Monday, 7 August 2017

City Guide - Victoria, Vancouver Island


During our trip to Seattle, my family and I hopped on the Clipper Ferry and headed over towards Vancouver Island. We decided to stay in Victoria as it looked like the places where most things were happening. It was such a cute little city, with just enough shops and restaurants to keep you city girls occupied and a multitude of outdoor activities to sink your teeth into as well. It took roughly 3 hours to cross through the channel and across the US-Canada border and was quite a nice journey. Top tip, tie your hair up if you fancy standing out on deck for some of the journey - wind swept is an understatement of what my hair looked like after I stood outside for a measly 5 minutes! We stayed in Victoria for 2 nights and managed to pack everything in, so here's what I would recommend doing...

WHALE WATCHING

This was the best thing I did on the whole holiday - including Seattle. It was insane! We arrived at Five Star Whale Watchings office at 10am and had a quick safety brief before hopping on the boat down at the marina. There were roughly 30 people on our tour, with 10 people sitting up top and the rest of us downstairs sheltered from the cold. It took us roughly 30 minutes of sailing time for our tours to spot the plume of water form about 200m away from our boat, out first Blue whale spotting. My family and I have done whale watching once before in Boston, but we never once got this close. We then saw some other tour boats speeding across the water, so decided to follow suit. when we got to the area where everyone had stopped we saw a pod of about 20 Orcas - or Killer Whales. There are no words to describe the sight, other than amazing. After spending an hour with the Orcas we started to head back towards Victoria. However not before we saw two Sea Lions playing and jumping next to the boat, a tonne of Sea Otters (I was crying with excitement!) and lots of Seals and seal pups, which were adorable! Here are a few pictures I managed to snap, enjoy!









 OPEN TOP BUS TOUR

On the first day we arrived in Victoria, we decided to get a feel for the city by going on a tour. If I'm honest, if we didn't have my little brother with us, Mum Dad and I would have 100% got ourselves a seat on the Rolling Barrel Tour - a big pub tour of the city combined with seeing all the sights, however you cycle on this multi pedal bike thing (hard to explain but just click on the link!). However instead we just got on a hop on hop off bus tour. Now this was alright, but our tour guide wasn't the most exciting, resulting in Mum, my little brother and I all falling asleep...oops! But it was lovely seeing the city and learning a bit more about its history.

SEA KAYAK TOUR

Coming a close second to the Whale watching, was the sea kayaking. We were in two double kayaks, along side a guide. He took us out of the harbour, across the sea plane landing strip (I thought I was going to be decapitated by a plane - but my head is still firmly attached!) and into the steepish waves. After a good our kayaking we came across a little island with some sunbathing seals and their seal pups. One of the pups even came into the water and came to play by bumping into our kayak, it was adorable and memory I will never forget. Our guide also told us some interesting stories about Victoria, that were way more humorous than our previous tour!! We went with Victoria Kayaks on the Sunset Tour and I would seriously recommend. 





FAVORIS ICE CREAM

Following on from my 12 Places To Eat In Seattle post, you will know that I love Ice Cream...so it will be no surprise that Dan and I went on the hunt for more chocolatey goodness. And found Favoris. They're known for their soft serve ice cream that comes in many different flavours, which are then dipped in melted chocolate, which sets down to a hard shell and then sprinkled in whatever you fancy! Basically a Chocoholics dream. I had a Hazelnut and Chocolate concoction and Dan had a Smores version. They were heaven in ice cream form. 






BRUNCH AT CORAS

This is a typical American Dinner that you can find all over Canada. It has everything that you could possibly want for breakfast or brunch and is open all day - how perfect?! I had the gluten free cheese pancakes (no idea why...) with two eggs and bacon. It wasn't the most photogenic breakfast but boy did it taste good! Dad had eggs benedict and mum had some pancakes with fruit. I also had a green smoothie with pineapple, spinach and orange in it which was yummy. 100% recommend. 





HARBOUR HYPE

Victoria is a seaside city set around the harbour, so it's only right to go down for a visit. You could even take a water taxi over to the other side of town. There is lots to do down by the boats, from getting fish and chips at Red Fish Blue Fish or watching the street performers, who were all very very talented people. We also did the classic walk along the pier deciding which boats we would happily live in if we won the lottery. Its a beautiful place, especially around sunset.





There you have it, the ins and outs of Victoria and all of its' activities. I loved my stay in this peaceful and tranquil little city and feel that 2 days was enough time to cram in everything there is to do. I would definitely visit Vancouver Island again and maybe do a mini road trip to some different areas outside of the city. Thank you once again for reading!

Lots of Love, Katie xo
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