I’ve wanted to go to Tofino since I moved here (which was almost 6 years ago, good grief). It’s always described as a small town but I think you’ll find it’s a bit bigger than you expect, on the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Great for surfing (which I’ve never done), the outdoors (which I do a lot) and food (which I’ve done since birth). Actually, “food” doesn’t do it justice, it’s some of the best dining I’ve had in Canada!
This was also a chance to try out my new Sony a6000!
Day 1: Getting there + Ucuelet + Food Find
From Vancouver you’ll have to take the ferry from Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo and then drive the full length of Highway 4 to get there. Takes a while and you get to stop at Port Alberni and several lakes.
You’ll know when you’re close when you see the Pacific Rim Visitor Centre, there you can go right (South) to Ucluelet or left (North) to Tofino. Since it was a good break in the weather, we decided to head to Ucluelet and do the Wild Pacific Trail.
After this, and with the weather setting in, we headed up to the Tin Wis Resort for our first two days. Really nice place I have to say. Every room seemed to have an ocean view, and our one also had the grounds as well. Didn’t spend a huge amount of time out there given that we were in the middle of winter.
After that we headed into town and ended up into Tofino itself, we spotted a pub and thought “that will be a cozy place for a quick dinner”. It was Shelter, and was a full blown restaurant with a pub feel. Food was fantastic! We knew that Tofino had a reputation for good food but didn’t expect to be falling over it this way.
Anyway, home, up somewhat early the next day as the morning as it was expected to not be rainy (this was playing on our minds a bit as you can probably tell).
Day 2: National Park Exploration
We knew today would be the one we would dedicate to the Pacific Rim National Park. This is where the main set of beaches and surfing spots can be found. It’s also worth noting that I became a Canadian Citizen in October last year… so I have a Cultural Access Pass that gets me into the park for free!
Anyway our first stop was Wickaninnish Beach and the Kᵂisitis Visitor Centre. Surfers were out and we got talking to an Aussy who had moved here and done much the same thing I did 6 years ago, except she was surfing rather than skiing, and we talked about the glorious Cultural Access Pass that was saving me a few dollars a day. 🙂
Eagles started to make an appearance too, but didn’t get any good photos yet
While we were at the Visitor Centre, I read a few concerning signs about Unexploded Ordinance. Tofino, during World War II, was a military firing range and it seems not all of it went bang when it was supposed to. (As I was looking for a link for this, I found this list of UXO Sites and saw there are a few near my house!)
We headed over the rocks and went to the South Beach nearby, well worth it if you get a chance
After that, we had quite the debate about where we should go for lunch. I was firm that I wanted to go to Tacofino at some point this weekend, but Tripadvisor and several friends were mentioning the Wildside Grill. In the end, Wildside it was.
By this point I could see how Tofino was getting it’s food reputation.
After that, we headed for Long Beach and more Eagle spotting.
Finally, we headed up Radar Hill, site of, you guessed it, an old Radar Station, where there is a memorial to Canadian Forces during the Korean War.
The views we got were not as spectacular as the ones on that page.
Anyway, back to the Tin Wis, where I managed to get a good panorama and just decided to have pizza for tea as we were going to a more fancy place tomorrow.
View of the Tin Wis Resort from our room
Day 3: Hotel change, more beaches and trails and Tacofino
No photos of this one, but I headed up to the Common Loaf Bakery for an awesome breakfast for both of it.
We roamed the beach near the Tin Wis after checking out (“roamed” sounds like a great word doesn’t it).
Then we went to the Tonquin Trail as the weather was nice and we wanted yet more roaming!
After that, we could finally scratch my Tacofino itch! Headed off to Chesterman Beach to eat it.
The Eagle eyed amongst you might have spotted a building on the peninsula, that’s The Pointe Restaurant, where we would be going later.
Anyway, we headed to our second hotel, the Pacific Sands Beach Resort. Watched the end of the Superbowl then did a little exploring on the beach.
We watched the end of the Superbowl then headed out for dinner. The Pointe was certainly fine dining if I’ve ever seen it.
Non alcoholic cocktails that were actually made for grownups 🙂
Thing is, I didn’t take many photos of it. Was fantastic none the less! Excellent staff too!
Day 4: Heading home
Well it was rainy, so one last breakfast stop at Common Loaf then we headed home.