Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island 

Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

Much To Discover Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island

We found so much to see and do when we explored around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island in British Columbia (BC).

Stops in small towns as we drove south on Vancouver Island were lovely as the Fall colours set in.  A visit to Chemainus for beautiful murals was a real treat.  

We returned to the Westin Bear Mountain Resort for our stay outside of Victoria.  It was a great base to discover all there was to see and do around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet.  We searched for salmon in Goldstream Provincial Park and found Niagara Falls.  A day trip to Butchart Gardens showed us this great outdoor spot in Fall splendour.  On another day, we enjoyed the Malahat Skywalk with great views and a fun slide down from the heights.  

Every day was a fun discovery on our last stop on Vancouver Island.

Heading Towards Victoria On Vancouver Island

After our stay in Parksville on Vancouver Island, we headed south towards Victoria.  The Fall colours were amazing.  We took the coastal roads and looked at local real estate on or near the water.  Vancouver Island was a place we might consider living one day.

Fall Colours.jpg

We stopped in the small town of Ladysmith.  Located high on the hill above the water, we found a charming town.  We parked and wandered in town before we were back on the road.


A Colourful Stop in Chemainus

We pulled into the small town of Chemainus for lunch.  When we saw the sign for “World Famous Murals” we knew we had to stop and look at the murals in Chemainus.  We found so many interesting pieces of art.  Each mural had its own story to tell.

Chemainus Murals - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Chemainus Murals - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Chemainus Murals.jpg

We found more than just murals when we wandered in Chemainus.  The bronzed statues caused us to stop and look.

Chemainus Statues.jpg

Our final stop in Chemainus was at Waterwheel Park.  This colourful spot had many treats for us to discover.

Chemainus Waterwheel Park - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Chemainus Waterwheel Park.jpg

We were entranced by our visit to Chemainus for the murals.  This small town deserved much more than a quick road trip stop.  From Chemainus we continued south and enjoyed the drive down the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island.

Goldstream Provincial Park Fall Colours.jpg

A Return Visit To The Westin Bear Mountain Resort

On our first road trip on Vancouver Island, we enjoyed our stay at Westin Bear Mountain Resort.  On this return to Vancouver Island we again debated staying right in Victoria or out of the city.  We finally decided we wanted a resort stay and booked again at Westin Bear Mountain Resort.  It was fun to return when the resort was all dressed in Fall colours.

Westin Bear Mountain Resor - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

We were delighted when our Marriott Bonvoy elite status got us an upgrade to a suite.  And a lovely amenity on arrival.  We had some day trips planned but we also knew we wanted to just relax for a few days.  

Westin Bear Mountain Resort.jpg
Westin Bear Mountain Resort.jpg

Marriott Bonvoy Elite status got us breakfast every day.  We knew from our previous visit that the breakfast view was great and the options for breakfast were numerous.  Our suite had a full kitchen so we made a few meals when we did not want to venture out.  We neared the end of a long road trip across Canada.  And some days we just wanted a simple meal.

Westin Bear Mountain Resort - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Westin Bear Mountain Resort.jpg

There was lots to do on the resort for days that we stayed close.  We are not golfers but the vast golf course looked great.  Even if the deer did enjoy it more as sunset approached.  We found a complete spa and lots of indoor spots to relax.  

Westin Bear Mountain Resort.jpg

The Westin Bear Mountain Resort was a good base as we explored around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island.

Butchart Gardens Dressed In Fall Colours

We drove down the mountain to the back roads route that headed towards the Malahat on Saanich Inlet.  With the fall colours all around us, we loved the country drive to the Butchart Gardens.  We were delighted when we explored Butchart Gardens dressed in Fall colours.  The Sunken Gardens were a riot of colour.  With a beautiful waterfall feature.

Butchart Gardens Sunken Garden - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Butchart Gardens Sunken Garden Fountain.jpg

We enjoyed the flowers and colours as we wandered around the Butchart Gardens.  The indoor greenhouse gave us another view of the variety of plants and flowers at the Butchart Gardens.  

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Butchart Gardens Greenhouse - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

We strolled through the Japanese Garden filled with colour and reflections.  Our final stop was the Italian Garden for a different kind of outdoor design.

Butchart Gardens Japanese - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Butchart Gardens Italian.jpg

We were so glad we planned a day trip to Butchart Gardens when the fall colours were everywhere.  In any season, this was a great stop around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island.

Searching For Salmon At Goldstream Provincial Park

When we stayed in British Columbia for the Fall, David kept talking about the salmon run and all the great sights we would get.  On our stay on the Sunshine Coast, we visited many parks and checked out salmon streams.  But we never saw more than a single salmon lazily swimming.  We even visited a salmon hatchery when we explored around Comox Valley when we got to Vancouver Island.  We learned it was still early in the season.  But we had high hopes for our travels around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet.  

The top spot on David’s list was the Goldstream Provincial Park on the Malahat. The Goldstream Provincial Park was in an old-growth temperate rain forest.  The park had a world class salmon-spawning stream.  In the fall, thousands of Chum Salmon returned to spawn.  We parked and headed right to the river. 

Where we visited, the river was fairly calm.  We saw no rapids or areas that looked like they were full of teaming salmon.  We looked for large groups of eagles that usually signalled a river full of salmon.  It soon became evident that it was still not salmon spawning time. Or that we were not at the right place.  But the Fall colours sure made the river pretty.

Goldstream Provincial Park Salmon - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Goldstream Provincial Park Salmon.jpg
Goldstream Provincial Park Salmon - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

So we set off for a gentle hike on the path beside the river.  The giant trees we found in BC always amazed us.  After a stop at the picnic area, we headed back to the car.

Goldstream Provincial Park.jpg

It was a lovely afternoon for a stroll in the woods at Goldstream Provincial Park.  But we did not get a sight of the salmon spawning we continued to search for.

Finding Niagara Falls On The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island 

When we travelled south on the Malahat we found the small parking area for the Goldstream Provincial Park on the west side.  From that parking lot, we explored in search of Niagara Falls.  At home the iconic Niagara Falls are a short day trip from us in Toronto.  So we could not pass on a chance to check out something also named Niagara Falls.

We followed the path down the stairs and along the side of the hill.  Below us we saw a dry riverbed filled with rocks and leaves.  With no water in the riverbed, we really did not expect to find waterfalls.

Goldstream Niagara Falls.jpg
Goldstream Niagara Falls - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Goldstream Niagara Falls.jpg

So when we finally made the last turn and scrambled down the steep bank, we were delighted when we in fact found Niagara Falls.  The water stream was quite high as it fell about 150 feet to the base.  We stood on either side of the riverbed and enjoyed the thundering waters.  But it was late in the day so we did not stay long.

Goldstream Niagara Falls - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

We picked our way carefully back along the path to the car.  But we were delighted we found Niagara Falls in Goldstream Provincial Park as we travelled around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet. 

Day Trip To The Malahat Skywalk

On another day trip, we headed back up the Malahat on Saanich Inlet to the Malahat Skywalk.  We strolled slowly in the trees along the elevated boardwalk at the Malahat Skywalk.  Along the way we were delighted when we found numerous pieces of driftwood art by local artist Tanya Bub.  

Malahat Skywalk Walkway.jpg
Malahat Skywalk Tanya Bub Driftwood - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

When we reached the tower at the Malahat Skywalk, we made the leisurely stroll around the spiral ramp to the top.  At the top we found great views out over the inlet.

Malahat Skywalk Tower - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg
Malahat Skywalk Tower VIew.jpg

To get down, we could have walked back down the ramp.  But we did not pass on taking the slide down.  It was a lot of fun.  But we did not join the people who went back up several times just to ride the slide.

Malahat Skywalk Tower Slide - Explore Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island  BC.jpg

We took a relaxed walk back to the entrance on the path in the forest.  Our adventures at the Malahat Skywalk were one of the fun ways to enjoy  the the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island.

Great Adventures Around The Malahat On Saanich Inlet On Vancouver Island

We found so many great adventures on our stay outside of Victoria on this road trip on Vancouver Island.  Our day trips around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet provided us with such a wonderful variety of things to see and do.  We enjoyed the parks, the Fall colours at Butchart Gardens and the new Malahat Skywalk attraction.  

When we left Westin Bear Mountain, we headed back to the Sunshine Coast.  But one of our road trip tips was reinforced.  We did not pre-book the ferry off Vancouver Island that we wanted.  So we had to change our whole route back and took the ferry out of Comox instead of Nanaimo.  We were happy it did not change our ferry travel dates after everything was firmly booked.   

Have you explored around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island?  Did you find other gems in this area?

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  1. I’m glad you enjoyed your trip. It’s nice that you stopped in Ladysmith; many tourists drive by it. As someone born in Victoria, I’ve travelled the Malahat hundreds of times. My Aunt lived most of her life on the Malahat. Unfortunately, the traffic is terrible compared to the halcyon days of the sixties, when one encountered few fellow travellers on the Malahat. I have photos of relatives there when it was a dirt road!

    • We are actually heading back to Victoria next month and hope to do more exploring. We loved the small town of Ladysmith and will certainly stop by again. But we did use a lot of back roads to wander around.

    • And…..Ladysmith, Chemainus are NOT on the Malahat, nor the Saanich Inlet!! It is a 1 1/2 hour drive from Goldstream/ Victoria!

      • Thanks Joy. The post in fact talks about both Ladysmith and Chemainus as stops as we headed south on Vancouver Island to the area around the Malahat on the Saanich Inlet. Both are easy and wonderful day trips if you are staying in that area.

  2. No one does fall quite like you Canadians. Love the colour of the leaves everywhere.

    It always cracks me how your hotel rooms are often more than twice the size of our central London flat haha….

    Butchart Gardens and Goldstream Provincial Park in particular look absolutely stunning.

  3. Wow Linda what a beautiful place to visit! Autumn seems to be the best time too to visit here, the colours are truly incredible. The slide looks like a lot of fun, I would also do it once and then enough! As always you find the most colourful places and great murals too. This is a special part of Canada to visit.

  4. Ooh! I love murals, and Chemainus looks like a great stop to get out and take a peek. I love the little waterwheel park. I don’t see that kind of water feature much anymore, and it looks like a lovely place to spend time. And YAY on having enough points for an upgraded suite. That’s always a big perk! And the fall colors are gorgeous. It really looks like you visited at the perfect time of year. So fun!

  5. I spent too little time on Vancouver Island during my last stay and didn’t know some of the fabulous places you wrote about. But I plan to go back there (luckily, my friends live there, so there’s always an excuse for a quicker return). I want to see Butchart Gardens and Goldstream Provincial Park. Also, fishing there seems a perfect idea. I also add Malahat Skywalk to my bucket list; this place is fantastic!

  6. Wow, these pictures of the what looks like a thousand trees in different shades of green, red, and golden: A-mazing! Although I love the tropics and hot weather, these autumnal sceneries alone would be a reason for visiting Canada. Also, after reading your post regularly, I have the impression that urban art like murals and sculptures are a big thing in Canada, am I right? Or is it just you presenting the finest pieces 😉 ?

    • The Fall is definitely one of the best times to visit for colour. We do look for art when we travel. But were a bit surprised with all we found on this visit to Vancouver Island. But we certainly do find it wherever we travel.

  7. How incredible this place looks in fall, I don’t think I ever saw such crazy red trees! Really nice, I also like the Malahat Skywalk, the view looks amazing and how awesome is it that they installed a slide there, only a genius can come up with such an idea 😀

  8. What a beautiful walk to see driftwood art on the way to Malahat Skywalk. Somehow, the skywalk reminded me of the Vessel in New York. Too bad you didn’t get to see salmon at Goldstream Provincial Park. It would be a fun thing to watch them swimming there.

    • We were sure we visited Vancouver Island at the perfect time for the salmon run. But we were still too soon. I guess it varies by year and if we lived closer we could have timed our visit better.

  9. All I can say is that the Butchart Gardens look Breathtaking! I would love to see this in person. Thanks for sharing!

  10. What a fabulous post Linda! I have not visited most of these (and I really want to go back to Vancouver island this year) so this is really helpful!

    It looks like you arrived at the prefect time for fall colours (especially in Butchart Gardens- wowza!) But I feel your pain about the salmon run. We often go searching for salmon runs, but we hardly ever get to see them. It seems even if you do catch the right moment, the number of fishes is hugely reduced over the last few years. 🙁

    • David was sure he picked the spots to see salmon and every stop was a disappointment. But we will keep looking. Fall was surely a great time to visit Vancouver Island.

  11. Omg everything is do lovely there! We just did Victoria. And ButchartvGarfens dresserd in fàll is much lovelier! But Ladysmith, the lmmurals and other art of Chelainus, Niagara of the Provincial Park, the Skywalk…so many more to enjoy! I have to explore more of Vancouver Island!

  12. Now I know where to go to experience fall! WOW! Those fall colors. And the food and artwork – Malahat On Saanich Inlet looks amazing! I am adding it to my list of places to adventure. Thank you so much for sharing. Also, love the photos!

  13. Breathtaking photos! You managed to capture the fall colors of Malahat on the Saanich Inlet at its best. Butchart Gardens and Goldstream Provincial Park look stunning. I am so tempted to plan a visit to Vancouver Island during autumn after seeing your photos.

    • We were glad we visited Vancouver Island in the fall and had such amazing weather. Colour everywhere as we wandered around the Malahat on the Saanich Inlet.

  14. Great photos as always. I’ve only ever been to this area in summer…fall looks amazing and I would love to visit Butchart Gardens again. Saving for later.

  15. I am currently watching Race Around The World on BBC and they have just been to Vancouver island so this post was great to read. I am yet to get to Canada but the scenery looks incredible. I would have to visit Butchart gardens as I love a good botanical garden. The colour of the acer trees in autumn is so beautiful. I would also enjoy seeing the murals in Chemainus.

  16. That smoked salmon looks delicious. I have fond memories of Butchart Gardens as a kid. I love Canada in the fall those colours are so beautiful. Thanks for all the great tips.

  17. I would love to explore Malahat on Saanich Inlet. I’ve got Vancouver Island in British Columbia on my list. And fall looks like the perfect time to go. Love the murals and that slide would be so fun!

  18. What a wonderful place to visit. No wonder you enjoyed it. Visiting the Butchart Gardens in autumn was such a good idea, the colours are stunning. I love Japanese gardens so I would definitely spend some time in there.

    • We were not sure what to expect when we went to Butchart Gardens in the Fall. But it was so much better than we expected. And the Japanese Garden was particularly lovely.

  19. I don’t know much about BC but it looks like the most amazing spot to visit. The food looks incredible, the landscape is so pretty, and those trees are intense! I love it. Now BC is on my bucket list!

  20. From one marvel to another, this trip seems like the dreamiest I have read in a while. Those red, pink and orange trees are breathtaking. And I found the murals and wood art so impressive. I guess, some places on Earth are blessed with beauty.

  21. It’s not just you who wishes to do a living in Vancouver Island one day. I’m always in awe when I see the colourful beauty this place offers. It never loses its serenity no matter how many times you visit the place. Butchart Gardens, Malahat and the Goldstream Provincial Park seem like a wonderful small getaway place for me to calm myself down.

  22. I’d love to explore goldstream park and see the salmon run or anywhere along the Saanich Inlet. You’ve made me realise how much I need to visit in Fall. Normally I’d go for the extremes of winter or summer but your pictures are just so stunning.

  23. I have never been to Vancouver Island but heard a lot about the place. It’s breathtaking to see those red, pink, and orange trees. And I was really impressed by the wood art and murals. I found this place is heaven on Earth. So surreal.

  24. I love those colorful houses in Ladysmith. As someone who loves murals & public art, I really wouldn’t miss Chemainus. The breakfast at Marriot looks absolutely delicious. The Butchart garden, in this autumn colors, is just breathtaking. Too bad you weren’t there during the salmon-spawning time. To watch the eagles dive from the sky & catch the fishes would be quite something.

    • We will definitely keep visiting around the Malahat on Saanich Inlet for the perfect time for salmon, bears and eagles. But we found lots of other great things on our day trips.

  25. This place is charming. I agree with you that the fall colours are amazing. The Waterwheel Park is a must-see. It looks like it’s taken straight from a postcard.

    Happy to know that there is so much to see and do here. We have always wanted to visit Butchart Gardens and you definitely convinced us what we have been missing. Will make sure to include a day trip to the Malahat Skywalk too.

  26. Autumn colours are so very pretty and attractive and it is so abundant in this post. I have travelled to Vancouver and Victoria a very very long time ago. In my mind there are places that stay so vivid in my memory like the Butchart Gardens. Seeing the Malahat tower , and skywalk and hunting for Niagara Falls would be definite reasons for me to visit this lovely region again.

  27. This is another beautiful spot in BC that I haven’t visited and that is now on my radar! The food looks really good as do all of the places that you stopped at.

    • We loved heading out around the Malahat and discovered so many great spots. We are heading back later this month and will be looking for new ones to share soon.

  28. Your visit around Malahat on Saanich Inlet on Vancouver Island is a refreshing one with lots of attractions on the way. The murals of Cheimanus and the waterwheel park are so inspiring andcspbate the magnificent fall colors in Butchart gardens. It was great so see you found flowers in full bloom during autumn. It was nice to see your stroll across the Goldstream provincial park even though you couldn’t see any Salmon spawn. And the Malahat skywalk boardwalk looks like an amazing place to explore with most beautiful driftwood art by Tanya Bub is something I have never seen before.Such road trips are rejuvenating and memorable.

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