Vancouver Island is home to some of nature’s most amazing creatures. Its rugged coastline is brimming with wildlife, from barking Stellar Sea Lions to colourful starfish, majestic orca whales to playful otters, it is home to an array of amazing animals.
In fact, Vancouver Island offers the best cold water diving in North America. In addition, nearby Hornby Island offers one of the few places in the world to dive cage-free with six-gill sharks.
And, while the island has amazing creatures, it also has some noteworthy geography. The land itself is spectacular: from the tallest waterfall in the nation, to the endless swimming holes dotting the Sooke River, it’s a sight to behold.
To top that off, Vancouver Island has the highest concentration of caves in North America. It has over 1,000 caves because nearly 4% of the island was formed by the erosion of soluble rocks.
Horne Lake Provincial Park: The Smiling Buddha Room
Of course, one of the most fascinating caves to discover is known as the ‘smiling buddha room.’ It doesn’t take a great deal of creativity to spot the image of buddha sitting serenely above a reflecting pool. In turn, his formation is reflected in the water, creating an incredibly beautiful image.
Indeed, the discovery is always a treat for those on a caving adventure. While all of the caves are beautiful, buddha makes a truly Instagram-worthy capture.
Complete with hidden waterfalls, ancient fossils, crystalline formations and so much more, island caving is truly exciting. With that in mind, many caves will require a guide to visit.
The Horne Lake Provincial Park was established in 1971 at the request of public caving groups. They were concerned about the potential damage of the caves and the fragile crystal formations they contained.
Travel tip: Never go caving alone! Even if you feel compelled to explore the mysterious caverns alone, this is a horrible idea. Not only are conditions a bit more dangerous in them, but you won’t be easy to find. And, even if you bring a pal, ensure someone knows your estimated time of return.
There many magical places to discover on Vancouver Island. A couple include: a rope swing at the end of a hike on Vancouver Island and a triple tumbling waterfall.