We had not heard about Vancouver Island before having a lovely couple who lived there, stay with us for a month when we owned a hospitality business. Therefore, when the opportunity came up to go and see it, we jumped at the chance. We booked a day tour to take as much in as possible given our limited time in Vancouver. Picking us up from the hotel the coach delivered us to the ferry at the harbor and as it was a drive-in ferry, the coach came too.
We were blessed with a dazzlingly blue sky and cool weather. The ferry started its slow journey across to the island, the swells not very big. The ferry wasn’t crowded so it was a very pleasant trip. Privileged to see some of the marine life alongside and in the distance including some sea lions as we passed rocks and a headland of the island As well as other forms of sea life, but to this day I have no idea what they were!
It was a beautiful view as we passed through the straits on our way to Victoria, the capital of British Colombia. Remaining with the coach, we were taken for a drive through the suburbs, past the beaches on our way to the Butchart Gardens. These hundred-year-old gardens were originally a quarry and have since been transformed into an amazing garden or sequence of gardens. I think even if you were not interested in gardening at all, this one would still be mind-blowing. The tour guide allowing us three hours to see the gardens, and my first thought was gosh that is a long time for just a garden.
How wrong that assumption was! Glorious with the spring flowering shrubs and flowers, we took many pictures and feasted on the sheer beauty of the gardens. We came to a stop for a welcome rest at the cafe and inevitable souvenir shop at the end of the allotted time.
We could have cheerfully returned the next day and repeated the experience.
Then it was into Victoria itself for lunch and a wander around the city. After lunch the chance to see the British Colombia Museum. I have always enjoyed museums and this one was no exception. The attention to detail and the displays made it a worthwhile use of time while in Victoria. Then it was off to the Chemainus hotel for our booked and expensive afternoon tea. Bookings have to be made in advance here, as it has always been a very popular pastime! Indeed, it was worth the experience, the scones, cream, and strawberry jam to drool over in memory in the coming years.
The Harbor itself was a very pretty one and given the gorgeous day, made the Waitemata harbor at home in New Zealand look like a poor cousin! I would dearly love to live here; it had a wonderful feel and a lifestyle bar none. There was just not enough time to take it all in, a mental note made if we came back to Vancouver island to allow so much more time to enjoy this part of the world.