Historical Tour of the Cowichan Valley (Nanaimo South)

Tour Number

Activity Level



Day Trip / Out of Town, Hiking and Walking, Museums / Culture, Shore Excursion


Kid Friendly: Yes. An awesome, all ages kid friendly tour.

Friendly: No.
The activity level for this tour includes a moderate amount of walking; Kinsol Trestle - 2.7 km, BC Forest Discovery Centre - 1.3 km, and Chemainus - 0.6 km. All are level grades, with a total distance covered of approximately 4.6 km (2.8 mi). There will be time to rest in the vehicle between the attractions, and all feature rest stops.

Maximum travelers: 5



English (fluent)

An educational and fun-filled day of discovery of the Duncan, Chemainus, and Shawnigan Lake areas

Learn local history and see the beauftiful Island countryside on your private tour of the Cowicahn Valley.

The Cowichan Valley is Canada's only Mediterranean climate, named by the First Nations Coast Salish, Quw'utsun' or Cowichan means "land warmed by the sun".

Your day of discovery will begin with the historic Kinsol Trestle, Canada's tallest standing railway bridge. Next, we will see historic steam locomotives and antique logging equipment displays located on 100 acres.

The BC Forest Discovery Centre is our next stop and with some luck, we may see a rare and endangered Trumpeter Swan or Blue Heron at the adjacent (globally significant) Somenos Marsh, with over 219 recorded bird species.

The world's largest outdoor art gallery awaits for you at the town of Chemainus. We'll tour the 40+ outdoor murals depicting First Nations and early pioneer history. Afterwards, there'll be time for you to enjoy a leisurely lunch and explore the many galleries.


We'll start by departing from Nanaimo, travelling south through the communities of Ladysmith, Cobble Hill and Shawnigan Lake, on our way to the Kinsol Trestle.

Highlights include:

* Kinsol Trestle
* BC Forest Discovery Centre
* Chemainus

The return trip to Nanaimo will take approximately 45 minutes.

What to Bring & Wear
* camera
* sun protection
* cash/credit cards - lunch and souvenir shopping
* insect repellent
* comfortable hiking/walking shoes
* hat and sunglasses
* layered clothing - don't forget you can't have a green Island without a bit of rain.

Your start time and duration are flexible, and can be adjusted to accommodate your schedule.

Meeting Location + Tour Duration

Meeting location: Your accommodation in the greater Nanaimo area, or the Nanaimo Cruise Ship Terminal.
If you're outside of Nanaimo, please contact me for details.

End location: Your accommodation in the greater Nanaimo. Duncan or Ladysmith areas.

I can drop you off at a different location, if agreed to in advance.

Duration: 6 hours 30 min.

Weather, traffic, local festivals/events and wildlife sightings could lengthen the duration of the tour.


Passenger van (5 adults + guide).

I try to limit the number of adult passengers to 5, so as to ensure comfort.

Larger groups can be accommodated in a larger vehicle at an additional expense.

What’s Included

  • Guiding Services
  • Private Transportation
  • Admission Tickets

Other: * My time and services as your private guide.
* Free pick up and drop off at any Nanaimo location, including Duncan and Ladysmith.
* Admission to the BC Forest Discovery Centre
* Bottled water and juice.
* Experience, enthusiasm and knowledge.

Estimated Local Cash Needed

75 CAD - You should bring around $30 per person for lunch, unless you prefer to pack a lunch.
Also, you may wish to bring some extra for souvenirs.

What’s Extra

Other: Lunch is not included with this tour.
We will be stopping at Chemainus for lunch, which hosts a number of great restaurants, including the Odika Cafe, Owl's Nest Bakery, and Willow Street Cafe.

If the tour group decides to add an unscheduled attraction, the price of admission will be an extra expense.

Custom tours for larger groups are available at an additional expense. Please contact me for details.


I'm not a licensed bus driver, but can hire or arrange a driver for larger groups.

Private tour guide Neil

Contact this Guide

Questions about the tour? Not seeing exactly what you’re looking for? Contact this guide with questions, or to create a custom itinerary for you and your travel companions.

Message Neil M.

Web address (URL) of this page: http://www.toursbylocals.com/Private-CowichanValley-NanaimoSouth-Historic-Tour

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