August 23, 2010 | Tips from Travellers >
Quadra Island, Sightseeing Tours
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If I wasn’t smiling so wide I would not have caught that bug in my mouth. I flew down the hills on my bright blue scooter, exploring Quadra Island, the heart of the Discovery Islands off the coast of North Central Vancouver Island. I imagined myself with large retro sunglasses, a colourful satchel and a hand woven scarf flowing in the wind behind me. Then I would have blended in with the earthy, laid back residents of this natural island community.
My journey began the afternoon before on the dock at Painters Lodge in Campbell River. I had reserved a room at April Point Lodge and Spa, Painters sister resort, on Quadra. There is a Discovery crossing from dock to dock every 20 minutes for their guests.
April Point Lodge sits, obviously, on April Point on the south western side of Quadra Island. The resort combines the best of luxury with water front cottage-like comforts. Each room looks over the ocean. There is a full spa, a restaurant and sushi bar, fishing charters, wild life cruises and lots of toys for rent. Toys like kayaks, bicycles and... scooters.
I woke up at dawn and threw open my curtains welcoming the seascape into my room. I drank my coffee pouring over, and spilling on, a map of Quadra Island trying to plan my day.
“Turn the key to on and press the red start button,” said the April Point crew member. I took my scooter up the hill in a few wobbly blasts of the throttle before getting the hang of it. It was just me, a bulbous black helmet and an island of discovery!
My first stop was the lighthouse. I went by an earthy and organic shopping centre, was tempted by a unique vegetarian restaurant, before carrying on down the quiet wooded and scarcely populated roads to Cape Mudge and to the point to find the white and red lighthouse. I walked over drift logs on the rocky beach to take photos.
I zipped to the eastern coast of the island and up towards the Rebecca Spit Provincial Park. I watch a summer camp school bus unload and children racing to find treasures on the beach. Half a dozen sail boats were anchored in the calm and enclosed Drew Harbour. I walked out to the spit, did some beach combing of my own, and watch kayakers paddle near the shore.
From there I headed north up the coastline to the most populous area on the island, and the commercial hub of Heriot Bay. I picnicked on the beach outside the Heriot Bay Inn and Marina. Fishing boats and yachts were coming in and out of the marina as the ferry to Cortez Island departed with a load of passengers.
The residents of Quadra Island live a laid back and rural lifestyle surrounded by stunning coastal scenery, wildlife, and an unspoilt environment. Their community is rich in culture, history and artisans. I could have explored for days, but it was time to return my scooter rental.
“How was it?” asked the staff girl at the desk back at April Point Lodge.
“Amazing,” I said with my face wind-blown, fixing my helmet hair, “Except I swallowed a bug!”
“You’re not the first,” she smiled.
My visit to Quadra Island was less than 24 hours but it was more than long enough to make me want to go back, and soon.
Next time I will ride my scooter with large retro sunglasses, a colourful satchel and a flowing hand woven scarf.
Next time, I’ll smile with my mouth shut.