After a few days in the cities, it was finally time to really hit to the road and catch our first glimpses of Canadian nature. The fifth day of our adventure we would be driving from Victoria across Vancouver Island to Ucluelet. A trip of about 300 km, so time to really test our Chevy.
We started our day early to assure we would have plenty of time to drive the distance and make a few stops along the road. We stretched our legs for the first time in Cowichan Bay, a little fisher’s village a few kilometers south of Duncan. It was a really short stop, just to see the view of the houses on the water. There isn’t much more to do there anyway. But it’s a lovely sight.
Then it was on to Duncan. As we were entering the city limits and driving through the city, we didn’t really see the appeal of stopping there. I had read about a walking route with totem poles through the city, but since we had already seen many totem poles the days before we weren’t all that curious about that. So instead of making a stop, we just continued our route.
We arrived at our next destination, Coombs, little after 11am. A bit too early to be perfect as Coombs is mostly famous for its public market. And it’s not just a public market. It’s a public market with goats on its roof. Quite an odd sight, but such fun!
One delicious meat pie later, we hit the road again. Our next stop was the one I was looking forward to the most; MacMillan Provincial Park. It would be our first real date with the Canadian forests. In Cathedral Grove, a part of MacMillan Provincial Park, there are two walking loops where you can go to admire the giant Douglas fir trees.
It was a great place to stretch our legs and have a first impression of Canadian nature, but I personally was a little disappointed in the “Big Tree”, an 800 year old Douglas fir. But that’s probably due to the fact that I had already been spoiled in America where I visited Calaveras Big Tree State Park. Those were big trees. Nonetheless, the forest you’re walking through was definitely worth the stop. It’s not that it took that much time to walk the loops anyway, so I do still recommend it. But not for the ‘big tree’, just for the surroundings.
And then it was on to Ucluelet, luckily with some stunning views along the way as you can see in the pic at the top of this post. That was along the Kennedy River where we randomly stopped and stumbled across that view.
After a quick stop in the Visitor Center to purchase our Discovery Pass, a year-round entrance ticket to all Canadian National Parks, we checked in at our a-ma-zing hotel. It was right by the water and from our balcony we had such a beautiful view! It was love at first sight. So if you’re looking into staying in Ucluelet; Bayshore Waterfront Inn is the place to be.
By the time we were settled, it was only little after 4pm so we figured we still had time for a short hike in the area. We drove back a bit and parked our car at one of the trailheads of the Wild Pacific Trail and headed for the Artist Loops on that trail. After about ten minutes through the forest, you end up on a path along the shore offering absolutely stunning views. The weather was also perfect for that evening stroll, so we were sad to have to head back after about half an hour to avoid having to hike through the forest in the dark.
For dinner we stayed close to our hotel; the Floathouse Patio & Grill, a restaurant on the water. In 2017 they won an award for the best seafood chowder, so of course I had to try that. And yup, definitely well deserved. It was delicious! And that coming from someone who isn’t big on fish!
The rest of the evening we spent on the balcony of our room, enjoying some drinks and snacks while watching the sun set behind the trees. Bliss!