Gabriola Island is one of the most beautiful and relaxing islands to get away from the city. It is not far away from Nanaimo, and it is easy to explore. The beautiful nature on the island will take away any pressure that you may have from city life. On Gabriola Island, the stress of the city disappears. When you step out of the car, you already feel like you are on vacation.
To travel to Gabriola Island, you will need to drive to the ferry terminal, which is located in Nanaimo. Here are some some travel tips to consider:
The drive to the Gabriola Ferry is approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes from Victoria.
The sailing time from Nannaimo to Gabriola Island is 20 minutes.
You can save money on the ferry using the BC Ferries Experience Card.
Stop # 1 - Paradise Island Alpaca Farm
This family operated farm is located a short distance from the ferry terminal. It is free to visit the entire farm and feed different animals including chickens, goats, miniature horses, and Alpacas!
The farm is owned and operated by Taylor Turrie and her husband. They started the alpaca farm with only 2 alpacas, which was a gift from her husband. Over the years, the farm has grown and is now home to 17 alpacas. The alpacas are much loved members of the family.
Turrie has always been inspired by animals can co-exist peacefully together in spite of their differences and believes that humans can learn much from them. After you get out of your car, a young volunteer from the island will warmly greet you and take you on tour on the farm, which also includes a visit to an enchanted fairy garden.
Stop #2 - Malaspina Galleries
The Malaspina Galleries is where you completely escape the city and step right into nature. The sounds of the waves, ocean breeze, and fresh air is enough to brighten anyone's day while you explore these natural rock formations. Every moment spent here is relaxing and enjoyable as you take in the coastal scenery.
Photo from Ron Kirstein
This orchard on the island boasts more than 1000 trees with 25 different varieties of apple trees. They have tasting flights available, picnics in the orchard, and they also sell other local products.
Getting a ferry back to Nanaimo does not cost anything as the return fare is included in your original ticket. However, due to the ferry scheduling, you will want to plan for an 8-hour day trip from Victoria to allow yourself enough time to enjoy. The experience and scenery will take you away on vacation without ever leaving too far from home.