Activities in Victoria
Choose from sailing and diving, hiking and biking, kayaking and canoeing, watching for whales and birds, fabulous golfing and so much more. The region is home to 50 regional, provincial and federal parks covering more than 7,600 hectares of rocky shores and headlands, old-growth rainforest, Garry oak meadows, mountains, lakes and rivers tumbling towards the ocean. Pick a direction and go.
Greater Victoria is surrounded by water on three sides and marine activities are popular and plentiful. Boat rentals and fishing charters take fishers closer to that satisfying big catch and share the waters with canoes, kayaks, sailboats and dive boats. Take a sightseeing tour on water, land or air to take in the diversity of the landscape.
Sightseeing tours on water and land take visitors in for a closer look at some of the area’s attractions and its marine life. The nutrient-rich and sheltered waters around Vancouver Island are home to three pods of resident orcas with more than 80 whales, providing exceptional and very accessible whale watching. There’s also been a spectacular revival in humpback and gray whale sightings. Some of the region’s best scuba diving is found off Ogden Point, right at the city's front door.
Victoria boasts the longest golf season in Canada and the 20 courses in the region have greens that are actually green all year round. Gorgeous, rugged and challenging terrain combines with outstanding facilities and terrific views to create a phenomenal golf destination.
Victoria's spectacular gardens include ones at Hatley Park National Historic Site and Abkhazi Garden, both named to the “Five Must-See Gardens in Canada” in 2009 by Canadian Gardening magazine.
Built on former rail lines, the Galloping Goose and Lochside multi-use trails connect Swartz Bay with downtown Victoria and west to Sooke, a total of 84 kilometres. They are popular routes for cyclists, runners and walkers. The trails pass alongside beaches, backyards, farmland and wetlands, and through country lanes. Some sections follow or cross public roadways.
Bring along your binoculars for some of the best birdwatching anywhere. More than 380 species have been recorded in the region, and a visiting birder can reasonably expect to sight up to 150 species during a three-week stay. The best birding happens during the spring and fall migrations, but hundreds of species live in the region year round. Local hotspots include Esquimalt Lagoon in Colwood, Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary and Blenkinsop Lake in Saanich, Witty's Lagoon Regional Park in Metchosin, Whiffen Spit in Sooke and Goldstream Provincial Park.
Take your palate on an adventure with winery tours on the Saanich Peninsula, which is home to 1,000 locally-owned farms. The wineries on the South Island are small and family owned, and they are dedicated to creating exceptional wines, many sold on location and available at select restaurants. Most wineries invite visitors for wine tastings and tours, and some serve food too.
If you’re looking for a view, head to Gonzales Hill (Walbran Park), Mount Tolmie or Mount Douglas. All three have roadways and footpaths to their summits. At 66 metres (216 feet) above sea level, Gonzales is the highest point of land on the south coast of Vancouver Island. Tolmie’s top is 120 metres (394 feet) and Douglas is 260 metres (853 feet) above sea level, and all have panoramic views.
It's a delight to have such a variety of wildly different experiences in such close proximity. Go ahead and choose your adventure. You're more likely to run out of time than things to do.