Things to do
FOOD AND DRINK
The mild climate of this part of Vancouver Island makes it an ideal place to indulge in all things epicurean. Cowichan Valley, near Malahat – dubbed ‘Canada’s Provence’– has some of the best wineries, cideries and distilleries in the country. Embark on a tour of the region’s Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Ortega. Savour the famous cider at Merridale Estate Cidery. Then stop off at Canada’s only tea farm just north of Duncan. Downtown Duncan has bistros, bakeries and cafés to soak up all the goodness.
With its wildlife, 600-year-old fir trees and waterfalls, nearby Goldstream Provincial Park is a day-trip dream. A detour to picture-perfect Victoria, British Colombia’s capital, is also a must from Malahat. Wander round Victoria’s boutique shops, and don’t miss the world-class Royal BC Museum for all things historical. The Gulf Islands are day trip distance too, for sea-salt scrubs and meditation. Head to Nanaimo for First Nations culture. And if you’re craving creativity, drop in on Chemainus to see its celebrated street art.
If the landscape inspires you to get active, make the most of the South Island’s parks, coastal rainforests, jagged headlands and slick cycleways. From Malahat you can bike or hike part of the mighty Trans Canada Trail, passing through ancient rainforests on your way. For wild swimming and wonderful ocean views, make time for Sooke – home to the family-friendly Galloping Goose Regional trail. On balmier days, cool off in the deep green rock pools of Sooke Potholes Regional Park before enjoying a picnic in the sun.