Hey guys, Heather here!
Since I began working with Tourism Nanaimo at the beginning of the summer, I’ve been inspired to rediscover the Harbour City. After checking a few boxes off my list I decided I to go on a ‘re-adventure’, and do something I had not done since I was in grade 7… hike around Newcastle Island! I called my brother, my very first adventure buddy, to tell him the plan and he was eager to join me in reliving our youth.
The morning was a little gloomy but we made a pact that rain or shine this hike was happening, we did grow up on the ‘wet-coast’ right after all! We arrived early for the ferry (which runs every hour on the hour from Maffeo Sutton Park) so we walked the waterfront and grabbed a Nanaimo Bar latte from my favourite coffee shop, Javawocky. We made our way to the Newcastle Island ferry where we hopped on the Island Mist foot passenger ferry ($9 round trip adult fare, $6 for child and senior) and set sail on our 10 minute ocean cruise.
We arrived on Newcastle Island and all my childhood memories came flooding back to me. The clubhouse still hosts interesting art pieces, the totem poles are still standing proud, the open campground and playground reminded me of why I loved this little island so much. My brother and I set out on our journey, first checking the map at the beginning of the trail to decide what our path would be.
We decided to stick to the perimeter path of the island, which is approximately 7.5 kilometers but there are several joining trails that allow other island adventurers to shorten or lengthen their hikes if they choose (the trails are suitable for all experience levels, including children, dogs and those on bikes).
The perimeter path follows the coast line of the island, providing stunning views of the Pacific Ocean while also catering to those seeking a more forested surrounding. I should also note that in addition to the breathtaking views, Newcastle Island is enriched in fascinating history and cool points of interest along the trails, such as the Giovando Lookout and the Sandstone Quarry.
I highly recommend leaving a few hours open to hike Newcastle Island. My brother and I kept finding ourselves running out to all the various lookout points, astonished every time at the beauty around us (we may have stopped to catch some Pokémon along the way). We even took a moment on one of the beaches to get our ‘Om’ on and reflect on how lucky we truly are to live in the Pacific North West.
We met a few people during our hike who frequently like to spend the day island hopping. They begin with hike around Newcastle Island and finish it off with lunch at the Dinghy Dock Pub on Protection Island. It’s a little know fact, but if your check with your ship’s captain, they may be able to drop you off at the pub for a small additional fee. Sounds like a pretty great way to spend a day if you ask me!
I hope you are as inspired as I am to get out and explore all the wonders Nanaimo has to offer.
Until next time!