Armed with a great list of sights to check out, we set out for two days in the Victoria area.
Goldstream Provincial Park: Day Use Area
The best time of the year to check out the salmon run near Victoria is late October into November. Lucky for us, that’s when we were there! We spent a little time exploring the creek that runs through the day use portion of Goldstream Provincial Park. Don’t forget to look up from time to time.
We had lots of time to explore. One of the trails within Goldstream’s day use area leads to the summit of Mount Finlayson. We hiked over rooty trails and scrambled up rocky sections. The work is worth it. The view from the top is spectacular.
We decided to tackle Mount Douglas the same day. After we drove into Victoria and by a show of tired hands, we opted to drive up to the summit. We took in the view from the top – which maybe wasn’t quite as spectacular as Mount Finlayson’s – and chatted with John Cleese briefly who had clearly hoofed it up to the top. Yep, that John Cleese. We felt a little small for driving up.
Rain was starting to move in. We piled back into the minivan and drove to Victoria’s parliament building by way of the scenic, waterfront route. We parked and walked to Chinatown for a dim sum dinner.
When we filled John the Goldstream park ranger in on our day, he told us John Cleese’s daughter lives in Victoria and that he was in town to perform a show. We thanked him again for all of his suggestions, settled up with him, made reservations for the BC Ferry to Vancouver (thanks again to cell service in the area) for the next day, and headed to our tents.
The next day we spent all of our time at the Royal BC Museum. The 100-years back-in-time exhibit (with associated music) was excellent as were the natural history exhibits.
A few lessons learned: The fee to reserve your spot on the BC Ferry was expensive – $18.50 at the time. It was worth it, knowing we were guaranteed to get on the boat we wanted. Next time we’d probably take a daytime ride. We heard later that there were pods of dolphins off our port side.
Let me know in the comments: What would you recommend a first-time visitor to Victoria see and do?