Exploring Vancouver Island

Vancouver Island Landscape

I wasn’t going to write about Vancouver Island.  This was a family trip, and I was off the clock.  But as anyone who’s visited the area can attest, the island makes plans of its own.  The mountains and all their majesty and the sea with its cerulean sprawl, it’s hard to not wonder if we’ve stepped inside some National Geographic photo, the kind you never really believe is real.  Arriving at Villa Eyrie Resort, on British Columbia’s famed Vancouver Island, the vistas are so captivating and the experience so elevating, their escape to the sky invite feels like a woeful undersell.

Tucked up in the halcyon clouds above the Pacific and the Finlayson Arm Inlet, Villa Eyrie Resort perches proudly atop the mountain, saturating your senses with panoramas so stunning, it’s impossible to absorb them all at once.  Graduations of green define the Vancouver Island skyline, where from up on the mountainside, it feels like an enclave exclusively intended for you and the eagles within eyeshot. Frequent fliers that they are.

Vancouver Island Tree Top Views

Stylistically, it is airy, earthy, contemporary and clean.  Interiors emanate something Tuscan inspired; modern, stark, and simplified.  French doors and bordello arches frame the non-stop scenery: interiors deliberately designed to downplay their presence, with the clear visual winner out the wide, wrap around windows.  So much space.  Up on those balconies, looking down upon all that green grandeur, one might easily believe they have booked a suite on Cosette’s castle on a cloud.

Though I’d have to say the castle’s exteriors could do with a refresh.  A little stonework and they’d be lining up down the mountain.

Vancouver Bridge

Meanwhile, the island’s invitation for adventure is rampant.  Hiking on and around the Kinsol Trestle, one of the highest of its kind in the world, is the fantastical actualization of walking on a roller coaster.  It isn’t one, of course, but it is the largest wooden railway trestle in the Commonwealth of Nations.  And exploring it, up it, around it, and down it, is a self-guided thrill ride by foot, compliments of masterful engineers, farmers, loggers, and Mother Nature’s luscious free-falling landscapes.

While you’re free falling, the zip lining at Adrena LINE is an outrageous good time. The course covers stunning terrain, the elevations, epic, and the flight, well, that’s all you and the air beneath.  For literally, thousands of feet, you fly (in a harness, but still, flying).  The island’s only canopy zipline tour, and they own the title well.  Carve out a few hours and make this happen, it is more than worth the price of admission.

Vancouver Island Views

Ropes coursing on the island is excellent too, if that’s your thing.  We took our crave to climb over to WildPlay Element Parks, where parents can participate on the kids course (with their kids, they’ll scoot you over to the adult course without them), which by no means, is unchallenging.  Tightrope walking up there in trees, swinging between the vines, one rickety ladder walk unto the next, it’s one more vantage point over Vancouver Island that makes it feel less precious, more like your private playground.

The time we spent exploring the island was completely insufficient, we could have done with a good few more days to take in all its bounty.  I recommend a week at minimum, if you can swing it.  The days fly by, particularly when you’re flying over them, leaving way too much beauty unexplored.  The good news is, coming from the west coast, it’s a quick trip involving relatively easy international travel.  A theory I hope to retest sooner than later.

Tall Trees on Vancouver Island

The Details

Villa Eyrie Resort, 600 Ebadora Lane, Malahat, BC, V0R 2L0, Canada.

Tel: 1-250-856-0188

Website: www.villaeyrie.com

Email: info@villaeyrie.com

Adrena LINE, 5128C Sooke Rd, Sooke, BC, V9Z 0E2, Canada.

Tel: 1-250-642-1933

Website: https://adrenalinezip.com/

Email: info@adrenalinezip.com

WildPlay Element Parks, 15-1767 Island Highway, Victoria, BC, V9B 1J1, Canada.

Tel: 1-855-595-2251

Website: https://wildplay.com/victoria/

Email: guestservices-victoria@wildplay.com

Insider Tip: Make some dinner reservations or do your research before you arrive. If you’re staying at Villa Eyrie, there is one restaurant and the menu does not reflect much change.

Author Bio:

Jolie Loeb is a Luxury Lifestyle columnist based in Los Angeles.

Photos by Jolie Loeb

32 Comments

  1. I love love love Vancouver Island – never taken the kids, and now I want to. For Canada trips for kids, I can’t recommend Montreal highly enough – it’s this amazing wonderland for kids, and in the summer (start planning for next year!) they actually have fireworks shows twice a week over the river that are so long, we were almost tired of them. The food and family friendliest town I’ve ever been to… perhaps until I take the kids to Vancouver Island?

  2. We’ve never been to Vancouver Island but would love to plan a trip and visit one day! Thanks for this great, detailed review!

  3. Montreal!! Tell me more! Anywhere specific you loved staying? These Canadian escapades have the potential to get addictive. And I’m ok with that.

  4. I would love to walk on “railway” bridge!! I have to plan a visit to Canada, I’ve never been. I, of course want you to go to Sweden, during the summer!! Looks like Canada!

  5. Now this is a very different view of the island than the one reported by my mother. In her retirement she flitted all over but Vancouver Island was one of her most memorable trips; the majesty of Butchart Gardens was forever imprinted in her mind (the stacks of books and cards and pictures she brought back might have nudged the memory over the years). No hikes, ropes course or zip lines for her, but for me, a whole new set of reasons to make my way there!

  6. I love this review because, not only do you make me feel like I’m there and lift me up onto the zipline with you, you also give honest and realistic tips for those travel-bores among us who have no idea of what to do once we get there…

  7. Got me. Always wanted to go there to explore its beauty and converse with Canada’s wonderful people. When we lived in New Jersey, our neighbors were from Vancouver…and they could not have been any nicer. One day we will use your guide and go….

  8. Never in a million years would the thought fo Vancouver Island entered my mind. And now, I’m thinking about how to rub some pennies together to make a trip for our family happen! It looks so very beautiful. Quiet. Majestic. Peaceful. Seriously…what a delicious find! Thanks for sharing the wealth.

  9. I’ve always wanted to go here. The pictures are amazing! Thanks for the recommendations – always appreciated when going to a new place!

  10. This is great for the L.A. crowd shooting in Vancouver! We brought the kids to Whistler in the winter, but this would be perfect for a summer weekend off!

  11. We went to Vancouver and Victoria in 2016 while our kids were at camp. Loved it there and definitely want to take them with us next time. We stayed in town, but did the scenic drive up to Whistler with many stops along the way. Loved your review!

    • YES! Thought about road tripping to Whistler but couldn’t carve out the time. Next time, top of the list – appreciate the endorsement! Thanks Kim!

  12. I have not visited Vancouver Island since Mitch and I were dating and it sounds like I need to plan another trip there but this time with the whole family! Did not realize there is so much to do there with kids.

  13. Vancouver Island is an incredible place to visit! It was a really easy trip from LA and a completely different world. While most people we know have visited the west coast, near Tofino, we wanted to be closer to Victoria so that we could make the easy hop over to Vancouver. The beauty of the mountains dropping straight into the calm waters of Saanitch Inlet is something that needs to be seen to be truly appreciated. The Island has a little bit of everything: hiking, great kids activities (like ziplines, ropes courses, kayaking, whale watching), wineries, restaurants, boating – and we barely scratched the surface in the few days we were there. We definitely want to go back soon!

  14. Sounds amazing. Such a beautiful location so close to an amazing Metropolitan city. A trip to Vancouver Island sounds like a perfect getaway! Thank you for the review!

  15. Always describing the perfect vacation spot. I’ve been wanting to take the kids up to the Northwest, now you’ve given me even more reason to do it. Vancouver Island sounds amazing and we love the outdoor adventures. Did a road trip over the summer to Colorado and Northern Arizona – also absolutely beautiful!

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