Beau­ti­ful VIC­TO­RIA

Head to Canada to see Van­cou­ver’s cute neigh­bour

New Idea - - New Travel -

Van­cou­ver is al­ready on many bucket lists, be­ing the gate­way for Inside Pas­sage cruises, the leg­endary Rocky Moun­taineer train and the Great Bear Rain­for­est. But a mere 90-minute ferry ride away lies the quaint har­bour city of Vic­to­ria, on neigh­bour­ing Van­cou­ver Is­land. Here are four ex­pe­ri­ences you just shouldn’t miss. EX­PLORE FIRST NA­TIONS CUL­TURES With wilder­ness hotspots, ex­cel­lent din­ing, in­cred­i­ble gar­dens and an in­trigu­ing cul­tural his­tory, Vic­to­ria is packed with at­trac­tions.

In fact, the whole of Van­cou­ver Is­land is rich in in­dige­nous cul­ture with count­less sites to ex­plore.

Start with a visit to the Royal BC Mu­seum, which has per­ma­nent ex­hi­bi­tions show­cas­ing First Na­tions com­mu­ni­ties like the Kwak­waka’wakw, Heilt­suk, Nux­alk, Gitxsan, Haida and Nuu-chah-nulth peo­ples. The Totem Hall is jaw-drop­ping. roy­al­bc­mu­seum.bc.ca. CRUISE FOR WILDLIFE Van­cou­ver Is­land and Sal­ish Sea waters are teem­ing with marine life, and a cruise is the best way to take in the area.

Each day, Prince of Whales of­fers mul­ti­ple cruises to ex­plore the area and see sea ot­ters, bald ea­gles, Steller sea lions, ele­phant seals, har­bour por­poises, hump­backs and killer whales.

It’s an unmissable wildlife ex­pe­ri­ence you’ll want to do more than once dur­ing your stay, so plan to make a day (or two!) of it. prince­ofwhales.com.

STAY AT THE EM­PRESS Sprawl­ing like an Ed­war­dian chateau along­side Vic­to­ria’s In­ner Har­bour, noth­ing can pre­pare you for the grandeur of the Fair­mont Em­press (think: an ivy cov­ered fa­cade, vast ball­rooms, op­u­lent decor, lush gar­dens). Since it was built in 1908, this his­toric ho­tel has been favoured by celebs and roy­als, in­clud­ing Queen El­iz­a­beth, Prince Ed­ward and King Ge­orge VI.

The stan­dard rooms have all the plush-luxe touches, but if you’re ready to be se­ri­ously spoilt, book into Gold Class for exclusive ser­vices and ex­tra at­ten­tion. Even if you’re stay­ing else­where, it’s worth book­ing in for a Vic­to­rian style af­ter­noon tea served in the his­toric Lobby Lounge. Fancy! fair­mont.com/em­press-vic­to­ria. DIS­COVER BUTCHART The stun­ning Butchart Gar­dens are a 22-hectare kalei­do­scope of colour all year round and are within easy reach of the city.

Founded by Jen­nie Butchart in 1909, the gar­dens have since been des­ig­nated as a na­tional his­toric site. Ev­ery year around a mil­lion vis­i­tors make the trip to ex­plore its stun­ning land­scapes. Don’t miss the Rose Gar­den, the Sunken Gar­den and the Ital­ian Gar­den (or its gela­te­ria). butchart­gar­dens.com.

Tempt­ing ed­i­bles at Vic­to­ria’s Fort Street shops. The im­pres­sively grand Fair­mont Em­press ho­tel. Stroll around the colour­ful Butchart Gar­dens. Get out on the wa­ter at Fish­er­man’s Wharf.

For more info and to plan your trip, see www. Hel­lobc. com.au.

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