Smithsdownunder
Our journeys around Australia

We had a lot of rain at Mahood Lake and decided to forfeit our 3rd night and move on towards our next stop on the way to Whistler hoping that we could find somewhere to stay as it was the busy week for camping.

The road out was much better than the road we took coming in with just 30km or so of unsealed surface and no logging trucks. The few campsites we passed on the way were full and in the end we phoned ahead and managed to get the last pitch in a commercial site for a couple of nights on the outskirts of Whistler. It was a long drive but at least it got us close to the ferry we had booked to get across to Vancouver Island.

Whistler is a ski resort with the largest ski area in North America. A lot of the town was built for the 2010 Winter Olympics.

Olympic rings - Whistler

It is a popular location for skiing in the winter and in the summer mountain biking takes over. There were bikes everywhere. Here is the queue for the ski bike lifts:

Mountain bikers

We were going to go on the Peak-to-Peak gondola which spans 4.4km between two mountain tops but the visibility was poor and we couldn’t see the tops of the mountains most of the day and by the time it had cleared a little we missed the last ride.

After two nights in Whistler and a bit of retail therapy on Ali’s part we set off to Horseshoe Bay to catch the ferry across to Nanaimo on Vancouver Island. The 30 mile ferry trip took about 1¾ hours and cost about £40 for the two of us and the motor home – a real bargain compared with the local ferries to the Isle-of-Wight! We were hoping to spot some whales or better still orcas but they must have had better things to do that day.

We spent the night at the excellent Rathtrevor Provincial Park adjacent to the beach on the East Coast of the island. We had electric hook-up and very clean hot showers – a real treat.

The following day we drove across to the west coast to Green Point campground in the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. Fortunately we had booked ahead as the place was almost full. Another excellent campsite with electrical hook-up and good facilities located adjacent to a long beach facing the Pacific Ocean. The campsite is located in a temperate rainforest and we were surrounded by large cedars and everything was covered in moss.

Green Point camp site

Temperate rainforest

A path led us down the bluff and onto a large sandy beach which is popular with surfers. The beach was littered with driftwood, not your little bits and pieces you make ornaments and things out of but huge cedar logs for as far as the eye could see.

Driftwood on Combers Beach

Click here for a 360deg panorama of the beach: IMG 9343 Panorama.preview

On entering the campsite we were warned about bears, wolves and cougars who also reside there. We didn’t see any but Ali spotted some tracks on the beach which the ranger thought were those of a cougar!

The campsite was located about half way between the small fishing towns of Tofino and Ucluelet. Tofino is a very popular location and we had difficulty finding somewhere to park the motor home so we didn’t stay there long. Ucluelet on the other hand had a much more laid back atmosphere and some nice eateries.

An octopus made out of driftwood outside someone’s house:

Octapus

The town is located on a peninuslar sticking out into the Pacific and on a nearby headland we walked the Wild Pacific Trail where we had great views of the very rugged coastline.

Wild Pacific Trail

Wild Pacific Trail

 Further along the trail we came to the Amphitrite Lighthouse:

Amphitrite Lighthouse

Tsunami sign

 

 

Oh yes, apart from the wild creatures there were other things to be aware of in this area:

We managed to book an extra night in the campsite before heading back across the island.

These butterflies (Canadian tiger swallowtails I think) were at a rest stop on the road across the island.

Canadian tiger swallowtail butterflies

A Stellers Jay was making a real meal of them though!

Stellers Jay

On the way back across to the east coast we camped at Little Qualicum Falls Provincial Park and visited the nearby town of Coombs whose claim to fame is ‘Goats on the Roof’ – and there were goats on the roof of the Old Country Market:

Goats on the roof

The next day we had some time to kill before booking back in to the Rathtrevor campsite so we found a spot on a beach for lunch. Ali spotted a bald eagle sat on top of a tall pine tree:

Bald eagle

And about 20mtrs away was its mate sat on top of another tree:

And about 20mtrs away was its mate sat on top of another tree:

They weren’t at all bothered about us watching them. We then spotted a seal just off the beach followed by an osprey that swooped down to the water unsuccessfully trying to catch a fish. It gave up and flew to join the eagles at the top of the trees. What a great finish to our visit to Vancouver Island.

Vancouver Island Osprey