Day Trip One

Day Trip One: Island Adventure

A great experience is the ferry ride from the docks to Protection Island – adjacent to Newcastle Island. This quaint island is accessible only by the “Protection Connection” a foot passenger ferry. The famous floating Dinghy Dock Pub is also situated on this island and is a great outing for lunch or supper.

Our downtown core is home to the Bastion (a Hudson’s Bay Company outpost, built in 1853), Arts District, China Steps, Port Theatre, the Museum and Bowen Park. Shops, galleries and eateries dot the downtown scene. Bowen Park is a hidden gem within the inner city; great trails and a set of falls are its features.

Heading south toward Departure Bay, you can see the ferries come and go and catch a great view of Newcastle Island. Newcastle Island is the perfect day trip within Nanaimo. Visitors can leave their vehicles at Maffeo Sutton Park and walk down to the Newcastle Island ferry terminal, located at Swy-A-Lana Lagoon Park, just north of downtown. Newcastle Island was bustling in the elder days; it’s been home to quarries, a fish packing plant, generations of First Nations residents, and coal mines.

All of these facets are visible today as park installations and leavings. Newcastle Island was acquired from the CP Railway by the city in 1955, then passed on to the Province in 1961, at which point it was made into a park. It is quite large, especially considering its proximity to downtown Nanaimo; a walk around the circumference covers more than 7.5 kilometers. The hiking is easy. You can also rent kayaks and paddle around the island. The island has a great beach area with tables and amenities. Take a picnic and enjoy the day.

Heading west on Fitzwilliam Street you will pass the “Old Quarter” shopping district and make your way past the Aquatic Centre toward the Parkway. Cross the Parkway and you are back on Jingle Pot Road where you will find Westwood Lake. Westwood Lake is an ultimate destination for many kinds of Nanaimo-ites, owing to its kilometers of springy pathways for runners and walkers, beaches for swimmers, fish for canoers and a great place to sit back and relax.

Heading north clients take the scenic Hammond Bay Road and meander their way east past Neck Point and Piper’s Lagoon. Piper’s Lagoon is host to a fabulous tidal pool, great views of Shack Island and a fantastic spit beach facing the Strait of Georgia. At the end of the spit is a great point that is fun to hike and is home to the indigenous “Garry Oak” and “Arbutus” tree.

Other exciting sights and scenes within Nanaimo’s reach are Petroglyph ParkWild Play Park, the Cranberry FarmsHazelwood Herb Farm and Crow and Gate Pub. If here more than a few days, you may wish to add these activities as another Day Tour.

The Dragon Boat Festival is held in July of each year at Maffeo Sutton Park. This fun filled weekend has racers coming from all reaches of BC and the USA. This is truly Nanaimo’s finest festival….paddlers united in the fight to beat cancer.

Bath Tub Races are another tradition in Nanaimo which started in 1967. Also held in July each year this event involves community fun with local challenge teams as well as the fast paced final race day with professional tubs competing in the World Championship Bathtub Race.


Check Out our Other Day Trips

Island Adventure                     Tofino and Ucluelet                   Salt Spring Island and Victoria 

Telegraph Cove and Campbell River           Explore Markets and Waterfalls           View Murals and Museums