Area Attractions

The exceptional attractions in south central Vancouver Island are easily accessible from our centrally-located Cowichan rental. Take time to explore Chemainus (murals), Duncan with it’s friendly, unique downtown and famous totem poles. Come and experience Cowichan where there is more to do than you can imagine.

If you have time take a tour to Victoria (Victoria’s Inner Harbour), and don’t miss the Saanich Peninsula (Butchart Gardens, Sidney by the Sea).

Cowichan is named after a Coast Salish word which means “land warmed by the sun”, and is a truly appealing area.  Our easy to find convenient Cobble Hill location is minutes from Highway #1 in quiet pastoral countryside, handy to everything you may want to see and do.

You’ll get an excellent introduction to the Cowichan Valley area on this video:

To partake in the plentiful locally grown food and fresh sea food visit our farmers markets, local shops and restaurants.

Recreation options are everywhere:

  • Hiking paradise – some of our favourites are Cobble Hill Mountain, Cowichan River Provincial Park, Mt Tzouhalem, and Maple Mountain, ask your host for information on less known hikes in the area. Or just stroll on beaches – Cherry Point Beach is  popular and you can walk or drive the short distance from our front door.
  • There are year round golf courses nearby, Arbutus Ridge Golf Club is a 1 minute drive and has a beautiful tennis bubble too.
  • Cycle (see Rotary Route) or ride your motorcycle on picturesque winding country roads. Rent bicycles at Cycle Therapy or Experience Cycling.
  • Rent a kayak in Cowichan Bay or Mill Bay.
  • Local lake and river swimming is fantastic at Cowichan or Shawnigan, try a dip in the ocean for a bracing experience.
  • There’s fishing along the Cowichan River, or further afield, ocean fishing is a favourite.
  • And a truly memorable whale-watching experience can be taken from Cowichan Bay – see Ocean Ecoventures.

Visit charming waterfront communities like Cowichan Bay, Maple Bay, Genoa Bay or Ladysmith. For example, Cowichan Bay’s locally produced eats are hallmarks of the main street’s favourite haunts – a cheese shop and restaurant, ice cream parlour, and an acclaimed organic bakery. Walk the pier, visit the wooden boats at the Cowichan Bay Maritime Centre, and serve aces on the courts at South Cowichan Lawn Tennis Club the oldest active lawn tennis courts in Canada.

You may have want to visit that remarkable bridge in the above video; it’s the 614 feet long and 145 feet high Kinsol Trestle, west of Shawnigan Lake.

Drop into Whippletree Junction on Hwy 1 between Cobble Hill and Duncan for local gifts. Wander through pretty Edwardian Ladysmith, located on the 49th Parallel,  Ladysmith has the warmest swimming beach on the island at Transfer Beach.

For day trips travel to the Saanich Peninsula on the ferry from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay for The Butchart Gardens just 45 minutes away. Alternatively, spend a day on laid-back Salt Spring Island (BC Ferries from Crofton). Or drive the beautiful Malahat Highway to spend the day in historic Victoria.

Butchart Gardens

World famous Butchart Gardens

Duncan and the Chemainus murals

Duncan, the heart of the Cowichan Region, is a very walkable, people-friendly community that invites you to come, stay a while and enjoy the ambience. Its downtown features heritage buildings, and small, exquisite shops and restaurants catering to all tastes. Enjoy the cultural comings and goings in the busy City Square or tour the world’s largest collection of outdoor totems. Maybe purchase a beautiful and practical Cowichan sweater.

Chemainus is known as “The Little Town that Did”, and is ten minutes north of Duncan. Think of an outdoor art gallery with over 40 large murals and many statues presenting the living history of this little town with a history in forestry. Browse through the boutiques, gift shops and antique stores. The Chemainus Theatre has a very high reputation for the quality of its productions.

Nearby, you will long remember The Raptors birds of prey demonstrations – educational and enthralling as eagles, falcons, vultures, owls and hawks go through their paces.

Almost 5,000 First Nations people live in the Cowichan Valley so their culture is significant here. Tour the Quw’utsun’ Cultural Centre in Duncan and view traditional art, crafts and First Nations’ cuisine.

Just north of Duncan you can explore the outdoor museum that is the BC Forest Discovery Centre with over 5,000 artifacts and take a train around its 100 acres.

Cowichan Valley Wineries

Cobble Hill, Vancouver Island, BC -Google Earth

The Land Warmed by the Sun enjoys a pleasant temperate climate. Here is British Columbia’s second largest wine region where well-established vineyards welcome tours.

So take the wine route and visit our Cowichan Valley wineries and an estate cidery and distillery.

For full information visit the Cowichan Region Visitor Centre next to the BC Forest Discovery Centre.

For more information, visit Tourism Cowichan.