Sooke is a wonderful coastal town with amazingly deep and beautiful forests, lakes and rivers. The Sooke Potholes is an extraordinary example of this. Over thousands of years swirling water have created amazingly deep pools in this otherwise, massive and crashing river. This has created an astonishing river-world fun park of sorts. Cliffs, fallen trees, rock outcrops over the river. Nothing, including the river ever runs in anything close to a straight line. So many amazing vantage points, so many unbelievable swimming spots. If you are interested in venturing further, you can follow the potholes for quite a distance. About 3k in fact, as they snake through the river valley. Sooke Potholes Provincial Park is one of the destinations for people hiking and biking the Galloping Goose Regional Trail from Victoria. The trail passes through the park on the way to Leechtown(ghost town). There is a nice campground, the Sooke Potholes Campground which a bit unexpectedly did not open in 2014.
Why should you go to Sooke Potholes?
These extraordinarily clear, circular and deep pools of water are each a world on their own. The park brings out the child explorer in everyone as you clamour over and around rock cliffs to reach the next pothole to swim in or just to see. The enormous chimney that remains from the abandoned convention centre still stands high above the potholes adjacent to the Galloping Goose Regional Trail makes the area look like a ghost town. The crumbling remains are fenced off now, but in the 1990's you could wander around the magnificent foundations of what would have been an amazing building had it been completed.
is popular with hiking, fishing, canoeing and swimming. Located north of Victoria, the drive to get there is very beautiful and well worth the drive just for the great stops on the way. Spectacle Lake Provincial ParkThetis Lake Park and Goldstream Park are easily combined with Spectacle Lake in a one day hiking/sightseeing adventure. These two parks are on the way to Spectacle Lake and very convenient pit stops adding just minutes to the journey or longer if wanted. Spectacle Lake Provincial Park has a very nice 2k trail around the lake compete with wooden bridges and plenty to see. Much of the trail is wheelchair accessible. Popular for swimming, fishing and hiking in the summer and freezes over in the winter(sometimes) to allow for ice skating. Spectacle Lake is notable for being the only lake on Vancouver Island with Eastern Brook trout and is stocked yearly with Cutthroat trout.
Why should you go to Spectacle Lake?
Spectacle Lake is a tranquil and beautiful Vancouver Island lake. Deep forest and crystal clear water make it a great place to spend the day relaxing, fishing and/or hiking.
Thetis Lake Regional Park is a very popular Victoria park that contains multiple lakes. Lower Thetis Lake, Upper Thetis Lake, Prior Lake and further out, McKenzie Lake are all within this amazing park. A wide, spider web of hiking trails run in between and around these lakes in the midst of a beautiful and secluded forest. Trails also lead to more challenging trails to Scafe Hill and Stewart Mountain. In the summer Thetis Lake is fantastically popular as a swimming beach. Sandy beach, beautiful lake, and a wonderful trail system make the park crowded on hot days. Fishing, kayaking and canoeing are other popular attractions. Thetis Lake Park is connected to Mill Hill Regional Park and Francis/King Regional Park as well. Both are beautiful parks in their own right. Mill Hill commands unexpectedly beautiful views of Victoria and the ocean beyond. Francis King showcases some of the most impressively enormous trees in the Victoria area.
Why should you go to Thetis Lake?
Thetis Lake Regional Park is an incredible place to escape the world on a rainy day and a perfect place to enjoy the world a sunny day. The sandy beach is alive with activity in the summer and the seemingly endless forest trails are so numerous as to always be relaxing and serene. The always varying terrain make Thetis Lake always interesting place to walk around. Rocky cliffs, small island chains and sunny forest clearings keep you always interested in what is around the next bend.
Witty's Lagoon Regional Park is a great network of trails and boardwalks that meander through an impressive Douglas-fir forest leading to the wonderful beach at Witty's Lagoon. The trails total over 5k, however, can be hiked in smaller sections. Many just head to the beach and lagoon and avoid the trails, but the trails are well worth a look. The trails run around the lagoon with great ocean and wildlife scenery. Sitting Lady Falls is wonderfully viewed from the very nice boardwalk. Expect to take two hours if you walk most of the trails and far more if you stay to explore the beach and lagoon. Witty's Lagoon is teeming with wildlife. Fresh water pours into the salt water lagoon enabling an astounding array of plant and animal life. Rock crabs, fish, clams, purple sea stars, seals and dozens of different types of birds can be reliably seen on every visit. With the wide variety of life at Witty's Lagoon there is an interpretive centre to help you identify it all. Free to visit and open everyday.
Why should you go to Witty's Lagoon Near Victoria?
Witty's Lagoon is a massive ocean-side park with a staggering number of plant and animals thriving in it. Beautiful forest, creeks and a waterfall pour into the sandy seashore and beautiful beach. Lots for kids to see and do and a wonderfully relaxing place to lay in the sun or stare out to sea.
Victoria's Inner Harbour is the heart of this incredibly tourist oriented city. Surrounded by spectacular buildings, historical monuments and stunning totem poles, the Inner Harbour is a free Victoria attraction that takes hours to fully appreciate. From the two kilometre cement and granite causeway that skirts the harbour and then continues at both ends for much longer, to the various centuries old buildings. The British Columbia parliament buildings dominate one end of the Inner Harbour and you are free to wander much of this astonishingly old and ridiculously extravagant building. The beautiful Empress Hotel sits across from the Inner Harbour as well and along with being a luxury hotel, it is a free museum of sorts on its lower level. You can wander through the lower hallways that take you back over a century as you look at artifacts and hotel menus from the 1800's. If you exit the front of the Empress Hotel and cross to the Inner Harbour you will see the imposing and huge statue of Captain Cook. If you love history or have travelled to other places Cook travelled, you will recognize him immediately. Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and Britain all share strikingly similar monuments to this wonderful explorer. Just a five minute walk from the Captain Cook statue past the Empress is the wonderful Royal BC Museum. This amazing museum houses a seemingly endless array of local history ranging from thousands of years ago to recent decades. No where else in the world will you find such a breathtaking collection of totem poles. The causeway continues in both directions. If you walk to the left (in the direction of the Parliament Buildings) and follow the waterfront you will connect to a beautiful trail that skirts the Inner Harbour for quite some distance. After about 30 minutes you will arrive at Fisherman's Wharf.
This cute little marina is a world of its own with its permanent residents living in floating houses in Float Home Village. There are some great places there to get ice cream, and fresh from the ocean food. Picnic tables on the wharf are located right in the middle of the action. There is even a free, live show.. the Seal Cam, showing the big, fat and jolly harbour seals lurking below you. You can see it online here.. From Fisherman's Wharf you can continue walking along the waterfront for several more kilometres if you want. Just a 5 minute drive or 20 minute walk will bring you to Ogden Point(click the above image for aerial video), and the start of Victoria's amazing Beacon Hill Park.
Why should you walk around Victoria's Inner Harbour?
Victoria's Inner Harbour is lively, fun and wonderfully scenic. The causeway along the waterfront is impeccably designed to be relaxing and beautiful. Everywhere you look you find a relaxing seat with a beautiful view. Coffee shops, tea shops, pubs and stores are numerous and you can walk the area every day for a year and still spot something new and amazing to see.
is astonishingly beautiful and incredibly interesting as a tourist attraction in Victoria that most never see. This fact is amazing as it is wonderful and unquestionably, or at least arguably, as good or better than any other attraction around. And at $3.90, what a phenomenal deal. You can crawl all over all the real pre-World War I era defensive structures and even play with and all but fire a genuine World War II Anti-Aircraft Gun... which astonishingly is in the parking lot. Fort Rodd Hill has so much to see it spills onto the parking lot. What unbelievable place! Though you could make your way through at a rushed pace in about 30 minutes, expect to take over two hours at a moderate pace as there is such an astonishingly huge amount to see. Real fortifications from a century ago as if frozen in time. Thick cement walls that indestructible. Gun slits in the metre thick walls that you can peer through as though you had to defend the fort yourself. Some buildings even have sound effects as you walk in. The enormous anti-ship guns are still in place. These monstrous barrels pointing out to sea as if still looking for invading ships to fire upon. About the only drawback to Fort Rodd Hill is that you can't bring your dog with you, but this is for a pretty amazing reason. Once in a while you will spot deer roaming the grounds, so allowing dogs in the park would cause quite a disturbance.
Why should you go to Fort Rodd Hill?
Fort Rodd Hill has an astounding collection of historic buildings and World War I era recreations. The location of the park is beautiful as well with its sweeping ocean views. You can even wander down to the beach and walk along the shoreline to Fisguard Lighthouse. Fisguard Lighthouse is like a full scale museum in its own right. Recreations, sound and video recreate the effect of being in this lighthouse as it was a century ago. If you enjoy a beautiful ocean-side park on a sunny day, expect to take an hour or two. If you love history, and in particular war history, you will be happy for hours.