There are so many ways to explore new places! Some of us get inspiration from popular bloggers and foodies we watch on Netflix or YouTube, and they all urge us to do what the locals do and see what they see. We sometimes feel the craving to buy a fancy camera to help us capture things we may not see with our own eyes when we travel, or we pay for a local tour guide to show us places we may not have stumbled upon on our own. What if I told you there was a way to see great vistas and experience life like ‘the locals’ without the price tag and with a bit of help from the locals themselves?
I’m a passionate traveller and I too seek those paths less travelled when exploring a new place. Originally from a small Hawaiian island, I hopped across the Pacific about 10 years ago and only recently found my new home in Oak Bay. In most cases, I would have made a long list of restaurants and popular ‘go-to’ spots as my way of starting to explore my new neighbourhood, but little did I know that all I had to do was turn to the locals, the ‘real’ locals that is.
My mysterious tour guides were leading me on all those paths less travelled and showing off this beautiful neighborhood from branch to branch, through the village towards the beach and helping me find stunning views. This experience brought a whole new meaning to a bird’s eye view and it only cost me the price of a few Americanos from The Village and a decent pair of walking shoes.
If you’re an Oak Bay resident, you may know which ‘locals’ I’m talking about. Whether you live near the marina or in the village, we share our home with what feels like thousands of little hummingbirds. These very attractive locals will show you all of the wonderful Oak Bay landmarks, and you don’t even have to move as fast as them! When you’re not sure where to go next, that’s when you hear their call and you can’t help but get the urge to keep exploring.
There were definite moments when I felt like I was cast in a Disney movie, thinking how magical it was to be surrounded by such beauty and to
be guided by these wonderful little explorers. The greatest part about experiencing Oak Bay is that nothing is too far away. Whether you are commuting in from Downtown Victoria or the Swartz Bay ferry terminal, once you’re here… you won’t need to hop on another bus or take a taxi ride. Simply adventure from wherever you started and let the tour guides take you from there.
Follow the hummingbirds from one beach access point to another and explore the neighbourhoods that boast century old homes that were brought into this century with style! The Oak Bay Beach Hotel is an excellent example with its rich local heritage and the fact that it’s an iconic fixture overlooking one of the most beautiful viewpoints in all of Victoria.
Now wait a minute – how could someone from a beautiful place like Hawaii think that Oak Bay is even comparable? I get that question a lot and my answer is simple. How could I not fall in love with a place that boasts stunning beaches and marinas, incredible gardens and parks, and amazing eateries? Oak Bay checks all the boxes for me and more. Take it from someone who grew up in a place where palm trees and white sand are plentiful. Still don’t believe me? See it for yourself, and don’t forget to get some help from the locals!
Tierra Madani was third runner up in the Oak Bay Stories contest through Oak Bay Tourism.