Scenic Drives around Victoria

Jun 6th, 2003, 02:34 PM
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Scenic Drives around Victoria

My in-laws will be in Victoria in July and wanted to rent a car one day to drive outside the city. They're thinking about going to Brutchart Gardens around 4pm, having dinner and then staying for the live music at night. Can anyone suggest a nice drive from Victoria that they could do in the morning/early afternoon before going to the Gardens. Any recommendations on places for lunch would be great as well. Also, they were thinking about having dinner at Brutchart Gardens in the more formal restaurant. Has anyone eaten there and can comment on the food/prices? Thanks!
 
Jun 6th, 2003, 07:01 PM
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There is a drive around the waterfront that is very well marked, Scenic Marine Drive. Where are they arriving in Victoria from (i.e. the airport or ferry)? The Snug at the Oak Beach Hotel is a great place to stop for lunch. Dinner in the formal restuarant at Butcharts is lovely however a little pricey, food is great. There is also the Blue Poppy room to eat in, while it is buffet style the food and atmosphere is wonderful and it is cheaper. If they want to eat in the formal restaurant they should make reservations.
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Jun 6th, 2003, 11:05 PM
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Maybe it has changed but the last time I had dinner at Butchart's the food was so-so and the service was so abysmal that I've never been back. My favourite spot for lunch is the White Heather tea room in Oak Bay where the food is always fresh, but they could also try the Fireside Grill on W. Saanich Rd. in Royal Oak (prices for lunch mostly in the $9-$14 range), more for the interesting building than anything. At one time it had a thatched roof.

The scenic drive mentioned above not only takes you along the waterfront but through a neighbourhood of stately homes. Depending on how agile your inlaws are, they might want to include a drive up Mt. Doug and hike up to the viewpoint, which is especially nice on a clear, summer evening.

On the peninsula, backroads can be taken instead of the highway. You can't get too lost, but a map would save time. One route is along Cordova Bay Road, turning onto smaller country roads at Hunt Road. Another is West Saanich Road, which leads to the turnoff to Butchart's. I prefer to veer off it onto Old West Saanich / Oldfield Roads. For that matter, to confuse the issue, one can carry on along Cordova Bay to Sayward, cross the highway, and wind around past Elk Lake to Oldfield Road.

On East Saanich Road is a Belgian chocolate shop, Hill House, that sells muffins and coffee as well.

If shopping is of interest, they might include a stop at Oak Bay Village, Mattick's Farm (on Cordova Bay Rd.), or Sidney.

They could drive up the Malahat but blasting down the highway is not what I would call a leisurely trip.
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Jun 7th, 2003, 04:08 AM
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Depending on how much time they want to spend driving, I'd suggest a trip to Chemainus to see the murals and browse around the town. It does mean driving across the Malahat, but I've always enjoyed the drive (during daylight, that is - not much fun at night) - very scenic and lovely. I'd allow maybe an hour to an hour and a half each way. Chemainus is quite touristy but fun in its own way. There's a section called Old Town that has nice places to stop for lunch.
Another possibility, which doesn't really involve a drive, would be to have tea at Point Ellice House. That's a restored Victorian home; you do a little tour with an audio cassette (yes, I know, it sounds dismal, but honestly it isn't) and then they serve afternoon tea in the garden. We hadn't wanted to go, but when we got there, at the insistence of some friends, we absolutely loved it.
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Jun 9th, 2003, 09:40 AM
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Thanks for all the responses and suggestions. Would a drive out to Sooke or even as far as Port Renfrew be too much for a morning/afternoon? Or would that be a whole day trip? Would it be worth doing? My in-laws are not very agile so hiking or any long walks is out of the question. But they would like to see some scenery from the car.
 
Jun 9th, 2003, 10:27 AM
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I don't think of the route to Sooke as particularly scenic. Parts are plain ugly. Beyond Sooke are some great beaches but to get to them requires some hiking. French Beach isn't the most fascinating but is a short walk from the parking lot (with a hill at the top though), and would be fine for a picnic on a nice day. A much more dramatic beach at Point No Point might not be too difficult to reach but I think they'd have to ask for permission up at the teahouse.

There are some nice coves along the route but I would find the twisty, turny drive all the way to Port Renfrew a bit long. An interesting stop on the way to Sooke is Hatley Park and castle. True, they'll be seeing Butchart's, but this is a garden of a different sort.

The drive to Chemainus also passes through some tacky territory, but then there are the views from the Malahat. So between the two, I honestly don't know which one I'd pick. Probably either one would be fine.
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Jun 18th, 2003, 07:34 PM
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SF,
I second the motion for a lunch at Mattick's Wood. There are cute little shops/restaurants, etc.
The scenic drive which starts from the Inner Harbor and leads one to Dallas Rd along the water is a beautiful drive. You will pass through the beautiful Uplands neighborhood -- The Beverly Hills of V.I.
Enjoy
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Jun 19th, 2003, 06:00 AM
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What about driving northbound up the Malahat (the scenic "turnouts" are only accessible from that lane) to Mill Bay, ferry from there to Brentwood Bay, to Buchart Gardens and return to Victoria via the scenic route described above?
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