A few weeks ago, I was lucky to tag along on a Harbour Air chartered flight from downtown Vancouver to the pristine Desolation Sound, situated up the Georgia Strait just past the Sunshine Coast. It was from above that I first saw the beauty of the coast and knew it would be my next BC destination to explore.
Only a quick 45-minute ferry away from Vancouver or a speedy 20 minute flight on a seaplane, Sunshine Coast is a perfect weekend getaway destination for Vancouverites, or international travellers who want to go off the beaten path and see more of British Columbia’s beautiful natural scenery. Our 3-day adventure was more incredible than we expected and can’t wait to head back – especially with our friends from the Far East.
Exploring the village + connecting with locals on the island
We boarded the 9.30am ferryfrom Horseshoe Bay to Langdale. What’s great about the ferry is that the ride itself comes with the most incredible views of Howe Sound with its snowcapped mountains, local islands, tugs, kayakers and more. The ferry holds some 360+ cars, over 1,500 people and everything you need: large viewing deck, a White Spot and a coffee shop, a book store, lounge areas, internet, and more. The 45-mins felt too short!
Upon arriving in Langdale, we stopped by the town of Gibsons taking in a short stroll along the seawall to the public wharf. Paddlers and fishing boats were all out enjoying a beautiful early summer sunny day. Be sure to stop by Molly’s Reach for a bite or refreshing cold drink – it’s an institution in Gibsons amongst the locals and the site of the Beachcombers TV Series.
After Gibsons, we drove west to the town of Sechelt where we joined the Taste of Sechelt guided walking tour where we were able to taste several local food establishments. This was truly a Sunshine Island welcome as restaurant owners gave us short warm introduction of themselves, their establishments and most importantly, food! Not only were we pleasantly surprised with how delicious the food was, we seriously didn’t expect the variety of cuisines offered in a small town – from scrumptious flat breads and home-made sandwiches, to coconut chicken soup, to Greek desserts, to Indian curry and more. What’s great about this tour as well as others organized by Catch Our Drift is the opportunity to connect with the locals through their comfortable off-the-beaten path “journeys” into the island’s culture.
After the tour, we checked ourselves into the beautiful Pointhouse B&B. Set right on the edge of the quaint Sargeant Bay and completely rebuilt in 2012, this picture-perfect architecture is everyone’s dream vacation home. More on Pointhouse here.
Ahoy! To the Princess Louisa Inlet we go!
We were off to the sea today with Sunshine Coast Tours through the magnificent fjords of British Columbia . We set off from the Backeddy Marina in Egmont where we took a 30-mile boat ride to the Princess Louisa Park. This trip took us through up through Jervis Inlet, past the Malibu Rapids and into the Princess Louisa Inlet where we spent time ashore with a little picnic lunch watching the water gush over gorgeous Chatterbox Falls. The views during the boat ride are absolutely breathtaking – large landscapes, glacial waterfalls, native pictographs, and eagle sightings to say the least. You haven’t seen the magic of the Sunshine Coast until you’ve taken this trip. Definitely, a must see.
The following 2 nights, we found slumber at the Painted Boat Resort on Pender Harbour. We enjoyed it so much we’re planning to head back next year with our family from Hong Kong. More on Painted Boat here.
Splendor for Skookumchuck!
A number of years ago, my father-in-law mentioned how ‘bloody incredible’ the Skookumchuck narrows were (translated from Chinook, it means “ strong water”). We knew a trip up the coast will not be complete without stopping by this natural-wonder.
The Skookumchuck narrows are incredible- everyday the tides bring 200 billion gallons water flow through the narrows connecting Sechelt and Jervis Inlet and the difference in water levels between one side of the rapids and others often exceeds two meters in height. The spectacular whirlpools are badass and beautiful. Not only that, the 1 hr hike from the trailhead of the Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park to the viewing point is a magical walk with windy paths, big wooden stumps, large cedar and doulas firs.
The walk is straight out of a fairy tale – it’s easy and for all ages. Before you walk too far in however, you’ll want to stop in at the Skookumchuck Bakeshop situated near the trailhead to grab a homemade cinnamon bun on your way in and a cold smoothie on your way out. Another must-see on the Sunshine Coast.
Needs to knows:
For more information on the Sunshine Coast, check out the Sunshine Coast Tourism page.
Transportation: Accessible by chartered seaplanes from Vancouver/Richmond by Harbour Air or by BC Ferries from Horseshoe Bay
Bring sunscreen and insect repellent. The sun can be fierce as it reflects off the water and the mosquitoes, while not overwhelming will be looking for foreigner food too!
Celluar/Data Access is limited on the island especially off the beaten path out on the waters or on certain hikes. This could be a good thing so you can totally take in the beautiful but it’s always good to give work or your family a heads up if you’re going to be off the radar! Grab walkie-talkies if you plan on splitting up within the woods.
Sunshine Coast Tours – This tour operator has been bringing international travellers to the Princess Louisa Inlet for over 25 years. Their guide’s know the area inside-out and are so proud of the area – this is really what sets them apart. So much to take in on the way to Chatterbox Falls. If you love the wind flowing through your hair, be sure to bring a wind-breaker, cruising at 25 knots on the open water can be breezy.