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Central Island

Central Vancouver Island offers magnificent beaches, including this one at Qualicum Beach
As you drive the Island Highway, it's always a treat to look across the Strait of Georgia at landmarks on the mainland as spires of the Coast Mountains rise on the eastern horizon. One such scenic view is the profile of Howe Sound Crest as revealed when you look back towards the city of Vancouver from Parksville. The farther north you head towards Courtenay and Campbell river, however, the more the peaks and glaciers of Vancouver Island's ranges, principally the imposing Comox Glacier, Forbidden Plateau, and Mount Washington, rise in the west and vie for equal attention.

As the highway winds past well-kept farms, this is a serenely rural part of the journey. Flowers abound in the gardens that front many of the homes along the way. Small rivers such as the Little Qualicum and the Englishman, as well as the mightier ones such as the Puntledge and the Campbell, empty into the strait. From the highway you catch glimpses of quiet green forest settings on the banks that line each river's course. Come late summer, these streams teem with spawning salmon.

For much of the way between Courtenay and Campbell River the Island Highway runs beside Qualicum Bay, an area rich in seafood. Pullouts beside the road give easy access to the bay's sand and pebble beaches. At several places you can buy fresh seafood, brought to the docks daily from local waters.

The mountains and islands of central Vancouver Island have a mysterious sense about them, as if they're always trying to hide some secret. It's true: you do have to travel farther afield here in order to penetrate its cloud-laced valleys and coastal rain forest. Take your time as you meander through this laid-back region. Its rhythms are subtle, but with gentle probing they reveal themselves, showing greater complexity than first meets the eye.

The following communities are located in the Central Island region. Click on a name for information on that community or area.

Black Creek
Buckley Bay
Campbell River
Comox Valley
Deep Bay
Dent Island
Discovery Islands
Fanny Bay
French Creek
Gold River
Gold River Hwy 28
Island Highway 19
Lighthouse Country
Mt. Washington
Nanoose Bay
Qualicum Bay
Qualicum Beach
Saratoga Beach
Union Bay
Winchelsea Islands
Yellow Point

Location: The new Island Highway (Highway 19) has superseded the old Island highway (Highway 19A) as the way to move quickly between Nanaimo and Campbell River. Parksville, 37 km north of Nanaimo's Departure Bay ferry, lies just east of the new Island Highway. For those wishing to make time, the new four-lane route is a blessing. For those wishing to take their time, this will mean fewer cars tailgating along the scenic ocean drive.

Highways 19 and 19A link Parksville with southern Vancouver Island. Highway 4 links Parksville with Port Alberni, and with Tofino and Ucluelet on the west side of the island. Approaching from the north, Highway 19 links Campbell River with the northern half of Vancouver Island. Campbell River may also be reached by BC Ferries from Quathiaski Cove on Quadra Island. Highway 28 originates from Highway 19 just north of Campbell river, and leads west for 92 km to Gold River.

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Quality Resort Bayside
RV, Camper & Trailer Rentals
Salmon Point Resort RV Park & Marina
Seaside Getaway at Inn of the Sea
Singing Sands Bed & Breakfast
Spirit of the West Kayaking
Strathcona Park Lodge
Sunrise Ridge Waterfront Resort
Thyme Away Bed & Breakfast
Tide Rip Grizzly Tours
Tsa-Kwa-Luten Lodge & RV Park
Waterfront West Real Estate
Whiskey Point Resort
Wildcoast Adventures Kayak Tours & Vacations
Absolute Oceanfront Condo Vacations
Alpine Chalet on Mt. Washington
BC Golf Vacations
BC Oceanfront: Ed Handja & Shelley McKay
Beach Acres Resort
Beach Club Resort
Best Western Northgate Inn Nanaimo Hotel
Black Creek Bed and Breakfast
Brent Morrison Golf Academy
Campbell River Whale Watching
Canadian Adventure Rentals
Cape Lazo RV & Campground
Century 21 Harbour Realty Ltd
Classic Yacht Charters
Coast Mountain Expeditions
Dent Island Lodge
Dent Island Lodge & Marina
Discovery Islands Lodge B&B Kayak Inn
Discovery Marine Safaris
Ecosummer Expeditions
EMR Vacation Rentals
Fresh Start Health Retreat Centers
Gold River Chalet
Grizzly Bear Lodge & Safari
Heriot Bay Inn & Marina
Inn of the Sea Beautiful Waterfront Getaway
Inn On Long Lake
Island Adventure Centre
Kurt Nielsen - Landquest Realty Corporation
Lakeview Vacation Homes
Little Qualicum Cheeseworks
Long Lake Waterfront B&B
MooBerry Winery
Morningstar Farm
Mothership Adventures
Ocean Light II Adventures
Pacific Playgrounds International
Pearl Point Beach House
Practicar Nanaimo
Qualicum Landing
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