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off beaten track

Holland
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567 posts
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off beaten track

Hi,

Planning trip to VI for this summer, will be driving down from Whistler for about 10 days. Could use some suggestions on where to go and what to see, are not in a rush at all, like hiking, time for a swim and would like to see some wildlife.

Need a good 1st nigth camping on Sunshine Coast for friends who have never camped before.

Is daytrip to Texada good idea?

Will go across from Powell River to VI.Comox. Wondering if they should be driving up further north?

What is Stratchona Park like ?

Will then drive to Tofino (stay overnight Ucluetlett) and back to Port Alberni. What is the boattrip with LadyRose from Port Alberni to Ucluelett or Bamfield like ? Any chance to see wildlife ? Or should we better do whale watching from Tofino or Ucluelett?

From Port Alberni we would like to go off the beaten track towards Bamfleld. Except for being the end of the WestCoastTrail I have no clue what is up in Bamfield.

Can we do a boattrip or canoetrip into the Broken Islands?

Anyone camped at Nitinat Lake ?

Any route and camping suggestions from Nitinat Lake to Port Renfrew ? Is it allowed to camp wherever you like ?

Any suggestions between Port Renfrew and Sooke / Victoria?

Will visit Victoria, One family heading back to Whistler, other going across to Olympic nat park.

Looking forward to any suggestion. Thanks already !.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: off beaten track

Sunshine Coast - Porpoise Bay Provincial Park,just outside Sechelt is a lovely place to camp. Typical BC Parks campground (no power, water at communal spigots, hot showers and flush toilets in a washroom building). If you want the full amenities, then you'll need to go to a private campground.

Strathcona is a large wilderness area, somewhat remote and inaccessible. We were there when our kids were little, so we only did a couple of short hikes to a couple of waterfalls. It was nice, but not stunning. Where I WANT to go is Hornby Island - I've heard wonderful things about it.

I spent six weeks out in Bamfield as a student, and went back a couple of years ago with my kids. I LOVE the journey out on the Lady Rose. It takes me back 100 years as you imagine this as the only connection with the small communities along the Alberni Inlet. (although there is so much development out there now. I was very surprised on our trip about 3 years ago how much it had changed). The wildlife you will see is mostly bird life, although we did see a grey whale off the beach in Bamfield when we were there.

Bamfield is good for a couple of days, unless you fish, in which case you could spend a couple more. There is the Marine Station, run by the five big Western Universities, Bradys Beach in West Bamfield, and the boardwalk along West Bamfield is great. We parked our car in Port Alberni and went out for two nights I think. Stayed at West Coast Magic B&B. If you go to the Lady Rose Marine website, they have several links, and one of them is to a company that does kayaking in the Broken Islands, so you can check that out.

I would be careful about "camping where ever you like" because of wildlife. If you are in a campground, you have a certain amount of protection in numbers - less likely to have a bear or cougar check you out.

Sounds like a great itinerary!

Vancouver-by-the-Sea
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for British Columbia
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2. Re: off beaten track

<<Need a good 1st nigth camping on Sunshine Coast for friends who have never camped before.>>

Porpoise Bay as mentioned is perfect.

<<Is daytrip to Texada good idea?>>

Not an especially attractive place for a number of reasons-you could do better.

<<Will go across from Powell River to VI.Comox. Wondering if they should be driving up further north?>>

If you truly want 'Off The Beaten Track' then Yes.

<<What is Stratchona Park like?>>

A large beautiful piece of wilderness.

<<Will then drive to Tofino (stay overnight Ucluetlett) and back to Port Alberni.>>

Just one night?A lot of driving for such a short stay.

<<What is the boattrip with LadyRose from Port Alberni to Ucluelett or Bamfield like ? Any chance to see wildlife ? Or should we better do whale watching from Tofino or Ucluelet?>>

Much of what you'll see is second growth forest and is somewhat underwhelming the Uchuk is better for what you want but again requires going further north.

http://www.mvuchuck.com/

<<From Port Alberni we would like to go off the beaten track towards Bamfleld. Except for being the end of the WestCoastTrail I have no clue what is up in Bamfield.>>

It's a hard dusty road not for the faint of heart, you could do a day trip on the WCT lots of fun.

<<Can we do a boat trip or canoe trip into the Broken Islands?>>

Kayaking Yes a wonderful idea.

<<Anyone camped at Nitinat Lake?>>

Been there a number of times never camped (except in Carmanah) again dusty unimproved roads.Lots of windsurfers mean some facilities are available not sure of details though things change over time.

<<Any route and camping suggestions from Nitinat Lake to Port Renfrew ? Is it allowed to camp wherever you like?>>

This book might be a help http://www.backroadmapbooks.com/

NO you are not allowed to camp anywhere you like.

Certainly people do but lighting a fire when you have no permit is taken seriously.

<<Any suggestions between Port Renfrew and Sooke / Victoria?>>

There's a certain spot on the San Juan River near a bridge....and a sandy beach....

<<Looking forward to any suggestion. Thanks already!>

>

As I said earlier in the thread Northern Vancouver Island is where to go, few services but fewer people as well.

Canada
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for Vancouver Island
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3. Re: off beaten track

http://www.vancouverisland.com/parks/?id=411

http://www.strathcona.bc.ca/

Have a look at these websites regarding Strathcona Park. It is hardly "remote" and/or "inaccessible" and I'd argue that it is in fact stunning.

Check www.mountwashington.ca as well. There is good hiking there also.

Have to agree with Sam - if you want hiking and wildlife then the north Island is best. You can do whale and bear watching from Campbell River, or venture further north to Telegraph Cove or Port Mc Neill. See the thread titled "First Trip to Vancouver" in the Vancouver Island forum. Great post by KingfisherKayaking there.

Holland
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567 posts
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4. Re: off beaten track

Hi there,

Thanks for your great response already!

The MVuchuck looks great, would it be ok to do with the kids?

We did a daytrip from Quadra last year, where very lucky to see a few Killer Whales. But that was on a small high speed boat.

Is there any chance on seeing wildlife on this trip (I know it is WILDlife not a Zoo, so they won't stay in place, but generally spoken)

Don't worry we will stay a few nights at Tofino/Ucluelett area.

Been there couple of yours ago, loved it and want to show our friends. Even though it is not off beaten track at all, I think it is a must see.

Other suggestion are most welcome.

Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: off beaten track

I guess I was just overwhelmed with camping with small children and missed the best of Strathcona. :> We'll have to go back. As we have relatives in Courtenay, there's a good chance we'll be back that way.

Victoria BC
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6. Re: off beaten track

Hello in Holland,

It is tempting when looking at all the blank spots on the map of Vancouver Island to want to go out and explore. But actually, much of this area is Tree Farm License, in other words, lands being actively managed for the purpose of timber extraction, on an industrial scale. Camping there is frowned upon, and indeed, it is not all that attractive in many areas, as much of it has more of a plantation look than the natural forest. But there are some alternatives to the major provincial parks. The BC Forest Service campgrounds tend to be a little more remote and less developed, usually requiring a trip down a gravel road. These are usually well sited in the more attractive areas, and are a good deal.

…gov.bc.ca/sites_trails/rec_site_trail_guide…

As for kids on the Uchuck- absolutely! It’s a great trip, and also very historic. You land at the spot of first contact between Captain Cook and the aboriginal inhabitants of the island. You will probably be able to see native carvers at work while at Friendly Cove. The trip to the dock will take you through Strathcona Park.

As a complete aside, did you know that Vancouver is actually a Dutch name? It’s an anglicized version of Van Coverdon. Captain George Vancouver’s ancestors came from Holland.

On the way through Port Renfrew, some scenic spots include: Botanical Beach, Sombrio Beach, and Mystic Beach, in Juan De Fuca Park. Camping on the beach is allowed at Sombrio and Mystic.

One last note: if you stay at Nitnat Lake, beware of the wind that comes up each day. Because of the lakes shape and orientation to the ocean, it generates very strong winds, usually starting mid-morning. These are strong enough to create white caps on the lake.

Have a great trip

Telegraph Cove
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7. Re: off beaten track

As has been said before me on this thread. For wildlife, fewer people and camping options that will blow your socks off.....Go North. It is truly worth it.

Get the backroads map. Use one of the free forestry campsites it shows on the North Island and it will pay for itself.

Consider San Josef bay. An easyhour or so hike with your pack and you can face your tent to the ocean on a spectacular, probably deserted sandy beach.

Look at kayaking and go see the whales. Telegraph Cove is king. You will find kayak tours of 2 hours to 8 or more days. Google it....

Rent a bike or bring one and head out to Sointula and again camp viewing the ocean.

Black bears are everywhere. Ususally they can be seen by the side of the road.

Swim with the salmon in Campbell River and certainly take a trek into Strathcona. Visit some of the islands from Cambpell River and again kayaks are readily availableas are canoes, bikes......etc.

Go North!

Canada
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for Vancouver Island
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8. Re: off beaten track

See www.snorkelwithsalmon.com for the swimming with the salmon mentioned above.

Also, www.westcoastcaving.com www.saratogaspeedway.com - just some more ideas...

Holland
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567 posts
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9. Re: off beaten track

Hi there,

Again thanks for all great comments.

If you got more suggestions please don't hesitate !

As for history:

Yes, George Vancouver ancestors were Dutch, the right spelling of there Dutch name is actually Van Coevorden, named after a town Coevorden in the northeastern part of The Netherlands.

When they started people giving last names they took someones profession, like Bakker (english Baker) coming from the local Bakery, or the area someone was living, like Van Dijk, being someone living on/close to The Dike, or Van Dam, living on the Dam, Van means being from a certain place or area, so Van Coevorden, was a family living in or close to the town Coevorden. This also explains why so many Dutch people have Van in there last name.

The town Coevorden still has connections with Richmond, as being sister-towns. They where going to build a replica of the Coevorden Windmill in Richmond for the Olympics, however the plan was cancelled probably because of money-issues.

Coevorden has a site about being twin-sisters with Richmond, unfortunately only in Dutch.

Well, enough history, back to travel !

10. Re: off beaten track

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