About Vancouver Island
Vancouver Island, the largest island on the Pacific coast of North America, is situated opposite the mainland of British Columbia. Vancouver Island is approximately 300 miles long and varies from 40 to 80 miles wide. You can reach Vancouver Island by a network of provincial ferries that arrive in either Victoria or Nanaimo. Most cities on Vancouver Island have their own airport with quite a few being recognized as international destinations.
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The largest city and provincial capital of British Columbia is Victoria, situated on the southern tip of Vancouver Island about a three hour drive south of Campbell River. The world-renowned Butchart Gardens began as a hobby in 1904 and is a must-see for any visitor to Victoria. The British Columbia Provincial museum is situated in Victoria and is a source of pride to all British Columbians. The Empress Hotel and Craigdarroch Castle are just part of the quaint Victorian atmosphere found in architecture, shops and gardens.
A relaxing drive north of Victoria offers spectacular views of the Gulf of Georgia and its myriad islands. From Duncan to the Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo to Telegraph Cove there is a patchwork of serene rural areas, majestic coastline and the bustling city of Nanaimo. Lumbering, sawmills, pulp manufacturing and specialized farming support the growing population of Vancouver Island.
Going north from Nanaimo to Campbell River you have a choice of two highways to travel. The Vancouver Island Oceanside Highway follows the coastline of Vancouver Island and affords you breath-taking views of small islands dotting the deep blue waters of Georgia Strait and of the Coastal Mountain range as you pass through quaint seaside towns. The other route is a high- speed four-lane highway that cuts a swath through the centre of Vancouver Island. Just north of Nanaimo, Highway #4 takes you west to the rugged communities of Tofino, Ucluelet and Port Alberni. You will pass through stands of enormous virgin timber in MacMillan Park, commonly known as Cathedral Grove.
Picturesque lakes peak out from between the mighty Douglas Firs that line the highway as you continue along this winding serpentine trail to the coast. The raw beauty of Long Beach, found near Tofino on Vancouver Island, leaves all who visit it breathless. Surfing is world class here and the towns of Tofino and Ucluelet find themselves playing host to adventure lovers of all types.
Back on Highway #19 heading north to Dolphins Fishing Resort in Campbell River, you pass through the relaxed east coast communities of Qualicum Beach and Parksville; havens for retirees and families alike. With its temperate, sunny climate this area is known as the 'banana belt' of Vancouver Island, and the endless sandy beaches, golf courses and shopping make it a premier holiday spot. Next you come to the Comox Valley, an agricultural area where the cities of Comox and Courtenay are nestled at the foot of the Comox Glacier. Not only is there golfing and fishing, but there are great hiking opportunities in Strathcona Provincial Park and skiing and mountain biking at Mount Washington Ski Resort.
Forty minutes north of Campbell River is the Sayward Valley, which hugs the banks of the Salmon River. This beautiful and sparsely populated area provides a great stopping place on your way to exploring points north. Port McNeill, Port Hardy and Telegraph Cove, all synonymous with whale watching, are some of many small communities located in the northern reaches of Vancouver Island. On the northern-most tip of the island is the extremely rugged Cape Scott Trail to the west coast, where you can see evidence of the hardships some of our earliest settlers endured.
An island for all seasons and all reasons. Visit Vancouver Island today! Email or call the Dolphins Resort for more information. 1-800-891-0287