Heading to Port Renfrew

Juan de Fuca Provincial Park

Having had our fill of Victoria and spoilt with our views of the Orca, we were ready to head away from civilisation and into the great unknown. Into the wilderness we went, following tiny roads and tree lined trails.

Our mission - drive the scenic Juan de Fuca Strait up to Port Renfrew before crashing for the night. The journey was beautiful. It gets very rural very quickly. We spotted many deer, goat and wild birds as we went.

It got really exciting when we spotted the occasional logger truck. Something about that makes it feel like a real adventure.

Our first stop after breakfast was the Sooke Potholes Provincial Park. I cannot tell you how terrified I was wandering around here. It was absolutely deserted, true wilderness and I was so convinced that something would eat us and no one would be around to save us haha. Over dramatic I know.

The potholes are formed from historic glacial activity and filled with the most inviting turquoise waters.

Each pool cascading into another, with no other people and just the sound of the water, it was such a peaceful place to visit.

Looking around, the trees were thick for miles. It felt like the setting for Homeward Bound.

With no one else to disturb, we popped out the drone for a bird's eye view. Mr B likes to film, I am more of a stills girl - so we take it turns to share the battery life and get what we want. One day he might put together a video of all the footage and I'll give it a share.

A cheeky little selfie and we're up and away.

You can see how beautiful the colours are from way up high.

After a wander through the woods, we hopped back in the car and headed to Sooke Harbour. This is just a short stop, a little point of interest I found on Pinterest. Seeing as it was close by, it was worth a stop.

The harbour itself was beautiful and again deserted apart from one fisherman.

Looking out into neighbouring shoreline, we spotted what we thought were large boulders.

On further inspection, we discovered that they were incredibly large seals!

After a relax on the dock, in true road trip style we were back on the road to see what we could find next. And much to my satisfaction it was food! Stopping in at the famous roadside Shirley Delicious. When you see nothing for miles and come across this cute little hut, it's a great feeling. It's an absolute hidden gem and a must stop if you're passing.

We had the yummiest sandwiches and cake with unusual flavoured coffees.

Fuelled for the road, we continued on. Over the next part of our journey we spent our time stopping at the beaches lining the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Ones to look out for are China Beach & Mystic Beach. These beaches are unlike anything I've experienced before. You park up in the forest and a trail head and walk through the trees to get to the water. It is such a unique experience.

The trails are well marked and the lighting beneath the canopy is stunning. Worth noting, you're in black bear, cougar and wolf territory so keep your wits and make sure you know what to do on an encounter.

From sheer fear, I spent the entire trail speaking at the top of my lungs. Being only two of us and considering how deserted everything on this part of the island was, I wasn't taking any chances!

As the beaches come into view, it is worth the walk.

They are pebbled and strewn with the most amazing driftwood. I'm not talking your occasional twig, I mean full on trees and washed away forest.

Water, beach, forest... it really is an unusual sight for us brits.

The water was calm and tranquil, with a horizon lined with even more forest. You really feel like you're in the middle of nowhere.

Embracing the seclusion, we popped out the drone again for a quick flight.

Heading back through the trees after being on the shore, we enjoyed the shelter from the sun.

Something worth noting, when parking at a trailhead, take all valuables from your car. Due to the seclusion, it's prime car theft territory and we witnessed this happen to other travellers on our trip. Awful.

Our final checkpoint for the day was Wild Renfrew. We followed the winding, deserted roads through never ending forests, over uncountable creeks and down into a tiny little harbour.

Port Renfrew is the southern entrance to the Pacific Rim National Park and the world renowned trail called The West Coast Trail. It is a tiny fishing village, by tiny I mean one pub and nothing around for miles. Travellers visit the area during daylight but not many opt to stay and so by night it is absolutely deserted.

The harbour itself is very pretty. Quiet, simple - totally away from the busy commercial boom of the big city. Practically off-grid, don't expect a lot of phone signal here.

The harbour is very picturesque, with a quaint little boardwalk out to the water.

The port is home to a small business called Wild Renfrew, this is who we choose to stay with for the night. They have a few small cottages and a lodge to accommodate overnight guests.

We checked into our lodge, quite affordable and incredibly basic. Renfrew really is wild so if you plan on stopping here for the night, accept that this won't be the most luxurious part of your road trip, but it will feel exciting. The lodge is located in the neighbouring woodland and couldn't feel more secluded if they tried. The lighting is dim and the rooms very basic, it has a bit of a roadside horror motel feel to it in the dark haha. No one around for miles and just the creaky woods outside surrounding you!

If staying the night, the Renfrew pub is a real treat and basically the only thing to do after dark. The food is simple but tasty and exactly what you'd expect from a pub in the wilderness. We opted for fish & chips and a pint - pretty classic and with the water view and twinkling lights, it was the simple life we enjoyed.

Looking absolutely battered from a long day, we sat and chatted and drank and ate and absorbed the view as the sun began to go down on a very quiet, now empty little corner of the world.

Not wanting to walk back up to the lodge after dark, certain I'd become a cougar snack, we headed down to the harbour for one last sunset view before calling it a day.

We were the only people around for what felt like miles, with only nature for company. Everyone looked to be getting cosy for the night.

A final flight of the day, we took to the sky to get a feel for how remote we really were.

Chilling on the dock, it felt a little apocalypto. Like the world had gone away and forgotten us and we were free to roam as we pleased.

The sunset kissed the water and gave everything that warm glow that makes you feel all 'life is so amazing' fuzziness in the pit of your tummy.

With a final farewell to an empty pub and peaceful harbour, we headed back up the dock.

A little cheeky goodnight from a local seal before we went.

I am so glad we opted to go wild and stay in Renfrew for the night. Whilst you don't need more than one night, the experience was fantastic and the peace it brought, divine.

Sometimes it's good to wander where the wifi is weak. To slow down the pace, to lose your mind and find your soul - heading off grid and into the forest as it calls.


- MTWP xxx

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