Student experience report by Theresa F.
If you love nature and being outdoors, you’re going to love Vancouver Island! It offers anything any outdoor-person has ever dreamed of. A gorgeous coastline, rivers, lakes, beaches, forests, and even mountains can be found on Vancouver Island. Besides all the fancy places you can travel to, what’s really special about Nanaimo is that you don’t have to travel far to find yourself in a beautiful spot that makes you feel like you’re far from the city and out in the wild. I recommend Mount Benson which is easy to hike even for beginners. From the top you get a beautiful view over Nanaimo and the surrounding area including other smaller islands and all the way to the mainland. Others places you can reach by bus are Piper’s Lagoon and Neck Point Park.
One of my favourite places is Tofino. Tofino being a Canadian surfer’s paradise is known for wide, long, sandy beaches and crashing waves on the island’s rough west coast. Being out there in the water takes you away from the hectic and stressful university life and shows Canada’s wilderness and beauty. It’s THE place to see and be on Vancouver island!
2. Mount Arrowsmith
Another spot I can highly recommend to you if you are into hiking is Mount Arrowsmith. It is the highest mountain you can climb on the southern part of Vancouver Island.
We went hiking in November when the mountain top was already covered in snow so it was a bit of a the challenge to reach the top but the views were well worth it! It’s about a 6 hours hike return trip in moderate pace. Mount Arrowsmith is the highest mountain in the region and you get an almost 360° view over the island. You can see all the way to the coast, over lakes, cities, other smaller islands and other mountains. Being up there feels majestic! It was an experience I will not forget.
3. Juan de Fuca Trail
A place that I will definitely come back for is the Juan de Fuca Trail. It’s a 42km long wilderness trail along the Island’s west coast. It takes you through full grown forests with huge trees and a wide variety of all kinds of plants, as well as along beaches of sand and stone, little waterfalls and rough cliffs. It is well marked but wasn’t busy at all when we went to only a small part of it in October. If you want to experience the beautiful fall colors during your fall semster, you shousl definitely go and check out the trail!
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