Our Travels: Vancouver Island, Canada

As you read this, some of the World Words team are almost certainly travelling away from home. When we aren’t writing, we’re exploring, which is why we’re the only content agency that caters exclusively to the travel market. Our team is regularly globetrotting and we love to write about our travel adventures in these Our Travels blogs. Like the time Mandy met Tanuki in Honshu, Joe chased geysers in Iceland and Georgia was dazzled by Dubai.

Nathanael, one of our staff content writers, certainly grabs any chance he gets to travel. Last summer, he seized the opportunity to realise a long-held travel dream to visit British Columbia, starting in glorious Vancouver Island…

Hello

The view from Nathanael’s bed and breakfast on Vancouver Island.

Why I went to Vancouver Island
I was completing some research on Vancouver Island for one of my writing projects with World Words, and I was enchanted by the idea of the place from the first moment I read about it. Mountains rolling into forests that then cascade into seas… as an outdoors enthusiast, I knew I had to visit. Conveniently, two of my close friends then moved out to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia located in the south of the island, so I booked my tickets.

My highlight of the trip
I spent three days by myself – I’m a big fan of solo travel – in a delightful bed-and-breakfast hotel facing the Georgia Strait, with views of Vancouver in the distance. I hired a kayak and spent hours just drifting through the serene landscape, circumnavigating De Courcy Island and Link Island. The scenery was quintessentially British Columbian, with trees covering the near landscape and mountains piercing the horizon in the distance. Best of all, the area is teeming with extraordinary wildlife. I got an up-close view of two bald eagles basking in the sunlight, not long after following an otter who was enjoying a particularly successful fishing trip.

What else I love about Vancouver Island
Victoria is a laid-back, welcoming city that doesn’t really feel like the capital of a major Canadian region. I spent my time here exploring on foot – always a bonus for a city, in my opinion – wandering along the charming waterfront and drinking quality coffee. There aren’t too many big-hitting attractions (although the gardens of Beacon Hill Park are definitely worth a visit) but the atmosphere invites you to simply explore or relax at your own pace. I particularly enjoyed snacking on street food and stopping in one of the finest independent bookshops I’ve ever visited. Oh, and all the stereotypes you’ve heard about the friendliness of Canadians are actually true.

The British Columbia legislature building on a sunny day in Victoria.

Why you should go
I barely scratched the surface of what you can do and see on Vancouver Island. For instance, I didn’t even make it to Tofino, said to be one of the most breathtakingly beautiful parts of the island, while the island’s northern half promises wild, tourist-free landscapes bursting with wildlife. Victoria, meanwhile, is easily accessible on a short boat ride from Vancouver and is, to me at least, significantly more charming than its attention-grabbing neighbour.

How you can visit
I flew to Nanaimo, a city on the eastern coast of the island, by connecting in Vancouver. Flights also go to Victoria, or you can hop on one of the numerous ferries that criss-cross the waters of all of the islands here. It’s well worth noting that on-island public transport is limited, so if you’re planning to move around you should look into car hire.

At World Words, we’ve written plenty of travel content about Canada – and the wider region of North America and The Caribbean. You can read a selection of it right here. Keep bang up to date by following us on Twitter.

- Article and photography by Nathanael Smith.

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