For a fun day out point your car or bicycle south of Nanaimo and enjoy the scenic countryside. Admission to the five top attractions listed below is free and there aren’t any parking charges either. See our South Nanaimo Driving Tour for more precise directions than can be included here.
1) Cable Bay Trail. Off Barnes Road toward Cedar-By-The-Sea, this pleasant 30-minute walk through mixed forest leads to the Cable Bay Bridge. A 15-minute extension of the trail runs east along the coast to Joan Point Park and the Dodd Narrows where tidal flows between Vancouver and Mudge islands can reach speeds of 10 knots. From October to April watch for sea lions here. Allow two hours roundtrip for this invigorating hike.
2) Hemer Provincial Park. This wooded park just east of Cedar features a wildlife viewing platform overlooking a marsh a 10-minute walk from the parking lot. The park’s coniferous forest is lovely and there are several hiking trails.
3) Roberts Memorial Provincial Park. In summer this is one of the best places between Cedar and Yellow Point for a swim in the sea. A one-km trail leads through the forest to sandstone ledges along the coast with good views of Valdes and Thetis islands.
4) Hazelwood Herb Farm. This quasi botanical garden just east of Nanaimo Airport opens daily from 11 am to 5 pm April to December. A formal herb garden faces the shop and the nursery contains hundreds of plants, each with a detailed description of possible medicinal benefits.
5) WildPlay Bungy Zone. In 1990 Canada’s first official bridge jump opened just northwest of Nanaimo Airport, 42 meters above the Nanaimo River Gorge. Today the main activities are bungy jumping toward the river, a primal swing off the bridge, a zip line, and a treetop course. Admission to WildPlay Element Parks is free and sightseers are welcome to climb the bridge to watch the action and enjoy the spectacular gorge view even if you don’t intend to participate.