Gardens outside of Hatley Castle
Vancouver Island is one special place to visit. The locals have a saying, that when you live in paradise, you really don't want to vacation anywhere else. That is so true. Vancouver Island really does have it all. It would take 8 hours just to drive from the southern part to the northern end of the Island. They have the rain forest, near Tofino and Long Beach on the Pacific side of the Island, I here it is great surfing there, and more secluded on that side. There are great hiking trails to explore in the rain forest. There are many smaller Islands off the Main Island to visit. Salt Springs and Gabriola Island are just breath taking.
You really need a few weeks to see all the Gulf Islands. Everywhere we went, we met some really kind and friendly people. We met a couple from England, and a lady from South Africa, who calls Vancouver Island home. We did a local art gallery hop on Salt Springs Island. The people are so gifted in their art work.
Hatley Castle and Gardens
Oh Victoria, I really enjoyed this city! The city as a whole has an English charm about it.
Victoria has the midest climate in Canada, and is a place so green all year that flowers fall out of the sky and even the lamp posts bloom! Located around one of Canada's prettiest harbours, the water is always busy with seaplanes, ships and kayaks. Victoria has been named the Garden City, and for good reason, they have beautiful gardens throughout the city. We visited Hatley Castle, and seen the beautiful plants and flowers on the grounds. We did a whale watching trip out of Victoria and it was alot of fun. We got up close to some Okras out near the San Juan Islands. I managed to get a little sunburn, but oh well, the trip was a blast. The drive from Victoria to Nanaimo was picture perfect, we could not have asked for better weather during the whole trip. We stayed one night in Nanaimo, on the north shore of the Island.
Whale watching off the coast of San Juan Islands! We were about a few hundred feet from the orkas!
Nanaimo is the second largest city after Victoria. The double decker bus is a neat way to experience Victoria, you get a tour of the whole city. Other things to see in and around Victoria are the 1871 birthplace home of Emily Carr, one of Canada's foremost artists and authors. Seeing world famous Butchart Gardens, is simply amazing. The gardens are over a 100 years old. You can spend hours walking through all these gardens. Simply put, these gardens are just so beautiful. Walking through Chinatown was neat, it is the oldest in Canada. The Royal British Columbia Museum in downtown Victoria should not be missed. There's no better place to learn the history of British Columbia all in one afternoon. Many unique galleries showcase actual items of the Royal BC Museum. Stroll the cobbled streets of old town, see a Grizzly Bear fishing in a running stream. The new living land, Living Sea Gallery is a view of British Columbia 90 million years in the making. The Maritime museum also is of interest, take a voyage that explores the rich nautical history of the BC province. There are many good B&Bs in the Victoria area, and they are priced with in reason. Victoria's main shopping district are on and around Government Street where you will find picturesque store fronts and specialty bountiques. Victoria's and Vancouver Island attractions are so many, that when visiting you are more likely to run out of time than run out of things to do.
Victoria Harbour, sea plane taking off.