Discover breathtaking coastline, thrilling adventure sports and magnificent wildlife on one of the most picturesque of Victoria’s Gulf Islands.
Gabriola Island is just a narrow gap of water away from the modern metropolis of Vancouver, yet it couldn’t feel farther removed from city life. Visit to explore dense cedar tree forests and sandstone coastlines carved by the sea. Besides spectacular wilderness, the island also offers theaters, museums and restaurants.
Get an overview of the island in the Gabriola Museum. Stories from the island’s nautical past are complemented by local art displays and outdoor exhibits. Uncover the mysteries of Petroglyph Park, where ancient First Nations symbols are carved into the rock.
The small island has a thriving arts and culture scene. Watch classic movies or plays at the Roxy Lounge and Culture Club and the Gabriola Theatre Centre. Come in August to enjoy the Gabriola Theatre Festival.
Enjoy exploring nature for days. Among the most recognizable sights on the island are the Malaspina Galleries, whose wave-shaped sandstone formations were created by tidal erosion.
Take advantage of opportunities for adventure sports. Rent a kayak and paddle along the coast toward Vancouver Island or hop on a bike and head into the forests and hills of the interior.
Watch for wildlife on the coast and in the hills. The waters around Vancouver Island are home to seals, otters and whales. Head to Whalebone for sightings of eagles soaring over beaches on the Salish Sea.
Catch a ferry from Nanaimo Harbour to reach Gabriola Island. The journey takes about 25 minutes and leads directly into the bay just outside the town of Gabriola. Alternatively, ride the float plane service running from Vancouver. Once on the island, rent a bike to get around or ride the community bus, which is affectionately named Gertie.
Head to Gabriola Island in summer, when the ocean waters are balmy and welcoming. The weather is best during July and August, though this is also peak tourist season. Spring is a good time to see wildlife, while fall is a great time to try fresh produce from local harvests.