Visiting Hornby Island
If you are planning a trip to Hornby Island to watch Mom and Dad, the other eagle pairs, and the many unpaired eagles of all ages that dwell there, an off-season visit is well worth considering. While much of the exciting action occurs during the eaglets' pre-fledge period from July through mid-August, this period also coincides with the highest levels of summer visitors and activities. From Labour Day through early spring, the island is peaceful and comfortable accommodations are more readily available. Many of the restaurants are seasonal, so be sure to check local schedules before you come. The websites listed below will provide an enticing view of the island home of Mom and Dad Hornby.
Hornby Island Websites
RealHornby features an up-to-date schedule of events and happenings.
Website: Real Hornby
Hornby Island.com offers a photo gallery, maps, travel information and in-depth information about the island.
Website: Hornby Island.com
Hornby Island.net has information and links for visitors and residents alike. The site also offers a
PDF file for download with listings for Hornby Island and Denman Island businesses, artists, crafters, eateries and more.
Website: HornbyIsland.net. Direct link to the PDF: http://www.hornbyisland.net/Denman_Hornby.pdf
How to get to Hornby Island
It takes three ferry rides to get from the mainland to Hornby Island; only two if you are already on Vancouver Island Ferry Schedule
Tribune Bay Provincial Park: With its unusual rocky shoreline hoodoo formations, white sandy beach, and reputation as being one of the warmest saltwater swimming areas in British Columbia, Tribune Bay is a popular spot.
Tribune Bay Provincial Park
Helliwell Provincial Park sits on a headland forested with a beautiful stand of old-growth Douglas fir. A 3-mile (5-km) loop trail follows the Helliwell Bluffs that rise above the beach and lead through open fields and stands of fir trees. The cliffs offer spectacular views of Georgia Strait and the Coast Mountains. Numerous wildlife species can be observed including deer, eagles, herons, pelagic cormorants, and sea lions. Killer whale sightings are possible from Hornby's high headland. Helliwell Provincial Park
The calm waters surrounding Hornby Island attract many kayak enthusiasts eager to explore the shoreline and view the eagles, water and shore birds, seals, sea lions and fascinating inter-tidal creatures.
Hornby Ocean Kayaks offers tours throughout the year, as well as classes for first-time kayakers and kayak rentals. Visit Hornby Ocean Kayaks
British Columbia is one of North America's foremost dive destinations, and the gentle currents and good visibility in the waters surrounding Hornby make it one of the best. Hornby Island Diving describes an underwater terrain with sculpted sandstone reefs, and an abundance of marine life like giant Pacific octopus, wolf eels, harbour seals, large ling cod and rock fish, colourful anemones and
nudibranchs. In winter, divers can also enjoy the underwater acrobatics of the sea lions that gather to feed on the herring.
Between April and September, shark dive enthusiasts can swim with Bluntnose sixgill sharks. An article on shark diving at Hornby describes the dive and the beauty of the experience. Read Elasmodiver's article about diving on Hornby Island
Hornby Island Diving has a tank fill station, dive boat and lovely guest lodge, and even hosts an annual photography workshop. To visit their website for more information, go to Hornby Island Diving.
The sandstone peninsula at Tribune Bay is perfect for snorkeling and shallow
freediving. The sandstone formations extend into the water, and there are overhangs and boulders where like kelp greenling, perch, lingcod, dogfish, kelp crabs, ochre stars, sea urchins, and even the odd octopus can be seen.
Some of the nicest public beaches are the sandy beach at Whaling Station Bay and the beach at Tribune Bay where in addition to swimming, you can rent skim boards or play beach volleyball.
Fishing opportunities abound, and Inter Island Charters offer both fishing and sightseeing charters.
Avid bikers from near and far love the many miles of well-maintained trails through Hornby's diverse terrains. The trail system through Mount Geoffrey Park is described as 'smooth', but for bikers who like a rush of adrenaline, "No Horses" offers a big one.
The Hornby Island Mountain Bike Association maintains a website that features information on trails old and new. Visit HIMBA
The PinkBike site has a review on the biking experience on Hornby, with wonderful photos and videos. PinkBike
Hornby Island Outdoor Sports offers a variety of bikes for rent on an hourly, daily, or weekly basis. HI Outdoor Sports
Walking, Hiking and Horseback Riding
Stroll, walk, or hike around Helliwell Provincial Park, Big Tribune Provincial Park, Mount Geoffrey Nature Park, Mount Geoffrey Escarpment Park, and Fords Cove Marina. A multi-use trail for hikers and horseback riders on Mount Geoffrey intersects with other trails; the cliff trail offers beautiful views of Hornby and Denman Islands, and to the north, Comox.
Most of the island's shores are accessible to hikers and beachcombers. Petroglyphs (ancient carvings) and fossils occur in several places; shells, sharks' teeth and even dinosaur bones have been found.
Elderfield Old-Time Farm
This living-history farm and open-air museum offers interpretive walks, exhibits and demonstrations by costumed personnel relating to pioneer history and modern day rural life.
This annual nine-day Festival presents twelve to sixteen concerts early in August (sometimes beginning late July). The primary venues include the charming Community Hall and Olsen Farm, with its fabulous ocean view.
Visit the Festival Society's website for this year's schedule of events and performers. Hornby Festival
Hornby Island Blues Workshop
Sponsored by the Hornby Island Blues Society, this workshop brings many of Canada's top Blues musicians to the Island. The 2010 workshop is scheduled to take place from May 10-14; visit the Blues Society's website for more information. Hornby Blues Workshop
Hornby Arts Council Presents
The Hornby Island Arts Council presents a series of shows in its ARC gallery. To view the schedule, please visit the Council's website. Hornby Island Arts
Hornby Farmers' Market
"Make it, Bake it, Grow it."
Saturdays, 11 AM- 2 PM from the May long week-end until Thanksgiving week-end. Farmers' Market
Food, Glorious Food
Hornby Island Resort The Wheelhouse Restaurant offers eat-in or take-out menus. It also houses the Thatch Neighbourhood Pub, where the Friday Night Jazz is legendary. Wheelhouse Restaurant
The Cardboard House Bakery offers (in addition to wonderful treats) "Pizza & Music" nights on Sunday & Wednesday evenings. Cardboard House Bakery
The Vorizo Espresso Bar offers homemade cakes, pies, and specialty coffees. Vorizo
The Sea Breeze Restaurant operates seasonally. Dining at Sea Breeze Lodge
And Drink ...
Middle Mountain Meadery offers a view of terraced hillsides full of plantings including about 2,000 lavender plants blooming in June-July. They also grow black currants, apples, and grapes, and are stewards of some beehives as well. Mead, as well as culinary herb blends and herb teas, is available for sale in the tasting room. Middle Mountain Meadery
Campgrounds and RV Camping
There are two campsites located on Hornby Island. Both are very family orientated and can provide you with a couple of options. Tribune Bay Campsite is conveniently located close to the Hornby Island Co-op and Tribune Bay. Bradsdadsland is within walking distance to Shingle Spit, the ferry terminal and the Hornby Island Resort featuring a restaurant and the Thatch Pub.
Bradsdadsland Campsite is a family oriented camp-resort located on the bluffs above Lambert channel. Private and peaceful, this campsite was the home of Benn Kramer, the "Eagle Man of Hornby Island", to whom Doug Carrick dedicated his book. Bradsdadsland
Tribune Bay Campsite is just a two-minute walk from Tribune Bay Park and is conveniently located next to the Ringside Market. Tribune Bay Campsite
Lodges, Resorts, Vacation Rentals and Bed & Breakfasts
Hornby Island is home to several lodges and resorts, including Ford's Cove Marina, Hornby Island Resort, and Seabreeze Lodge. Vacation rentals (cottages and homes) are also available and can be viewed at Hornby Island Lodges & Resorts and Vacation Rentals. If you're planning a short stay, Hornby's bed and breakfast establishments offer all the comforts of home. Bed
& Breakfast Accommodations
Be sure to consider The Old Rose Nursery, which offers weekly rentals of a three-bedroom post-and-beam house surrounded by a rose garden, orchard, and ponds. Garden Paradise Retreat
"Sip, Shop, Stay" Carbrea Vineyard offers a cottage for rent by the day or week: Carbrea Cottage