4 things to do in Port Alberni year round – that you might not have thought about!

Port Alberni is famously known for our fishing, hiking trails and pockets of hidden gems such as Wiener Falls, Hole in the Wall, Paper Mill Dam and of course Sproat Lake. Our summers are beautiful and winters are typically mild, if you are an outdoor enthusiast, there are loads of things to do in our Valley. Let’s take a peek at some out-of-the-box ideas to do around our community that you might not have thought about!

Character House Walking Tour

Port Alberni is filled with a rich history in almost every nook of our town. The Alberni Valley Museum has put together a self-guided historic walking tour of “The Old Town of Alberni” – now known as Northport Area. A map for the walking tour is available at our local museum and includes directions as well as key historical facts for every part of the journey. The tour begins at Victoria Quay and explains the amalgamation of the “Twin Cities”  in 1967. Throughout the 2.5km route, you will learn about the history of each area as well as highlight the territories of the Nuu-chah-nulth First Nations, Tseshaht and the Hupacasath. This is a free and interesting activity, especially for those who have had generations living and growing up in the Valley.

MV Frances Barkley Tour (Lady Rose)

Sail down our inviting inlet on a 65-year-old heritage ship to Bamfield and back. The MV Frances Barkley was built in 1958 in Norway and made its way through the Atlantic Ocean to Port Alberni over 30 years ago. Sailings are year-round down the canal where passengers can see breathtaking, untouched views of the wooded shorelines and wildlife including seals, bears, eagles and even whales. The ship is an essential part of the small communities of the west coast as it has a dual purpose to bring cargo and supplies to remote villages. On board, you have access to snacks and beverages as you make your way down the 9-hour round trip to Bamfield. Once you’ve arrived, passengers are able to get off the ship and check out the unique seaside community of Bamfield. This is a personal favourite for those visiting Port Alberni but also an excellent day trip for local residents to explore the beauty of the west coast.

Explore Great Central

Great Central Lake is an oasis across the highway from our famous Sproat Lake Provincial Park. The lake has much less boat and visitor traffic in general compared to Sproat Lake, which makes it a peaceful and relaxing place to explore. Unique float houses line the sides of the lake, making you feel like you’re somewhere straight out of a movie. Launch a paddle board or kayak and voyage around, keeping an eye out for fish jumping! Great Central Lake is also the starting point to Della Falls which is a 32km backpacking hike through Strathcona Provincial Park. The lake is also surrounded by shorter hikes with spectacular lookout points. Next time you are in need of a cool dip in nature, consider a day trip to Great Central Lake.


Geocaching can be done on almost every edge of the earth, including here in our very own Valley. Geocaching is a fun, family-friendly activity that is totally free, yet very satisfying every time you locate a cache. A geocache is a small container planted in the woods by a geo-hunter and linked to the geocaching app with coordinates and sometimes riddles and problems you need to solve to locate the cache. Clues are given for those seeking geocaches and once found, you are able to log your findings in the app for others to see. Caches are rated by difficulty in terrain and how well they are hidden. If you decide to head out on a geo-hunt, be sure to bring a pen and some small prizes to leave at each cache for future geo-hunters to find.

Getting fresh air outdoors can boost mental health, activity rate, endorphins and create fun memories. Keep it local next time you want to get out and explore – we have everything you need right here in our own backyards!


Written by: Stephanie Wakelin