Exploring Campbell River From All Angles
By: Nikki Riddy, @nikkiriddy
I am lucky to call Vancouver Island home, but with so much to explore and with what seems like too little time, I was so grateful for the chance to explore Campbell River for a week with Destination Campbell River! Campbell River is a beautiful coastal city, located on the east coast of Vancouver Island. This region has an extreme abundance of wildlife, nature, culture, people and incredible food!
We got to see Campbell River from all angles during my week there. We walked, climbed, hiked, snowshoed, explored the water by boat, and even explored the region by air. We also got to explore the region guided by our bellies! Keep scrolling to check out some photos from this week. I hope this will spark some island wanderlust in you – enjoy!
COASTAL WILDERNESS ADVENTURES & TALL TALE FISHING CHARTERS
Like any island girl, I’m a sucker for getting out on the water. Lucky for me the trip started out right there, with an adventure with our incredible hosts from Coastal Wilderness Adventures and Tall Tale Fishing Charters. The community of Campbell River is proud of their fishing traditions and culture, so there was no better way to embrace the culture than going out and giving fishing a try. This was my first time fishing, and even though I may not have caught anything, I tried my best and enjoyed every minute of it. We laid down prawn traps, and even in March waters, we were lucky to catch a 12 lb salmon! That evening, the chefs at the Riptide Marine Pub cooked up our fresh catch perfectly for us – two ways – complete with veggies and sides.
After an amazing morning on the water, we got back to the marina and explored the Discovery Pier and the Maritime Heritage Centre. Inside the Centre stands a restored motor vessel, the BCP45, which may sound familiar because this boat was made famous in the 1970s when it was printed on the Canadian five dollar bill.
ELK FALLS PROVINCIAL PARK
There is no better way to start the day than by getting outside and getting ‘lost’ amongst the giants (trees). Elk Falls Provincial Park is not only one of my favourite spots in Campbell River, but also makes my list of favourite spots on the whole island. The trails are well maintained and offer astonishing views of the falls from all angles. The Falls are an astonishing 25 meters high, and you can take it all in from above, on the suspension bridge.
Our group was excited to explore more, so we packed up our stuff and headed out into Strathcona Provincial Park. There we found everything from mountains and lakes, to forests and waterfalls.
Shelter Point Distillery
After a busy day of hiking and exploring, we ended the afternoon with a vodka and whisky tasting at the beautiful Shelter Point Distillery. The venue is absolutely stunning and sits on a large farm right beside the ocean. The only regret I had coming out of this experience was that I had not been before. I cannot wait to take my friends and family there this summer. On the same property, you can find Vancouver Island Salt Co. Owner Andrew explained the salt production process to us, and we got to taste test all different flavours of salt. My favourite was the Merlot flavoured salt, but that’s no surprise!
Vancouver Island is one of the few places in the world where you can surf at the beach and ski in the mountains – all in the same day. Mount Washington Alpine Resort has everything for your nordic adventure, from downhill skiing and snowboarding, to cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. This was the first time I had ever been snowshoeing, but it most definitely will not be the last. We explored the snowy trails, which become popular in summer with beautiful boardwalks, mountains and lake views.
DINING & CAFES
Hungry? If you’re like me, all of these amazing adventures will make you hungry too.
Campbell River has options to satisfy everyone’s appetite, and there are so many amazing cafes to get your morning started! The Java Shack is a local favourite, found downtown right by the Quadra Island ferry. FoggDukkers Coffee is truly a must see. Right on the water, this unique coffee shop has lots of outdoor seating and a fire pit to warm up beside with a hot cup of joe.
Discover the culture of the First Nation’s people at the Henderson Carving Shed, located on the traditional territories of the Wei Wai Kum people. Junior showed us the carving process, and the beautiful totems they are currently working on designing.
LAST DAY IN CAMPBELL RIVER
The last day in Campbell River was definitely one for the books. We went for breakfast at Dolphin’s Resort, and got an amazing meal and an even better view. I can’t wait to come back and stay in one of their cottages and start every morning off like a little staycation.
BIG ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS
I love being on the water, so going out with Big Animal Encounters was definitely a treat for me. Although we didn’t see whales this time, we did see some just off the marina the day before! We saw lots of sea lions and seals, and some amazing spots along the water. Some good memories were made with our guide Bill and Big Animal Encounters. They offer other tours and services such as diving, and I will definitely be back this summer.
This may have been the most exciting moment of my life to date. To get on a helicopter is surreal enough, let alone to land on the peak of some mountain that you know very little people have placed their feet where yours are. To anyone who doesn’t already have a helicopter ride on their bucket list, you have to add it ASAP – I promise you will not be disappointed. I left that experience with a whole new perspective, some priceless memories and some forever friends! I think a photo speaks a thousand words, so without further ado, here our some images of our day out with Bastian and the 49 North team.