Pacific NW Hiking and Road Trip – Part 4

Victoria, BC

We traveled on the ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria, BC. We imagined it would be similar to the UK to Calais ferries. Hah! They were tiny, and old. Note the build date on the photo with Joe! We now understand why everyone told us to book our car reservations early! One could hardly get your door open to get out of your vehicle. If we were going to get dents on our new car, it was going to be on this ferry 90 minute ride! 😢  

Victoria harbor was pretty cool. There were condos, marinas, and house boats. There was a little water taxi and sea planes were taking off and landing on the channel. The downtown area was charming. Apparently there is whale watching year-round, hence the whale topiary. 

 

Butchart Gardens

Well Butchart Gardens is like Mecca for the flower lover. Incredible experience that did not disappoint. We were blown away by the number of cars that were flowing in to the parking lots thinking to ourselves that it’s going to be so crowded that we won’t enjoy the visit. But we were so wrong. The place is SO organized from the parking system, to the garden areas themselves. We designated Joe the “keeper of the map” to keep me on track.

The gardens are broken up in to themed areas:
• The Sunken Garden (photo above) was a mined quarry that Mrs. Butchart converted to the existing garden in 1904. The 5 acres of gardens with its 151 flower bulbs took 9 years to create. 

• The Japanese Garden marked with a Torii gate at its entrance has 500 rhododendrons & azaleas and 74 Japanese maples with 200 meters of streams flowing through the 1 acre garden. 
Their private boat dock was a short distance from inside the Japanese garden. We watched playful sea otters in the cove. 

• The Italian Garden (21,780 sq. ft) originally the Butchart family’s tennis court has 18 flower beds with 85 varieties of plants and 22,000 spring bulbs and biennials. 

• The Rose Garden exploding with blooms from summer to early fall has 280 varieties in their 2,500 plants. 
• The Mediterranean Garden is a quaint garden growing lush, exotic plants from around the globe.

Having completed our “flower-fix” for probably the next decade, we drove to Nanaimo for the night, and a well deserved dinner and a beer! 

Tomorrow we have another ferry trip to Horseshoe Bay (N. Vancouver).
See part 5