Victoria's west shore is close enough to all of downtown Victoria's
attractions yet far enough away from the hustle and bustle of tour buses and
crowds. A short 15-30 minute drive just on the other side of the outer
harbour, this area is abundant with majestic parks, rustic ocean beaches,
historic sites, clean lakes and wildlife. This is the place the locals go to
escape the crowds of downtown and be at one with nature.
Local activities range from whale watching, golfing, farmers' markets, local
artisans, hiking, fishing, swimming in lakes or the ocean, and touring
historic sites or gardens. Historic Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse
along with Hatley Castle and its Italian, Rose and Japanese Gardens are the
center-pieces of this area.
The west shore of Victoria is also an excellent central base for daytrips in
every direction. Locally a quick trip into downtown Victoria to see the
world-renowned Royal BC Museum. Up-island to see the fishing village of
Cowichan Bay, the eagles of Goldstream Park, the Chemainus murals or the
Duncan Native Heritage Centre with cottage wineries along the way. West to
Sooke and beyond to Port Renfrew and the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, China
Beach and French Beach Provincial Park.
For hiking, biking and horse back riding enthusiasts the Galloping Goose
Regional Trail extends 60 kilometres along a former rail line past some of
BC's finest scenery as it passes right through the west shore of Victoria
connecting downtown Victoria to Sooke.
The history of Vancouver Island, both First Nations and immigrant, is
chronicled in a variety of museums and cultural centers. The natural history
is highlighted in forest tours, and whale watching and marine wildlife
cruises. At the beaches, you can find crashing surf or sheltered waters and
marine tidal pools. Magnificent marine adventures include scuba diving,
canoeing, kayaking, windsurfing, sailing and cruising.