Victoria – How you can sun yourself on two beaches, walk through the rainforest, and swim in the ocean, all in one day.

Today I went to the Juan de Fuca Provincial Park, walked along part of the Juan de Fuca trail to Mystic Beach, and then back through the subtropical rainforest, to go down another trail to China Beach. All in all, a fun filled action packed day. Yesterday was quite a full day as well.


Saturday morning we went on a scenic walk through Beacon Hill park, catching a Jazzfest performance, and continuing on towards Ogden Point, then walking over to Fishermans Wharf.


Fishermans Wharf is of course famous for Fish & Chips, and most people lined up and ordered the 15 dollar basket from Barb’s Fish and Chip stand. I, of course, did not participate in the fish and chips. I looked around for a bit to see if there was anything for me to eat, and conveniently I did find a place with vegan hotdogs, Grilligans: “Where Bouy meets Grill” (how cute is that?). I also watched in prairie girl amazement as a seaplane was taking off (and began conspiring to find a reason to fly in one in the near future).

Gilligans at Fishermans Warf

Saturday evening I went to the Butchart Gardens to see their weekly Saturday night fireworks display. I really enjoyed wandering through the various gardens, especially the Rose Garden. It has dozens of different varieties and colours of roses, it is worth seeing. One thing that really impressed me about it is the work of Jenny Butchart in the reclaimation of an old quary. She turned it into an absolutely remarkable “Sunken Garden.”

Bouchart Gardens 2009

I found it really interesting that the reclaimation project seems to have triggered the creation of the massive Butchart Gardens (to see its magnitude check it out on google maps). First she beautified the Quary, and then they added a Japanese Garden and many many others.

Bouchart Gardens 2009
My Favourite Rose: Grande Amore:Germany 2004

But just a word of advice, if you are vegan and planning on going to the gardens, eat before you leave or bring your own lunch. None of their cafeterias or restaraunts are vegan friendly, unless you like eating $7 lettuce.

Today I went on part of the Juan de Fuca trail down to Mystic Beach. It feels really natural (at least as natural as a trail repeatedly walked on by humans can be) but it’s also augmented with wooden steps, small foot bridges, and well placed rocks. That being said, I have never appreciated tree roots quite as much as I did today. Parts of the trail were a bit wet and slippery, and the roots provided much needed traction (especially since I failed to bring appropriate footwear for walking through the forest – semi dressy sandals? terrible idea.)

Tree trail
A tree bridge on the trail

The 2km walk to Mystic Beach was well worth it, as it’s a perfect and quiet beach with beautiful rock formations, saltwater mussels, a small waterfall, and an oceanside swing attached to a tree. However, I don’t recommend jumping into the ocean like I did, it was quite chilly (which honestly is a total understatement.)

Mystic Beach

After baking in the sun as it peered out from behind the many clouds we had today, I walked back along the trail back to the parking lot, and went on to China Beach. Of course, yet another beautiful beach, but it was much busier then Mystic, as it’s far easier to get to. There were families, hikers and paraboarders all enjoying the cloudy but otherwise nice day.

China Beach
At China Beach

I was talking with a local today and she recommended Sombreo Beach, a bit further on the Juan de Fuca trail and also Botanical Beach near Port Renfrew. I think I’ll try and check them out, if not within the next two months, within the year.