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A Day Trip To Port Renfrew

Last Saturday, we took a day trip with another couple up to Port Renfrew. About a 45 minute drive from Sooke, Port Renfrew is a beautiful little spot, and is basically the “last stop” on the highway along this part of the West Coast of Vancouver Island. Well known for halibut and salmon fishing, as well as the southern terminus of the West Coast Trail, Port Renfrew is the West coast in the raw. Wild, rough, and breathtakingly beautiful (knew a girl like that once… 😉 )

Our first stop was Botany Bay and Botanical Beach. The tide was dropping, so it was a good time for a hike through the rainforest (it was sunny) to the shoreline. Upon arriving at the rugged, windswept coastline, we were treated to a show by three or four grey whales, which were basking in the water no more than ten metres offshore! I chose the wrong lens to bring along – my wide angle – which makes for some great scenic shots, but not very good shots of the whales. We walked along the coastline of the bay, taking in the warm Fall weather and watching the waves crash against the shore. I snapped a few pictures, and narrowly avoided being soaked by a wave or two.

Jagged Coastline around Botany Bay

Jagged Coastline around Botany Bay

Ultra-green seaweed in the tidepools

Ultra-green seaweed in the tidepools

I love rocks, and the geology of Port Renfrew’s beaches is amazing. Lots of igneous (volcanic) rock around the shoreline, combined with sedimentary rock scattered about. The tidepools at Botanical Beach and Botany Bay are famous for having lots of life in them. Unlike many tidepools, which are only refreshed when the tide comes in, the tidepools here are flushed regularly by the strong waves and currents, even when the tide is out in some cases. This keeps the water fresh and their inhabitants alive.

Life in the tidepools

Life in the tidepools

Amazing rock formations

Amazing rock formations

Tidepools and rock formations

Tidepools and rock formations

After leaving the beaches and the park, we took the new road from Port Renfrew to Lake Cowichan. The last time I drove this road, it was nearly all gravel and was quite rough on my car. It’s nearly all paved now, and it was a quick 25-30 minute drive to Cowichan from Renfrew. Along the way we stopped to marvel at the Harris Creek Spruce, a giant old-growth spruce tree that is simply amazing. It’s apparently one of the largest trees on the Island.

You cant tell how big it is from this picture!

You can't tell how big it is from this picture!

Our day completed with an awesome dinner and a beer in Duncan, at Craig Street Brew Pub. If there are any entrepreneurs in Sooke reading, we need a brew pub!

A quick drive down the Malahat and back to Sooke completed our circle tour. I highly reccomend you try out the new road. I think the next time I go camping up around Lake Cowichan, I’ll take the road from Renfrew. It’s got to be just as quick if not faster, and there would be less traffic.

Tim Ayres – Sooke Real Estate Professional

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  • mar

    Beautiful photos!

    So, the “new road” – is that the old gravel section, you mean? Is it paved now?

  • Thanks Mar!

    The new road is probably 85-90% paved, and what isn’t paved is in really good shape. I drove it in my scratchless VW without stressing out about it.

  • Road is 100% paved now.