Sponsored by Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park • Impress Branded Content
Get away from it all in just 15 minutes at the breathtaking Saysutshun – Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park – awaiting discovery in Nanaimo’s harbour.
Part of the traditional lands of the Snuneymuxw people, the family-friendly marine park features water activities and front country camping, but visitors discover so much more at this island, just a short harbour ferry ride from Nanaimo’s Maffeo-Sutton Park. From spectacular views to fascinating First Nations sites, here’s your guide to Saysutshun – Newcastle Island:
1. Explore: With beautiful beaches and rich tidal pools, lush forest and fascinating historic sites, this island is made for exploring. Visit sites of former Snuneymuxw villages, sandstone quarries, a fish saltery and coal mine on your own or reserve a walking tour with an experienced Snuneymuxw guide who’ll discuss the island’s First Nations history. You can even enjoy a traditional salmon barbecue with an interpretive tour – get tickets for the July 15 tour and barbecue from the Snuneymuxw band office at 668 Centre St., Nanaimo.
2. Get busy: With its varied coastline and sheltered bays, Saysutshun has long been popular with paddlers, but also boasts hiking and biking trails, often leading to panoramic views of land and sea. Cool off after your hike with a swim – popular spots include the sandy Kanaka Bay or Midden Bay, or pebble beaches at Brownie Bay and Mark Bay.
3. Camp: Book an oceanside campsite and extend your Newcastle Island experience. Soak in the beautiful sunsets and sunrises for up to 14 days, with potable water and showers, plus firewood available for purchase.
4. Replenish: After a busy day exploring, refuel at Saysutshun Bistro, in the restored 1930s teahouse in the dance pavilion, and enjoy delicious burgers, seafood chowder, salad, ice-cold drinks and more. Or, reserve your spot for a traditional salmon barbecue, where a Snuneymuxw chef describes the traditional cooking process and cultural teachings handed down through generations. Pre-book at least three weeks in advance for a minimum of 20 people.
5. Celebrate: Make beautiful memories by hosting your wedding or special event at the Newcastle Island Pavilion where you’ll enjoy full services and amenities, including meals for up to 250 people from catering partner the Grand Hotel.
What you need to know:
● Visit Newcastle Island in Nanaimo Harbour by foot passenger ferry or private boat. Through Sept. 15, the ferry leaves every 30 minutes from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. from the Maffeo Sutton dock for the 15-minute trip. (Reduced schedules available year-round.)
● The ferry fare is $5 return, with pets $1, bikes $2 and equipment and supplies $1.
● Parking at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park, 150 Comox Rd., offers the first three hours free.
● Learn more at newcastleisland.ca or call 250-802-0255.