Vancouver Island Getaway July 2007

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Apr 12th, 2007, 04:30 PM
  #1
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Vancouver Island Getaway July 2007

Greetings Fodorites!
I am planning to accompany my husband on a business trip in Victoria at the end of July. My goal would be to find something great for us to do on the island, for 4 days-ish, after the conference is over. Ideally, we would love to sea kayak, however I am concerned that, given our time constraints, it won't happen. It is about a 8hr drive from Victoria to Port MacNeil, isn't it? Maybe we can fly? I guess that my question is, is it worth going that far north to see the wildlife, or would there be equally great things to do around Victoria... Any advise/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. We are in our early 30's, no kids, quite active, wildlife/adventure seekers. Budget isn't an issue at this point. Please respond with your suggestions....Thank you, Tanya
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Apr 12th, 2007, 04:37 PM
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Go to Tofino. It's a five hour drive from Victoria and SO, so worth it. Book now though--things are probably already pretty full for late July. My favorite place to stay is the Middle Beach Lodge but if you want something more upscale, the Wickanninish (the Wick for short) is quite nice (although it's pricey). You can do wonderful sea kayaking trips from Tofino.

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Apr 12th, 2007, 04:43 PM
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P.S. To get an idea of how amazingly gorgeous Tofino is, go to tourismtofino.com and click on the "Clayoquot Sound Poster" in the upper left hand corner.
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Apr 12th, 2007, 08:04 PM
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Wow, NW. that is an AMAZING photo!! makes you want to take a seaplane or helicopter ride...

Tanya, we are spending 4 nights in Tofino, but have never been there before. There are lots of outdoor activities to book: kayak trips, bear watching, whale watching, etc.
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Apr 12th, 2007, 09:06 PM
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If travel time is of concern, bear in mind that you can rent a kayak and embark on a whale watching trip both within a hundred yards of the conference center. Bicycle and motorbike rentals are across the street. Either of these could take you to the Oak Bay Marina where you could buy a bag of bait and hand feed the not so starving seals.

However, if budget isn't an issue, a chartered seaplane to Tofino would be a cool way to go.
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Apr 12th, 2007, 10:16 PM
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Another idea is http://www.soulecreeklodge.com all found.

It a much less trafficked part of the Island but close to Victoria.
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Apr 13th, 2007, 06:40 AM
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Wow, thank you for the great responses. Those pictures are beautiful. I had read about Tofino, however read that it is very touristy in the summer and looses a lot of its charm. Maybe not? I think that we shall leave sea kayaking in the north for another trip. However, that said...NWWanderer, the sea kayaking trips out of Tofino, is there a chance to see whales/bears/etc? And, at the Middle Beach Lodge, are we better in the Lodge at the Beach or Lodge at the Headlands? I love the look of the Wick, but my husband will say it is too expensive for this trip!!
The Soule Creek Lodge looks great too, I will email them as well. Thank you everyone, I appreciate any other suggestions as well...Tanya
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Apr 13th, 2007, 07:33 AM
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Well, I've been to Tofino at various times of year including summer and I think it's wonderful no matter when you go. Yes, it's more crowded in the summer time but where isn't? Unless you're planning to go back soon at a less busy time of year, you should just go, IMO.

No, you generally wouldn't see whales or bears on a kayaking trip--but you're likely to see harbor seals and of course lots of eagles. For a chance at whale and bear viewing you'd have to do a trip on a regular boat so you can go further afield.

The rooms at the original Lodge at the Beach are quite small and simple. Ideally, book a cabin at the Lodge at the Headlands, but their availability may be limited. I've never heard of Soule Creek Lodge. If you want something in between Middle Beach and the Wick, Long Beach Lodge would be my recommendation.
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Apr 13th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Oops, sorry, not enough coffee yet this morning ;-). I just realized Soule Creek Lodge isn't in Tofino--never mind ;-).
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Apr 13th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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I've never really found Tofino to be a "touristy" place in the same way I've found Victoria. Now *there's* a touristy place to be in the summer! Tofino will feel remote by comparison, even in the summer!
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Apr 13th, 2007, 08:30 AM
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I made this suggestion on another thread and have made it in the past; not sure anybody has taken it up, however.

There is a houseboat operating as a B&B, docked at Hot Springs Cove near Tofino. Check out www.innchanter.com. We stayed there a few years ago and loved it. You can do a night hike to the Cove when nobody else is around, which makes it a lot less touristy.
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Apr 13th, 2007, 04:53 PM
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That houseboat looks like a fabulous idea for someone wanting a real get away-I've got it bookmarked now-Thanks.=D>
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Apr 13th, 2007, 08:06 PM
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Yeah! I also am looking into the houseboat. Thank you for all of your suggestions. It certainly appears that Tofino is going to be the getaway place, and that we will have to keep the sea kayaking to see the orcas for another trip. Although I am disappointed about that, I am excited about Tofino now. Thanks again. I will post again when we are finally booked somewhere. Tanya
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Apr 13th, 2007, 10:50 PM
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I'm so glad you guys like the houseboat idea! We did that trip maybe 7 years ago and I've posted occasionally about it since then, but somehow people didn't seem all that interested. It's really a great way to enjoy the area and the boat itself is quite neat. We stayed in the big loft-type room above the kitchen - had to climb a ladder to get up there but it was great. The entire top deck was our balcony.
We got out there by water taxi; it was a lengthy boat ride, so when it was time to go back to Tofino we decided to share a float plane ride with the other family that was staying there. Great experience, and the night hike to the Cove was magical.
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Apr 14th, 2007, 10:54 AM
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Thank you, I have emailed the houseboat people and am awaiting their response.
Keep you posted...Tanya
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Apr 19th, 2007, 05:27 PM
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hi uculet is also very beautiful...if time allows side trip from victoria to salt spring island for a day...saturday is great a wonderful open air market..locla artisans..then spend the later part of the day hiking ruckle park..just need good walking shoes..head back to ganges(townsite)..pick a nice place for dinner..picalos..then hang around the tree house cafe and take in local entertainment nightly...some great way to spend a full day..if you stay overnite book ahead..its a charming place
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Apr 25th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Wild Pacific Trail in Ucluelet offers cliff views of storm waves, wind-warped trees, a lighthouse, see www.longbeachmaps.com/wildtrail.html
Great contrast to the flat vistas from Long Beach. For Ucluelet food, try Blueberries for west coast lunch, Matteson House for dinner in a cottage.
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