel
  • Things to Do
    by mcuriel

Vancouver Island Highlights

  • Pro
    toonsarah profile photo

    toonsarah says…

     Relatively unspoiled, great scenery and awesome whale-watching 

  • Con
    Camping_Girl profile photo

    Camping_Girl says…

     Paying for the ferry. 

  • In a nutshell
    Camping_Girl profile photo

    Camping_Girl says…

     I can't wait to get back to the Island! 

Vancouver Island Things to Do

  • Palm trees vacation spot Canada

    The island is a jumping off point to Cruises to Alaska and more.Musical festivals of every liking.Meuseums to fill your appetite.Forest hiking makes you feel a jungle experience. SG1 is filmed there.Dining at restaurants of every variety.Whale watching is an experience never to forget.Do not miss the Statue of Captain Scott in the inner Harbour.The...

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  • Duncan - Qu'wusun Cultural Center

    The Qu'wutsun Cultural Center is located in Duncan B.C., just off Highway 1. It presents the story of the First Nations peoples of the Cowichan Valley, both prior to and after their encounter with white-skinned Europeans. The center features a number of beautifully crafted wood "totem poles," as well as First Nations interpreters who tell stories...

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  • Vancouver Island Wineries - Cherry Point

    Vancouver Island is emerging as a highly respected "terroir" in the florishing world of Canadian wines. (A positive effect of global warming, perhaps?) While not as famous as the Okanagan Valley on the other side of British Columbia, the central Cowichan Valley produces some spritely Rieslings and subtle Pinot Noirs. We stopped at the coastal...

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  • Cowichan Valley - Merridale Cidery

    The Cowichan Valley is a special agricultural zone which enjoys fertile soil, ample rains - and a good dose of sunshine. It's become an important center for wineries, as well as the expansive Merridale Cidery and Apple Orchards. Merridale is a pleasant place to spend an hour or two learning about the cultivation of apples on Vancouver Island - and...

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  • Cathedral Grove

    Cathedral Grove is the name given to a beautifully preserved stand of centuries-old Douglas Fir - a remarkable survival on an island which was nearly clear-cut following the first waves of Europeans to spread over Vancouver Island in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.The Grove is located in MacMillan Provincial Park, on Provincial Route 4, one...

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  • Vancouver Island

    Naturally I think coming to Vancouver Island is a good idea Cathy. Like anywhere else, good weather is never a guarantee but October is usually good. Particularly if we have what is called an "Indian Summer" and there is lots of sunshine. The leaves are a magnificent color.Not sure what comes first Vancouver or VI but if Vancouver is first, I would...

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Vancouver Island Hotels

Vancouver Island Restaurants

  • White Spot restaurant in Courtenay

    There are more then 60 locations in British Columbia and Alberta of this restaurant. The headquarter of White Spot is in Vancouver, BC.In White Spot you can have breakfast, lunch and dinner. You can choose between several items (soups, salads, sandwiches, wraps, spot classics, pastas, rice bowls, stir-fries, steaks, chicken....).Phone:...

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  • White Spot

    In Saanich, right next door Western 66 Motel, there is this a restaurant called White Spot, either for breakfast or just a meal.Very close to Swartz Bay ferry terminal and at about 20 kms. from Victoria, on Vancouver Island.

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  • Where is everybody?

    We had dinner here on both of the evenings of our stay in Telegraph Cove (it’s either that or cook in your cabin, and I always prefer to eat out on holiday), and also had lunch on one of the days. The meals were all excellent – plenty of seafood of course, given the location, but other choices too for non-fish eaters. We also came here for hot...

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Vancouver Island Nightlife

  • Lady_Mystique's Profile Photo
    A martini...but I had a Singapore Sling!

    by Lady_Mystique Written May 10, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    KATZ in Nanaimo is a really cool and funky martini bar.
    Katz features live music and has a nice location and pulls off great atmosphere with their limited space.

    Related to:
    • Music
    • Singles

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Vancouver Island Transportation

  • Take the Ferry

    Taking the Ferry is an incredible way to get to and from the Island - especially on a nice day when you can get up on deck and really enjoy all of the beautiful days. We are most familiar with the routes from Vancouver - Victoria (Tsawwassen to Swartz Bay) and Vancouver to Nanaimo (Horseshoe Bay - Departure Bay). There are a variety of routes you...

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  • IslandLink Bus Nanaimo to Victoria

    Had reservation from Nanaimo to Victoria. Ferry was few minutes late and bust had left.Reservation confusing as it looks like to match BC Ferry arrival but not so.Other bus companies better service and %20 cheaper. If travelling by ferry do not trust Islanlink bus connections.

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  • Getting to Victoria by bus

    (work in progress)Given the choice and budget, the most convenient way to explore Vancouver Island is by car, which allows you to access the many scenic spots for which the island is justifiably famous and stop at will en route. However, car hire isn't within everyone's means, so it's good to know that there are options available for the budget...

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Vancouver Island Shopping

  • Second Hand Records at Mill Bay

    Mill Bay is not in the VT database, so I place this insider tip on Vinyl Frontier here.The shop is easy to find, once you know it. Just off the Trans-Canada Highway 1 at the junction with Shawnigan Bay Mill Rd about 1 km North of Mill Bay.It's a small and friendly shop with interesting records, but no real rare ones. Quality is...

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  • Buying native art

    One of the things we often choose to bring back as a souvenir of a trip is a print or painting. These are easy and light to pack and carry, and once hung on the wall give us many happy memories of the place where we bought it. Vancouver Island is a great place to indulge this interest as there are lots of small galleries with interesting...

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  • Vancouver Islander Lager

    The local brew on this island is Vancouver Islander Lager. They have a couple of different varities out. I brought back the brand in the picture for friends and they say it is actually quite good. It costs about the same as the average priced beer.

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Vancouver Island Local Customs

  • Whatever you do, don't get...

    (work in progress)'Canadian English' is just different enough from 'English English' to be idiosyncratic, and sometimes charmingly old fashioned.Take, for instance, the term 'pop', which in Canada refers to what the Brits would call a 'soft drink' (and Australians and South Africans would confusingly call a 'cold drink' or a 'cool drink',...

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  • Regional geography and proper...

    Vancouver Island is commonly referred to by locals as the island. Even on the mainland, if you hear people talking about "heading over to the island" - you can be certain that they're not talking about Hawaii! Unless of course, they happen to own a cottage on one of the many other islands (like the Gulf Islands), but if the context is not readily...

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  • THE Nicest People

    The people of BC and more specific the sunshine coast and Vancouver Island are the nicest most genuine people we have ever met. Low-key, friendly, always helpful. Would like to own a place there someday...

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Vancouver Island Warnings and Dangers

  • The going is slow, even on highways

    (work in progress)When you're planning your road trip around Vancouver Island, you'll probably anticipate that the going will be fairly slow on more minor roads due to the nature of the topography. However, by contrast, you might be encouraged to see a major road - Route 19 (usually known as the Inland Island Highway) - running down the eastern...

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  • Unpredictable weather requires a...

    (work in progress)Let's be charitable - Vancouver Island has an unpredictable climate and the fact that it is vegetated with temperate rain forest should speak volumes about the weather!To put things into perspective, it rains an average of 206 days a year in Tofino. Actually from a tourist's point of view, the rain usually isn't so much of a...

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  • Bear bells: Jingle all the way!

    (work in progress)When I started to research our trip to Vancouver Island, I was intrigued to come across a passing reference to 'bear bells' in one of toonsarah's tips.As they say in the classics, "Ïf you go down to the woods today, you're in for a big surprise", and in the context of Canadian forests, the 'big surprise' is not like to be a...

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Vancouver Island What to Pack

  • Pack for all weathers

    Make sure you take layers when visiting Vancouver Island in the summer. During our July visit we experienced a couple of cool rainy days but also quite a few warm and sunny ones. Shorts and long trousers, t-shirts and a warm sweater or two, and a waterproof jacket should see you through most situations, although if you plan to eat in any of the...

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  • Diver's Guide

    Well if you are a diver and are planning on coming to Vancouver Island then the book Diver's Guide Vancouver Island South would be quite useful. It is written by Greg Dombowsky and is published by Heritage House. Over 50 of the areas sites are included in this book with maps and some pictures. Also how to get to the dive sites and what to expect...

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  • Bring a sweater or vest, or both.

    Walking shoes, sweater, vest. Jeans are de rigeur. Any camera, from plastic to digital, and you'll get great photos.

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Vancouver Island Off The Beaten Path

  • Port Alberni - Steam Locomotive Rides

    A restored Old No.7 (1929 Baldwin 2-8-2T 90 ton) locomotive to pull the tourist train. Operate on summer weekends. Trains leave the E&N Railway Heritage Station at the foot of Argyle Street near the Harbour Quay in Downtown Port Alberni. on the hour from 11:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

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  • Butterfly aviary

    At first it looked ike a waste of time, but we stopped at the Butterfly aviary and we have talked about it ever since. They had Butterflies from all over the world. I only have slides of that trip so I can't upload a picture yet. It's located on the way to Buchard Gardens from Victoria. It was a high light od the trip.

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  • Bald eagles

    We were lucky enough to get a good look at a bald eagle on two occasions while on Vancouver Island. The first was on Quadra Island, near the lodge at Tsa-Kwa-Luten, flying between the pine trees near the shore (second photo). The second was this one at Telegraph Cove, perched on one of the pilings in the harbour – we spotted him from our table in...

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Vancouver Island Sports & Outdoors

  • Scuba Diving

    Jacques Cousteau is said to have ranked the waters of the Pacific Northwest among the world's best places to dive, second only to the Red Sea for marine life diversity.Readers of Scuba Diving magazine recently named British Columbia the Top Overall Dive Destination in North America. It's easy to see why.Vancouver Island's cold, clean waters offer...

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  • Bungy Jump Vancouver Island!

    Bungy Jump from 143 feet off the river in a beautiful rive gorge just outside of Nanaimo. Time it right and you might be able to jump right under a moving train! No gear needed, in fact on February 14th and 15th you don't even need clothes! For this is when Bungy Zone hosts their "Annual Naked Weekend"

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  • Vancouver Island Hotels

    12 Hotels in Vancouver Island

    68 Reviews and Opinions

Vancouver Island Favorites

  • Great tourist brochures to help you plan...

    (work in progress)I was really impressed by the quality of tourist brochures on Vancouver Island: the coverage and quality of research is excellent, and these were particularly welcome resource after the disappointment of the hopeless Lonely Planet City Guide to Vancouver (which - out of 256 pages - devotes a meagre seven pages to Vancouver Island,...

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  • Nanaimo Bars

    Yes, you can get them at any Tim Horton's, but you should really get them in a non-chain location while you are on Vancouver Island. Preferably Nanaimo itself, but somewhere nearby will do in a pinch.These rich chocolate bars were invented by a woman who lived in the central Cowichan river valley, and they were successfully marketed in nearby...

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  • Tofino

    This was probably our favourite place on Vancouver Island, and I wish we’d planned to spend a little more time there than the two days we’d allowed for. There’s lots to do – see my Things to Do tips for ideas about whale watching trips and scenic flights, for instance. It’s also a pleasant place to simply stroll around, with several interesting...

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Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Vancouver Island
By far the coolest way to arrive!
Transportation
The BC ferries are an absolute delight!
Transportation
This is not the place to economise on waterproofs!
Warnings and Dangers
Ferry signage on Vancouver Island is terrific
Transportation
The Ferry
Transportation
Pacific Rim National Park Reserve – Long Beach
Things to Do
Float plane, Tofino
Things to Do
Pacific Rim National Park
Things to Do
Galloping Goose Trail: Victoria into the Hills
Things to Do
Train from Victoria to Courtenay
Transportation
Butchart gardens
Things to Do
OAK BAY
Things to Do
Beacon Hill Park
Things to Do
ST. ANNES CHURCH
Things to Do
Sightseeing in Victoria
Things to Do
Craigdarroch Castle
Things to Do
Royal BC Museum
Things to Do
Victoria's Chinatown
Things to Do
Beautiful Butchart Gardens
Things to Do
Butterfly Gardens
Things to Do
Buy the Winter Olmpics souvenirs
Things to Do
Get yourself some wheels
Transportation
Island Link Bus
Transportation
Victoria, British Columbia
Things to Do
Pacific Rim National Park
Things to Do
Victoria ≠ Vancouver Island
Warnings and Dangers
Juan de Fuca Provincial Park
Things to Do
Cathedral Grove in MacMillan Provincial Park
Things to Do
Hire a car
Transportation
BC Ferries
Transportation
Watch out for bears
Warnings and Dangers
Colaland Museum and Diner
Off The Beaten Path
Quadra Island
Favorites
Telegraph Cove
Favorites
Cathedral Grove
Things to Do
The Kwagiulth Museum at Cape Mudge Village
Things to Do
Museum at Campbell River
Things to Do
Whale watching: grey whales
Things to Do
Whale watching: orcas
Things to Do
Cool venue, great food
Restaurants
Map of Vancouver Island

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