These days, it’s fashionable to have a list of wonderful and wacky things to do. Who doesn’t want to experience the heart-stopping rush of hurtling head first toward a raging, crocodile-infested river with only a piece of rubber between you and a serious headache?
Okay, maybe that’s not everyone’s cup of tea; but for some of us, ramping our adrenaline up to the max is better than sex. For others, it’s enjoying a spectacular sunrise on the savanna, or simply kicking back in some natural hot springs.
Whatever your muse is, Canada’s world renowned Vancouver Island has got you covered. For the daring to the dreamers, you will be hard pushed to find a location as beautifully diverse and accommodating as Vancouver Island.
Wrestle a Grizzly Bear in Knight Inlet
Okay, so you won’t actually wrestle a grizzly, and we definitely don’t recommend it; but if experiencing the cream of the crop of Vancouver Island’s wildlife tickles your fancy, then consider spending a weekend expedition with one of the many tour operators within Knight Inlet. Companies such as Grizzly Bear Lodge and Knight Inlet Lodge provide you with three- to four-day wildlife discovery adventures that you will stay with you forever.
Watch black bears feeding on the beach, and get up close and personal with white sided dolphins, sea lions, and harbor seals, before being wowed by a spectacular humpback whale show (no theme park admission necessary).
Finally, enjoy the abundance of natural fauna, snowy green mountains, and crystal clear lakes as bald eagles swoop overhead.
Try Spelunking at Horne Lake Caves
Step out of your comfort zone and tap into your animal instincts as you navigate your way through Vancouver Island’s underworld. With anything from one-hour cave explorations to four-hour extreme cave rappelling, Horne Lake Cave Tours has it covered. Enjoy a simple guided walking tour, including Vancouver Island’s only underground slide; or you can crawl, climb, and swim through underground waterfalls and crystal filled caverns.
Located just outside the town of Qualicum Beach, you can camp by the lake in a traditional teepee, and go on your own self-guided caving expedition or short 1.5-km uphill hike around the spectacular fossil geology trail.
Enjoy a Picnic in Butchart Gardens
Enjoy the serenity of Butchart Gardens just outside of Victoria. Set in an old quarry, these magnificent gardens that were planted over a century ago by Jennie Butchart are a testament to how much of a positive impact an individual can have on nature. In the summer, look out for concerts, boat tours, fine dining, fireworks, and nighttime illuminations. During the winter, you will be treated with Christmas lights and decorations, winter themed dining, and ice skating.
Butchart Gardens has something for the whole family with self-guided discovery walks, boat tours, greenhouse tours, indoor gardens, historical displays, a plant and seed shop, and even a children’s pavilion and rose carousel.
Ski the Slopes at Mount Washington
From mountain biking to weddings, Mount Washington has it all; but it’s skiing that Mount Washington is really famous for. Hit the powdery slopes for an unforgettable adrenaline rush with snowshoeing, tubing and alpine/Nordic night skiing; or get to grips with the slippery terrain by taking some lessons at the Snow School. With an elevation of over 500 meters, visitors can enjoy cross country skiing, tobogganing, luxury spa experiences, or simply building a snow wo/man.
Falling flat on your face in freezing temperatures not your thing? Then visit in the summer and take advantage of a myriad of activities including golf, canopy tours, fly fishing, and rock climbing.
If you really want to stretch the imagination, then give quad bungee trampolining a shot.
Kayak With Orcas at Telegraph Cove
With over 200 resident orcas, Telegraph Cove is renowned as one of the best places in the world to see killer whales. Mistakenly labeled a whale, the orca actually belongs to the dolphin family; and despite being nicknamed the killer whale, there are no reports of wild orcas attacking humans; so there is no need to worry about a whale capsizing your kayak into its mouth!
Thanks to a few tour companies such as North Island Kayak and Spirit of the West Adventures, you can get your thrills with one- to eight-day kayaking tours, where you’ll be treated to a great variety of Vancouver Island’s most interesting wildlife.
Go Storm Watching in Tofino
Let’s face it, Vancouver Island has it all: stunning whale filled lakes, bear populated forests, snowy mountains, and every outdoor adventure imaginable. But there is one unique experience that Vancouver Island is less known for. With stunning beauty and ecological diversity, like much of the island, you can try fishing, kayaking, hiking, and camping. However, it is storm watching that is the reason most people visit this little gem.
Between November and February, visitors can experience the truly wild side of nature. Draped in full rain gear, you can watch awestruck as giant surf rolls in to the soundtrack of thunder and lightning.
Gale force winds, giant swells, and lashing wind a little too intimidating to experience out in the open? Then enjoy the nature show from the luxury of a hotel such as the Wick Inn, which provides specially tailored seasonal packages. While you’re there, head 27 nautical miles northwest to Maquinna Provincial Park, where you can indulge in the hot springs cove.