I’ll admit, most of our trip was spent in the Victoria area, however we did make some great stops along the island on our drive to Tofino. Today’s Travel Tuesday is all about the drive after we hit Goldstream Provincial Park, and headed up to the Nanaimo/Parksville area for the night. This was a day of sweaty heat, where I speak most of our walk to the Suspension Bridge below in my sports bra because we were lost, and it was hot, and I thought we would never reach our destination. Nanaimo definitely has some beauty to it (the views are pretty damn great) and our AirBnb host was amazing (not to mention a steal for that price – it was gorgeous!) but I would definitely head back that way (but probably mainly to explore more of the Parksville area). There are a few more places from this area that I’ll be talking about in another Travel Tuesday post – as they were part of the adventure back from Tofino.
A recommendation I would make is to take that moment to stop and pull off on their areas that are designated to do so on the drive from Victoria up to Nanaimo. Our expert driver lives on the island, and she was already aware of a couple of pit stops that were literally just a pull off. Stop your car, walk two feet to a look out, and stand there in awe. Definitely do these.
Haslam Creek Suspension Bridge
I know the big popular suspension bridge to go to is Capilano. We didn’t go there. From what I had heard, it was busy and expensive. We made a pit stop and saw a smaller version, but it was still pretty scary for someone like myself that isn’t the biggest fan of heights. I mean, I like heights just fine. But put me on a suspension bridge? I don’t really love it so much. This was a bit of an adventure for us as we may or may not have followed the wrong directions to the wrong parking area. Apparently, thanks to the lovely family that saved us from our lost adventure, there was a different parking area – where the walk was a lot shorter than the long version we took. Once we got there, though, it was really beautiful and exciting to see. It just may have taken us a little time. And by a little I mean a lot. But, for a stop off on the way to Nanaimo, if you time it properly, it’s a great location.
Little Qualicum Falls
Now, I personally can’t speak for Little Qualicum Falls, but my friends loved it. I wasn’t feeling the greatest (a bit too long in the sun that morning), so I had gone to our AirBnb for a nap, but the girls continued on. They really enjoyed it, and may or may not have broken a couple of rules to get a little bit closer. They really wanted to stick their toes in that water.
You can’t go wrong with a local pub. And this one is right on the water. After my nap, we all met back up to go for some food, and some drinks. We ate and drank the night away while sitting right on the water. Once again, they had blankets for us! I’m really loving this patio style. I need to get out more in the GTA and see if this is something that is being adopted here as well. It definitely kept us out longer because we weren’t getting too cold being on the water. Carlos O’Bryans has a great atmosphere, great food, and the biggest selection of cocktails I think I have ever seen.
We didn’t go here for sand and tanning, but rather we went for the itty bitty crabs. We may or may not have named a few. The thing about being on the ocean is that there is so much more life in the water than what we get out of Lake Ontario. We definitely get something from Lake Ontario but I don’t know if I’d call it life. Seeing crabs, and seals, and some fuddy duck (I probably got this name COMPLETELY wrong – Britt, please correct me!) thing – it was just something so different than what I’m used to. We had a nice walk along this little beach, and it was just a peaceful stop on our way from Nanaimo to Tofino. It’s just outside of Nanaimo – and in the direction we were headed.
I feel like I could have spent a month exploring the Island. There was still so much we didn’t get to see. It was hard to jam everything into the week we spent there – but hopefully this series may help someone who is spending more time in one of the areas we saw – maybe they can get to see more than we did!
Have you been to Nanaimo before? What was your favourite place?