Goldstream Provincial Park#5 in Best Things To Do in Victoria & Vancouver Island
Located about 11 miles northwest of the Inner Harbour, Goldstream Provincial Park houses a stunning array of flora and abundant natural beauty across its nearly 1,000 acres. But the real reason to visit this public wildlife area is rather fishy: Spend some time by the Goldstream River from late fall to early winter, and you're bound to catch a glimpse of the annual salmon migration. Between October and December, chum, coho and chinook salmon can be seen leaping upstream to their ancestral spawning beds. The park's trails follow the river closely, allowing you to get a good look at the watery highway.
Before you make a beeline for the river, consider stopping first at the Goldstream Nature House. The center offers educational programs on the annual salmon migration and other exhibits and activities. And even if you're not planning a winter trip to Vancouver Island, recent travelers said the massive cedar trees, abandoned gold mine and rumbling waterfalls make the park a must-see attraction at any time of year. Reviewers also said you should plan to wear appropriate hiking clothes and shoes so you can fully explore the park (and make your way up to the highest point in Greater Victoria – Mount Finlayson). When you need a break, stop for a picnic.
Goldstream Provincial Park is open all day, every day; the visitor center is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Admission is free, unless you're planning to camp. The entrance to the day-use area is at the junction of Trans-Canada Highway No. 1 and Finlayson Arm Road. Visit the BC Parks website for more information.
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#1 Inner Harbour
The Inner Harbour is Victoria's primary tourist neighborhood. The harbor itself – home to various fishing boats and colorful floating homes – is framed by wide pedestrian streets, often frequented by street vendors and buskers. Numerous cafes and restaurants line the sidewalks and provide the perfect locale to savor an afternoon cup of tea while keeping your eyes peeled for whales playing in the open water. The Inner Harbour also hosts some of Victoria's most popular attractions, including the Royal British Columbia Museum and the Parliament Buildings. If you're embarking on a boat or ferry tour, this is where you'll likely start your journey.
Although the majority of recent visitors recommended spending a few hours at the Inner Harbour for the view, some suggested devoting at least half a day as there is always something interesting to see and do. For an even more charming scene, return in the evening, when the Parliament Buildings are lit up.
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