When the August heat arrives, it’s time to take to the water for a quick and easy getaway to the family-friendly Saysutshun – Newcastle Island Marine Provincial Park. In fact, locals and visitors alike have made Saysutshun a must on their summer must-do list for years. Here’s why:
1. Swim: Cool off with a swim at the sandy Kanaka Bay or Midden Bay, or the pebble beaches at Brownie Bay and Mark Bay.
2. Hike & bike: From active tidal pools to lush forest, this island is made for exploring, with trails often leading to panoramic views of both land and sea.
3. Explore: Visit the sites of Snuneymuxw villages, sandstone quarries, a fish saltery and coal mine on your own or reserve a guided walking tour with an experienced Snuneymuxw guide who will discuss the island’s rich First Nations history. Reserve your guided tour at firstname.lastname@example.org.
4. Camp: Book an oceanside campsite to relax and enjoy the island’s beautiful sunsets for up to 14 days, with potable water and showers, plus firewood available for purchase.
5. Replenish: Refuel after a busy day exploring the Island with a meal or snack at the Saysutshun Bistro, in the restored 1930s teahouse in the dance pavilion. Tuck into delicious burgers, smokies, seafood chowder, salad, ice-cold drinks and more.
6. Salmon grill: Don’t miss the chance to take in a traditional salmon barbecue. A Snuneymuxw chef will describe the generations-old sockeye salmon cooking process and teachings handed down through the years. Pre-book at least three weeks in advance for a minimum of 30 people, who will enjoy salmon, baked potato, salad, fresh fruit, traditional baked bread and drinks.
7. Celebrate: Considering a wedding or special event on the island? Visit 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 are available year-round.)
● The ferry fare is $5 return, with pets $1, bikes $2 and other equipment/gear $1.
● If you’re hopping the passenger ferry to the island, park at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park, 150 Comox Rd., where the first three hours are free.