Port Alberni and the pastoral Alberni Valley serve as the gateway to BC’s west coast. Just a 193-km (120-mi) drive northwest from the provincial capital, Victoria, Port Alberni boasts a magnificent, deep-sea port that opens to Alberni Inlet, Barkley Sound and the Pacific Ocean. Port Alberni has a moderate climate and is well-known for it's breathtaking scenery.
There is plenty to experience in Port Alberni and its surrounding valley. Surrounded by freshwater lakes and streams, the area is wildly popular for its salmon sports fishing. Fishing charters operate year-round and the rewards include steelhead, halibut, cod, and of course, salmon!
Other popular outdoors activities include scuba diving, kayaking, windsurfing, hiking, golfing and wildlife viewing. Some visitors choose to explore the area via helicopter and floatplane tours, while others discover the region’s rich history through the Heritage Network.
The Alberni Harbour Quay
Features a colourful collection of waterfront shops, galleries, and eateries, the Harbour Quay is also where you'll find the clock tower, which grants panoramic views of the Alberni Inlet.. Take a stroll to view the commercial fishing fleet, large shipping vessels and pleasure craft marinas. There's also a children's park for families to spend the afternoons.
Victoria Quay sits at the foot of Johnston Road (Hwy #4) and runs parallel to the Somass River. It is flanked by two towering Welcome Figures created by local Hupacasath First Nations carvers. The accompanying Welcome Centre features prominent First Nation's artwork and is the the perfect place to learn about the rich history of the First Nation people in this region. During the summer, the Hupacasath also operates a gift shop as well as guided canoe trips.
Rollin Art Centre
Surrounded by beautiful gardens, the Rollin Art Centre features work by local & regional artists. Tea is served on the Terrace during the summer months. Open year-round, visitors will enjoy its ever-changing displays, unique gift shop, and beautiful grounds.
Murals of Port Alberni
Take the voyage of discovery and catch the 18 awe-inspiring Murals by Artists Brad Piatka and Walter Collins that are located at various parts of the city.
Sproat Lake Provincial Park
If you love the water, Sproat Lake is one of BC's finest freshwater lakes for water sports such as waterskiing, tubing, canoing, kayaking, swimming and windsurfing. Two separate campgrounds and a large day-use area make this park a popular destination for campers and picnickers alike. The lake is also home to the gigantic Martin Mars water bombers (see further below).
A variety of short access trails lead visitors around this park, including a trail to the eastern end of Sproat Lake, which is home to one of the finest panels of prehistoric petroglyphs in British Columbia. Sproat Lake is located 15 minutes west of Port Alberni.
Stamp River Provincial Park
In late summer or early fall, head to the park's Stamp Falls. Watch as thousands of Pacific salmon circle in the pool below the falls before ascending fish ladders on their way to spawning beds. Just 20 minutes from Port Alberni, this provincial park is also a great place for family day trips or summer campouts. Take time to hike through the lush forest and river rapids of this wonderful park.
Martin Mars Water Bombers
Known as the world's largest flying boat, the Mars spread their 200 foot wingspan to provide firefighting protection throughout our region, province and beyond. During the summer, visitors will see the gigantic Martin Mars water bombers in action, thundering off to extinguish wild fires. These aircraft are capable of scooping up to 27 tons of water off the lake surface at one time. There are only 2 flying Mars Tankers left in the whole world -- both make their home in Port Alberni (on Sproat Lake).
Alberni Valley Heritage Network
The Alberni Valley is home to a host of Heritage Tourism attractions that are educational and fun for the whole family. Steam trains, steam sawmill, Maritime Heritage, First Nations culture and art -- experience 4 cool attractions in one big day!
From Victoria: To reach Port Alberni from Victoria, take the #1& #19 Island Highway heading north. You can bypass Nanaimo and Coombs by staying on #19, then take the highway #4 West turnoff to Port Alberni. Highway #4 will take you into Port Alberni via Johnston Road.
From Vancouver: If you are coming from Vancouver, take the ninety-five minute BC Ferries sailing from Horseshoe Bay (West Vancouver) to Nanaimo's Departure Bay Terminal. Stay on the #19 Island Highway heading north, then take the #4 West.
Alternatively, you can also take the 2-hour BC Ferries sailing from Tsawwassen (Vancouver) to Nanaimo's Duke Point Terminal. Again, Stay on the #19 Island Highway heading north, then take the #4 West.