The late James Barber speaking of the Cowichan once declared "Canada has a new Provence". Whether one wants to bike, hike, sight-see, whale-watch, boat and fish, visit wineries or live theatre, farm markets or dine out, the Cowichan Region has it all.
The Tourism Cowichan website offers a full overview of the features and options available in this beautiful and diverse valley. We invite you also to watch the video on our main page to get a flavour of the Cowichan.
Your hosts are avid bicycle tourists and IslandSkye is located midway between Victoria and Nanaimo on the Rotary Route of Southern Vancouver Island. We have secure lockup for bicycles at night.
In addition the Trans Canada Trail (now called the Great Trail) with connections to Lake Cowichan and Shawnigan Lake are nearby. IslandSkye is on a bike designated road (Maple Bay Road) and is part of the Vancouver Island off highway travel route.
If you prefer mountain biking, Maple Mountain is just minutes away, and it is just one of many great off road mountain trials in the area.
The Cowichan Valley Trail is a multi purpose trail connecting communities in the Cowichan Valley. Large portions are rail to trail and appropriate for all walkers.
In addition Maple Mountain and Mt. Tzouhalem are close by and offer day hikes.
Kinsol Trestle is one of the largest wooden trestles in North America. It spans the Koksilah River and is over 44 metres high and 187 metres long. As part of the Cowichan Valley Trail, you can visit the trestle by itself or hike all day.
The gentle landscapes of the Cowichan makes for perfect golfing, and there are many golfing choices. The Arbutus Ridge Golf Club in Cobble Hill offers spectacular views, a challenging course, and great dining afterward at The Satellite Bar and Grille.
Wineries and Cideries
The Cowichan Valley has a Mediterranean Maritime climate and offers a variety of wineries, specializing in cool climate varietals. With over 20 wineries to choose from our hosts will offer their recommendations depending on your tastes. Start by checking out two of our favourites close by, Averill Creek and Emandare. Other favourites include Unsworth Winery and Blue Grouse. In addition, the Merridale Cidery in Cobble Hill offers a unique tour, tasting and dining experience. Unsworth and Zinatta ((Vinoteca Restaurant) offer unique dining experiences.
Consider joining in a guided tour by Cheers Cowichan Tours and leave the driving to them. They offer daily tours and expertise to maximize your wine and tasting experience.
Whale - Watching begins just 10 kms away in Cowichan Bay.
First Nations Culture
The Qut'utsun' people have lived in the valley for thousands of years. On the edge of Duncan, the Quw'utsun' Cultural & Conference Centre is open June to September. Taste the traditional foods, take a tour and then walk the totem walk.
The BC Forest Discovery Centre is close by and offers over 100 acres of forestry exhibits and a real steam train which operates every half hour. The centre provides a valuable history lesson and fun for the whole family.
The Raptors is a unique wildlife management program and offers daily demonstrations with these magnificent birds of prey.
The city of Duncan is, by area, the smallest city in Canada. The downtown area of Duncan is a jewel. The highlight of downtown is the Totem Walk. There are 40 individual totem poles carved by the Cowichan people that tell the story of their history, stories, family and tradition. The Duncan downtown Farmer's Market is open every Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm (winter 10 - 2).
The Chemainus Theatre Festival 2019 season offers a year round wide variety of shows from the classics to the seasonal. Only 15 minutes way on a delightful country road.
The Cowichan offers a wide variety of places to dine, from neighbourhood pubs, brew-pubs, bakeries, weekend markets, winery dining, cafe/bakeries, golf course, to destination dining in Cowichan Bay, Duncan, and Genoa Bay. Our favourite is the Genoa Bay Cafe, where you will experience fine West Coast cuisine in a quiet marina cove. Your hosts will gladly offer suggestions depending on your interests and tastes.