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Gulf Islands National Park Reserve of Canada

Explorer Quotient

Authentic Explorer | Cultural Explorer | Cultural History Buff | Free Spirit | Gentle Explorer | No-hassle Traveller | Personal History Explorer | Rejuvenator | Virtual Traveller

Free Spirit

A boy stands on top of a large rock at the Gulf Islands National Park Reserve Taylor Point, Saturna Island
© Parks Canada / Shelagh Martinusen

Something of a thrill-seeking hedonist, travel satisfies your insatiable need for the exciting and the exotic. You like the best of everything and want to be surrounded by others who feel the same way. You have a lot of energy and want to see and do everything. It all adds to the fun! Young, or young-at-heart, you travel for the thrill and emotional charge of doing things. You can’t stay at home. Why would you?

Uncover a rare corner of the world where rugged wilderness adventure and unsurpassed scenery are just a step away from all the luxuries in charming Victoria or cosmopolitan Vancouver.

Shake things up and do something out of the ordinary. Climb a mountain, spot a whale, learn to sail, take a dip in the pacific and stir the deep dark sea to discover the mysterious sparkle of bioluminescence (living creatures that glow in the dark).

Step up to one of the latest outdoor trends: geocaching, a treasure hunt for all ages. Challenge yourself to find the ‘Top Ten Best Places in Gulf Islands National Park Reserve’ on a rigorous series of hikes. This self propelled adventure will lead you to all of the must-see destinations of the park reserve.

Spoil yourself with a weekend of extravagance at a local gulf island resort or Bed and Breakfast. Stay in a cozy oceanfront cottage, pamper yourself at a nearby spa, indulge in local fare at a west coast restaurant and get a “natural” work-out on a hike through the park reserve.

For the Free Spirit, we suggest…

Sweaty reward – Step up to a challenging hike at Portland Island (three-hour loop) or Mount Norman on South Pender Island (one–hour loop) where you will get some exercise and be rewarded by beautiful panoramic views of the park.

One-Day Wonders – Pack the picnic basket for a new family adventure each weekend: Sidney Spit – make sandcastles; Mt. Warburton Pike – bring a blanket and spot a goat; East Point – hear sea lions; Winter Cove– watch the water do tricks; Roesland– take a family photo on the point at Roe Islet.

Carbon credit biking adventure – Help save the planet and leave your car at home today. Instead hop on your bicycle and zip along the Lochside trail from Victoria to the end of Beacon Avenue in the town of Sidney (about one-hour). Lock your bike at the Sidney ferry dock and hop on the passenger ferry to Sidney Spit.

A true Gulf Islands experience – Go to the annual “Saturna Island Lamb BBQ” and celebrate Canada day with islanders at a country- fair-style picnic. Play games, enjoy the entertainment and if you are a carnivore try the lamb with mint sauce (harvested and made on the island)! July 1st at Winter Cove on Saturna Island.

The perfect paddle – Feel the waves and become one with nature in a sea kayak. Discover the islands from a whole new perspective and learn a few tricks of this authentic West Coast sport along the way.