August 1st to 9th 2017 : Leaving Olympic Park we headed back into Canada via Seattle (once again overnighting with friends), spent a couple of nights back at Burnaby Cariboo RV park before catching the ferry across to Victoria. This is lovely smooth crossing through the islands, sadly marred by the smoke from over 70 fires currently raging in the woodlands around Victoria but nonetheless enjoyable.
A snapshot of our track around Olympic National Park and to Victoria below:
Arriving in Victoria we went straight to our campground, Fort Victoria. A well organised and friendly site with a 10 minuet walk and 20 minute bus ride to downtown Victoria. Vancouver island is possibly a lot bigger than you might think being almost the size of England and in my opinion is one of the most stunning places in the world in terms of scenery.
A couple of highlights from our time in Victoria…
Driving North through Malahat to Chemainus has great views. Chemainus itself is one of those towns that has brilliantly reengineered itself (you will finds another in a later blog post) to be a tourist attraction. With the logging industry depleted the town has literally turned itself into an outdoor art gallery installation with quaint and interesting shops, a theatre and even an ice cream parlour with a secret garden!
The second highlight has to be our visit to the Butchart Gardens. Commenced in 1904 in a quarry, these are probably the most jaw dropping gardens I have personally seen. The gardens are arranged throughout the quarry in a number of styles, Japanese, Italian etc. It was almost more like a visit to Disney given the number of staff involved in everything from helping you to park to literally wandering round the gardens with a cloth and spray to make sure all the lights and statues were scrupulously clean. I would highly recommend this to be near the top of the list for a visit if you ever go to Victoria.
A few photos below – the fountains were particularly impressive.
The next major stop from here will be Yellowstone (although we did have a Bavarian encounter on the way) – hopefully grizzly bears afoot (but not too close)