Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site
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!
Fort Rodd Hill is open everyday of the year except December 25, 26 and January 1st. Opening hours are 10am to 530pm March to October and closing at 430pm October to February. Many of the interesting(indoor) buildings are closed in the off season. So you may be disappointed if you show up in November to not see a couple indoor things.
For the most part, the park is a beautiful outdoor park, so year-round it is great to visit. Make sure you get there well before closing to enjoy everything. If you arrive at the door after 3pm, you will already be too late to enjoy the visit! Also, they close the entrance at least a half hour before closing, so if you show up at 4pm in the off season or 5pm the rest of the year, you won't get in.
Fort Rodd Hill National Historic Site - Directions
From Downtown Victoria follow Douglas Street until it becomes the Trans Canada Highway, follow this for 5k then take the Colwood Exit (Exit 10). Follow this for 2k then turn left onto Ocean Boulevard and follow the signs to Fort Rodd Hill Historic Site. Fort Rodd Hill is located on a surprisingly beautiful ocean setting and if you drive past the entrance to the park you will come to Esquimalt Lagoon. This beautiful stretch of sandy beach is a much loved hidden gem. A gorgeous sandy beach with weather beaten logs strewn about. Scuba divers often walk straight out from the beach to dive in this area full of life.
More Attractions Around Victoria
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. Just 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. To the left it takes you past and through a nice park then continues to 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.
Avatar Grove and Canada's gnarliest tree is an amazing thing to see and finding it is half the fun. The cute little town of Port Renfrew, know for it's logging, amazing fishing and home of one of the trailheads to the world renowned West Coast Trail, is now reworking it's image to include this fantastic wonder. Dubbed Canada's gnarliest tree this mammoth cedar will surely leap from the unknown to the feature of millions of tourist photos in the coming days and years. Avatar Grove is a 50 hectare area of old growth forest it has shot to prominence in this part of the world and groups everywhere you look are embracing it as something to be saved, admired and loved. Not cut into lumber. The Victoria based Ancient Forest Alliance is at the forefront of rescuing and protecting Avatar Forest. They discovered, named and drove it into the world's eyes. Avatar Grove is slowly growing into a hiking destination.