|Gear stacked on the #257 bus|
Thought I'd share with you more of the details of our trip over the next few days in case you're thinking of Newcastle Island as a destination, or curious about how we made the trip work with no cars or bikes.
Newcastle Island sits in the waters just off Nanaimo--so close that you can easily canoe or kayak it. The entire island is a Provincial Park, about the size of Stanley Park, with campsites at the south end near the small private ferry that runs from downtown Nanaimo.
To get there we took a bus to downtown Vancouver at 9am, then walked a couple of blocks to the #257 Horseshoe Bay Express. We could have ridden the #19 bus all the way to Stanley Park & transferred at the same stop on Georgia near Denman, but on long weekends this bus is packed, so if you have luggage &/or children, it's much better to get on at the very first stop on Dunsmuir at Hamilton.
|Off the ferry onto the tiny bus in Nanaimo|
Once the ferry arrived in Departure Bay around 12:30pm, we caught the bus to Maffeo Sutton Park, a ten minute ride. It's under 3km to the park & apparently there is a seawall path you could take if you are on bikes or feel like walking 30-40 minutes. I met up with an old high school friend at the park while the kids played & Oliver walked over to pick up the last of our supplies (wine, beer, hot dog buns, chips). There's a newish craft brewery just a block from the park, called White Sails, which does sell bottles, or you could bring a growler with you.
|Not too busy on the Protection Island ferry to Newcastle Island|
From the dock to the Newcastle Island camp site is only a few hundred metres' walk along crushed stone paths or across the dry field. All the camp sites--there are 18 single camp sites in a row along the path across the island plus five group sites in the grassy field closer to the water. We were in #8, in the middle.
|Trekking across the field to our camp site|
The route home was only slightly more eventful. We made all our connections, but the info I got from both the Nanaimo Transit mobile website & Google Maps failed to mention that the ferry shuttle bus might not be running on a holiday Monday--luckily we talked to another bus driver & caught a different bus.
|Tired tiny backpackers on the last bus of our trip|
We packed as light as possible (more on that in a post tomorrow) so all four of us had backpacks plus one small cart, which wasn't too hard to get on & off buses & ferries. I'd definitely do this again.
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