Sooo, I am still not done editing all photos the way I want them, but that will likely take weeks and I can’t wait that long to share the first part of our road trip in Canada! I’ll include lots of tipps on what to see and where to stay and eat. The route we chose worked out perfectly for three weeks and my friend S and I had some amazing food and accommodation along the way.
We flew out to Vancouver from London with one day to spare for exploring the city before we headed out to into the country.
In Vancouver, I fell head over heels for Starbucks Chai Latte (soy). It became my go-to companion drink on this trip.
I am not usually a city person but Vancouver is special – the architecture, the closeness to nature and wildlife and the incredibly friendly people made me fall in love with the city (I mean, a city with several beaches, come on!). We stayed at a hotel in Robson street and spent the day wandering all over Stanley Park, into Gastown and down to Sunset Beach in the evening.
We shopped at Roots, ate well at the Old Spaghetti Factory and got lost in a scary neighbourhood on our way into Chinatown.
By evening we were weary and our feet were sore but we felt content that we had crammed as much Vancouver as possible into our one city day. Jetlag had not yet kicked in so with that crazy mixture of tired out, travel fever and sleep-deprived elation we limped back to our hotel.
We had pre-booked a ferry to Vancouver Island for the next morning and were up bright and early to leave the city behind on a beautiful sunny day.
On the ferry we chose to stay outside and enjoy the sunshine and fresh air, watching the Vancouver skyline vanish in the distance. With a long day ahead we soaked up some sun and rest on the deck.
Arriving in Nanaimo we made straight for the Pacific Rim National Park in our rental car, a Ford that was huge compared to european cars and smallish compared to the vehicles we saw on canadian roads.
Our first stop was to buy an annual pass to all the National Parks at the visitor center. This turned out to be a smart move as it not only saved money but also spared us any hassle of buying new passes whenever we reached a new park.
We walked the Wild Pacific Trail near Ucluelet and marvelled at being at the sea on a warm, sunny, salty day. After that we entered the Pacific Rim National Park and walked several small trails. The Rainforest Trail was out of this world and that was as much fascinating as it was scary. We suddenly realized that we were in the wild now, surrounded by trees so thick and tall that we couldn’t see the their tops, with a population of around sixty blackbears in the area and no other people or tourists. A mix of exciting and downright scary and a sure way to make two city girls feel very small indeed.
The famous long beach was the last place of interest we visited that day, a windy, endless stretch of perfect beach with driftwood all around.
Arriving in Tofino we made straight for the “Tofino Travellers Guesthouse” a gem as far as accommodation goes. A bright, warm place with a handmade hippie surfer feel, a very friendly welcome from the owner and chatty guests from around the world. We had booked a mix of hotels, motels and guesthouses for the trip and the guesthouses won hands down.
Unfortunately by then jetlag, fueled by a mix of little sleep and the strain of travelling for hours in a new country, kicked in big time and I passed out on the bed, shivering. An hour’s sleep and a hot shower pulled me back on my legs and a pizza from Tony’s was the perfect hot, cheesy meal to end the day by the docks.
A full night’s rest and the waffle breakfast at the guesthouse worked wonders and we set out for the next adventure, whale watching by boat!
We went with Jamie’s Whaling Station and saw a humpback whale and two grey whales just off the Tofino coast line. ‘Amazing’ doesn’t suffice to describe the experience of seeing these animals in the wild, playing and feeding in the water.
We also saw sea lions and bald eagles.
After hours out on the rocking boat we were frozen and more than a little nauseous and had a rest before setting out again, this time back through the National Park towards Nanaimo, where we would take the ferry back to the main land the following morning. The bog trail within the park was our first stop on the way and it was there we saw our first animal tracks right beside the trail. We immediately became convinced a bear was near, posed to attack and pretty much ran the rest of the track, shouting loudly to ward off any predators. These two Canada tourists certainly had a lot to learn!
We were happy to be back on the road again after that, only stopping along the highway to walk through the awe inspiring Cathedral Grove before arriving back in Nanaimo.
Dizzy from so many experiences to process we were glad to arrive at our motel in Nanaimo.
For dinner we walked out to the harbor and had Fish and Chips at Troller’s, a floating restaurant serving the day’s catch. A perfect end to an exciting day!
So much for part 1 and I only covered the first three days. Oh dear. I will try to condense our trip into a maximum of 3-5 parts. That’s the plan, anyway.
I hope you enjoyed this walk through Vancouver and Vancouver Island. Have you ever been and done similar things? Or has your experience been completely different? Let me know 🙂
So beautifully detailed, both in written and pictures! I am enjoying every inch of your trip!
Waiting for more, be it 3 or 30 entries!
Thanks Ana, haha it may well be 30 entries, we’ll see 🙂
Thanks for sharing your photos and experiences! I’m from Vancouver but don’t live there anymore, and have spent some time on the island over the years, too. Oh how I miss the beaches, and even the misty weather. I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip, and am looking forward to the next instalment :).
Thanks, Chloe! Lucky you to have grown up in such a beautiful part of the world 🙂 I can imagine how you must miss the beaches!
What an adventure Kristina! I love the photos they are stunning. I’ve never been to Canada (it is on my long list of place to visit) but after reading your post I want to go more than ever. It is gorgeous. Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Martha. Glad you enjoyed it and yes, everyone should visit Canada at least once!
What an adventure! Thank you for sharing your experiences with the world 🙂
Wow, thanks for the delightful feedback. I had no idea you were such an amazing blogger! The pictures speak volumes.
You can now imagine why so many people think about moving here…. I did and did!
Tofino Travellers Guesthouse
Hi Nick, thank you, I have a small photography business too (www.fotografiekoehler.etsy.com) 🙂 We really loved our stay and were sorry to only be able to stay the one night (and jetlagged at that). Our travel guide books actually said Tofino wasn’t much to look at so we were amazed when we got there and thought “What? This is fantastic!”. I can definitely understand why you moved there 🙂
I went to Vancouver Island when I was a kid (11 or 12, I think) and I remember it being an awe-inspiring and magical place, which your photos reinforce. I can’t wait to see the rest of your trip photos!
Thanks Angela, awe-inspiring and magical describes it perfectly!
Wow! Thanks for sharing all these great photos and adventures in Canada. It seems like you had a great time there! And this is just part 1! Canada is on my list too!
Thank you, hope you get to see Canada soon 🙂
Fantastic pictures, thank you so much for sharing!
Also, you need to come to Australia to experience the beaches.
Thanks Michelle! I’d love to see Australia some time, but I confess the day-long flight is putting me off at the moment 🙂
It looks like you packed a lot into your three weeks if this was only the first three days! Looking forward to seeing the rest of your adventures in Canada.
Oh yes, we did! We wanted to see as much as possible of the country and I feel we really made the most of it 🙂
how lovely! jet lag can be such a pain, but it looks like you were able to do a lot anyway!! can’t wait to see more, and certainly won’t complain if it takes more posts than planned 😉
Thanks, Sera, ha we’ll see how many it takes!
Oh wow! What a beautiful place. Looks like you you got a lot out of this trip and I’m so excited to see it (no matter how many posts it takes!) It’s a visual feast and I can live vicariously through you!
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I had to laugh at the part where you both ran from the bears. I probably would’ve done the same thing. Such beautiful places to visit and capture.
Oh my heart! Seeing all these familiar places makes my heart happy and hurt at the same time. Last year we lived in Victoria on Vancouver Island (too bad you didn’t go there!) for 5 months and the year before we travelled through BC for 3 weeks and even though we decided not to live there, I wouldn’t mind visiting every year! I can’t believe how much you did in just three days! The distances you covered are insane. We took it much slower, but I get rather overwhelmed by all the experiences that I need some downtime to process them. Can’t wait to see the rest of your trip 🙂
Inge, it was definitely a whirlwind of impressions. We wanted to see as much as possible but I really felt afterwards that I would have needed another week or so of time off to just let it all sink in and process it. For me personally three weeks are really too long to have so much going on every day but then it wouldn’t have made sense with the long flight to go for a shorter time.
I’m jealous you got to live in Canada for 5 months, wow!!
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