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The Northern Tip of Vancouver Island – A Quick Bio of Port Hardy, BC

Port Hardy, BC is the northernmost town on Vancouver Island and marks the end of Highway 19 which runs from Port Hardy all the way south along the coast to Victoria at the other end of VI. Port Hardy may only be a small town when compared to Van Isle's other towns and cities but it's the largest community in this region of Vancouver Island. The town is hugely popular with tourists, especially during the summer months and is used as the gateway to Cape Scott Provincial Park on the north-west coast. Port Hardy, BC was named after a former HMS Victory Admiral, Sir Thomas Masterman Hardy, and grew with an economy based on the abundant natural resources found in this part of British Columbia. Not just logging, but fishing and mining also originally drove the economy of Port Hardy, and though there are still natural resources it's actually the tourism industry which keeps Port Hardy, BC thriving today!

Top Staff Pick and a Must See (I mean EAT) in Nanaimo

When you visit Nanaimo, you will immediately notice how rich and diverse the culture is here.  In 2008, Nanaimo was awarded Cultural Capital of Canada and for good reason; especially when it comes to cuisine.  There are so many varieties of places to eat all over the city but one of my favorite places to go to is Gina's Mexican Café.  Only a 3 minute walk from the Painted Turtle Guesthouse and another 3 minute walk to the waterfront, the location is ideal. But it is what's inside that I really like. It is full of colorful Mexican décor, cozy tables, good music, and quick friendly service. On arrival, you are given complementary chips and salsa.  The menu is full of options such as Quesadillas, Natchos, Tacos, Burritos, Fajitas, Enchiladas, combination dishes with multiple choices including vegetarian items, and so much more.  Also, did I mention they make the BEST Margaritas in town!! (by the glass or PITCHER...).

The New Luxury Ferry Service Through the Inside Passage Between Port Hardy and Prince Rupert, BC

Vancouver Island is famous for many things, and the new luxury ferry service through the Inside Passage is just one of them! This highly recommended ferry service takes visitors on a journey through some of the world's most spectacular scenery and is not to be missed. Only when you take a trip through the Inside Passage can you really appreciate just how large the province of British Columbia is. The 274 nautical miles between Port Hardy, at the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and the town of Prince Rupert on the mainland of BC, takes no less than 15 hours. A whole day's travel on a ferry may not sound like much fun, but the scenery and opportunities for spotting wildlife more than make up for the length of the journey.

Swimming Surrounded by Mountains - Experience Nature at Cameron Lake!

Let me tell all the Painted Turtle guests and website visitors about my last freetime activity: Swimming surrounded by mountains - experience nature at Cameron Lake! Are you tired of crowded swimming pools?

Spending a Day on Newcastle Island: This is what they mean by super, natural British Columbia!

A geographical feature has to be something pretty special to be considered a "gem" on Vancouver Island, let alone THE gem of the Island. Yet, this is exactly how the BC government described Newcastle Island, a ten minute ferry ride from downtown Nanaimo, when they began plans to develop it into a provincial park. Today, Newcastle is one of the busiest tourist hot spots on the Island, although you the number of visitors don't make one feel crowded. The majority of these visitors are attracted to Newcastle because of the incredible variation and beauty of the natural scenery there.

Guests Staying at The Painted Turtle Guesthouse will Have a Busy Weekend

Nanaimo will be hopping this weekend.  Preparations are in full swing for the 5th Annual Floating Boat and Marine Trade Show and the Vancouver Island International Children's Festival. Just a block from the

Ways to Save with BC Ferries to Vancouver Island

Anyone who is planning to spend a fair amount of time or money travelling with BC Ferries to Vancouver Island should know that there are many different ways to save. While some may scoff at the idea of pinching pennies in order to save on travel, when a one-way trip to the Island for a family costs nearly $75 any opportunity to save money means that you have more to spend on food, accommodations and entertainment. The first stop when planning a trip is to visit www.bcferries.com. Here you will find all the information you need in order to plan a trip with BC Ferries.

Day Trip Recommendation #5 from Nanaimo, British Columbia Della Falls in the Port Alberni Region

If you are really eager to see Vancouver Island in all of her natural glory, then a trip to Della Falls near Port Alberni is in order. Located in Strathcona Provincial Park, this is the highest waterfall in Canada at 1443 feet. This area is perfect for a day trip from Nanaimo, and gives visitors an opportunity to enjoy nature and the great hiking trails in the region. Getting There Going north on Island Highway, join onto Highway 19 towards Qualicum Beach. Take the exit to Highway 4 west. Follow the highway into Port Alberni. After reaching the town, head west on Highway 4 for about 13 km. Turn onto Great Central Lake Road and follow it to the lake. At the other side of the lake is the base of Della Falls, so you will need to get a water taxi across the lake, or rent a boat.

Taking the Foot Passenger Ferry to Protection Island

If you are looking for a touch of paradise while visiting Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, then you may want to consider a day trip to Protection Island. This island is like a slice of nirvana nestled within the hustle and bustle of Nanaimo's downtown core. Whether you are looking for a fun nature walk, want to get away from the crowd or are looking for a fantastic beach to sun on Protection Island has it all. Getting There The foot passenger ferry leaves the Dinghy Dock Pub at least once every hour, more often if there is a high demand. The cost for adults is $8 for a round-trip. The ferry runs until 11pm each weeknight and until 10pm on Sundays. The crossing takes approximately 10 minutes.

Day Trip Recommendation #3 from Nanaimo – The Quaint Town of Ladysmith, BC

Considered one of the most beautiful towns in BC, Ladysmith is a must-see if you are visiting in the Nanaimo area. Rich with historical buildings, gorgeous flower arrangements and a breathtaking view of the ocean this fantastic town is great for a day trip or an overnight stay. Getting There Located a mere 20 minute drive from Nanaimo, it is no wonder why so many Islanders choose to commute to work in the city from lovely Ladysmith, BC. To get there, simply head south from Nanaimo on Highway 1.