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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Crossing this one off..

This is definitely not New Zealand! Nope, this isn’t anywhere close to being New Zealand, but this certainly is as close to paradise as it gets! For my 60th birthday the plan was to be in New Zealand for the entire month of March 2021. I had wanted to be golfing at Cape Kidnappers on March 20th, which is the day of my 60th birthday. I’ve always dreamed of going to Hawkes Bay, New Zealand and playing the stunning Cape Kidnappers golf course. Well, it was not meant to be this year with Covid, so what is a great 2nd best thing to do? TOFINO of course!



Cape Kidnappers golf course! I don’t think the score would matter if we were playing this gem!


Tofino visitors centre.

After a 3 hour drive to get to Tofino, including the 25 minute stop at the road closure construction zone, we were happy to visit the Tofino Visitor Centre and find they had great clean bathrooms, and friendly staff!



Construction on the Hwy 4 between Port Alberni and the Ucluelet/Tofino junction.

Single lane traffic only

Lots and lots of construction which has been going on for over a year since the big rockslide occurred and blocked the road in January 2020.

The only road to Tofino and Ucluelet - Hwy 4 - was closed in both directions by a rockfall during the early morning hours of January 23, 2020. The Kennedy Hill area of the highway approximately 14 km northwest of the Tofino/Ucluelet junction is where the rockslide occurred last year. We had to be at this construction zone before 11am this morning, as the road closes every day from 11am-3pm and 4pm-5pm. On Saturdays there are top of the hour ‘flushes’ alternating in both directions. Sundays the traffic is single lane, but there are no ’flushes’. We arrived at the construction zone at 10am and were told by the couple in the BMW in front of us that going our way (westbound) we would be waiting for 20 minutes, before the road would open again. Our timing was pretty good getting to this point, as we had left Newman at 7:50am and stopped for gas and a coffee at 8:20 for 10 minutes outside of Hilliers.


After visiting the visitors centre in Tofino, we decided to go and make dinner reservations for Saturday night at a different spot than Richard had originally booked. Richard had booked us at 1909 which was highly recommended by the Wikkanish Inn (which is not open right now), but after listening to Marc and Kerry as well as Jess at the Tofino visitors centre, we decided that the Long Beach Lodge Resort would be a nicer spot for dinner, with a view over the ocean. Richard went into the Lodge to make the reservation for dinner, while I waited in Jerry reading all of the visitor information we had picked up at the Visitors Centre. After going into the Lodge Richard said I had to come and see the view from the Long Beach Lodge beach.



What a welcoming fire pit overlooking this gorgeous beach in Tofino!


A learn to surf class. No one was up on surfboards and it looked like they were having a hard time getting up on the boards.

Still no one up on their boards.

This dog was having fun chasing a ball through the surf.

Nice view of the Lenard Island lighthouse Tofino. This lighthouse was built and began operations on November 1, 1904. The life of the lighthouse keeper has been captured in a book by Caroline Woodward who in 2015 wrote “Light Years: Memoir of a Modern Lighthouse Keeper”. In the book she details a personal account of a lighthouse keeper in 21st century B.C. Caroline shares their tales of endurance, extreme climatic, interpersonal and medical challenges as well as the practical and psychological aspects of living a happy, healthy, useful and creative life in isolation.


We were very curious to get to ‘downtown’ Tofino after 4 hours of being on the road. As we pulled into Tofino we drove down the main street and then kept on going. Downtown Tofino is definitely not a very big spot!


We ended up at Tonquin Beach after driving through downtown Tofino and we decided to get out and stretch our legs a bit since 4 hours in Jerry is a long time!





Heading over to Tonquin Beach. There was quite an extensive amount of wooden stairs and bridges to climb to get over and down to the beach.



Tonquin beach had a very rocky outcrop on it with vegetation which they asked people to stay off.



A stunning day at +10C and not a cloud in the sky.



It was nice to walk around Tonquin beach, but we didn’t see any surfers on this beach today.


After a walk along the beach we decided to head into town and see where we could have lunch in Tofino today.



We found a great restaurant called ’Shed’ right on the Main Street in Tofino and we ate on their ‘patio’ which had been closed in with plastic and had heaters overhead.



The door was open to the outside patio, but it was still nice enough to take our jackets off to eat lunch.



The chicken lettuce wraps were the best I have ever eaten. The sauce on these wraps was delicious!



Richard had the salmon bowl with quinoa, kale and slivered almonds. He said it was the best he has ever eaten as well!


We walked around downtown Tofino after lunch as we couldn’t check into our VRBO until 4pm.


Anchor park, downtown Tofino. The totem pole is from the Tia-o-qui-aht master carver Joe David. At the top of the totem pole a thunderbird perches above a humpback whale. Both elements represent hereditary chiefs. A sun on the stomach of the thunderbird represents the power of life and the blowhole of the whale represents the chiefs that are alive now. There are two small knuckles on the whale to reflect mountain peaks in the traditional land of the Tia-o-qui-hat Nation.


We ended up walking all around downtown Tofino and I picked up some groceries for us at the Co-op grocery store before we headed back to Jerry. We drove to our VRBO and while we were a bit early, we had self check in and our place was ready for us, so we headed up to the third floor via the stairs, to our condo.



The yacht club from our 3rd floor/top floor/balcony

Commercial fishing boats with Strawberry Island in the foreground and Meares Island (mountainous) in the background.



Richard turned the fire on for me and I had a lovely view of the harbour sitting in my window seat to write today’s blog.


Richard had a nap while I was writing the blog and then I knew that today might be the only good sunset we would see, since the weather for the next two days is supposed to be a rainout. Keeping that in mind I wanted to go to South Chesterman beach to be on the beach to photograph the sunset over Clayquot Sound.



South Chesterman beach and the tide was going out. We are bundled up pretty good to withstand the wind and the evening temperatures!



The land in front of us was an Island called Frank Island and we saw other people hiking over to Frank Island, so we decided to follow them, thinking they must know that it was a good spot to watch the sunset.


We hiked all the way over this very large South Chesterman beach, got to Frank Island and parked ourselves on a rock to watch the sun set.



Sitting patiently waiting for the sun to go down.



The stunning views over Clayquot Sound from Frank Island.

Sunset at South Chesterman Beach, Tofino.

The sun ended up behind a cloud bank and we never did see it set.

As we turned around to catch one last glimpse of the sunset over South Chesterman beach. Stunning! Sometimes its important to turn around in photography, since the view may be better than what is in front of you!


We were so glad we left the condo at the end of a beautiful day in Tofino. Tofino is definitely a bucket list place for both me and Richard and we looked at each other as the sun was going down and said “we did the right thing coming here”. It’s so beautiful and special, and its nice to experience it for the first time together.







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