Adventuring – A How To Guide

Guest post by Ali Funk

When I moved to Victoria, I became enthralled by a new hobby: adventuring. Adventuring is best described as “being a tourist in your own backyard,” and includes activities such as hiking, beaching, walking, brunching, and munching. Combine a few of these activities together, and you have yourself a magical day.

Here I’ve listed 8 of my favorite adventure spots, starting from the most easy-access UVic classics (because let’s be real, everyone needs their Goldstream trestle Instagram pic), to the out-of-cell-service, out-of-mind locations. There are adventures here for everyone!

Willows Beach

Willows has been my go-to Victoria beach ever since moving off campus. Not only is it bike accessible from most points of the city, but the sand is soft, there are always driftwood forts, and I swear the water is always sparkling. You can also walk around the corner to discover Cattle Point, with lots of wild flowers and trees. If you want to make a day of it, you can find good eats at The Village or Crumsby’s Cupcake Café just up the street.

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Dallas Road

A more tame sort of ‘adventure,’ Ogden Point is a gorgeous place for an evening stroll for catching up with friends, or if you’re into storm watching. If you miss your dog from home, don’t despair–this is one of the highest traffic off-leash dog areas in the city, so you’ll be sure to get in some puppy love! Grab a coffee or hot chocolate at The Breakwater Café and bundle up- it’s always super windy!

Goldstream Park

I’m pretty sure a pre-req to completing your first year at UVic is having an artistic Instagram shot at the Goldstream Trestles. It’s a rite of passage. Goldstream Provincial Park is excellent because it is about a 30 minute drive from UVic, and contains three gems: a waterfall, a mountain to hike (in only 2 hours!), and the picturesque trestles. Make sure you wear proper hiking shoes, and pack a lunch! Note that the trestles are not fenced in on the sides- proceed with caution!

Sooke Potholes

The Sooke Potholes are a perfect spot for a hot summer (or September) day; many students flock there for its infamous cliff jumping, freshwater beach, and waterfalls. There are also many hiking trails around. Note that visitors have to pay $2.50 for parking, and that the water is COLD! Picnic lunch and ‘cliff jumping common sense’ recommended.

Thetis Lake

Only 30 minutes from campus, Thetis Lake is a great spot to get your feet wet without your toes going completely numb. The lake features plenty of lush green pathways great for trail running or walking your dog, and a rope swing for toasty days. A summer must!

Witty’s Lagoon

This is one of Victoria’s less-traveled spots, as it is a little farther away. Out in Sooke, Witty’s Lagoon Regional Park offers fun but easy hiking trails, dense forest, a lagoon, the Sitting Lady Waterfall, and a wide-open beach. Hikers often spot seals on the rocks nearby; it’s the full package.

Witty's Lagoon

Mystic Beach

Mystic BeachThe more adventurous Victorians will make the trek out to the Juan de Fuca beaches on a beautiful weekend day. These beaches–Sombrio, China, French and Mystic–are well worth the two-hour drive!

Mystic Beach has a rugged coastal trail approach that takes about half an hour, but opens up to a full white sand beach with a rope swing and waterfall right on the water. What is better than that? Nothing.

I recommend bringing a map, because I got lost for a long time trying to get there, and there’s no cell service. Important to note that Mystic Beach has the same parking lot as China Beach! The Juan de Fuca beaches are full-day trips; prepared adventurers will bring a raincoat, proper hiking shoes, and plenty of food and water.

Killarney Lake

I discovered this lake recently, while attempting to find some boulders to climb, and it is gorgeous! Park at the Hartland Dump and hike for about twenty minutes through the forest, and your destination will be through the trees. The water is crystal clear, there’s a rope swing, picnic spots, and a family of eagles! Only a 20-minute drive from UVic, this is a secret spot you won’t want to miss.

Last but not least, I believe that every (or maybe one in every three) adventure days should end with ice cream. For this, your best bet is Cold Comfort ice cream, a hidden gem just off of Cook Street near the Fernwood area. Locally made, this place has approximately a million different flavors of homemade ice cream sandwiches, pie, and pints, including vegan and gluten free options! Don’t blame me when you become obsessed.

Happy adventuring!!

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