Newcastle Island Provincial Park
Newcastle Island Park is an island retreat located 100 metres off the coast of Nanaimo on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. Accessed only by boat, kayak or passenger water taxi the island is a popular hiking, beach, picnicking and camping destination.
There are picnic facilities and a pavilion on the island for day use trips. The island facilities include a picnic area with a playground, picnic tables, information shelter, swimming beach, toilets, horseshoe pits and a large grassy area. In the summer there are food concession stands, a gift shop and an interpretive centre with programs and guides. This may change.
On the island there are 22 kilometres of beautiful hiking trails. The hiking trails explore the coastline alongside Douglas Fir, Garry Oak, Dogwood and Arbutus trees. The trails lead to some amazing viewpoints and sightseeing opportunities visiting beaches, caves, cliffs and caverns. Your curiosity is your guide.
There is tent camping on the island. From the dock follow the trail leading to the campground. It is a hike-in only campsite. There are hot showers, fresh running water, food caches, flush and pit toilets.
The foot ferry ride is only 10 minutes long but it travels cautiously and slowly as the passage between Vancouver Island and Newcastle Island is a very busy marine channel with many sailboats, motor boats and yachts. Some of them are moored in open water while others are making their way, to and from, the many marinas located up and down the coastline on Vancouver Island.
Newcastle Island Provincial Park has a long history. It has gone through many changes over time. The island was once home to a First Nation village, a fish salting plant, a shipyard, a sandstone quarry, a high society dance pavilion and a coal mining operation. There are still some remains on the island of two old historic buildings from the First Nation's Salish tribe. The buildings were abandoned in 1849 when the coal industry moved to the island.
In 1931 Newcastle Island became a party place for the rich. People would travel to the island for large, high society social gatherings. To accommodate the large parties the people in the region built a dance pavilion, tea house, picnic area, a wading pool and change houses.
The reputation of the island parties grew. Soon the demand created a need for accommodations. It was then that the people of the region brought in a decommissioned ship. The ship was tied up to the dock and became the hotel of Newcastle Island.
How To Get To: Newcastle Island Provincial ParkTravel to the community of Nanaimo, BC. In downtown Nanaimo a ferry operates from the Maffeo-Sutton Park transporting passengers to the island.