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new-castle-island-bcWhile there are a wide variety of things to do when visiting Nanaimo, BC, one cannot overlook the beauty and natural wonder of Newcastle Island. Located within Nanaimo Harbour, this Provincial Marine Park is an amazing place to visit for a taste of the natural wonder of BC combined with a rich cultural history. There are several ways to get to Newcastle Island, the most popular being the regular ferry service which leaves from Maffeo Sutton Park. Ferries leave every 20 minutes throughout the day during the peak season (May 18 to Sept 4), and there is a regular sailing schedule thru the rest of the year. Return fares are $8 per adult and $4 for children under the age of eleven. You can also reach the island with Nanaimo Harbour Tours or the Newcastle Island Channel Tour. You are also welcome to arrive on your own boat, canoe or kayak. When on the island you are free to discover all that this park has to offer, from beaches to noble forests and amazing rock formations. Go for a swim, explore the island or test out some of the great biking trails. There is no shortage of things to do on Newcastle Island, and if you discover by the end of the day that there is still more to see you might consider staying overnight at one of the 18 individual or 5 group campsites right on the island. This park is a great place to see all kinds of wildlife, especially birds. Keep your eyes peeled for the impressive Purple Martin, a large swallow that sports deep purple plumage, or look skyward to see one of many great Bald Eagles who call the island home. Otters, beavers, and black tailed deer reside on the island, as well as a rare species of raccoon - the golden raccoon. Newcastle Island is an impressive marine park with a rich First Nations history, and you will surely find many things to keep you busy while visiting. Tip: Before to bring cash - food and camping is available but they only accept cash!