What to Do with 2 Days in The Capital of British Columbia
During our week long adventure we had a packed day and a half to hit the highlights after our arrival from Port Angeles, Washington via ferry. We started off with a visit to Beacon Hill Park. It’s an easy walk from many of the hotels downtown and it is huge, 200 acres! It’s meticulously landscaped with many gardens, trees, and ponds. Ducks and geese are common and there are fantastic colorfully plumed peacocks roaming freely. On the way to the park, you an also make a small detour to Thunderbird Park to see several totem poles from the First Nations carvers. In Beacon Hill Park, you can also see the World’s second tallest totem pole at 127 feet. Pretty impressive (and impossible to take a picture unless you are very far away!).
Why Walk When you can Water Taxi?
We found Victoria to be a very walkable city. Though, if you are looking for a picture worthy way of travel, there is the water taxi. The service is only operational in the summer beginning at 10 am, seven days a week. It makes 14 stops around downtown Victoria at many of the major attractions. You can buy tickets directly from the captain or you can purchase at Fisherman’s Wharf or the Empress Dock.
At the end of our first night, we were also pleasantly surprised to find that as soon as it turned dark, the Parliament building lit up into a beautiful display of lights outlining its architecture.
The morning of Day 2 in Victoria brought our whale tour with Eagle Wing Tours. We opted for their 4 hour tour for a cost of $150 CAD. Strict Canadian regulations require the Victoria tour operators to maintain a distance of 200 yards from killer whales so you will definitely need a good telephoto lens for any worthy pictures and binoculars. We did get lucky and see a small pod of orcas working on a seal for lunch! and humpbacks. As with all boat tours, dress warmly (definitely some in shorts and t-shirts who seemed to be regretting their choices).
Getting Fancy at Afternoon Tea
Next up, was an afternoon high tea which is quite the must do in Victoria. If you are visiting in the summer, Butchart Gardens came highly recommended for stunning landscaping and a delicious afternoon tea. We skipped this as we were in October so the gardens were close to hibernation. That still left quite a few tea options. The famous high tea in Victoria is at the Fairmont Empress Hotel which is quite a luxury affair, though at close to $100 per person, we thought we would find some more affordable tiny sandwiches. We opted for The Pendray Inn and Tea House. Their afternoon tea consisted of 5 different savouries, 2 types of scones and 4 different pastries, and of course, tea. My husband thought we might need to figure out dinner afterward, but this was incredibly filling! We actually took a bit home as we couldn’t finish.
Besides indulging at high teas, you will not go hungry in Victoria. There are plenty of delicious dining options. Two we really liked were Tacofino and Red Fish, Blue Fish both for more casual fare. Tacofino actually started as a food truck in Tofino but they have branched out to many locations serving Mexican fare at pretty reasonable prices. Red Fish Blue Fish is located on the dock in downtown Victoria and are also serving up delicious tacos…the tempura yam taco is maybe the best vegetarian taco I have ever eaten! The line is long but we were able to bypass it by ordering online and walking right up to the pick up window.
There is so much more to do in Victoria but with only 2 days, we were happy with our mix of a little city walking, a high tea and our orca tour. However, we had to hit the road to head up to Campbell River.