Malahat & Area
Malahat Proper is a rugged region containing mature forests and steep cliffs. Winding north from Victoria, the Malahat Drive offers spectacular views of the Saanich Peninsula and Gulf Islands.
To the north is the community of Shawnigan Lake, an area noted for its pristine lake views and water-based recreational opportunities. The community of Mill Bay, with its quiet waterfront streets, is found at the north end of the Malahat Drive. Beyond Mill Bay is the farming village of Cobble Hill, located on the southern end of the famed Cowichan Valley.
At the north end of the Malahat Drive, take a detour to Mill Bay and enjoy the village's quiet waterfront streets and wonderful Gulf Island views.
Mill Bay was established in the 1860s, twenty years after Victoria was founded. Its principal industry was lumber and milling, which was done at the mill on the bay.
The surrounding parks and scenery are lovely - perfect for hiking, cycling and boating. This is an ideal spot to spend a few days, basking in the sun and swimming in warm waters.
If the prospect of negotiating the steep Malahat Drive is daunting, B.C. Ferries operates a regularly scheduled service from Mill Bay to Brentwood Bay on the Saanich Peninsula, an alternative route to Victoria or the ferry terminal at Swartz Bay.
Location: Mill Bay is located on the southeast shore of Vancouver Island, about 26 miles (41 km) north of Victoria
A fashionable summer recreation and cottage area for over a century, Shawnigan Lake has seen its share of happy anglers, blissful sunbathers, and elegant day-trippers. The lake is still a favourite weekend getaway spot and has become one of Victoria's more popular "bedroom" communities.
Shawnigan Lake Village is a well-known venue for arts and craft shows. Located on the eastern shore of the lake, the village contains two small general stores, three restaurants, several beaches and various small businesses, including a barber and two coffee shops. There is also a small but excellent museum, run by the Shawnigan Lake Historical Society.
Several beaches and small day-use areas are scattered around Shawnigan Lake.
A tiny farming village in the Cowichan Valley, Cobble Hill is surrounded by a picturesque landscape and enveloped by a warm climate. The Cowichan Valley is characterized by diverse landscapes of forests, freshwater lakes, saltwater beaches and marinas, farmland and vineyards.
Vineyards and wineries have sprung up all around and, as Cobble Hill's galleries attest, it's also a creative community for painters, sculptors, potters and totem pole carvers.
View a map of Wineries in the Cowichan Valley.