When people think about Vancouver Island they often think of Victoria. While Victoria is in itself a wonderful destination and it is a must if you have never been. Vancouver Island has so much to offer with its stunning scenery of mountains, trees and water. It is a great place for adventure seekers and leisure travellers alike.
Vancouver Island is a gorgeous Pacific getaway situated a 1.5 to 2-hour ferry ride away from the British Columbia mainland (Vancouver). It can also be reached by planes and seaplanes from both British Columbia and Washington state.
We made a short four-day trip to Vancouver Island and it was the perfect amount of time.
Day 1 - Travel day from Tsawwassen to Lake Cowichan
We boarded the ferry from Tsawwassen (a Hun'qum'i'num word that means Land Facing the Sea) to Nanaimo. We used Nanaimo as our midpoint and drove to other areas on the island from there. We boarded the ferry early in the morning and headed straight for Lake Cowichan. There we spent the day river tubing and ended the day watching the sunset from Nanaimo harbour front.
Day 2 - Nanaimo to Tofino
It is approximately a 2-hour drive, however, we made a few stops along the way. We stopped at Cathedral Grove which has stunning groves of old-growth Red Cedar and Douglas Fir trees. Some of the trees are more than 800 years old. From there we made a quick stop in Port Alberni and headed to Ucluelet. This is a must-see if you are heading to Tofino. It is a bit out of the way but well worth it. We stopped at the Lighthouse trail as recommended by others and it was beautiful with impressive rocks at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. We drove toward Tofino, stopping at various points along the way. We spent a significant part of the day exploring Long Beach in Pacific Rim National Park and watching surfers do their thing. FYI, there is an entrance fee to enjoy the Pacific Rim National Park. The kiosk is located in the parking lot. We ended our day at Wickaninnish beach with a beautiful sunset to close the day.
Day 3 - Myra Falls - An approximately 3-hour drive from Nanaimo and totally worth it. The falls are breathtaking with beautiful emerald-coloured water. There is a lower and upper viewpoint and large stones where you can actually sit and enjoy the view for as long as you like. The parking lot is a bit bumpy and there are no real restrooms. The 3-hour drive is well worth it in my opinion. We did make a stop at Campbell River to have lunch and also visited Elk Falls in Campbell River Falls before heading to Myra Falls.
Day 4 - We had the whole day to kill before we had to take the ferry home from Swartz Bay in Victoria. We stopped at the Malahat Sky Walk with views Finlayson Arm, Saanich Peninsula, and surrounding areas. From there we headed to Sooke, about a 45-minute drive. Sooke is located on the southwest coast of Vancouver Island and again has the most spectacular views. Our plan was to visit the well kwon Sooke Potholes but then decided against it as we made our way to the scenic walk at Whiffine Spit trail.
We mostly did sightseeing during this trip other than spending some relaxing time at the beach at the Pacific National Park. You can take as much time as you want at either of these places. We definitely did not make all the stops along the way that were recommended, especially the Coombs Country Market with the goats on the roof, apparently, it is a must-visit.