In the second week of April I drove up Island with our daughter Rhea, and our dog Max, for a three day camping getaway.
For the first night we stopped just over the Malahat at the Bamberton Provincial Park Campsite outside of Mill Bay. We had passed by this park many times but this was our first time stopping there. Because it was April we had no-one around us at our campsite and it was beautiful! Many of the tall trees around our site were Arbutus - the tallest we had ever seen. The picture of our Bamberton camp set up has the picnic table in the foreground.
From there we headed to the Nanaimo Lakes to settle in to the Timberwest campgrounds (a favourite stop for Rhea and I) stopping along the way for ice cream.
During our two days on the lakes we canoed, hiked, dodged raindrops, and enjoyed a couple of Rhea's wonderful tinfoil-wrap campfire feasts. Max loves canoeing, he is pictured below in his cool life jacket.
The Nanaimo Lakes are a mid-island treasure that few people are aware of. To get there you turn right off the Island Highway just a couple of kilometers north of the Nanaimo airport. The same turnoff as for the Bungy Jumping place - follow the sign for this and the Naniamo River sign. From there it's about a 20 minute drive into the heart of south Vancouver Island.
The Timberwest campsite is less polished than Provincial campsites - there is no taps, showers, or flush toilets - but there are a lot of amazing waterside campsites to choose from.