Tours of Exploration Travellers' Blog
Trip to the Sunshine Coast, BC
By Szilvia Paradi
July 10, 2020 - Today is the day! A much-anticipated trip to the Sunshine Coast to visit Catherine’s hometown and base for Tours of Exploration in Gibsons. I made sure that I had packed for all conditions – ticking off my camera, hikers, sunscreen, a baseball hat, rain-jacket, and of course, travel snacks from my list.
Ferry-travel between British Columbia’s coastal regions during the COVID-19 pandemic is not unpopular – each ferry I boarded was quite full of passengers.
A mask is required to have on hand in order to board the ferry. The food amenities are open, however the gift shop is open on a vessel-by-vessel basis.
Travelling to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver Island is simple and affordable – and even easier from Vancouver. From Vancouver West (Horseshoe Bay Terminal), it only costs $13.70 for an adult passenger to travel to Langdale Ferry Terminal – and that is a roundtrip! Because of this, Gibsons makes a perfect rural getaway for Vancouverites.
I was greeted by Catherine at the Langdale Ferry Terminal on arrival. We started out by driving to a beautiful Bonniebrook beachside walkway, and strolling alongside the stretch of beach, absorbing the relaxing sunshine and atmosphere. It was immediately observed how different the energy was to Vancouver Island – it was more tranquil, with less people around. The beaches stretched even longer, and the skies appeared larger.
We then stopped in town to explore. How charming! Lower Gibsons has a lovely sea-side port with activity and an inviting hominess amongst visitors and townsfolk. It was explained that Gibsons is a close-knit community; a place where some move to become “invisible”, while others look out for one-another and help foster a warm community feeling. Gibsons Marina was a beautiful sight to behold, with seafood restaurants, fish markets, and oyster shucking a-plenty. I was enticed into purchase of a lovely Persian Lime-infused olive oil by the Sunshine Coast Olive Oil company. Dinner in town was followed by a short drive to the bnb.
We were immediately taken back by the beauty of Soames Point Oceanfront Inn. A tranquil, wooden-style home overlooking an ethereal lookout of the same name. It has a wrap-around deck and a cascading stairway to an ocean-front firepit. Could it get any dreamier?
In the next few hours, I positioned myself down by the waterfront where the firepit was, and sat there until sunset. I was pleased to see a few deer on the property, as well as a hummingbird who was just as curiously eyeing me as I, it. The sun painted a purple-y pinkish hue across the ocean and the mountains, as I manipulated my phone camera to the best of its abilities to try to capture the light adequately. My Day 1 in Gibsons summed up in one word was: dreamy. I couldn’t wait to see what tomorrow will bring.
July 11, 2020 - Soames Point Oceanfront Inn’s breakfast was lovely – homemade muffins, a croissant, jam, and granola, with sliced fruit and some yoghurt. I brewed up coffee and took to the outdoors to eat while mountain-gazing some more. I left a heartfelt message to owners Judy and Tom in the guest-book, then walked to Catherine’s house.
Catherine and I slipped on bike helmets and set off towards lower Gibsons, despite the rainfall that was quickly accumulating. The Sunshine Coast is an extraordinary place to bike around in and get some faster-paced sight-seeing in. Adorned with rolling hills, you receive both a challenge and a thrill as you ascend and descend, over and over again.
We rode our bike to Gospel Rock, a beautiful domed rock-formation and lookout. We rested on Gospel Rock and took in the views of the ocean, and laughed at the deer that started munching on the tree right over our bikes calmly. We then rode back into town towards Black Bean Café for a little snack.
July 12, 2020 - On this day, we made plans to do a quick 2.6 km hike up Soames Hill (aka. Knob Hill). This forest-covered hike featured an ascent up a steep flight of 434 stairs, then a rocky climb to the summit – about 132 m elevation in total. We climbed to the top in about 45-50 minutes, and were treated with two spectacular lookouts. Catherine listed off the various mountain and island formations – Keats Island, Bowen Island, Gambier Island, the Strait of Georgia, Howe Sound and Vancouver Island in the distance. Soames Hill was a great way to work off our breakfast and to get a fresh and healthy start to the morning.
Last stop was Persephone Brewing Company, growler in hand, to treat ourselves to beer before departure. We picked the Coast Life Lager - a light and crisp beer with a refreshingly hoppy aftertaste. Pouring it into the mason jars the brewery had available, we lounged in the grass in the small bit of shade we could find. We laughed at how that one glass of beer had managed to completely tucker us out.
It was a lovely way to wrap up my trip to the Sunshine Coast. Reflecting back on my last few days, I had done so much in such a short time! The itinerary Catherine had planned for me had successfully introduced me to the culture of Gibsons and the Sunshine Coast, the stunning coastal beaches and mountain-views, incredible local food and drinks, and the warm hospitality of everyone I met throughout. The personalities of Gibsons townfolk can be described as warm, socially-conscious, artistic… and above all else, genuine. A huge thanks to Tours of Exploration, and Catherine for granting the opportunity to explore the Sunshine Coast. I will most definitely return back to the coast– next time, for a longer period of time, and with a plan to explore the Coast’s other spectacular regions.