Hot Springs at Maquinna Provincial Park

It costs a bit to do a trip to the hot springs near Tofino, but I recommend it for sure! Here are 3 good reasons you should go:

Firstly, it’s got built in whale and wildlife watching. The boat ride takes about 1.5 hours each way, and they’ll look for whales and other animals the whole way there and back. September is the end of the whale season but we still managed to see a grey whale (no pictures, I was using my brain camera). We also saw a black bear (digging for crabs on the beach), cute floating sea otters, stinky sea lions, and bald eagles.

Secondly, the hot springs are so neat!! It’s about a 25 minute walk through the forest on a board walk to the springs. Then there a whole bunch of pools of (hot) water in between the rocks. The pools at the top are super duper hot, and then as you go down a bit further they get a bit cooler from the tide. There are plenty of places to lie down and soak. It smells a bit farty but not that bad.

Thirdly, there is a HOT WATERFALL!! Almost too hot to stand directly under. I enjoyed sitting half under the water and half in the crisp September air.

After a couple of hours our captain brought us back to Tofino. Everyone was pleased. It really was the highlight of our trip.

Few notes: It’s kinda dangerous, because the rocks are ultra slippery, but still ok. I managed it even with my PTSD from slipping on rocks in Thailand and getting 12 stitches, haha. Water shoes might help. Bring some snacks and drinks because you’re out for a pretty long time! The boat ride might be a bit rough. I was happy we went a calmer way back (but I guess less chance of seeing whales that route). And there are washrooms and change rooms at the hot springs.

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Tofino, BC in the Fall





We arrived in Tofino right at dinner time. We checked into our cabin and then headed into town. By chance we ended up on the pier right at the right time and saw a GORGEOUS sunset over the harbour. So nice.

ice house oyster bar

Dinner at the Ice House Oyster Bar overlooking water and the fading sunset. Not sure why this restaurant doesn’t have a Zomato profile, it was great! All their waiters have man buns and/or beards and are very enthusiastic.

I had a cider mule (BC Rumrunner cider w/ fresh lime, house made ginger syrup and vodka) that was huge and very tasty. I love when cocktails aren’t tiny things!

We shared this cold seafood platter that came with ceviche, smoked halibut, clams, crab and shrimp. The smoked fish and ceviche were particularly great. We also split a challah bread pudding dessert.

tofino brewing co

I really like the glasses from the Tofino Brewing Co. Actually lots of things in Tofino are wave-themed: the pedestrian crossings, the bike racks, etc. Cute.

Tofino is pretty awesome. It’s relaxed and beachy with tons of awesome food options. We spent a lot of time chilling out at our cabin or the beach just staring out at the ocean, watching surfers and paddle boarders and dogs and campfires. Our cabin was right on the water and it was lovely to hear the waves crashing on the beach all the time.

wild pacific trail

One day we drove down to Ucluelet to walk the Wild Pacific Trail. We did the lighthouse section and part of the coast section. Both very nice walks, quite easy on well made trails, with beautiful ocean views. We kept looking for whales but didn’t see any.

Ucluelet was verrrrrry quiet, and the lunch we had their was pretty terrible, so neither of us really liked the town, especially compared to Tofino. Also the drive between the two towns is ultra boring.

ocean village resort

ocean village resort

Cross stitching on our porch while watching yet another gorgeous sunset. Not pictured: glass of wine. Perfection.

It was sunny every day, which was great (but no storm watching). Too cold to swim though. I was planning on surfing, but kept procrastinating, until the last day when I woke up early all ready to go… until I checked the surf report and saw that the waves were 1 foot tall. Dang it. It was dumb of me to assume that the waves would be the same (good) every day. :/

Another trip highlight was the hot springs, but I took so many pictures I’ll have to make it into another post. Plus I have three more food reviews that I’ll have to make into separate posts too. Tofino overload, sorry not sorry!

wildside grill

We made most breakfasts at our cabin (bagels with cream cheese and local smoked salmon or tuna, OM NOM NOM), but the first morning we went to Wildside Grill.

I ordered the breakfast tacos (fried eggs, cheese, chipolte mayo, salsa, guacamole, lettuce, cilantro and green onions in a corn tortilla) and Scott got huevos rancheros (two overeasy eggs, cheese, pinto beans and salsa roja, guacamole, cilantro and green onion in corn tortillas). They were sloppy deliciousness. The eggs exploded with runny yolk. I liked the breakfast tacos slightly more than the huevos because of the freshness of the salsa, but both were definitely great.

Apparently Wildside Grill has the best fish & chips in town, and possibly better fish tacos than Tacofino, but we didn’t have enough meals on our trip to make it back. Next time!

Wildside Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Victoria, BC

Last week Scott and I took a holiday to Vancouver Island. We took the ferry to Victoria first to visit Leslie. The ferry to Victoria is so cool!! I was really surprised that such a large boat would weave its way through such narrow passages. Man some of those properties on Galiano and Mayne Island look so appealing. We didn’t see any whales, unfortunately.

Killing some time while Leslie was at school with a Kiwanis Club butter tart on the beach.

When Leslie was ready we picked her up from school and drove downtown. We wandered around the waterfront area for a bit and then had a delicious dinner at the Flying Otter Grill. It was yummy and I would have reviewed it properly but it was too dark and my food pictures look like poop.

The next day we went to Fisherman’s Wharf, a tiny neighbourhood of floating houses and tourist attractions. It was neat. We watched a lucky seal (?) get fed dozens of fish. Plenty of good photo opportunities there.

We headed back downtown, poked around Chinatown, drank really tasty bubble tea, squeezed through Fan-Tan Alley, etc etc. Probably more stuff that I am currently forgetting.

red fish, blue fish

red fish, blue fish

Then lunch at Red Fish, Blue Fish, on the water again. The line was pretty long, but it was worth it! Between the three of us we had chowder, jerk fish poutine, and three tacos (Albacore tuna, tempura cod, jerk fish). We were all stuffed.

The chowder was not your typical creamy potato chowder, instead it was tomato-based, spicy, coconut-y, with tons of big pieces of seafood, plus a lot of corn. Really really good soup. The poutine was a little odd (who makes fish poutine?), but tasty. Spicy halibut, cod, tuna and salmon over fries with a creamy dressing. And my Albacore tuna taco was really good. The fish was grilled rare perfectly.

Red Fish, Blue Fish Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Then we dropped Leslie back at her house and Scott and I started the 4.5 hour journey to Tofino!

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Hope Drive-In

I can’t believe I haven’t posted anything from Hope Drive-In before! We often stop there on the way back from adventures East of Vancouver (ie. Okanagan). Comfort food and great service are just what you need when you know you’re going to be stuck in horrible holiday traffic for another 1-3 hours back to Vancouver.

Rosemarie and I split a Cookies & Cream milkshake and they were nice enough to bring both parts out in real glasses. Plus there was still a bit left in the metal cup! Definitely enough to share. Milkshakes are the best.

I had a Full Monte hot sandwich, as usual. It’s ham, turkey and swiss cheese in between French toast. The bread was SO thick this time, I had to bring half the sandwich home!

Rosemarie had a fish burger. It came with fries and tartar sauce. She said the fish was nice and she was pleased with it all.

Hope Drive-In & Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Rosemarie and I went white water rafting with Liz and Tom on the Thompson River (near Lytton, BC).

It was lots of fun. It wasn’t that XXXXXXTREME, I was the only one who unintentionally fell out of the raft, but we still had perma-grin the whole time. It was a nice hot day so we jumped in and swam at every opportunity, and took turns sitting right on the front for maximum splashability. There was even one rapid we got to go through in the water hanging on to the rope on the sides of the raft.

Liz gracefully getting back into the raft, probably after Tom pushed her in.

A classic Rosemarie picture on our lunch break. +1000 points for them having dinosours for dessert. :D

Like I said, I was the only person that fell out of the raft… out of the whole group of rafts… hahahha oops. I swear it wasn’t on purpose, I just fell out! It wasn’t too scary, at least I felt like I really got my moneys worth. ;)

We camped at a BC Parks site for the night and then drove home to Vancouver the next day, via the Othello Tunnels near Hope, and Hope Diner. Another very hot drive home with no AC, ack.

Jill and Joe had a long stopover in Vancouver on their way back to Adelaide so we met up with them for dinner downtown at Forage. Everything was super delicious and it was awesome to catch up again. I had seen Jill a few months ago when I went to Adelaide, but I hadn’t seen Joe in a LONG TIME!

The waiter suggested the cheese puff for dessert and it’s a good thing we listened to him because it was SO DANG GOOD. It was a profiterole with neufchâtel cheese filling, with ice cream, gin soaked blueberries and some kind of cordial sauce all around. MMMMMMM. The other dessert there was berry adult jello panna cotta that was also very good, but almost forgotten after the cheese puff.

Forage is cool because ALL their ingredients are locally sourced. We really enjoyed all the dishes we tried… octopus, carbonara, stinging nettle risotto, mushrooms… highly recommend.

Thanks to the Dafoe’s to treating us to a great meal!!

Forage Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I redeemed by birthday voucher for a Picasso pedicure at Bloom. Those are hand painted lemons!

Lesley, Stephane, Scott and I went camping for one night at Cultus Lake. We played many games of Settlers (of which I lost all of them), and ate tacos and burgers and generally lazed around. We took the party island out for another spin. Cultus Lake is so warm!! Camping is weird when there is a fire ban though, you sort of run out of things to do when it gets dark.

More skeleton push practice at the Oval. Note to self, bring bug spray for twilight sessions because there are SWARMS of mosquitos. Who’s bright idea was it to have so many still water features around the facility, yeesh. I seriously got about 30 bites in half an hour. But this was a useful session, I now have a few new technical things to focus on for a bit.

Other unpictured fun stuff that happened:

  • We went to Charles and Ankie’s wedding at the fancy Terminal City Club downtown. Open bar, woot!! It was a fun wedding, although we couldn’t understand a fair chunk of it because we don’t speak Cantonese.
  • Our board games group tried an escape room, and failed. It was hard!! We got through the first two rooms but ran out of time trying to figure out the half dozen puzzles in the final room. The operator guy did say we got further than average though (does he say that to everyone?). We also came back to our place to play a few games of Seven Wonders.
  • Stephane made bacon wrapped cheddar stuffed burgers for Burger Friday. I thought they would burst into flames on the BBQ but they were fine!
  • Mary Ellen and Paul came over while they were in town for a wedding. Mary Ellen wanted to try purple yam and cheese ice cream but unfortunately Shoppers Drug Mart was out!! They only had plain purple yam, so Scott got that instead. It is Barney purple and tastes like… those cheapy styrofoam cones imo. The debate of the month is what type of cheese it would be in the yam and cheese variety. So far Kraft Singles type is leading. EWWW.
  • Work drinks at Tap & Barrel. We have to make this a more regular event!
  • The worlds smallest blogger meetup. We ate yummy tacos from La Taqueria and then went to Rain or Shine for ice cream. I had malted milk chocolate honeycomb in one of their delicious homemade waffle cones. Yum.

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